Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Akron, OH

  • Published 2022/09/12

Are you one of those people who still love letters over text messages?

Or do you prefer to meet up face to face rather than answering phone calls?

If you agree with all these, you certainly have an old soul!

Akron in Ohio will make for the perfect vacation for those who want to be taken back a little in time.

This city has some tremendous old-world feels, boasting of 19th-century monuments all over.

Moreover, Akron is also a great place for some great adventure sports and winter sports.

So, despair not if you want some cool stuff to do.

Akron is the perfect mixture of old and new!

Interested to know more about this magnificent place?

Here are the 30 best things to do in Akron, Ohio:

Watch a Concert or a Sporting Event at John S. Knight Center

Front View of John S. Knight Center

Harold Stiver /

Named after editor and newspaper publisher John S. Knight, this facility is a massive convention center in Akron, Ohio.

One of the world’s largest convention and exhibition centers, this 129,000-square-foot complex opened in June 1994 and boasts 15,000 square feet of conference space, 30 thousand square feet of display space, and 18 meeting rooms.

The center is home to the city’s official men and women roller derby teams.

It hosts a wide range of events, including trade exhibitions, consumer exhibits, conventions, conferences, and community gatherings.

Gaze at the Akron Zoo’s Wildlife

Llama in Akron Zoo

Milena Ramirez /

Built during the 1900s, Akron Zoo has developed over the years.

It initially started with just two brown bears for the visitors, and now it teems with various animals.

An otter in Akron Zoo

Anthony Sarvabui /

Today, it has its very own children’s zoo housing a variety of species.

View of a Tiger in Akron Zoo

TheMadClicker /

There is also an in-house museum showcasing various relics related to natural history.

Its vast area is dedicated to exhibits and animals, which will certainly leave you astonished.

A swan on Akron Zoo's pond

TheMadClicker /

Appreciate Art at Summit Artspace Gallery

Before being renamed the Akron Area Arts Alliance, the facility functions as a nonprofit community organization serving as an arts center and, at the same time, an art gallery, preserving art from the past and fostering new art for the future.

Located in Akron’s historic Beacon Journal building, Summit Artspace on East Market is home to the organization’s administration, the Summit Artspace Galleries, artist studios, and The Box Gallery.

Its Art Appreciation Day is a fantastic opportunity to see a wide variety of art.

On Saturdays, the gallery provides free classes for anyone who seek a hands-on learning experience.

Locally-based emerging artists can utilize the gallery’s studios, workshops, and classrooms.

Explore the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Exterior of the house at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Milena Ramirez /

This is one of the largest homes in America and is today recognized as an important National Historic Landmark.

It is spread over 70 acres; it was primarily a country estate.

It’s the former home of F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Japanese garden in Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Milena Ramirez /

The beautiful green English Garden outside the main house is a prized possession.

One of the gardens at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Milena Ramirez /

It was designed by Ellen Shipman and is one of the few Shipman gardens accessible to the public.

You can take a guided tour along this huge estate of one of the most important citizens of Akron and the USA.

If you wish to go here, make sure your trip is scheduled anytime between 1st April to December 30th, since it’s the only time the grounds are made public.

Japanese garden in Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Milena Ramirez /

Camping at Summit County Metroparks

Pathway lined with grass and trees at Summit County Metroparks

dennis h king /

This huge park system is spread over a large area of 14,100 acres!

In its system, it has sixteen developed parks, six conservation areas, and almost 125 miles of trails!

No wonder it is one of the most popular spots in Akron.

Enjoy some fun outdoor activities while sitting in the lap of nature.

A small waterfall at Summit County Metroparks

dennis h king /

It has lots of trees all around its perimeter.

You can camp at suitable spots and have a nice experience.

The trails also make for great hiking and trekking options.

Do pack those sports gear and set off to this huge park.

Watch a Live Show at Lock 3 Park

Aerial view of Lock 3 Park

Showcase Imaging /

The lock three parks are one of the biggest outdoor amphitheaters in Akron.

