From the wonderful lakefront communities of the northeast like Geneva-on-the-Lake to the tiny Lake Erie islands like Put-In Bay, and from the bright lights of Cleveland to the natural wonders of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there is a lot to do in Northern Ohio. The three big mega-attractions, though, are definitely the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, and Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. I visited all three during my time in the area and thought I would jot down some thoughts on them for anyone who might come for a visit to one or more of these attractions in the future.
First and foremost, there are a lot of different ways to get tickets to these attractions, and the worst possible way seemed to be buying them at the ticket-window. Navigating the ticket buying process is a bit of a nightmare, but you definitely need to figure out how to buy your tickets in advance which will save you a considerable amount of money. Unfortunately I had already bought my ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before I discovered the combo tickets for two or all three of these attractions on their website which would have saved me a bundle (check the combo tickets out HERE). Even buying the tickets individually, I saved at least $20 by buying them online and in advance.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is right on the lakefront in downtown Cleveland. I bought my tickets through their website (HERE), which saved me $2 off the walk-up price. I simply scanned the e-ticket at the window and got my wristband, which gave me in-and-out privileges all day. Parking in the nearby lots was way overpriced, but on the day I went there was ample metered parking out front (at $1/hour). The meters only went up to 2 hours, so I had to leave the museum twice to feed them, but there is a change machine right there at the coat-check which was a big plus. At the end of the day this effort saved me a considerable amount on parking. The museum itself was very enjoyable. I think the $23 (discounted) admission charge is a little high for a museum, but any Hall of Fame seems to command a little extra. I wasn’t disappointed with what I paid. The basement level was definitely the highlight for me with tons of artifacts and information and headphones to listen to some great music throughout. The displays on the “Early Influencers”. “City Sounds” (which looked at music from specific cities) and “Music of Ohio and the Midwest” were my favorites, although some of the memorabilia in the middle section was pretty cool too. They also had a lot of Rock and Roll pinball machines which you could play (first two plays were free) which I got a big kick out of. The upper floors weren’t as interesting to me although The Power of Rock show, a sound and light show taken from past induction ceremonies, was pretty good and made me smile. The Hall of Fame itself was pretty lame and as I mentioned in another post seemed more like a hallway than a hall. I definitely enjoyed my visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and if you love rock music, it’s a must-do on your bucket list. I spent pretty much a whole day there and could have used another hour or so. If you really want to take it all in, you may consider coming on a Wednesday when it’s open until 9.
Next up was Cedar Point, the “roller coaster capital of the world”, and probably the attraction I was most looking forward to out of the three. I had been to Cedar Point before, but only for the evening session so I was looking forward to a full day in the park. I got my tickets online from their website (HERE), which saved me over $18 off the gate price. I was pretty disappointed with their parking rate ($20), and considered other options but couldn’t come up with one that worked. The good news is that I could return to my van for lunch saving me some money in the park. I got there right when the park opened, one of the keys to getting to do as much as possible in an amusement park. I was extremely disappointed to find it was already open for a private event and there were already thousands of people in the park when they opened the gates. I headed towards the back of the park, but the first line I got in was probably already 45 minutes long. Some lines were shorter, some were longer but at the end of the day I stood in line from open to close and only rode 6 coasters. That works out to over $10/ride. People with Front-of-the-Line passes were running past me all day, but the extra $95 on what was only a $55 ticket was too expensive for me. It seemed like there were a lot of people willing to shell out the $150 for a day at the park, but I am not one of them. I’ve spent a lot of time at many of the Disney and Universal parks around the country and the world and been to many Six Flags and local parks as well. In all of those experiences, I never felt as though I got so little for what I paid. I spent almost $100 on the day with admission, parking and some fries, and all I got to ride was 6 rides. They were awesome, in fact some of the best in the world, but I won’t be going back again. If you can afford the more expensive pass, or can get there mid-week (it was only open on weekends this late in the year), then you might be okay. For me though, this was not money well spent and was actually pretty disappointing.
The last of the “Big Three” was the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Of the three, this was probably the one I was least excited about, but turned out to be my favorite. The ticket was about the same as the Rock Hall, and I got a discount from etix.com (HERE). This may or may not be available when you read this, but it was only about a dollar less than my AAA discount would have been. Again, I was incredibly disappointed that on top of a $25 ticket they wanted another $10 for parking. In this instance however, I parked for free on the street in the neighborhood across Route 687 and walked the 7 minutes to the museum. Once I got into it, this museum was AWESOME. It gave the history of the game and a lot of the ins and outs of how it has developed over time. For me, it offered the perfect amount of information to be thorough but not exhaustive. During my visit I went to an excellent live presentation on some of the teams which have gone defunct over the years which I really enjoyed (check the schedule for the day when you arrive). There was also a great “show” in the “locker room” with a hologram of Joe Namath narrating and appearances by holograms of Vince Lombardi and George Halas. It was a bit preachy, but also a whole lot of fun. There were replicas of each of the Super Bowl rings on display and some wonderful videos throughout. The Hall itself was very cool with a bronze bust of each of the inductees, way more impressive than the Rock Hall. There were also video screens in the middle where you could watch the highlights of each member individually, which I thought was excellent. I spent pretty much the whole day here as well and with the exception of the parking situation, I couldn’t have been happier. This is definitely a must-visit for all football fans. Whether you’re a die-hard or just a fan of your home team there is definitely enough there to keep you entertained.
I’ve had a great time exploring this part of Ohio, and these are some of the biggest attractions in the region. They weren’t cheap, and I really wish I had found the combo passes before I bought my first ticket, but they were all good to visit. For fans, the two Halls of Fame were definitely worth the price of admission. Cedar Point, on the other hand, has definitely outgrown its capacity and I hope they may consider a “fast-pass” option for the rest of us like the big parks have done. I thought parking was atrocious at all three, but I was glad I found alternatives in Cleveland and Canton. I hope I’ve given you some good information on these attractions and would love to hear your tips and ideas in the comment section below.