I always tell people that Cleveland is a “summer city;” there’s such a huge amount to do in Cleveland during the balmy summer months.
But if you’re visiting Cleveland in the fall (or if you’re a local looking for cool things to do once those autumn temperatures hit), have no fear! Cleveland is also a great autumn city.
Whether it’s Halloween-themed things you want to do, fall colors you want to see, or autumnal flavors you want to try, Cleveland has you covered.
Here are some of the best things you can do in Cleveland in the Fall.
13 things to do in Cleveland in Fall
1. See Fall colors
We’re so lucky here in northeast Ohio; we have fall colors to rival all the “famous” autumn locations in the US – but without the droves of tourists. There are no shortage of places to see incredible fall colors in and around Cleveland, whether you want to hike, bike, or drive to see them.
Some of my favorite places to go leaf-peeping include:
- Rocky River Reservation – Make a stop at Berea Falls Scenic Overlook, and climb the Fort Hill steps for excellent views.
- Bedford Reservation – Especially at Tinker’s Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook, but the area around Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek is also a good bet.
- North Chagrin Reservation – Several hiking trails here have great colors, and the area around Squire’s Castle is also worth stopping to see.
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio’s only national park is excellent in the fall. Hike to Blue Hen Falls, check out the Everett Road Covered Bridge, or book a ticket on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for one of their “Fall Flyer” routes (these are still running in 2020, just at reduced capacity).
Some local trees will starting changing in September, but peak color in this part of Ohio is usually around mid-October.
2. Visit Holden Arboretum
While the main draw at Holden Arboretum in autumn is the fall colors, there’s more to do here than just admiring the leaves. Stroll through the different gardens and trails to see what’s in bloom, and just enjoy being out in nature.
When you do want to do that leaf-peeping, head for the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower, both of which offer up fantastic views of the surrounding forests.
3. Enjoy fall events at local metroparks
Along with going out in search of fall colors, here are some other fun fall-themed things you can do in some area metroparks:
- Fall Hiking Spree (Summit County) – The Summit County Metro Parks runs an annual event to encourage people to get outdoors in the autumn. Running from September through November, participants are challenged to complete 8 different hikes throughout Summit County. The included hikes are usually fairly easy and family-friendly.
- Halloween Boo-Thru (Lorain County Metro Parks) – This event is usually a walking one, but this year the Lorain County Metro Parks has turned it into a drive-through to make it COVID safe. Held at the Carlisle Equestrian Center, you can drive through several themed scenes this year. Entry is $10 per car, and advanced registration is required. Sign up here starting October 5.
- Fall hayrides (Cleveland Metroparks) – Usually run in October from The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Recreation Area, these hayrides have been canceled in 2020, but will hopefully be back in 2021.
4. Drink seasonal brews
Is it really even fall if you haven’t had a pumpkin spice latte or Oktoberfest beer yet? (The correct answer is no!)
But skip the Starbucks lines and the big-name beer companies; Cleveland’s local coffee shops and craft brewers are where to go for your seasonal brews
For coffee, check out seasonal brews at spots like Brewella’s in Lakewood (which also serves up hot apple cider and fall-themed crepes), Six Shooter Coffee, and Rising Star (last year they did a sweet potato latte that was amazing!).
And almost all of Cleveland’s local breweries make fall-inspired beers, whether they’re German-inspired for Oktoberfest, pumpkin-flavored, or otherwise seasonally themed. Try an Oktoberfest beer at Great Lakes or Masthead, a Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale at Fat Head’s, or a S’mores Yammy at Platform Beer.
5. Tailgate at a Browns game
Speaking of seasonal brews… a lot of them show up at the tailgate parties at the Muni Lot before Browns home games.
In 2020, these tailgating bashes unfortunately won’t be happening due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s something to put on your Cleveland fall bucket list for next year.
6. Pick your own produce
Fall is harvest season, and you can experience it first-hand at several local farms that offer pick-you-own sessions for everything from sunflowers to apples to pumpkins.
The season for you-pick varies depending on the produce, but here are several things you can try:
Sunflower season is mid-August to mid-September, depending on the year and where you go. We really like the Greenfield Berry Farm in Peninsula ($1 per stem!), but you can also cut your own bouquets at Rogish Farm in Chesterland, Hillcrest Orchards in Amherst, and at Ramseyer Farms’ annual Sunflower Days in Wooster.
And of course if you just want to see some pretty sunflowers, you can’t go wrong with Maria’s Field of Hope in Avon.
For me, apple picking is the epitome of early fall, and there are several farms within easy driving distance from Cleveland where you can pick your own apples. Prime apple-picking season is usually September-October, with different varieties of apples ripening at different times.
Popular places to pick your own apples near Cleveland include Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland, Hillcrest Orchards in Amherst, and Quarry Hill Orchards in Berlin Heights. I’ve picked apples at Quarry Hill, and paired it up with lunch at the nearby Quarry Hill Winery. Makes for a great day out!
Lastly, we can’t write a post about fall harvests and not mention pumpkins! Pumpkin patches abound across northeast Ohio, and pumpkin picking often coincides with fall festivals and Halloween festivities. Most pumpkin patches open towards the end of September, and stay open through October.
