The only thing we like better than great music is listening to great music outdoors. Make that two things: FREE great music outdoors.
Here’s a roundup of outdoor concerts with music as varied as their venues. We’ve got jazz and rock, Christian and country. Sprawling Lake Erie views, historic bandstands and bucolic parks. The choice is yours. Pull up a chair — summer’s here.
Cleveland Metroparks’ Rock the Lake
This 10-week concert series features live bands, food trucks and spectacular views.
Where: Edgewater Beach between memorial Shoreway and Lake Erie in Cleveland (Thursdays), and Euclid Beach in Euclid (Fridays)
When: Rock the Lake starts May 31 and June 1. Concerts are from 6-9 p.m., but come early to take in the sights.
The one-day free family festival features a huge lineup of today’s top Christian musical artists (including gospel singer Mandisa from “American Idol”).
Where: 28700 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe
When: Noon-10 p.m. Aug. 5
Streetsboro Family Days
Four free days of concerts. While you’re there, check out the fireworks, beer gardens, rides and games — and even a car, bike and dog show.
Where: 8970 Kirby Lane, Streetsboro
When: July 26-29. Visit streetsborofamilydays.org for concert times.
Concerts on the Green
Where: Hudson Center, the intersection of state Routes 303 and 91
When: 7 p.m. Sundays, June through August
Free Alma Concert Series at Cain Park
This free series has a little bit of everything — from a string quintet (Trial By Fire 216 on June 19) to the classic rock ’n’ roll styling of the ’60s and ’70s (The Air Chiefs on Aug. 5).
Where: 14591 Superior Road, Cleveland Heights
When: The Tuesday Evening Chamber Music Series is at 7 p.m. June 19, July 17, July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. The Sunday Afternoon Concert Series is at 1 p.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 12 and Aug. 19.
The Star-Spangled Spectacular
Free orchestra music pairs with a stunning fireworks show. (This event is on a Friday; the Fourth of July is on a Wednesday this year.)
Where: Mall B in Downtown Cleveland (between Lakeside and St. Clair Avenues)
When: 9 p.m. July 6
WOW! Wade Oval Concert Series
Find a free concert every Wednesday night in University Circle. Each week has a different theme and includes a slew of food trucks, but you are welcome to bring your own picnic instead.
Where: 10820 East Blvd., Cleveland
When: 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays, June 13-Aug. 22
Lakewood’s Front Porch Concert Series
Hear free music throughout the streets of downtown Lakewood, beginning on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library.
Where: 15425 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
When: 7 p.m. Fridays, June 22 through Aug. 31
Summer Concerts in the Park
Westlake Recreation Center Pavilion hosts free live music. You are welcome to bring a lawn chair or blanket.
Where: 28955 Hilliard Blvd., Westlake
When: 6:30-8 p.m. Sundays, June 17 through Aug. 12
Music in the Park at Crocker Park
Free live music every Friday and Saturday night throughout the summer. Catch the concerts at the Roche Wealth Management of Raymond James Theater, near the Cheesecake Factory.
Where: 189 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake
When: 7-8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, May 25 through Sept. 1
Rocky River’s Summer Concert Series
Free concerts take place at either City Hall Park Gazebo or the Rocky River Park, depending on the concert day.
Where: City Hall Park is at 21012 Hilliard Blvd., and Rocky River Park is at 20250 Beachcliff Blvd.
When: 7 p.m. Sundays, May 27 through Aug. 26
Chardon’s 2018 Concerts in the Park
Enjoy live music from a plethora of genres, from the British Invasion to the blues.
Where: 100 Short Court St., Chardon
When: 7 p.m. Fridays, June 8 through Aug. 17
Summer Concert Series: Mentor Rocks!
It’s tribute band madness! Pick a Tuesday evening or two and go back in time. We’re talking Prince, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, the Beatles and more.
Where: 8600 Munson Road, Mentor
When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays, June 12 through Aug. 21
Concord’s summer concert series
Free live music on Thursday evenings throughout June and July.
Where: The Gazebo at Town Hall, 7229 Ravenna Road, Concord Township
When: 7 p.m. Thursdays in June and July
Aurora’s Free Summer Concerts
Bring your blanket and chairs to the free shows at Veterans Memorial Park this summer. The July 4 show will feature country band Post Road and will be at the Kiwanis Moore Pavilion.
Where: 40 W. Garfield Road (July 4 at 35 W. Pioneer Trail)
When: 6:30-8:30 every other Wednesday, June 6 through Aug. 15 (7:30-9:30 July 4)
Stinchcomb Summer Concerts
Ice cream and free music in the great outdoors — what else do you need?
Where: Rocky River Reservation, 24000 Valley Parkway, North Olmsted
When: 6-8 p.m. July 11 (Saborit Latin Soul, Latin and jazz), July 18 (LynnMarie, polka and storyteller) and July 25 (Northwest Territory, contemporary bluegrass)
Lock 3 summer concerts
Summer weekends in Akron are something to smile about. Nearly all of the spectacular concerts are free (with a couple of exceptions where admission is $5).
Where: 200 S. Main St., Akron
When: Rock the Lock is 5-7 p.m. Fridays from May 25 through Sept. 7. Lock Bottom Blues & Jazz is 6 p.m. Wednesdays from July 18 through Aug. 29.
Summer in the City
The Rock Hall has big plans for live music this summer. Details will be available to the public soon. Go to rockhall.com for the latest schedule of concerts, which begins in July.
Where: 1100 E. Ninth St., Cleveland
When: Select evenings July through August
When You Go….
- Sunscreen: This is a must. Don’t let your face fry in the summer rays.
- Hair ties: You could use some air on your neck after all that dancing.
- Portable phone charger: You may be draining battery life with photo and video all night.
- Sweater: It may be blazing hot during the day, but summer evenings can still get chilly. Toss in a light sweater or tie one around your waist.
- Comfortable shoes: Sure, the uncomfortable ones are more attractive, but you’ll be kicking yourself on the walk back to the car for not opting for soft sneakers or sport sandals.
- Contact lenses: If you wear glasses, consider popping in your contacts instead. You may drop your glasses and they may even get stepped on.
- Water: Some venues allow sealed water bottles. It’s a better plan than paying the upcharge at the concession bar.
- Small snacks: If the venue allows, bring a cooler filled with your own food or at least a sandwich bag filled with something small that won’t melt in your pocket. (Almonds are filling, small and difficult to damage.)
Leave it at home:
- Selfie-sticks: These are potentially dangerous and generally a bummer of a distraction for other concert goers.
- New shoes: See above.
- Cigarettes and e-cigs: These are not permitted and spoil the fun (and the air).
- Precious jewelry items: You may lose a piece or two while dancing.
Remember, each venue has its own policies on items. Check the restrictions before you hit the road.
*With the exception of water and small snacks, these helpful tips are from Ticketmaster Insider.