If you're heading to Akron, then get ready for some fun. Ohio's fifth-largest city is a big, bustling place with a ton of things to see, do and experience. Regardless of whether you like to explore nature, browse museums, or catch a show, you'll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy your time in the city. If you need a helping hand drawing up an itinerary, check out our guide to the 20 best things to do in Akron, Ohio.
20. Visit the McKinley Presidential Memorial
Named as one of the best attractions in Akron by tripdolist.com, the McKinley Presidential Memorial is a must-visit for anyone with the remotest interest in US history. The domed mausoleum represents the final resting place of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley. A National Historic Landmark, it now provides visitors with a fascinating insight into his life, times, and assassination via a vast collection of photos, books, documents, and other artifacts.
19. Enjoy a performance at the Akron Civic Theater
The Akron Civic Theater opened in 1929, and has been delighting the crowds with its comedy sets, dance performances, and music concerts ever since. With a wide variety of events, there's always something to enjoy, whether it's a ballet, a play, or a concert. Even if you're not able to catch a performance, the theater is still worth a visit, with gorgeously preserved historic architecture and an ambiance that's impossible to resist. Admission is a very reasonable $2.50 per person. To find out what's on during your visit, check the theatre's official website.
18. Take the kids to the Water Works Family Aquatic Center
On a hot day, there's nowhere better to cool off than Water Works Family Aquatic Center. With splash pools, waterfalls, geysers, water cannons, and a vast array of thrilling rides, it promises hours of aquatic fun for the whole family. Don't panic if you forget to bring lunch - there's plenty of concession stands to take care of all your snacking needs.
17. Take a trip on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
If hiking the Cuyahoga Valley National Park sounds like too much hard work, don't worry - there's still a way to see the delights of the park without having to break a sweat in the process. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers scenic trips across Cuyahoga Valley that lets you soak in the views from the comfort of your chair. If you do want to get out and admire the scenery, there are numerous stops along the way where you can alight for an hour or so before jumping back aboard the train at a later time.
16. See the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
As northeastohiofamilyfun.com explains, Stan Hywet Hall was originally built for F. A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, in the early 1900s. Today, it offers visitors the chance to step into the past as they discover the rich history of the estate's impressive house and grounds. Clearly, Seiberling was a man who liked to exercise - as you explore the grounds, you'll see tennis courts, a golf course, lagoons for water sports, an indoor swimming pool, and a gymnasium. Tours are available of the house and the grounds, with numerous activities (including geocaching) available to make the experience even more memorable - if you're lucky, you might even be in with a chance of catching one of the special events hosted throughout the year.
15. Visit the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
If you're looking for fun, fun is what you'll find at the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course. Located just a short hop, skip and a jump from Akron in nearby Austintown, the vast gaming area promises hours of first-rate entertainment. There's also a racing track, 850 video lottery terminals, and a grandstand where you can enjoy a show.
14. Tour Dr. Bob’s House
Recommended by kruppmoving.com as one of the best places to visit in Akron, Dr. Bob’s House is the former home of Alcoholics Anonymous founder, Dr. Bob. To preserve his memory, the house has now been converted into an open museum where guests can learn more about his life and works. During your visit, you'll get to walk up the historic 12 steps of the house that served as his inspiration for the 12 step program.
13. Enjoy an evening at BLU Jazz
If you like jazz, you're going to love BLU Jazz. Located in the downtown area of Akron, this late-night entertainment spot is a showcase for some of the best jazz acts in the country. The decor, which is fabulously retro, is designed to make you feel like you've stepped back in time to the golden age of jazz. The cocktails are pretty sensational too, and there's a good selection of light bites and tapas if you get hungry. Before you leave, take a moment to check out the gallery with its dozens of photos of jazz legends. The bar is open every day except Sunday and Tuesday between 6 pm and midnight.
12. Admire the exhibits at Akron Art Museum
If you want to enjoy Akron's cultural side, be sure to visit Akron Art Museum. Home to a vast array of historical, modern, and contemporary international art, the 100-year-old museum is always a fascinating place to spend a few hours. Once you've finished admiring the exhibits, pop by the adjoining Bud and Susie Rogers Garden, a lovely garden and community space that's perfect for a relaxing stroll. The museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and from 11 am to 9 pm on Thursday.
11. Meet the animals at Akron Zoo
As The Crazy Tourist notes, the Akron Zoo started life in the 1900s after the area it stands on was gifted to the city. Originally, it had just two brown bears. After realizing that two bears, no matter how cute, weren't enough to attract the crowds, it expanded. Today, its 77 acres is home to over 1000 animals. There's a ton of fun activities to get involved in, from feeding the animals in the Farmland area to taking a tour of the grounds by train. Kids will love the vintage carousel and the petting enclosure, while the beautiful grounds will delight all ages. The zoo opens daily from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is $7 per person.
