Adventure Activites in Cleveland
1. Cedar Point
If you enjoy daring activities like roller coasters, there is no better place in the world than the coast of Lake Erie. Cedar Point is known as the "world's roller coaster capital," with more (and taller) coasters than anywhere else on earth. Okay, it's not technically in Cleveland, but Cleveland is the nearest major city to coastal Sandusky, and, at a two-hour drive, it's an easy day trip for a "Cleveland" family adventure.
Hop on the Raptor, Millennium Force, or the classic Magnum. If it's a clear day, you'll be able to see straight across the Great Lakes into Canada from the Magnum's highest point. This is not an amusement park for the faint of heart. If you visit Cedar Point, tie your glasses to your head, don't eat anything too exotic and be prepared for the rides of your life.
One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870; (419) 627-2350; Open May - Oct, dates and hours vary; Regular admission $45.99, Guests under 48" tall or over age 62 $19.99, children 2 and under are free.
2. Wear a Steelers jersey downtown, or worse, at a Browns game
The rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers is age-old and legendary, and if you really want to live on the edge, display an affinity for the archrival Steelers in public. This daring adventure activity in Cleveland will get your heart pumping as you sprint away from members of the "Dawg Pound," the Browns' most devoted fans, after they've threatened to teach you a lesson.
The only other Cleveland adventure activity that could possibly get the adrenaline running faster would be to express support for Art Modell (the former Browns owner who moved the team to Baltimore in the mid-90s), but that would be downright ignorant. Supporting the Steelers in Cleveland, on the other hand, will just keep you on your toes.
3. Buy some offal!
Every major city has a farmers' market these days, but most are gentrified and upscale, offering good-looking produce and pleasant meats and cheeses for steep prices. Cleveland's West Side Market, on the other hand, keeps it old school. Wander through the market and you'll find a huge range of produce, delicious prepared goods, and a startling variety of animal carcasses staring you in the face.
If you've been contemplating a daring Cleveland family adventure of new tastes, dive into a dinner of kidneys, tripe, or goat's tongue at the West Side Market. Whatever you want will be butchered and ready to go before you know it, and you can pick up whatever other ingredients you might need while you're there for a night of meat-tastic fun.
West Side Market is located on the corner of West 25th and Lorain in the Ohio City neighborhood. Open Mon and Wed, 7AM-4PM, Fri and Sat, 7AM-6PM; (216) 664-3387.
4. Surf on Lake Erie
Perhaps not the wisest Cleveland family adventure, this one's more for bragging rights than anything else. Most people still think of Lake Erie as full of industrial pollution, even though the entire region has made strenuous efforts in the last few decades to clean up their waterways. Those efforts have been successful, and there are no longer any concerns about the health effects of eating Lake Erie fish or swimming in the lake.
However, surfing is another matter altogether. Because the Great Lakes don't get swells like the ocean, the only opportunities to really catch waves are during storms, exactly the occasion when all the sane people decide to get out of the water.
Storms on the lake frequently include lightning and often also feature waterspouts (baby tornadoes); surfing on Lake Erie is truly death defying. Moreover, the churning waters are likely to bring pollutants to beach areas, so the water quality during storms is dubious. It's a far cry from hitting the waves in Maui or Malibu, but once you've surfed Lake Erie, you'll be ready for anything.
5. Go to a Cleveland Orchestra concert
Okay, this one might not be as death defying as dropping a piece of shellacked cardboard into a major body of water during an electrical storm, but it can be mind-blowing.
The Cleveland Orchestra is truly the city's best-kept secret and a performance can be a great Cleveland family adventure. Even some residents are unaware that their orchestra is considered by many classical music experts to be one of, if not the single greatest symphony orchestra in all of America. Because of this, tickets to concerts at the remarkably restored Severance Hall or the Orchestra's summer home at Blossom Music Center are cheaper than in many other cultural capitals.
Discover why classical music scholars around the world regard the Cleveland Orchestra as better than more famous outfits like the New York Philharmonic, even if the musicians toiling away in the "mistake on the lake" rarely get the popular credit they so deserve.
The Cleveland Orchestra, Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106; (216) 231-1111, (800) 686-1141.