After graduating college ten years ago (eek!), I made the decision to move back from Upstate New York to Northeast Ohio, where I grew up in a tiny, country town. I had spent years away from my family and friends and I knew that Ohio was where I was supposed to be. After college I moved back into my childhood home with my parents and made an hour + commute to an office in Downtown Akron. It was manageable. I was young and fresh-faced — ready to take on the world!
And then I happened to begin dating my (would be) husband, who just so happened to live here in Akron. Fast-forward a year and I finally took the plunge and moved in with him — and we began exploring the city of Akron together!
My husband even proposed to me at the same restaurant where we had our first date — Crave!
Sure, after we had kids we considered moving elsewhere — in fact, after my sister moved to Columbus, Ohio and my parents moved to Louisville, Kentucky, we considered moving further south to be closer to them — we even looked at available listings in Dayton, Ohio! But Akron is our home. And we adore exploring our city!
Over the years so many amazing establishments have been added to Downtown Akron. Here are some of my favorite places:
Crave. Of course this place has a special place in our hearts. Not only is it special to us, but they have amazing food. From the Root Beer Braised Pulled Pork on a Pretzel Bun, to the Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese with Blackened Chicken, to my newest personal favorite — the Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Waffles. Ahhh-MAZING! (PS. Totally looking forward to Crave Cantina, opening up on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls this Summer!
Sweet Mary’s Bakery. Mary and the crew make specialty, handmade, baked goods every single day. My personal faves? The pies, the macarons, and the biscuits! Give me ALL OF THE BISCUITS!
Apotheclaire. This salon, located on Mill Street across from the John S. Knight Center, uses all eco-friendly products and they recycle everything. Everything! Even your hair! Claire and her crew are the bomb dot com.
NOTO North. Pretty much the cutest boutique in all of Northeast Ohio. I’m absolutely digging their Feminist t-shirts! MUST get one, ASAP!
Diamond Deli. I was introduced to this deli my first week in Akron. It. is. GLORIOUS. And very much a traditional deli shop. The family that owns this restaurant has owned it from day one. And each of the sandwiches is named after a family member (my favorites are the “Where’s Jason?” (turkey, bacon, Colby cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, Mayo on wheat bread) and the “Mom – Come Get Me I’m Sick!” (Smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, Mayo, Dijon mustard on grilled rye bread).
Akron Rubber Ducks at Canal Park. A double-A minor league baseball team located in the middle of Main Street. The park itself is gorgeous! There’s a kids area and a full bar, and every single seat is a fantastic view!
The Lockview. Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches + an incredible craft beer selection = one of my go-to lunch and dinner destinations!
Do Good Yoga. My dearest friend Gretchen opened this amazing brand new yoga studio a couple of months ago. It combines two of my greatest loves — yoga and the raw parts of the city of Akron.
The Northside Speakeasy. Handcrafted cocktails in a traditional speakeasy setting. In fact, the door is a ‘secret’ entrance (I legit had to ask some random guy outside how to get in).
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. You can take the CVSR from Northside Akron and view of the natural scenery and wildlife of the national park and an opportunity to learn about the history of the railroad in valley all the way to the Independence station! It’s an awesome excursion and a great way to see a side of the land that is typically hidden! PS. They do a “Day Out With Thomas” in May! So get your tickets now! SO fun!
Akron Art Museum. If you’re local to Northeast Ohio and have never been to the Akron Art Museum, you are missing out. With free admission every Thursday, it’s easy to get in and see all of the temporary exhibits as well as get hands-on with my little ones at the kids workshops! Bonus? A live band plays outside every Thursday evening during the Summer!
Nuevo Mod Mex. It’s a tequila bar and upscale Mexican restaurant with a killer rooftop patio! What could be better? Chad and I went right after they opened and have kinda made it an anniversary dinner tradition ever since!
Akron Civic Theater. Ari and I just recently went to the Civic to see The Little Mermaid Ballet, but I’m constantly amazed by the beauty of this theater. There are always concerts and shows to attend — heck, even a Bernie Sanders rally in 2016!
Chill Ice Cream. I’ve long-searched for ice cream that rivals Jeni’s (in Columbus) and Mitchell’s (in Cleveland); but the search was over when I tried Chill. They have vegan AND savory flavors! PS. If you haven’t had savory ice cream flavors, you’re one-thousand percent missing out.
The Akron Zoo. I’ll admit it — we are members and have been for years. But I just love, love, love this zoo! Sure, we’ve been to others — Cleveland, Columbus, Buffalo, Louisville — but none compare to the ease and awesomeness of the Akron Zoo. We can get to it in, no joke, minutes. Parking is a cinch and making our way through the exhibits is easy peasy!
The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. I always hop on the trail behind Canal Place (near the Spaghetti Warehouse) and run behind Canal Park, over Route 59, and down past the Mustill Store. It’s such a gorgeous view of the Cuyahoga River!
Just going back through this amazing list of places makes my heart so happy. And with that, I’m excited to be able to host a $25 Giveaway to Nuevo Mod Mex (located in both Akron + Cleveland) so that you can check out one of my most favorite places in the whole world! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And tell me, what makes your city unique!?!
*Disclaimer: This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. As always, all opinions herein are my own; I may have been compensated for this post and it may contain affiliate links.*