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On Tour: Cleveland-Style

No visit to Cleveland is complete without a tour. The challenge is deciding which ones? Here are some of our favorites.   

If you enjoy walking, history, architecture, trivia, and talented acting, you can have it all when you participate in the award-winning Take a Hike Program, presented by Dollar Bank. Choose from five 90-minute guided walking tours led by actors and actresses as they portray past Cleveland notable. The tours offer opportunities to explore the city’s Gateway District, Warehouse District, PlayhouseSquare, Civic Center, and Canal Basin Park in the Flats. Reservations, as well as donations to fund future tours, are greatly appreciated. Groups of 10 or more are asked to call 216.771.1994 in advance.  

For dates and times, and the organizations that fund and support, click here.  

Of course if you’d rather tour while being transported by a vehicle of one sort or another, there are many options, including horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, and boats.  

Shamrock Carriages is downtown Cleveland’s exclusive provider of horse-drawn carriage tours. Let’s be honest, there’s really nothing more romantic than a horse-and-carriage ride at night, right?  Shamrock will pick you up at one of Cleveland’s downtown hotels, and transport you and your special someone to the restaurant of your choice. Or how about a daytime tour of Cleveland’s architectural gems, its lakefront, or its neighborhoods? Shamrock makes all these available. Carriages operate until 1am and can hold up to four adults. Prices are $50/half hour ride and $90/hour ride. We recommend the hour and a reservation, particularly during the busy summer season. 216.280.2097.

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Another popular way to tour the city is on a Lolly the Trolley tour. The streetcar-styled buses harken back to the day (1910-1954) when Cleveland streetcars were operating. Lolly the Trolley buses seat 38 and cover 20 miles during one- and two-hour tours.  We recommend the two-hour tour beginning at the Lolly the Trolley station at the First Energy Powerhouse entertainment center in The Flats along the Cuyahoga River. The tour continues through downtown -- then North Coast Harbor, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center; The Warehouse District; Ohio City, the Gateway Sports complex, PlayhouseSquare, The Cleveland Clinic, University Circle, and a drive through the historic Cultural Gardens. The tour ends at Rockefeller Park before returning to the station. 216.771.4484.   

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If riding the rails captures your imagination, then consider a journey on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The CVSR operates diesel-electric and steam-powered excursion trips through nearby Peninsula, Ohio, in the Cuyahoga Valley, primarily through the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Special offerings include the Bike Aboard! tours that provide cyclists with opportunities to bike the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in one direction and ride the train in the other and “Grape Escape" Wine-Tasting Excursions & "Ales on Rails" Beer-Tasting Excursions. 330.439.5708. 

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Not all the Cleveland touring options are on land.  In fact, Cleveland has two cruise ships that are truly delightful: The Goodtime III and Nautica Queen. 

A family-owned operation since 1958, The Goodtime’s Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie ours are favorites of visitors and distinguished guests alike with past VIP passengers including Cleveland natives Halle Berry and Drew Carey. Cleveland’s largest excursion ship includes quadruple-deck and capacity up to 1,000 passengers. With this much room, you’re not confined to your seats and have the freedom to roam as you enjoy panoramic views of Cleveland’s skyline, experience the Flats neighborhood along the Cuyahoga River, and learn little-known facts about our city. Choose from the Lunch Cruise, Rush Hour Cruise, Dance Cruise, Dinner Dance and special events such as the Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise.  Group tours and private charters are also available. 216.861.5110.  

The Nautica Queen, “Cleveland’s Dining Cruise Ship,”offers lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch cruises that include an unlimited buffet meal, coffee, tea or iced tea, and musical entertainment while cruising under historic bridges and touring along the lake and riverfront. When your cruise ends, more adventure awaits at the Nautica Entertainment Complex. Sightseeing tours only are also available. 216.696.8888 

Check it out!  

Other favorite Cleveland Visitor tours include the following.   

Bob’s Bike Tours, 440.681.8262  

CityProwl.com downloadable tours

Cleveland Bike Tours, 330.532.8687 

Cleveland BrewBus (breweries), 440.876.7188

FirstEnergy (home of the Browns) Stadium440.824.3361

Progressive Field (home of the Indians), 216.420.4200

River Cruiser Kayaking, 440-539-6611

Root Candles Factory Tours (Medina), 330-723-4359