It has a large seating capacity of 3,500 people and hosts various events.

There are festivals, concerts, shows, etc., most of which are free of admission.

There are many other events centered around family and children as well.

The grounds of Lock 3 Park

Showcase Imaging /

A major event held from July to September is the Homegrown Saturday Mornings, where many locally grown organic produce is put up for sale.

The lush green lawns in the entire park are also great for relaxing and having a picnic.

Pack those loaves of bread and colas and get going.

Signpost at Lock 3 Park

Showcase Imaging /

Put on Your Investigator’s Cap at Akron Police Museum

We have all dreamt of going to the police stations and learning about how things actually work, haven’t we?

While watching How to Get Away with Murder, at least once, did you think of going to a station and looking at how people investigate?

Well, your wait is over.

This incredible museum takes you on a free guided tour of the Akron Police Department and its history.

There are various relics on display, like photos, news clippings, police uniforms, equipment, confiscated weapons, and much more.

A special attraction is the 1965 Harley-Davidson police motorcycle on display.

This regal beauty stands tall even today.

The museum is open throughout the week except on weekends.

Catch a Show at Akron Civic Theater

Front View of Akron Civic Theater

Harold Stiver /

The Akron Civic Theater is a well-restored community center that serves as a venue for various entertainment activities in the Akron area.

As long as the theater has been operating, it has hosted many different types and genres of entertainment.

Signage of Akron Civic Theater

D.J. Wednesday /

There are only five atmospheric theaters left in the United States, making this theater a must-see.

The theater offers a wide range of entertainment options, from ballet to plays and concerts.

Check out its official website to learn about upcoming events and other information.

Interior of the Akron Civic Theater

NatNapoletano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Skate at Akron Skate Park

This Skate Park is known for its opulent size; it is spread over 19,000 square feet.

It has various skating rinks for all types of people.

From beginners to middle levels and experts, the park has rinks dedicated to each level.

BMX riders also enjoy coming here, and you can just pay a visit to look at some beautiful skating feats.

Graffiti is also a common sight here, which makes for a beautiful viewing experience.

Tour Dr. Bob’s Home

A Sign of Dr. Bob's Home

PeaceUnicorn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Akron, Ohio, lies the Dr. Robert Smith Home, better known as Dr. Bob’s Home, a historic house museum.

One of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Dr. Bob Smith (often known as “Dr. Bob”), lived there from 1915 to 1950, when it reached completion.

After arriving at Dr. Bob’s house, you’ll see the 12 stones and wooden stairs that go up towards the front porch.

Stone monuments of Dr. Bob and co-founder Anne Smith’s names lie on the porch to the left of their entrance.

People see the stairs and plaque as symbols of the foundations laid by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Have Fun at BLU jazz+

Akon is a haven for all kinds of music lovers. Catering to various music tastes, we now bring to you Blu jazz.

Jazz music is best enjoyed here, so rush here for your jazz quotient.

It showcases some of the best jazz pieces from all over the country.

Alongside the live music venue, there’s also a gallery dedicated to exclusive jazz photography.

The bar is also low set with a full waiter service as you enjoy a day off.

The restaurant serves excellent food and starters to go along with.

Travel Along Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

A locomotive at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Kenneth Sponsler /

For more than 40 years, the Cuyahoga Valley Picturesque Railroad (CVSR) has been operating, offering scenic train rides across Cuyahoga Valley, including crossings of Ohio and the Peninsula.

To explore the numerous natural wonders of Cuyahoga Valley National Park Park, ride aboard the round trip National Park Scenic tour, which lasts two and a half hours.

Tracks of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Gestalt Imagery /

Explore the park’s attractions before returning to the train.

You may reach the Hale Farm and Village by using the CVSR.

Plan your route there in advance.

Check Out the Historic Indian Signal Tree

The Indian Signal Tree, a massive tree in the metro park, is one of these hidden treasures.

If you find this tree in Ohio, you may feel like you’ve discovered a secret.

Over the years, the Indian Signal Tree has become an important local monument.

Rumor has it that Indians utilized it as a landmark when navigating the Cuyahoga River.

From this vantage point, the Indians on their way to Summit Lake were supposed to have carried their canoes.

Its distinctive design served as a landmark to help travelers locate their destination.

This particular oak tree is almost 300 years old, making it a prime candidate for investigation and observation.

Please respect the conservation efforts made by staying inside the boundaries marked by the fence.

Glimpse the Life in Early Akron at Simon Perkins Stone Mansion

Exterior of Simon Perkins Stone Mansion

Marshall Dunlap, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1871 by John Henry Hower, one of Akron’s famous industrialists, this Italianate-style home has a long and storied history.

Today, this area is a tourist hotspot in Akron.

The Hower House, a house in Akron with 28 rooms built by Jacob Snyder, is widely considered to be among the city’s finest examples of architectural innovation.

View rare and interesting artifacts.

The Shower family acquired the priceless artifacts on exhibit on their travels throughout the globe.

On the contrary, they welcome tourists.

They also provide personalized and group tours.

Also, during the year, the home hosts several special events and exhibitions, so keep an eye out for those if you’re planning a trip to Akron.

Admire the Architecture at Hower House

The Akron Art Museum is another excellent destination for art enthusiasts since it has a wide variety of works in its seven spacious galleries.

Many of these works date back to the 1850s.

However, the gallery has also included recent and modern pieces.

In addition to modern and contemporary art, this venue also features classical artworks such as paintings, photographic displays, sculptures, and sketches.

It is a stunning structure, built in the Renaissance style and thought to be from the early 19th century.

The artworks here are remarkable, so be sure to check them out during your time in Akron.

Admire Local Art at Akron Art Museum

Exterior of the Akron Art Museum

Eric Glenn /

The Akron Art Museum is another great spot for art enthusiasts, with seven spacious galleries housing a wide variety of works.

There are works from as far back as the 1850s and contemporary and recent pieces.

Paintings, photographs, sculptures, and sketches from the classical canon are displayed here.

Interior of the Akron Art Museum

Milena Ramirez /

The edifice is a sight to behold, with Renaissance-style design and a history that stretches back to the early 19th century.

It would be a shame to visit Akron and not see these art pieces.

Details of Akron Art Museum's building

Milena Ramirez /

Bring Your Kids to Learn and Explore Akron Children’s Museum

Akron Children’s Museum is a great place to take kids to Akron.

Children will have a blast exploring the various hands-on displays.

In the museum’s interior, you’ll find paintings depicting many characters.

Since there is so much room for both, people of all ages may have fun here.

Here, kids may participate in various activities, from making artwork to shopping at a little farmers market and racing derby cars.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Gaze at the Beautiful Brandywine Falls

Scenic view of Brandywine Falls

Kenneth Sponsler /

These falls are located in the Cuyahoga Valley national park and make for a great mini-vacation.

They are very scenic to look at and make for great photography.

The falls have an intricate veil-like pattern.

It’s also said that its color and moods keep changing as per the climate.

Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?

View of Beautiful Brandywine Falls

Michael G Marshall /

Trekking can be done in its gorge.

There are also inbuilt steps where you can get real close to the waters and experience them.

During springs, the pools formed in the gorges have very adorable indigenous salamanders swimming in the water, which is perfect for breeding grounds.

Boardwalk at Brandywine Falls

Shriram Patki /

Snowboarding at Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resort

A big welcome to the Snowboarding Capital of Ohio, Boston mills.

Experience skiing down the steepest ski slope in the USA at Tiger run in Boston Hills.

Its sister resort, Brandywine, also offers great ski trails to enjoy some high-key skiing.

Night ski options are available for the more reckless souls.

The resorts are spread over a vast area of 79 acres consisting of as many as 19 ski runs, thus catering to beginners to pros!

Become an Art Connoisseur at the Kent State University Museum

Entrance to the Kent State University Museum

Keith J Finks /

What better way to relive the past than look at some 18th-century artworks in Kent State University Museum

Here, you’ll see eight different galleries.

