Ohio in Winter — is cold — but it’s also a gorgeous time to explore our local community. It’s hard not to think about moving when the temperatures are -15 degrees. But heck! even if I could, I wouldn’t move out of Ohio. Nope. I’d move to this gem in the Short North, Columbus. (Listed on HER realty — OMG isn’t it gorgeous!?)

But, alas, I won’t be moving anytime soon. But if you live in Ohio one of the places you’ll hear about frequently is Kent.

Kent, Ohio is home to Kent State University, which is primarily what people think of when they hear “Kent.” But there is so much more to Kent than just the university! Really! I promise!

Fresco Mexican Grill and Salsa Bar.  Fresh is definitely the name of the game of this restaurant, which sits at the corner of Erie Street and Water Street.

Everything is prepared to order and comes out quickly! From their tacos (order three, you won’t regret it but you will be full), to burritos, to salads, Fresco blows those other fast-food mexican restaurants out of the water! And, of course, bottomless chips. FRESHLY made bottomless chips, that is, with a huge selection of house-made salsas! Oh – and 60 hot sauces sit next to the salsa bar, in case you need to turn up the heat a little more! 😉

If you’re coming after work for a quick dinner, grab a frozen sangria or frozen margaritas (or try a mix of Sangria + Margarita combined!)

Haymaker Farmers’ Market.  Every Saturday of the year people from all over come out to this farmers’ market — which just so happens to be the oldest farmers’ market in Portage County. Their mission is to bring local food and community together. Their vendors range from artisan soaps to fresh fruits and vegetables. Oh — and Ohio City Pasta and pour over coffee!

My favorite part is the space — located underneath the Haymaker overpass bridge! It’s a gorgeous location for their outdoor market.

Tree City Coffee.  Stop in at any time of day to pick up one of their signature Tree City Maple Lattés and a homemade biscuit, because they truly are delicious! And I can get behind any place that has ethically sourced coffee with direct trade.

Also? They make their own peanut butter concoctions and offer them in a variety of ways on the menu. Like the fluffernutter sandwich, made with their freshly ground peanut butter and marshmallow fluff!

If you don’t have time to stay and relax, they do offer a super convenient drive-thru (which, I’ve hit up more times than I care to admit).

Brimfield Bread Oven.  Located just a couple of miles outside of downtown, this little gem is a true hidden treasure. All of their breads are homemade daily and baked in a woodfired oven. They serve breakfast treats, like morning buns, pretzel croissants, and danishes, as well as a huge variety of breads — including a local HiHo Beer Bread!

Honestly, everything I’ve had from here is delicious, but I have yet to try their woodfired pizza (served most days, but only in the evenings). I keep telling Chad that we must go for a date night, like, soon!

Freedom Trail.  This trail, I think, is one of the most underutilized flat trails in all of Summit Metro Parks! From the Kent trailhead (located off of Northeast Avenue) to Howe Ave, it’s 2-miles of mostly flat running or biking trail. Which means when I want to take the kids in the double-stroller for a run, this is the most perfect place for it! A total of four easy miles, surrounded by huge trees, close to the KSU airport (so lots of sights for the kids to see in the skies), and the occasional train blaring in the distance.

It’s truly my go-to place for running and if you have never been, I highly suggest checking it out!

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts.  And like any ‘good runner’ I like to eat donuts after my 4-mile run! 😛 I kid (kind of)!

But if you are looking for a place with fresh donuts (and gluten free options), that are customized right in front of your eyes with all kinds of toppings (think caramel, fruity pebbles, and basically any other form of sugar you can think of), you’ll want to stop in to Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Kent.

I, of course, seem to always opt for the plain donuts because there’s just something about a powdered sugar cake donut — you can’t go wrong!

101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.  Switching things up a little bit, but this place needs a mention. Kent has no shortage of places to sip and savor your favorite beers and wines thanks to the university students. But 101 Bottles is different. It’s not a college hangout — it’s a craft beer mecca.

Offering individual bottles, six packs, cases, growlers, and kegs of your favorite craft beers, 101 Bottles has truly made it’s name for itself in the area. Want a beer that is hard to find like Bodhi? or Bell’s Hopslam? or the latest from 3 Floyds? This place always gets it. And if you sign up for their text message alerts, you’ll be alerted when all of your favorites are in.

Stop in to check them out and stay for a flight at their bar area!

Lucky Penny Creamery.  I am hardly the farmer type of gal, but I’ve run into the folks from Lucky Penny too many times to fail to mention them. If you’re looking to purchase goats milk, cheese, cajeta, or just see how it’s it made, head to Lucky Penny Farms and see how their beautiful dairy goats make delicious cheese!

If you can’t make it to Kent, you can always find their cheese and milk at the Haymaker market, Countryside Conservancy market, or at Mustard Seed.

Where is your favorite place to explore in Kent, Ohio!? 





