Your Guide to Shopping in Downtown Akron this Holiday Season

Category: Shop Local

There are so many great places to shop in downtown Akron this holiday season. Downtown, which was once home to bustling department stores, is now teeming with one-of-a-kind retailers just begging to become your new favorite shop. 

We know shopping small is important because it keeps dollars local and stimulates the local economy. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to find gifts for ourselves and others that are unique, handmade, high in quality, and especially heartfelt—from passionate entrepreneurs who care as much for the community as they do for their storefronts. 

Check out these ideas to find something for everyone on your list this year. And while you’re at it, why not make a day of it? Find refreshment and entertainment options at the end of this guide to make the most of your downtown shopping experience.

For Artist-Made Goods 

For some of the most unique, beautiful gifts you can imagine, supporting local artists is the way to go. Stop by the Akron Soul Train store at the heart of Main Street for an assortment of creations from local artists. After, head to the Northside District to visit the expansive Zeber-Martell Clay Studio & Gallery, as well as the Northside Marketplace, where you can make purchases from Chris Klassen Art, Stella Blue Glass Art, and others. It’s also worth visiting Summit Artspace to check out the zentangle masterpieces available for purchase at Totally Tangled Creations and other galleries in the space.

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @zebermartellgallery, @akron_soul_train, @zebermartellgallery, @totallytangledcreations, @akron_soul_train, @totallytangledcreations

For the Most Stylish Clothing & Accessories 

If you think downtown Akron isn’t hopping with clothing and accessories, you’re missing out. One of downtown’s most recent retail additions is UNKNWN, an apparel lifestyle brand, concept retail store, and community venue founded by LeBron James, Jaron Kanfer, and Frankie Walker Jr. Nearby is Velvet Vintage, which has a nice selection of vintage clothing for all genders. 

In the Northside District, we’ve got Northside Cellar, which is a sprawling shop full of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, as well as the Northside Marketplace, which is home to several clothing retailers. Check out 7th Floor Clothing for a distinctly Akron flavor, Global Threads Fair Trade for textiles and accessories made by “artrepreneurs” from around the world, and We Care Tees for apparel that gives back. The business donates 10% of its profits to nonprofit organizations.

You won’t want to miss Bizzy Beads Boutique, either, for hyper-realistic, food-inspired jewelry made from polymer clay.

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @unknwn, @northsidecellar, @unknwn, @7thfloorclothing, @globalthreadsft, @northsidecellar

For the Foodie 

Not only should you not sleep on Akron’s food scene—you should definitely consider incorporating food items from downtown into your gift-giving plan this year.

For those with a sweet tooth, nuts and candies from The Peanut Shoppe make the perfect gift for a long-time Akronite, for a Peanut Shoppe newbie, or for yourself. Decadent chocolates from Chill Ice Cream & Indulge Chocolates are a great choice, as well—as are treats from Sweet Bean, Fat T’s Cookies, Akron Honey Company, and Chef Gina Giampietro, which can all be found inside the Northside Marketplace.

For those who are more beverage oriented, pick up some whole bean coffee, coffee mugs, travel tumblers, merch, coffee subscriptions, or gift cards from Akron Coffee Roasters; or perhaps some beer glasses and a four-pack from Akronym Brewing.

For a well-stocked pantry, don’t miss out on Alpha Country Market, Guarino Olive Oil, and Juliabelle’s Seasonings, which are also located inside the Northside Marketplace.

Photos right to left, top to bottom: @akronhoney, @fat_ts_cookies, @chefginasbakeshop, DAP, @akroncoffeeroasters

For the One Who Loves the Towpath 

When you’re lucky enough to live near the Towpath Trail, bike gear is essential. Thankfully, the Northside District of downtown Akron is home to Dirty River Bicycle Works, ready to satisfy all your bike and bike accessory needs. They also do repairs and maintenance. The helpful employees provide exceptional service that is sincere, helpful, personal, and fun to help you find a bike that will make you want to ride mile after mile.

Photos: @dirtyriverbikes

For the Reader 

Downtown! Akron! Has! Books! It may be a well-kept secret, but downtown Akron is a fantastic place to shop for books. Head to Trust Books and the Library Shop at Main for great selections of used books, and check out the University of Akron Press’s selection inside the Northside Marketplace for amazing contemporary poetry collections and local/regional interest books.

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @uakronpress, @trustbooks, @trustbooks, @libraryshopatmainakron, @uakronpress, @libraryshopatmainakron

For the One Obsessed with Self-Care & Sustainability 

It’s the 21st century, and we’ve all agreed that caring for plants somehow falls into the self-care/sustainability category, so let’s roll with it. Head to Lepley & Co. for a vast array of plants for sale, or take advantage of their full-service florist shop for flowers for every occasion. Then, be sure to stop by Hope Soap Ohio for natural, plant-based skin and hair products; My Eco Shop for reusable, sustainable personal care and household products; and Embrace Earthleta for comfy activewear that’s made from sustainable, recycled materials. 

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @_myecoshop, @lepleyandco, @hopesoapohio, @lepleyandco, @lepleyandco, @hopesoapohio, @_myecoshop

For the Lover of All Things Vintage 

Thanks to downtown shops like Velvet Vintage and Sweet Modern, old objects have the opportunity to live new lives. Velvet Vintage carries clothing and jewelry, as well as furniture, home goods, and novelty items. Sweet Modern specializes in refinishing and selling mid-century modern furniture, with stunning results. It’s definitely worth stopping by their showroom on Summit Street, even if only to browse.

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @sweet_modern_shop, @velvetvintageboutique, @sweet_modern_shop, @velvetvintageboutique, @velvetvintageboutique, @sweet_modern_shop

For the One with Cool, Quirky Interests 

If you’re a fan of comic books, board games, and strange novelties, we’ve got you covered. Check out Full Grip Games for all your Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, and tabletop gaming needs, and Rubber City Comics for all the graphic novels, action figures, and collectibles you could ask for. Bonus: Head to the Northside Marketplace to shop Tiny Circuits for open source electronics that let you create your own miniature electronic projects.

Photos left to right, top to bottom: @fullgripgamesofficial, @tinycircuits, @fullgripgamesofficial, @tinycircuits, @rubbercitycomics, @rubbercitycomics

Want more ways to shop local? See all retail businesses in downtown Akron.

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

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