Spooky and Scenic Graveyards in NEO

Sure, it’s almost Halloween and there’s plenty of scary and spooky things to do in Northeast Ohio right now, but locals with a taste for the macabre are well-served year-round! One of my grandmas believed Halloween was a year-round occasion. She couldn’t get enough of the spiritual and spooky, and she definitely passed that trait down to me! One of my favorite hobbies is exploring different cemeteries and learning their history.

I’ve been to graveyards all over North America and Europe, but many of the most fascinating I’ve seen are right here in NEO.

Cemeteries are steeped in history and memory, and I enjoy the peaceful silence that lies over them. Sure, maybe a few are haunted, but that’s the fun part, right? If you’d rather take a stroll in the hushed, landscaped grounds of a graveyard than take some laps at the local mall, read on. With the leaves beginning to change, this is the perfect time to go… on a hike, that is!

Lake View Cemetery

If you know of one cemetery in Northeast Ohio, it’s probably this one and for good reason. Nestled in University Circle, Lake View is massive, and its crown jewel is the James A. Garfield Monument where the president it’s named after is buried. At the top, you’ll enjoy a lovely view of the lake and downtown Cleveland. If you’re looking for an actual hike while checking out a cemetery, you’ve got 285 acres to explore here. I always pay a visit to the Haserot Angel when I’m here… can you find her amidst the trees and trails?

Erie Street Cemetery

If you’ve ever been to downtown Cleveland and traveled down East Ninth Street, I almost guarantee you’ve seen this graveyard and perhaps even commented on its odd location. I did the legwork and found my way in! Even with skyscrapers and Progressive Field towering overhead, it’s remarkably easy to forget the city in this nearly 200-year old resting place.

Malabar Farm State Park

This park is miles away from NEO’s cities, and that solitude is evident. Get out of the car and amble amongst its old (and very small) Olivet Cemetery, and the silence falls over you. No highway rumbles and the ambient noise of modern life – just mother nature. The graves here look truly ancient. I’d recommend visiting here as a day trip to enjoy the hiking and other activities around.

East Cleveland Township Cemetery

Just down the street from Lake View is the much smaller East Cleveland Township Cemetery. Unlike Erie Street, which almost feels invisible amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown, this cemetery feels like a secret garden left to its own devices. This one is definitely worth a look if you’re also at Lake View, but you should know they’re two very different experiences. Both are worth seeing.

Riverside Cemetery

Have you ever listened to Cleveland traffic reports and heard about the “MetroHealth curve”? It is, of course, named for the hospital on the left of the highway, but there is a beautiful cemetery to the right. In the midst of Brooklyn Centre, you might just find some wildlife. Look closely! This graveyard’s location is interesting considering it sits on a lush bluff with a view of the industrial river valley.

Terra Vista Natural Study Area

This might just be my favorite spot in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A research area with almost nothing in regards to marked trails or signage, it features a small cemetery that is reputed to be very haunted. The area is actually a former mining site that has been restored to natural beauty and is still in progress.

If you’ve never nosed around a cemetery for fun before, try it out! You just might enjoy yourself. If you’re an old hand at this, did I miss any of your favorites?

I know all readers would do this anyway, but remember cemeteries are resting places and all visitors should be respectful. Similar to when you go hiking in the wilderness, leave no trace. Thank you! 

Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins is a writer and traveler. Currently based in Lakewood, he has lived all across Northeast Ohio. A Kent State University alum, today, Ryan works in admission at Baldwin Wallace University. His work has been published by Cleveland Plus, Belt Magazine and in conjunction with Destination Cleveland. Learn more at www.ryanscollins.com.