This post is a partnership with Nakturnal. As always, all opinions herein are my own.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate January 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

But the bars! THE BARS! Ray’s, the Zephyr, Water Street Tavern! I miss Kent so much…


Rachel January 17, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Agreed. I definitely love Ray’s! And I love WST a LOT more when they had that zyedco bistro place inside of it. But it’s gone 🙁 🙁


Kim January 17, 2018 at 10:32 am

You had me at coffee, donuts, and tacos! Love finding cool places in any city!


Julia Kowalczyk January 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Great post! I think you’ve convinced me to take a trip to Kent. I haven’t been there since college when I was visiting friends!


Rachel January 17, 2018 at 7:54 pm

Before living in CFalls, I had only visited Kent my freshman year of college…. and I did NOT see anything but the inside of a house party and a few bars. 😛 So this side of Kent is MUCH better! <3


Stephanie Bishop January 17, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Ohio isn’t too awful far from us- we’ll have to visit their sometime!


Stephanie January 17, 2018 at 1:41 pm

This makes me want to go explore my own town… and eat all the donuts!!


Taisha January 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm

love this!!! we plan on visiting soon and I’m definitely pinning this for later! theres nothing like exploring your own town! you always find hidden gems


Leigh Suznovich January 17, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Oh wow, everything looks amazing! I LOVE donut shops and Mexican places like the ones you mentioned and craft beer is awesome. I need to head out to Kent! Exploring new cities is so fun.


Leah Deppert January 17, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for writing this! I’ve actually never visited Kent (and have lived in Cleveland my whole life). #oops


Rachel January 17, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Girl! We need to change that!! Let me know and I can give you a mini tour of Kent 😉 We’ll meet up for a blogger date!


Valerie Hansen January 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

This looks like a beautfiul place to explore, I have only been as far east as Indiana, hoping I make t farther sometime soon!



jaclyn January 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Wow we need to make a trip down to Kent. First, we used to have Frescos near us but they closed and I LOVED it. Also we have a Peace, Love and Donuts near us and are obsessed. Will have to make a trip to Kent soon!


Britney Kaufman January 17, 2018 at 11:41 pm

That bread looks amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this before. What an awesome trip!


Brittany January 17, 2018 at 11:41 pm

We love Cleveland and Columbus but have never gone into Kent!! Next time we are in the area we will have to check it out!


Nicole Banuelos January 18, 2018 at 12:25 am

Yum, I’m hungry after seeing pictures of that delicious looking bread… and all those deserts! Kent sounds like a wonderful place to visit, despite the chilly temps.


Sarah Belanger January 18, 2018 at 10:10 am

When I hear Freedom Trail, I think of Boston, but if I was in Ohio I would spend a ton of time at your Freedom Trail. And I would have to after eating all that beautiful bread! Yum!


candy January 18, 2018 at 10:13 am

We have never been to Ohio. Amazing how many people don’t take the time to explore their own home state. Beautiful photos.


Molly Tullis January 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

These are great tips! I’ll have to stop at some of these places next time I’m in Ohio.


Catherine January 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

My sister lives in Kent, so we visit often. Peace, Love & Little Donuts has such yummy donuts!


Elizabeth Keene January 18, 2018 at 12:54 pm

I have never even thought to visit Ohio, and at one time I lived a state away. From the look of these amazing pictures I am definitely missing out!


Ayanna @ 21FlavorsofSplendor January 18, 2018 at 1:33 pm

These are true gems. I have family in Columbus, so the next time we visit we will have to look up some of these places.


Aly Funk January 18, 2018 at 2:56 pm

This place sounds amazing! And all that food has me drooling!


Marie, Mamma's Cooking January 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Beautiful! My husband would love 101 Bottles and The Creamery would definitely be the place for me to pick up some cheese for a picnic on the Freedom Trail!


Kelly January 18, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Wow! This all looks amazing. And delicious!!


Grace January 18, 2018 at 9:49 pm

I’m going to Kent next year! I love the park by the old train station along the river. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing…I’ll be sure to check some of these places out 🙂


Valerie January 18, 2018 at 11:50 pm

Beautiful !! I loved the farmers market under the bridge, it looks so eclectic ! Wow 60 salsas !! I bet you always have a hard time picking one of them ! Thanks for sharing !


Merichelle Jones January 19, 2018 at 8:08 am

What cool spots in a cool town!! You had me at bread and donuts!!


Bridget (Nutty Hiker) January 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

Freedom Trail looks absolutely beautiful and my husband would love 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall! We have plans to visit each state when he retires and will make sure Kent is on the list!


Jazz January 19, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Those breads and pastries look so good! I love visiting cold-weather cities during the winter because we don’t get a proper one down here in Houston, TX.


Leah January 20, 2018 at 1:50 am

I got my nursing degree from Kent State in 2016, and let me tell you, I LOVED living in Kent! Your list is great – it makes me want to go revisit my old stomping grounds!


Alyssa January 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

I love all the food included! Looks like a day trip is in order.


Jessica Bradshaw January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm

All of that food looks amazing! Wow. I need to visit Ohio.


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