Local farms within an hour of Cleveland that have you-pick pumpkin patches include Sunrise Farm in Burton, Regal Vineyards in Madison, Hillcrest Orchards in Amherst, the Rockin R Ranch in Columbia Station, Ramseyer Farms in Wooster, and Kuchta Farms in Newton Falls.
You can also find pumpkins for sale at just about every local farm market from mid-September through October!
7. Hit up a local fall festival
Many of the farms with pumpkin patches also have fall festivals every weekend leading up to Halloween. These are usually family-friendly, and involve things like hayrides, play areas, live entertainment, and fall food like pumpkin treats and apple cider.
Some fall festivals still taking place in 2020 include:
- Corn & Pumpkin Weekends at Lake Metroparks Farmpark in Kirtland – Head to the Farmpark on weekends for harvest-themed crafts, live animal demonstrations, and more. They are also doing a drive-through Halloween event this year instead of their normal haunted hayrides.
- Harvest Days at Hale Farm in Bath – Held over two weekends in October, this annual festival includes a pumpkin patch, apple butter making, musical entertainment, and more. Advance tickets are required.
- The Old West Pumpkin Fest at Rockin R Ranch in Columbia Station – Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, and visit the petting farm, straw mountain, and more. They also have a haunted attraction called the Spooky Ranch.
- Pumpkin Village at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick – This family-friendly event spans several weekends in September in October (each with a special theme), and includes lots of activities like corn mazes, train rides, a super slide, and more.
8. Tackle a corn maze
Corn mazes are another fall staple that are abundant across Ohio. Some farms go all-out with their maze designs each year, and challenging yourself with a local corn maze is a great way to get outside this fall.
Favorite farms with corn mazes include:
- Szalay’s Farm Market in Peninsula – Szalay’s is a staple in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and their 3-acre corn maze is a great family activity every fall. Their maze takes about 30 minutes to get through.
- Mapleside Farms in Brunswick – This farm offers up a traditional corn maze, a kids’ corn maze, and also a separate maze that melds solving the maze with wine tasting! Mapleside’s Vino The Way is already sold out for 2020, but put it on the list for next year.
- Derthick’s Corn Maze in Mantua – Tackle two large corn mazes, with a clue game to solve along the way.
- Brasee’s Corn Maze in Wellington – This family-run farm has a 7-acre corn maze, along with acres of pumpkins.
- Ramsayer Farms in Wooster – This farm is a little further away, but they have THREE different corn mazes, including an 8-acre one shaped like the state of Ohio.
9. Get spooky at a witchcraft museum
Yes, Cleveland has a museum dedicated to witchcraft! More specifically, it’s dedicated to the history of witchcraft (Wicca) in America, as told through items collected by Raymond Buckland.
The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick is a small museum in Old Brooklyn filled with all sorts of interesting items that were collected over the years by Buckland, the “father” of the modern Wicca movement.
This is a great museum to visit if you’ve already hit up all the “big” museums in Cleveland. And there’s no better time to visit than in the fall!
10. Visit Lake View Cemetery
While I’m an advocate of visiting Cleveland’s historic cemetery any time of year, it’s especially appropriate in the fall. Stroll through sculpture-like grave markers (the Haserot Angel is probably the most-photographed, especially around Halloween), and enjoy the fall colors.
Lake View Cemetery is more than 150 years old, and was designed to mimic the great Victorian garden cemeteries of Europe. You’ll therefore always find gorgeous landscaping to enjoy, no matter when you visit. In fall, keep an eye out for oaks and beeches, but also the Japanese maples, which turn a brilliant red in autumn.
11. Take the kids to Boo at the Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s annual “Boo at the Zoo” is one of the most popular Halloween traditions for families. Kids are encouraged to come in costumes, and can trick-or-treat around the zoo and enjoy all sorts of themed events and activities.
This event doesn’t appear to be happening in 2020, but should be back in 2021. It usually runs the second half of October.
12. See the Spooky Pooch Parade in Lakewood
Another Halloween-specific event, the Spooky Pooch Parade is a delightful annual event in Lakewood, in which dogs are dressed up and paraded around Kauffman Park. It’s a great family-friendly event, and of course is filled with dogs of all shapes and sizes!
In 2020, the “parade” is going all virtual on October 17.
13. Watch Rocky Horror at the Cedar Lee
The historic Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights has been hosting monthly screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for decades. Every Saturday at midnight, you can join a screening of the cult classic – costumes and props encouraged!
This event is especially popular in the fall, and there are sometimes extra showings added around Halloween.
There aren’t any showings planned so far in 2020, but check out this site for updates.
Along with Rocky Horror, the Cleveland Cinemas group has showings of all sorts of Halloween classics throughout October each year at all of its historic theaters. Visit their site for more info.
BONUS: Go to Cedar Point for HalloWeekends
Each fall, Cedar Point runs its popular Halloween-themed “HalloWeeekends,” which melds nighttime rides with haunted midways and kids’ attractions.
In 2020, the event is being replaced with the “Tricks and Treats Fall Fest,” which includes fall-themed food and games, costumes contests, Trick-or-Treating, and more.
These weekend events usually start up after Labor Day and run through the end of October.
What’s your favorite fall thing to do in Cleveland?
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Amanda was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and has always been a fangirl of the state. Now, she wants to share her love of Cleveland with the world, highlighting all the best things to do, see, and eat in the CLE. She’s been running Cleveland Traveler since January 2019.