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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 2023 one for the books.

Summer 2023 Rock the Lock concert in Lock 3's Backyard, located off Bowery St. (Photo: Lock 3)

1. Be Here on the Weekends for the Music

And weeknight evenings, too! Whether it’s one of Rock the Lock’s tribute concerts at their temporary backyard location off Bowery Street; Wednesday evening Happy Hour and Live and Local concerts on Cascade Plaza; or local, regional and national artists performing at Akron Civic Theatre, Jilly’s, Musica, BLU Jazz+, Missing Falls Brewery, or Baxter’s Speakeasy, downtown Akron is the place to be on warm summer evenings when you want to really feel alive. Want to play your own music? Downtown is full of open mic nights and jam sessions, too.

Line Dancing on the Plaza, every Wednesday & Sunday on Cascade Plaza (Photographed by Talia)

2. Get Moving Four Days a Week With Free Outdoor Workout Classes

Workout on the Plaza is back this year with all the yoga, Zumba, Pilates, line dancing, bootcamp, and kickboxing you could possibly ask for. These events are free and open to the public and run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Stick around after workout on Wednesdays for live music on Cascade Plaza. Find the full lineup of events on our website and extensive downtown events calendar.

Ice cream in the case at Chill & Indulge, located at 209 S. Main St. (Photo: Richard Walter)

3. Indulge Your Inner Child With Ice Cream From Chill

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 rotating menu at any given time, with names like Honey Cornbread, Mint Truffle Pecan, Lemon Elderflower, Orange Blossom, Chocolate Milk and Cookies, and Vanilla Cloud. Take a scoop with you while you stroll along Main Street and explore the city. You might even consider taking it to Cascade Plaza or Lock 4 for an impromptu ice cream picnic.

Fireworks after an Akron RubberDucks home game (Photo: Gabe Wasylko)

4. Cheer on the Ducks

The RubberDucks, that is, because 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.

Enjoy a drink on the Lockview's rooftop patio (Photo: The Lockview)

5. Dine Al Fresco on One of Downtown Akron's Many Restaurant Patios

Our downtown restaurant patios take dining experiences to the next level, sometimes literally. Enjoy the rooftop bar at the Lockview, revel in the view from El Patrón’s upstairs patio, and enjoy the fresh air at Perfect Pour, Crave, High St. Hop House, Dante Boccuzzi Akron, Cilantro, Akronym, Baxter’s Bar, Big Mamma’s Burritos, and several others. There are few things more lovely than enjoying a meal or a drink while taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Roller Skating on the Plaza happens twice a month this summer (Photo: Tim Fitzwater)

6. 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 are available to rent for $2 per pair. Don’t like to skate? No worries—we always 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.

Borrow a bike through Summit Bike Share from any of three locations downtown (Photo: Maddox Graham)

7. 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, Richard Howe House, and the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in the Northside District. Stop at any 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.

Iced beverages from Evelyn's Coffee & Banh Mi (Photo: Chris Rutan)

8. Sip on Something Summery

What’s summer without a summery drink in your hand? Something a little sparkly, something a little fruity, something with boba, and always with ice sloshing around the cup. Whether your drink of choice is a Vietnamese iced coffee from Evelyn’s, a sparkling strawberry lemonade from Chameleon, a Summer Coconut Energy Drink from the Daily Pressed, a Norka straight from the cooler at the Peanut Shoppe, or something grown-up and tropical from Crave or Cilantro, downtown cafes, bars, shops, and restaurants have you covered.

Library patrons creating custom buttons at the TechZone@Main (Photographed by Talia)

9. Create Something New at the Library

We love being outside, but when it’s 85+ degrees, a little air conditioning is heaven. If you want to do something fun but need a break from the heat, we highly recommend discovering a new skill at the TechZone on the first floor of the main library. Screen print a T-shirt, make your own magnets and buttons, dabble in laser engraving, record a song, sew some curtains, transfer old home videos to digital files, and more. Or, tuck away with a good book for the afternoon. There’s so much to explore at the library. And yes, there is AC.

Akron is the gateway to Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Photo: Shane Wynn)

10. Explore the National Park

Akron is the gateway to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Easily explore it by taking advantage of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Hike Aboard, Bike Aboard, and Run Aboard programs. (The train’s current modified route is not conducive to kayaking.) 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.

The Pop Shop at the Akron Art Museum (Photo: Everyday Akron)

11. Have an Art Experience

Enter the wonderful world of art this summer, with so many downtown galleries and spectacular, unique exhibits to choose from. One of this summer’s highlights is the bold, energetic Keith Haring: Against All Odds exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, which is on display through September 24. Also be sure to visit Summit Artspace’s Summer Exhibitions through September 16, and the Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders pop-up museum in the Polsky Building on Main Street. World of Wonders is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 4 to 8 pm. Other ideas: Akron Soul Train, Outside the Box, and of course, the many murals and public art pieces throughout the neighborhood.

Akron Pride Festival is happening August 26 (Photo: DAP Staff)

12. Mark Your Calendar for Akron Pride Festival

A few years ago, 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 26, headlined by JORDY, with support from Madison Rose, Marcia Marcia Marcia, and Landon Cider. Keep an eye on Akron Pride Festival’s website and our events calendar for more details as the event gets closer.

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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