The perfect Lake Erie outing for your out-of-town guests

At the holidays, you’ve got all sorts of relatives visiting from out-of-town. So why not introduce them to Cleveland’s best asset?

Here are a couple ideas to get you all out of the house and provide some family togetherness, all with a view of Lake Erie. Go on, show it off!

Visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame climb the Long Live Rock sign to have their picture taken in front of the museum. (Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer)

If you’ve got a bunch of adults:

  1. Start at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, perched on the water at North Coast Harbor. Feel the music in the new Power of Rock Experience, featuring Rock Hall induction performances. Ogle at the costumes of your favorite artist. Check out special exhibits, including Rolling Stones/50 Years and Mellencamp. The museum is open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays until 9 p.m. General admission is $23.50. You can park at the garage attached to Great Lake Science Center or one of the lots by Burke Lakefront Airport.

Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar. (John Petkovic, The Plain Dealer)

2. Post for a family photo at the Long Live Rock sign. (It’ll probably turn out better than the pose in front of the Christmas tree.) Then wander around Voinovich Park, on the East 9th Street Pier, and take a photo of the whole fam on the Cleveland sign, with the skyline as a backdrop.

3. Have lunch, maybe with a margarita, at Nuevo Modern Mexican on the pier.

If you’ve got kids:

Newly planted trees outside the Great Lakes Science Center. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)

1. Start your morning at the Great Lakes Science Center, which now features an interactive All Aboard! The Science of Trains exhibit and is home to one of 11 NASA visitor centers in the United States. And though the William G. Mather steamship is closed for the season, you can walk by the 618-foot long ship and imagine life on a freighter.The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. (but closed on home Browns game Sundays, which includes Dec. 17). Cost is $15 for adults and 12 for children 2-12. And there’s even an attached parking garage.

You can enjoy the patio at Merwin’s Wharf even in the winter. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

2. Hungry? Head to Merwin’s Wharf, right on the Cuyahoga River. (Family faves include the giant pretzel appetizer.) Keep your fingers crossed that you’ll get to see a laker maneuvering around the river bend.

3. You want more adorable family photos, right? Head north to Edgewater Beach, where the Sassy snow family is Christmas-card ready. And if it’s warm enough, let your kids run around the sand, or walk out to the pier to watch the waves.

Posing with the Sassy snowmen at Edgewater Beach. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)


If you’re active (and the cold doesn’t bother you anyway):

1. Drive the Shoreway west, through downtown and above the Port of Cleveland, keeping your eyes peeled for any lakers or freighters.

2. Explore the Old Cleveland Coast Guard Station. Park on Whiskey Island and walk the pier back to the 1940-built, Art Moderne National Historic Landmark. 

The Old Coast Guard Station has captivated Clevelanders for generations. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

3. Hunt for beach glass along the Wendy Park beach on Whiskey Island. Maybe you can make a Christmas tree out of it, a la artist Amy Lauria.

4. Marvel at the shrinkwrapped boats at Edgewater Yacht Club and take a walk around Edgewater Park.

Happy Holidays! May exploring Lake Erie help create some wonderful family memories — and traditions. Other ideas? Comment on Facebook.