Skip to Main Content

19 Things to Do in Downtown Akron's Northside District

Category Arts & Entertainment

The Northside District is a unique part of downtown. It’s self-contained and cozy—its own oasis with delightful cuisine, quirky shops full of handmade goods, eclectic art exhibits, stunning views, and colorful public space. From relaxing at the parklet on the Northside Green to riding the train, or catching live music at Jilly’s to refreshing your wardrobe at Northside Cellar, read on to discover 19 things to do and places to visit while you’re in the Northside District.

Places to Eat & Drink

1. Luigi's

Luigi’s is widely regarded as an Akron staple. From their salads with cheese to old-world pies, no nonsense atmosphere, and late-night hours, it’s the perfect place to dine when you want something comforting, hearty, classic, and unpretentious. Part of their no nonsense charm—they’re a cash-only business! Don’t worry, they’ve got an ATM in case you forget to bring the green paper.

Photo: Shane Wynn


Located inside Northside Marketplace, NOMZ is a galley-style kitchen that serves brunch, lunch, seasonal rotating menus, coffee, espresso, smoothies, and cocktails, and has a variety of vegan and gluten-free options.

Photo: NOMZ

3. Jilly's Music Room

Jilly’s exclusively serves gluten-free, small-plate dishes. They also boast over a hundred beers, craft cocktails, and a formidable Sunday brunch. While you’re there, as the name implies, you can also enjoy live music from local, regional, and national bands.

Photo: Shane Wynn

4. DBA

Dante Boccuzzi Akron, or DBA for short, is a fine dining restaurant adjacent to the Northside Marketplace. The restaurant showcases an elegant dining space, a private dining room, great cocktails, a modern bar, and an open-air patio. Their menu features tasty appetizers, fresh seafood, pasta, salads, and steaks.

5. Northside Speakeasy

Across the patio from DBA, connected to the Courtyard Marriott hotel, step into the warm, dim lighting of the Northside Speakeasy, a sophisticated social lounge reminiscent of the 1920s, and sip on one of their classic cocktails.

6. Essential Dipped Delights

Essential Dipped Delights is a gourmet dessert company inside Northside Marketplace that specializes in unique desserts sure to satisfy your everyday sweet tooth fix. They serve marshmallow pops, banana pudding cheesecake bowls, chocolate-covered strawberries, and so much more. Need treats for a corporate event, or a family get-together? Essential Dipped Delights is a must.

Photo: Shane Wynn


7. Northside Marketplace

Northside Marketplace is your destination to shop, eat, and chill. They’re an incubator space and urban market that focuses on supporting social interaction, local businesses, and grassroots artisans. Visit their 60+ vendors for an exciting, multifaceted shopping experience, then hang out in their common area over a cup of coffee, cocktail, lunch, or dessert.

Photo: DAP Staff

8. Zeber-Martell Clay Studio & Gallery

Zeber-Martell is a clay studio and gallery that boasts one-of-a-kind home decor, garden sculptures, holiday decor, lamps, jewelry, and more. Stroll through their shop to find the perfect gift for a loved one or new decoration for your home.

Photo: Shane Wynn

9. Northside Cellar

Northside Cellar is a spunky boutique that carries new and consignment women’s clothing, accessories, home goods, local artwork, and furniture. Shop a unique inventory of hand-selected items that you can’t find just anywhere. No matter your personal style, Northside Cellar has something for everyone and every budget.

Photo: Shane Wynn

10. Trust Books

Trust Books is located in the basement of Northside Cellar. They boast a highly curated selection of secondhand books and aim to provide available knowledge to cultivate young readers.

Photo: Shane Wynn

11. Dirty River Bicycle Works

Dirty River Bicycle Works is a full-service bike shop, where you can purchase bikes and bike accessories, and have them maintained and repaired. Join them for their weekly Yeti Squad ride or for their monthly Akron Bike Party ride.

Photo: Jenn Kidd


12. See Live Entertainment

The great things about the Northside District go way beyond the food and shopping. Spend an evening or weekend at Jilly’s Music Room. They feature local, regional, and national bands, as well as improv comedy troupes and a monthly open mic night.

Photo: Jeffrey Klaum

13. Relax on the Northside Green

The Northside Green is a vibrant public space that bloomed in 2020 as a collaborative project between DAP and Summit Metro Parks. Local artist April Nicholson-Couch designed the colorful ground mural that spans the Northside Parking Lot, and the outdoor butterfly-themed furniture, created by Krunchworks Design, is the perfect place to relax in the presence of the pollinator-friendly plants in the space.

Photo: DAP Staff

14. Walk or Bike the Towpath

The Towpath Trail runs through downtown Akron and is a major asset to the neighborhood. You can access the Towpath Connector at the intersection of Howard St. and Ridge St. It’s great for walking, or even for borrowing a bike from Summit Bike Share and taking it for a spin. In the spring, the trail is alive with 472 blooming sakura trees, which make it especially beautiful.

Photo: Shane Wynn

15. Dirty River Yeti Squad Ride

Every Sunday morning, Dirty River Bicycle Works leads a group bike ride—the Yeti Squad Ride. They take off at 9:30. Bring your bike and join them, or join them on one of their Akron Bike Party rides the third Friday of every month.

Photo: Dirty River Bicycle Works

16. Enjoy Patio Dining

There are a few opportunities for patio dining in the Northside District. For a special occasion, enjoy DBA’s patio between the hotel and the restaurant. The view is incredible. For a more casual experience, grab a to-go bag from NOMZ and enjoy it on the Northside Marketplace’s patio in front of the building.

Photo: DBA

17. Think Outside the Box

If you, too, feel that shipping containers are for some reason all the rage these days, head to True North, the parking lot adjacent to Dirty River Bicycle Works, to explore Outside the Box, a collection of shipping container art exhibits. Thanks to Curated Storefront, you’ll see art from local, national, and internationally-known artists in the form of murals and installations.

Photo: Curated Storefront

18. Check Out the Hotel Matthews Monument

In the middle of the twentieth century, Howard St. was a regional hub of Jazz and African American culture. Nationally renowned musicians would often stop in Akron while traveling between New York and Chicago, and while they were here, they stayed at Hotel Matthews. Although the hotel no longer stands, there is a memorial in its place at 77 North Howard St.

19. Ride the Train

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 and get exploring.

Photo: Fred Stuckmann

Want to extend your visit to the Northside District? Stay overnight in the Courtyard Marriott!

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

Mentioned in this Post