10. Go To Blossom Center
If live music is your jam, be sure to visit Blossom Center during your time in Akron. A huge outdoor amphitheater with enough space for 20,000 people, its location in the 800-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park could well make it one of the most beautiful places in the state to catch a concert. It hosts hundreds of musical acts and festivals throughout the year, including the always wonderland Cleveland Orchestra during the annual Blossom Festival.
9. Visit the Summit Artspace Gallery
If you have a passion for art, you won't want to miss a visit to the Summit Artspace Gallery, a vibrant community arts center that serves as a showcase for the work of local artists and international craftspeople. The exhibits change regularly, making each trip a new adventure. Come on a Saturday to enjoy an interactive experience at one of the free workshops. The gallery also offers studios and classroom spaces for emerging locals artists, so you might even get to meet some of the creative talents behind the pieces you see.
8. Pay tribute to the legends at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
In fairness, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn't in Akron itself, but considering it's just a short 45-minute drive away in Cleveland, it's still a must for anyone visiting the city. If you like music, you're guaranteed to get a big kick from finding out about the musical journeys of some of the biggest rock legends in the world. As travelaspire.com says, the ‘Legends of Rock and Roll’ is particularly inspiring, featuring a fascinating collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. If you want to have a go of making some music yourself, pop by The Garage to test out the instruments. The museum opens daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
7. Enjoy Lock 3 Park
After years of complaining that their city didn't have enough green spaces, Akron residents were rewarded with Lock 3 Park. These days, the outdoor amphitheater is one of the main centers of recreation in Akron, hosting fairs, music concerts, and festivals. If you want to catch a show, see your favorite band play, or simply relax with a picnic in the sunshine, this is the place to do it... unless it's winter, in which case, grab your skates and prepare to enjoy one of the largest outdoor ice-skating rings in the state. If you're lucky, you might even get to visit Santa in his grotto.
6. Skate in Akron Skate Park
Regardless of whether you're a pro skater or a complete beginner, the Akron Skate Park is a great place to try some flips and tricks on the ramps. Covering over 19,000 square feet of fiberglass-reinforced concrete, it's ideal for both skateboarders and BMX riders. Even if you don't skate yourself and have no intention of starting, it's still worth a visit to watch the local kids show off their skills. Before you leave, be sure to check out the street art dotted around the park.
5. Visit Brandywine Falls
If you're keen to discover some of the best natural beauty in Ohio, be sure to pay a visit to the Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Described by kruppmoving.com as one of the most picturesque spots near Akron, the bridal veil pattern of the 65-foot-tall falls is staggeringly beautiful. They're easily accessible via the nearby parking site, but you feel like stretching your legs, the 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Trail offers a scenic, relatively easy hike with numerous viewpoints to enjoy the falls. Admission is free, and the falls can be accessed throughout the year between dawn and dusk.
4. Take a day trip to Downtown Seville
If you're looking to pick up a few trinkets or simply enjoy a pleasant day trip from Akron, a visit to Downtown Seville comes highly recommended. Located in a rural stretch of farmland in Southern Medina County, the wonderfully preserved historic neighborhood is crammed with jewelry stores, handicraft stores, antique stores, restaurants, and cafes. As you wander around, be sure to check out the lovely architecture of the buildings, some of which date all the way back to the early 1800s.
3. Try some archery at Summit County Metroparks
If you feel like getting out and about in nature, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Summit County Metroparks. Consisting of 16 developed parks, 6 conversation areas, and more than 150 miles of hiking trails, it's an idyllic place to spend time in. Clearly, a lot of people agree, as the parks attract more than 5 million people each year. Despite its popularity, it rarely feels crowded, leaving you free to enjoy the many attractions (including hiking, biking, boating, fishing, water sports, birding, and even archery) in peace. If you want to extend the fun over a few days, you'll find several camping sites sprinkled around the parks.
2. Ski the slopes at Boston Mills
Akron is rarely bothered by snow, but that doesn't mean you can't fit a little skiing into your trip. Located just a short distance from the city are Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resort, a favorite with both locals and tourists who want to enjoy some first-class slope action. According to The Crazy Tourist, the sister resorts boast 19 ski runs across 79 acres, with enough variety to suit both novice and experienced skiers. If you're looking for a challenge, try the Tiger Run, which ranks as the steepest ski slope in the entire US. If you want to get a little practice in before you brave the slopes, try a few lessons at the onsite ski school. Admission is $43 per person.
1. Visit Hale Farm and Village
If you've ever thought you had the makings of a good farmer, put your skills to the test at Hale Farm and Village, a hugely popular attraction that allows visitors to experience an authentic farm experience. Located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the 200-year-old farm functions as a living museum. Try out traditional activities like wool spinning, weaving, glassblowing, and candle making, or even try your hand at a spot of blacksmithery. With farm animals to visit, costumed tradespeople to chat with, and a plethora of things to see and do, it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn