15 Best Things to Do in Akron (OH)

Akron is the fifth largest city in the state of Ohio, and is known for a range of tourist attractions that keep people coming here to check out this picturesque corner of the United States.

The city used to be best known for being a farming community and a leader of industry, and while this still continues to this day, Akron has also embraced the modern era.

To that end, you will find a dynamic city that is not afraid to mix the old and the new, and this makes it an exciting place to visit, whether you are travelling solo or with others.

If you like museums then you will be spoilt for choice in this city, or you can take in the art galleries on offer here to see some quirky exhibits like glass works and sculptures.

Just outside of Akron you will find national parks, ski resorts, and hiking trails, or if you want to stick inside the city limits then you can enjoy fine dining, concerts, and eclectic live music events.

1. Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort

Brandywine Ski ResortSource: cleveland
Brandywine Ski Resort

Boston Mills is also known as the ‘snowboarding capital of Ohio’’, so if you like winter sports, then you mustn’t give this a miss.

Boston Mills and Brandywine are sister ski resorts, and they have the ability to hand 20,000 visitors per hour.

Between the two resorts there are 19 ski runs across 79 acres and you will find terrain for both novice and experienced skiers.

You can even go skiing at night here if you prefer, and at Boston Mills you can brave the Tiger Run which is actually also the steepest ski slope in the entire United States.

As well as skiing, snow tubing and snow shoeing are also popular here.

2. Akron Zoo

Akron ZooSource: flickr
Akron Zoo

The Akron Zoo started out life in the 1900s when the area on which it stands was gifted to the city.

The zoo opened with just two animals, two brown bears, before developing into the well loved facility that it is today.

Nowadays the zoo features the Akron Children’s Zoo as well as a museum dedicated to Natural History.

The zoo sits on 77 acres of land, and 35 acres of this is covered in exhibits that will thrill any guests who love animals.

3. Kent State University Museum

Kent State University MuseumSource: kent
Kent State University Museum

The Kent State University Museum has eight different galleries that feature static and rotating exhibitions of art work in different forms.

If you love all kinds of art then this is definitely not to be missed, as you will find a huge range of genres under one roof, including textiles, furniture, glassware, paintings, and decorative pieces.

The works here include those of both local and international artists, and you will find art work from all over the world on display should you visit.

Pieces range from the 18th century until the modern day, and are a fascinating collection of decorative items from different places and times.

4. Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center

Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music CenterSource: clevelandorchestrablog
Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center

Blossom Music Center is known for being one of the most picturesque performance spaces in this part of the United States, and was built out of doors across 800 acres in the hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

During the summer months, the center comes alive with the sounds of the Cleveland Orchestra and you can enjoy classics like Beethoven and Mozart, mixed with unusual pieces like a Led Zeppelin symphony.

There are also films that are screened here in the summer months with an accompaniment from the orchestra, so if you are in town at this time then don’t miss the chance to see what’s on.

If the orchestra is not performing, then the venue is also often used for other shows like pop concerts.

5. Akron Art Museum

Akron Art MuseumSource: flickr
Akron Art Museum

Anyone who likes architecture and art should head to the Akron Art Museum where you will find a huge range if pieces that stretch across seven different galleries.

The collections here start from 1850 into the present and there is a large gallery with modern and contemporary art work.

As well as traditional paintings you will find sculptures, photography exhibitions, and paper drawings.

The building itself is also a sight to be seen and used to be a Renaissance revival building from the 19th century until it was restored and mixed with glass and steel to create something truly exceptional.

6. Blu Jazz

Blu JazzSource: blujazzakron
Blu Jazz

If you like jazz music then head to Blu Jazz which sits in the downtown area of Akron.

Here you will find some of the best jazz showcases in the country, and as well as a live music venue, you will also find a beautiful gallery dedicated to jazz photography.

You can catch a show here with some of the best local jazz talent in the area, as well as enjoying the bar area or even some food at the onsite restaurant which specializes in tapas and other light bites.

7. Historic Downtown Seville

Historic Downtown SevilleSource: realtor.org
Historic Downtown Seville

Historic Downtown Seville dates from 1816 and sits in farmland in Southern Medina County if you fancy a quick and easy day excursion from downtown Akron.

The historic downtown area is filled with cute period objects like antique shops and handicraft stores, as well as restaurants and bars where you can get a bite to eat.

The town will make any visitors feel as if they have stepped back in time, so if you want to imagine life in the 1800s, then this is the place to do it.

8. Brandywine Falls

Brandywine FallsSource: flickr
Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls sits inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and if you are looking to get out of the city then this is the ideal spot.

The falls are about 25 minutes away from Akron and measure over 65 feet in the Brandywine Creek.

You can trek to the falls and enjoy the scenery from the scenic boardwalk that is located below and there are steps built into the side of the gorge that let you get up close to the action.

The Brandywine Gorge stretches for over a mile and the pools here are famous in the springtime as they are the breeding ground for indigenous salamanders.

9. Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race CourseSource: wksu
Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Just off Route 46 in neighboring Austintown is Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

The gaming area is over 100,000 square feet in size and has a racing track as well as over 850 video lottery terminals.

There is also a grand stand where you can catch a show and a theater, and you can stop for a bite to eat at one of the six eateries in the facility.

For anyone who fancies tempting Lady Luck, this is the place to do it.

10. Akron Fossils and Science Center

Akron Fossils and Science CenterSource: akronfossils
Akron Fossils and Science Center

The Akron Fossils and Science Center is a museum just outside of Akron which is dedicated to the topic of creationism and intelligent design.

The museum first opened in 2005 and was the brainchild of a local science teacher and has a wide range of interactive exhibits to teach children about science and fossils.

To that end, you will find items such as the jawbone of a woolly mammoth, a large range of fossils, dinosaur teeth, and even bones and eggs.

There is also a mastodon skeleton and games that teach you about amino acids and proteins.

11. John S. Knight Center

John S. Knight CenterSource: flickr
John S. Knight Center

The John S. Knight Center is located in downtown Akron and is known as a great venue that has a range of amazing concerts and shows.

The center has hosted some big names over the years including dance recitals, classical concerts, and pop music shows, so whatever your tastes, there is something for everyone here.

Make sure you check local listings when you are in town so that you don’t miss a show.

There are also rotating exhibitions and conventions here as well.

12. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and MuseumSource: thisiscleveland
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated, as the name suggests, to all things rock and roll related.

If you come here, you will get a whistle-stop tour of the history of rock and roll music from the past until the present and there are thousands of items on display here as well as interactive exhibits, films, and musical pieces.

13. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Stan Hywet Hall and GardensSource: flickr
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

The Stan Hywet Hall and Garden is the previous house of F.A. Seiberling who was also the founder of the world famous Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

The house and grounds span 65,000 square feet and feature a 65 room house built in the Tudor Revival style.

There are 20 acres of scenic grassy lawns here, as well as a conservatory and flower gardens.

Recently built on the site is a play garden for younger visitors which is filled with interactive garden exhibits like a Splash Fountain and an archeological dig.

You can take a tour of both the house and the grounds and these are available with either a docent or as part of a self-guided tour.

14. Hale Farm and Village

Hale Farm and VillageSource: flickr
Hale Farm and Village

Just outside of Akron proper, on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park lies Hale Farm and Village.

The farm used to be the home of Jonathan Hale, a local farmer who moved to the area in 1810, and the building is now part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The house itself dates from 1825 and you can visit the property and see how people would have lived in the 1800s in this rural farming community.

Where to stay: Best Hotels in Akron, Ohio (OH)
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15 Best Things to Do in Akron (OH):

  • Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort
  • Akron Zoo
  • Kent State University Museum
  • Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center
  • Akron Art Museum
  • Blu Jazz
  • Historic Downtown Seville
  • Brandywine Falls
  • Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course
  • Akron Fossils and Science Center
  • John S. Knight Center
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
  • Hale Farm and Village