A great feature is the way these artworks are displayed, featuring static and rotating exhibitions.

Exterior of Kent State University Museum

JonRidinger, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The genres covered are glass paintings, art pieces, furniture, textiles, and more.

The artists on display are from all parts of the world and local sources.

We can thus see a rich culmination of cultures in this artwork in store.

Take a Day Trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Exterior of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Allen.G /

This is located about 45 minutes from Akron but is a must-visit.

As the name implies, the museum is related and dedicated to all stuff Rock and Roll.

David Bowie's outfit display in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Sam Howzit, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But even if you are not a big fan of this genre, you will love to visit this museum since it documents the journeys of struggles of various famous rock stars.

Outside View of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Eric Glenn /

This will leave you awestruck, no matter which field you belong to.

Pink Floyd exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The section of ‘Legends of Rock and Roll’ features various artifacts and memorabilia of many famous bands, like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many more.

Thus, Akron is the perfect place to visit for all you old-school romantics and music lovers.

Interior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Nina Alizada /

Roam Through Historic Downtown Seville

Located in Southern Medina County is this rustic farmland.

Another one for the old souls of life this will transport you back to the 1800s.

This downtown was first established in 1816 and has since conserved its original old-world architecture and structures.

It makes for a great day trip to explore through the alleys.

It is filled with many quaint little shops selling antiques and other handicrafts from classical times.

The restaurants and bars are also designed to keep in mind to give it an old-school feel.

Do makes sure to explore this town.

Farming at Hale Farm and Village

The grounds of Hale Farm and Village

Zack Frank /

This farm provides you with a glimpse into what farming indeed looks like.

It is almost 200 years old and is also a living museum today.

You can learn about a variety of farming-related activities, like trading from experienced, honest life workers.

Chickens at Hale Farm and Village

Zack Frank /

There’s also an opportunity to actually try some true work by helping as farmhands.

They also host demonstrations on glass blowing and candle making, which you can enjoy.

The best part about this farm is that it’s free of admission.

The waters of Hale Farm and Village

Zack Frank /

Try Out Some Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Spread over 100,000 square feet is this awesome and quirky gamin area for all the youngsters traveling here.

It has about 850 video lottery terminals where you can play.

There is also a show and theater here playing various flicks.

Once tired, grab a bite of typical American fast food at any of the six eateries in the house.

Visit the McKinley Presidential Memorial

Daytime view of the McKinley Presidential Memorial

Henryk Sadura /

The memorial of the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley, is magnificent in terms of architecture.

Though his untimely death was a big shock, this memorial pays all its due respects to this great person.

There is the presidential library and museum alongside the huge mausoleum.

The museum showcases many memorabilia from his life, including books, documents, personal photos, and artifacts.

Statue at McKinley Presidential Memorial

David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn About the Ice Age at Akron Fossils and Science Center

Exhibit in Akron Fossils and Science Center

ChmSmy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This Science center centers on the themes of creationism and intelligent designs.

Look at the huge jawbone of the famous wooly mammoth from the Ice Age movies.

There are also dinosaur teeth and eggs, along with other fossilized bones.

The children will especially love all the interactive exhibits kept that teach basic science and give information about fossils.

Enjoy a Musical Evening at Blossom Music Center

Exterior of the Blossom Music Center

Slh1078, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This scenic Music Center is located across 800 acres in the very beautiful hills of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

This makes this center one of the most famous and beautiful performance spaces in the United States.

The Cleveland Orchestra plays during the summer months.

Classical pieces, like Beethoven and Mozart, and new world pieces, like Led Zeppelin, are played.

The venue also hosts pop concerts from time to time.

Along with this, classical films are also screened here.

So, do give this place a visit if you are a music and films over.

Final Thoughts

Akron is a great spot to go hiking and see stunning landscapes, or you can take a train and view it all from a distance.

Whether you’re in the mood for a night of theatre or live music, this is the place to be.

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