Who says you have to leave town to have a spring break to remember? In and around downtown Akron, you’ve got access to impressive museums, authentic cuisine from around the world, a national park, and even the chance to feel like you’re drinking beer on the beach, if that’s what you’re looking for—all ingredients for the makings of a spring break that’s fun, memorable, and exciting. If you’re on staycation this year, keep reading for 9 recommendations we’ve put together for you.
1. Tour Downtown Akron's Art Galleries for Free
You don’t have to travel to experience national or international art. See it right here in downtown Akron! Start at the Emily Davis Gallery, where Long Beach, CA, artist Priscilla Morena’s work, Umbra, is on display and inspired by bossa nova music, retro fashion, and old films. Presented in conversation with her work is Spectrum, a responsive exhibition featuring work from regional artists Natalie Lenese, Joe Lanzilotta, and Eleanor Anderson.
For more free art, make a point to visit the Akron Art Museum while on spring break. It’s free anytime with your Zip Card and features over 7,000 works from the 1850s to the present. If you want to feel that sort of cultured, big-city, adventurer feeling that primarily comes from walking through museums in new places, the art museum will deliver.
Other free art to see: Akron Soul Train is showcasing the work of David Maynard, whose State of Grace art exhibition explores human duality and purpose. Curated Storefront has tons of art activations in downtown windows, too, including something pretty unique in the Polsky Building’s Main Street windows. Check it out for yourself!
2. Eat Somewhere You Haven't Eaten Before
One of the best parts of traveling somewhere new is sampling the local cuisine. Thankfully, with 50 restaurants and counting to choose from, there’s plenty to try right here in downtown Akron. Experience international flavors at El Patrón Tequilería & Cuisine, Evelyn’s Coffee & Bánh Mì, Cilantro Thai & Sushi, Boiling House, or newly opened Heera Indian Cuisine. Or, cross Akron classics off your list with food like a sandwich from Diamond Deli, a pizza from Luigi’s, or sauerkraut balls, which were invented in Akron and can be found at the Lockview. For a full list of places to dine downtown, click here.
3. Check Out What's on Exhibit at the National Museum of Psychology
While you’re spending your spring break at home (or at least in your temporary college home), why not meander through the University of Akron's Cummings Center for the History of Psychology to contemplate what home means to you? Check out their exhibits: Beyond the Picket Fence: The Places & Spaces We Call Home and Home Is… And while you’re there, be sure to walk through their other galleries and exhibits, too. The CCHP is a member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program and is home to the Archives of the History of American Psychology, which is kind of a big deal. Even better: Admission is free with your Zip Card.
4. Catch an International Flick at the Nightlight
Want to see an international film? You’ve got several options coming up on the big screen at The Nightlight. Between Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 26, you can see The Quiet Girl (Ireland), Godland (Denmark, France, Iceland, and Sweden), and The Lost King (France and the United Kingdom), as well as the American Carole King: Home Again. Check their website for all showtimes and to purchase your $10 ticket. Be sure to snag some of their popcorn and candy, too.
5. Create Tropical Art at Missing Falls Brewery's Paint & Sip
You might not be drinking a beer on the beach this week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create beach-themed art while drinking beer (as long as you’re 21+). On Wednesday, head to Missing Falls Brewery for their Beach Butterfly Paint & Sip event. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be led by Cory of Grass Root Designs. If you sign up, you’ll get to participate in a step-by-step acrylic painting workshop where you’ll turn a wooden butterfly cutout into a tropical scene. Tickets are $47 (way less than a plane ticket to the beach) and include all necessary supplies, as well as the instructional demonstration and your first beer.
6. Meet Animals from Around the World at the Akron Zoo
Get to know the more than 1,000 animals at the Akron Zoo, living in exhibits like Wild Asia, Pride of Africa, Komodo Kingdom, Grizzly Ridge, Penguin Point, Legends of the Wild, and Curious Creatures. They’re open every day of the week between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and make for a great spring break staycation activity.
7. Go to the Theater
Another cool cultural experience: seeing a play. This week, you’ve got a few options. The Millennial Theater Project is putting on a theatrical showing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the Knight Stage. Showings are Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, at 8 p.m. Get your ticket ahead of time for $20.
Ohio Shakespeare Festival is performing Hay Fever, an absurd comedy of manners by Sir Noel Coward. Performances are happening both weekends of spring break. Thursday through Saturday, they begin at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, at 2 p.m. Students can get discounted tickets for as low as $5 in the gallery, $15 in the standard seating section, and $30 in the preferred seating section. Buy them online ahead of time.
8. Explore the Towpath on Bike or Foot
Did you know you don’t have to leave the area to visit the second-highest ranked national park in the country? In fact, it’s within easy biking distance from downtown Akron—less than seven miles! Grab your bike, and hop on the Towpath Trail in the Northside District and get going. If you don't have access to a bike or would prefer to opt for a shorter ride that still has a beautifully scenic payoff, catch the Towpath near Lock 3 and head two miles south to Summit Lake.
9. Get an Impulsive Tattoo
Party on! At Essential Dipped Delights’ birthday party, that is. They’re celebrating the occasion with a tasting and tattoo party. Head to the Northside Marketplace on Sunday, March 26, from 4 to 8 p.m. to enjoy a complimentary dessert tasting buffet, as well as drink specials from NOMZ and, if you’re feeling daring, a tattoo from India Ink Tattoo Company (not complimentary). They’re Akron’s only Black-, female-, and queer-owned tattoo shop, and they specialize in photo realistic tattoos.