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12 Things You Need to Do in Downtown Akron This Summer

Categories Family Fun Food & Drink Budget-Friendly Arts & Entertainment

It’s time to roll out those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer, and downtown Akron is the perfect place for you to play, relax, eat, explore, and soak up the sun. Here are our recommendations for making summer 2022 one for the books.

Above: Ice cream in the case at Chill & Indulge (Photo: Shane Wynn)

1. Try our Downtown Summer to Remember ice cream flavor from Chill & Indulge

Chill & Indulge, located on Main Street across from Lock 3, has all the unique ice cream flavors your heart could possibly desire. Seriously—they have over 30 legendary flavors on their menu at any given time, with names like rosemary honey walnut, chocolate milk and cookies, pineapple basil, ginger peach, maple bacon chip, lavender honey, and salted butterscotch. Chill asked us at DAP to come up with a special flavor this year, and we settled on a dreamy orange creamsicle flavor made with Akron’s signature NORKA soda, which we’ve named Downtown Summer to Remember. It’s sure to bring up memories of simple, summery times. Take a scoop with you while you stroll along Main Street and explore the city. You might even consider taking it to Cascade Plaza for an impromptu ice cream picnic. 

Above: People playing sand volleyball at Summit Sports and Social (Photo: Summit Sports and Social)

2. Play a game of sand volleyball at Summit Sports and Social

Summit Sports and Social hosts volleyball, kickball, dodgeball, spikeball, and bocce ball tournaments. League sign ups are in high demand and often fill up quickly, but did you know that outside of their regularly scheduled programming, the sand volleyball courts are free and open to the public? Bring your friends or family and get moving! The courts are located on the campus of the former B.F. Goodrich Company. To easily find them, they recommend “inputting R. Shea Brewing Canal Place or Missing Falls Brewery to your GPS, then follow the smokestacks to the courts!”

Above: Quaker Square will have a pop-up art gallery this summer (Photo: Curated Storefront)

3. Explore a pop-up art gallery at Quaker Square

Quaker Square might no longer be the historic oat factory or luxury hotel previous generations remember, but this summer, Curated Storefront is re-activating the nostalgic space as an arts destination in partnership with FRONT International. FRONT will be creating a constellation of art across downtown Akron between July and October as part of the Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. Non-Quaker exhibits will include multimedia art experiences at the University of Akron, Akron Art Museum, and a downtown bar—and in Lock 4, a public dance floor created by Swedish artist collective Dansbana

Above: Line dancing on Cascade Plaza (Photo: DAP Staff)

4. Get moving four days a week with our free outdoor fitness classes

We have big plans for fitness this summer! We’re hosting yoga, pilates, line dancing, zumba, bootcamp, dance classes, and kickboxing on Cascade Plaza. These events are all free and open to the public and run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We recommend you register ahead of time. Find the full lineup of events on our website and extensive downtown events calendar!

Above: Musicians performing on the patio at El Patron Tequileria & Cuisine (Photo: Garrick Black)

5. Be here on weekends for the music

And weeknight evenings, too! Whether it’s one of Rock the Lock’s tribute concerts, local, regional and national artists performing at Akron Civic Theatre, Jilly’s, Musica, Blu Jazz, or Baxter’s Speakeasy, or a refined performance by the Akron Symphony or Summit Choral Society, downtown Akron is the place to be on warm summer evenings when you want to really feel alive. 

Above: A RubberDucks game (Photo: David Monseur)

6. Go to a RubberDucks game

Summer just doesn’t feel like summer if you don’t go to a few baseball games. Head to Canal Park Stadium, grab a beer and some nachos, cheer on your favorite minor league team, and enjoy the fireworks display put on by the RubberDucks after quite a few of their weekend home games. It’s the perfect way to have affordable family fun in downtown Akron. 

Above: Lock 3 Park, where this summer’s lunch and happy hour events will take place (Photo: Love What I Do Photography)

7. Come down to Main Street for lunch and happy hour events

Whether you work downtown or not, join us on Main Street for lunch and happy hour! Lunch on Main will be a weekly event running 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from May 25 to September 7, and Happy Hour on Main will happen on the last Thursday of every month from May to September. Lunches will take place on the Main Street sidewalk in front of Lock 3, and happy hours will take place in front of the Lock 3 concessions. They’re the perfect opportunity to try out new downtown restaurants, enjoy live, local music, or even grab a DORA drink to go. 

Above: The outdoor patio at Baxter’s Bar (Photo: DAP Staff)

8. Take advantage of downtown Akron’s patio dining

Our downtown restaurant patios take dining experiences to the next level. Enjoy the rooftop bar at the Lockview, revel in the view from El Patron’s upstairs patio, and enjoy the fresh air at High St. Hop House, Dante Boccuzzi Akron, Cilantro, the Akronym Biergarten, Baxter’s, and several others. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal or a drink while taking in the sights and sounds of the city. 

Above: A drag performance at Akron Pride Festival 2021 (Photo: Ashton Blake/Blaak Media)

9. Mark your calendar for the Akron Pride Festival

In 2021, Akron Pride Festival moved from its previous location at Hardesty Park to Main Street and drew about 30,000 people downtown. This summer, Pride is happening August 27, at Lock 3, Lock 4, and Cascade Plaza. The day will begin with the Akron Equity March at 10 a.m. from Spaghetti Warehouse to Lock 3, followed by food, entertainment, and a celebration you won’t want to miss. 

Above: Someone riding a bike borrowed from Summit Bike Share along the Cycle Track in downtown Akron (Photo: Maddox Graham)

10. Borrow a bike from Summit Bike Share and ride along the canal

Summit Bike Share is Summit County’s free bicycle share program with nine rental stations across the county, including at Lock 3 and the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in the Northside District. Stop at either of these locations to request a bike (valid driver’s license required), then hop on the Towpath and explore for up to three hours before returning the bike. 

Above: People disembarking the train at Northside Station (Photo: Fred Stuckmann)

11. Explore the national park

Akron is the gateway to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Easily explore it by taking advantage of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Hike Aboard, Bike Aboard, and Kayak Aboard programs. You can flag the train down at the Northside Station in downtown Akron by waving both arms over your head—that’s right, you are that powerful!—and get exploring. 

Above: Dozens of people roller skating on Cascade Plaza (Photo: Tim Fitzwater)

12. Lace up for an old school skate night

We’re hosting Skate Nights on Cascade Plaza all summer long that are perfect for date nights and family outings alike. Skates will be available to rent for $2 per pair. Don’t like to skate? No worries—we’ll have a DJ and food and beverage options, so you can dance on the grass in the center of the plaza, play lawn games, snack, and be part of the fun unfolding around you. 

Make your summer a summer to remember in downtown Akron. There’s so much going on, and these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep your eye on our calendar for more information on festivals and events happening downtown!

See our updated traffic advisories and parking information to navigate and park downtown with ease.

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