One of the best things about living in Northeast Ohio is getting to experience the changing seasons—especially when the changing of seasons is as lovely as it is from summer to fall. If you’re on the hunt for activities to help you make the most of the season, let us be your guide. Get yourself a seasonal beverage from one of downtown’s many cafes and restaurants, and read on for our suggestions on some of the most festive, cozy, spooky things to do in downtown Akron this autumn. And be sure to take your Fall in Love with Akron passport along with you!
There are so many great fall activities planned for this season. One you won’t want to miss: Fall Fest. Head to Cascade Plaza on October 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. to cozy up by a fire pit, decorate a pumpkin, try some local brews, trick-or-treat (for the kiddos), listen to live music by Mo’ Mojo, and watch a free showing of Hocus Pocus on the big screen.
Catch a Movie
There’s ample opportunity to see screenings of fall movies this year. Every weekend in October, come downtown for the Downtown Fall Movies series to see Cruella (October 8), Gremlins (October 15), Hocus Pocus (October 22), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (October 29). Every screening is free—just be sure to bring your own blankets and chairs.
For cult classics and somewhat lesser-known films, visit the Nightlight, Akron’s indie, art house theater. This fall, they’re showing X, Pearl, Dark Glasses, Apocalypse Now, and so much more. Check their website for a full list of movies and showtimes, and to purchase tickets.
Let this season be a catalyst for creativity. If you’d like to try some guided arts and crafts, try out one of Street Craftery’s several fall craft workshops—spiced pumpkin latte candle making, pumpkin painting, creating no-sew stuffed pumpkins, knitting a throw blanket, holiday wreath making, and more—or stop by Missing Falls Brewery on October 20 for a spooky gnome paint & sip activity.
For something less guided, take a stroll through downtown and snap some pictures to submit to our Downtown Akron Fall Photo Contest. Now through November 25, capture the beauty of the neighborhood in autumn with your best photograph. Your photo should incorporate a recognizable part of the downtown Akron landscape. Post your best shots to Instagram, tag @downtownakronpartnership, and use #fallinlovewithakron. The contest will be judged by two downtown art experts, to be announced. First prize will be a $150 prize pack, second will be a $100 prize pack, and third will be a $50 prize pack.
Photo: Cory Kistow
Cozy Up with Old Favorites
Autumn tends to be a nostalgic season—a time when many people turn to familiar shows, movies, hobbies, and loves. Gilmore Girls and Harry Potter are two extremely popular choices. If you’re part of the fan base for either of these pop culture sensations, we’ve got good news:
Barley House is hosting a Harry Potter Trivia Night on October 14, where teams can come and play for free. The grand prize is a vacation stay at one of over 100 destinations around the world. Other prizes include gift cards, Harry Potter items, and more.
Gilmore Girls fans will be thrilled to know that our signature Smells Like Snow Coffee Festival is returning to Cascade Plaza this year on November 5! This event, inspired by the show, gives visitors the chance to feel like they’re in Stars Hollow for the day. Check out local coffee vendors and crafters, take a photo in the gazebo, and relish the music of the town troubadour.
Get Your Masquerade on
This year, there will be not one, not two, but three masquerade events in downtown Akron. First up is the Sleepy Hollow Masquerade on October 15. Join Ohio Shakespeare Festival for a special performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where guests are invited to dress in Halloween garb, enjoy food and drink, watch the show, and stay afterward for the 2023 Season Announcement and the opportunity to dance on the stage with the cast and crew.
The following day, October 16, is the Halloween Masquerade at the Hower House, where Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes will play hosts for the evening. There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, desserts, and mystery.
Finally, October 29 is the date for the Masque at the Akron Civic Theatre. Don your most elegant attire and enjoy an evening of dancing, cocktails, light hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment. Guests must be 21 and over to attend this event.
Solve a Mystery
Become a super sleuth this season at one of several interactive dinner theater whodunit events.
Spaghetti Warehouse is hosting a series of these events throughout October and November. The live-action comic mystery—The Case of the Spooky Seance—features audience participation, live music, a three-course dinner, and soft drinks.
BLU-tique Hotel is also holding a murder mystery event—No Vacancy: The Murder Mystery Hotel—on November 5. It, too, includes a three-course meal, audience participation, and a great show that takes place in 1925 in downtown Akron.
See a Show
There’s never a shortage of performance art downtown. A few of our picks for this fall: The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Barry Bostwick at E.J. Thomas Hall; Evil Dead: The Musical, presented by Millennial Theatre Project; Akron Pride Halloween Drag Brunch at Jilly’s Music Room; and Ellington’s Nutcracker and the Ballad of the Brown King at E.J. Thomas Hall.
Party It Up
Everybody loves a good Halloween Party. If a masquerade ball isn’t quite your speed, you may be more interested in Jilly’s Music Room’s Halloween Bash with Roxxymoron—featuring a costume contest, Halloween drink specials, and live music with the “best local band” according to Akron Life Magazine.
CH4RCH Vol. IV: Halloween Edition is also happening at Baxter’s Speakeasy on October 23. It’s an LGBTQ+ ally day rave, featuring an all-day happy hour during which everyone is invited to dress as nuns and priests.
Baxter’s Speakeasy is having a two-day Halloween Bash and anniversary party on October 28 and 29, as well, in cahoots with High St. Hop House. Costumes are required.
Sometimes, the best thing about fall is simply filling your lungs with the fresh autumn air. What better way to do this than running along the Towpath Trail? This November, sign up for the Lockheed Martin Towpath Freedom 5K, which will allow you to do just that.
We also recommend heading to the Akron Zoo for their kid-friendly Boo at the Zoo trick-or-treating events throughout the month of October, and Zoothing Boo at the Zoo, a trick-or-treating event for kids with different abilities who don’t like crowds or loud noises.
And of course, what’s fall without football? Head to InfoCision Stadium on The University of Akron’s campus for home games throughout October and November to watch the Zips play.
Again, don’t forget to bring your Fall in Love with Akron passport with you when you visit downtown businesses now through November 25, and collect 10 stickers on your passport to win prizes such as a T-shirt designed by local artist Micah Kraus, and a grand prize package of downtown businesses worth $300.
To see our full calendar of downtown Akron events, click here.
See our updated traffic advisories and parking information to navigate and park downtown with ease.