Cleveland, OH - Rain or shine, NFL football fans show up for the NFL Draft and this year in Cleveland is no different. There are plenty of activities for all ages. The NFL Draft Experience, which takes place both inside and outside of First Energy Stadium, can keep you busy for hours. Fans can attempt a field goal, throw a hail mary, run the 40-yard dash and even see how high their vertical jump is. The NFL Play 60, which is the league's youth health and wellness program, offers skill drills and clinics for kids.
Then fans can head down Alfred Lerner Way, where all 32 NFL teams are represented. Each team has a large helmet and mannequin, perfect for a photo opportunity. You can see the Lombardy Trophy, given to the Super Bowl Champs. There are also Super Bowl rings on display.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, has an exhibit with artifacts from NFL greats.
If you're hungry, there is a Taste of Cleveland section, where about a dozen local restaurants have all the food and drink one could want.
When it comes time to watch the NFL Draft, there are plenty of locations to choose from. There are three "Rock the Clock" End Zones; located at U.S. Bank Plaza at Playhouse Square, on the East bank of the Flats and on Mall C across from the Huntington Convention Center. Mall C has over 200 picnic tables and all the locations have big screens, music and food trucks. If you are inside the stadium, you can sit in the lower bowl and watch the Draft on the big screens as well. If you want to get closer to the action, you can head down towards the Draft Theatre where the picks are being made. However, the closer sections are reserved for vaccinated fans that had to basically enter a lottery for a chance to enter those zones. Either way you choose, the locations are a plenty.
If you are looking for a place to stay downtown, there are a few hotels with rooms available, but most are sold out. Fans from all over the country, as well as NFL staff, media and celebrities booked most of the rooms weeks if not months in advance. The hotels in downtown Cleveland are definitely benefitting from the event after a rough year due to the pandemic.
If you're heading downtown and you're not sure where you can park or how much it will cost, we have you covered. All of downtown is accessible south of Lakeside Ave. You can not drive north or that. There are many lots all around the city for $20. There are a few that are $25-$30 and many of the hotel's valet services are $40. Don't worry though, $20 lots are not hard to find and then it's a short walk toward the stadium where all the fun takes place.
Photo courtesy of WTAM Steve Bailey
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