13 things to do in Cleveland in Fall
1. See Fall Colors
Fall colors at Rocky River Reservation
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 is 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 the Ledges Trail, check out the Everett Road Covered Bridge, or book a ticket on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for one of their “Fall Flyer” routes.
Fall views from the Fort Hill steps
Some local trees will start changing in September, but peak color in this part of Ohio is usually around mid-October.
2. Visit Holden Arboretum
Murch Canopy Walk at 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:
- Lake Metroparks Farmpark fall fun – Fall events at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark include a corn maze, sunflower and apple harvest weekends, a pumpkin patch, and a Halloween drive-through event. (More info on the drive-thru Halloween event here.)
- Halloween Boo-Thru (Lorain County Metro Parks) – This event is usually a walking one, but it’s been a drive-thru event the last two years to make it COVID safe. Held at the Carlisle Equestrian Center over two weekends in October, you can drive through several themed Halloween scenes. Entry is $10 per car, and advanced registration is required. Sign up here starting September 1.
- 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. Learn all about it here.
Fall Hiking Spree trails often look like this!
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:
- Six Shooter Coffee – (their “Collinwood Basic” is so good)
- Lekko Coffee in Ohio City – Twhich makes a fall spice latte that’s meant to pair with oat milk)
- Brewella’s in Lakewood – (which also serves up hot apple cider and fall-themed crepes)
- Coffee Coffee Coffee in Old Brooklyn – (you can’t go wrong with a Dark Dimension latte)
- Milk + Honey downtown – (they have a couple sweet fall-inspired drinks)
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
Tailgating is back for the 2021 NFL season. And if you have no clue what that is, it’s when fans gather in a parking lot before (and sometimes during) a game to cheer on a sports team. The most popular lot in Cleveland for Browns tailgating is in the Lakefront Municipal Parking Lot, AKA the Muni Lot.
Tailgating is serious business in Cleveland, and people come with food, music, games, and of course plenty of Browns gear. There are rules for the Muni Lot (for example, charcoal grills and alcohol are not allowed in the Muni Lot or any other public lots where tailgating happens), and a fee of $25 per parking spot to attend.
The Muni Lot opens at 7 a.m. for regular weekend homes games and 5 p.m. for evening games.
6. Pick your own produce
Fall is harvest season, and you can experience it first-hand at several local farms that offer pick-your-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:
Picking sunflowers at Greenfield Berry Farm
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.
Check out our complete guide to sunflower fields around Cleveland.
Apple picking at Quarry Hill Orchards
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 Pickering Hill Farms in Avon, 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, among others.
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 to check out in 2022 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
Mapleside Farms 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 called Vino The Way.
- 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.
- Ramseyer 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
Demon in a box
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!
They are open 7 days a week, but you do need to purchase your tickets in advance.
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 trick-or-treating at the Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s “Trick-or-treat Fest” is back for a second year. This daytime event is family-friendly, and kids are encouraged to come in costumes. They can trick-or-treat around the zoo and enjoy all sorts of themed events and activities.
This event will be happening Friday-Sunday from October 8-October 31 from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day.
The Akron Zoo is also doing its annual Boo at the Zoo event, which allows kids to trick-or-treat around the Zoo on weekends from October 16-October 31. Boo at the Zoo runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on those weekends.
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 2022, the parade is taking place on October 16. More info here.
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 2022, but check out this site for updates.
BONUS: Go to Cedar Point for HalloWeekends
Each fall, Cedar Point runs its popular Halloween-themed “HalloWeekends,” which melds nighttime rides with haunted midways and kids’ attractions.
During the daytime, you can take the kids to the Tricks and Treats Fall Fest, which includes fall-themed food and games, costume contests, Trick-or-Treating, and more.
Then, at night, go back for Haunt at HalloWeekends, which turns the park into more of a spooky haunted house.
In 2022, both these events are running Friday-Sunday in September and Thursday-Sunday in October, from September 17-October 31. Note that you do need to purchase Cedar Point tickets in order to attend.