Akron is more than just a suburb of Cleveland. This central Ohio city is the state's fifth-largest and has no shortage of things to do, ranging from more than 10 different city parks, to world-class art, to quirky and unique museums. The best part? Many of Akron's fun sites and activities are completely free. Here are 11 of our favorites for your next trip.
Learn about the history of the Akron Police Department as you take a free tour of the Akron Police Museum. There are many objects on display, including confiscated weapons, police equipment, uniforms, news clippings, photos, a 1965 Harley-Davidson police motorcycle, and more. Address is 217 South High Street, Mezzanine Level. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Summit County Metroparks offers more than 120 miles of paved and unpaved hiking and skiing trails, shelters, and pavilions for picnics, and fishing, all for free. There are 13 parks to choose from that are scattered all throughout Akron. Many parks offer programs with their naturalists, concerts, hiking sprees, and other family fun days throughout the year.
A walk through the Glendale Cemetery is a walk through the past of Akron. You will see the statues and headstones of prominent residents, including F.A. Seiberling and four former Congressmen. The cemetery is also home to the Victorian Civil War Memorial Chapel, built in 1876, which honors the area soldiers who died in that war and is on the National Historic Register. Many people have picnics in the picturesque setting of rolling hills. There are also summer festivals held in the open, grassy areas.
Experience Lock 3 Live!
Located in the heart of Downtown Akron, Lock 3 Park hosts free events year-round, but most of the action happens in the summer and fall months. Enjoy a full schedule of free concerts of every genre, family and children events, auto showcases, and more, all for free. Check out Homegrown Saturday Mornings from July through September; this event includes locally grown produce for purchase along with a host of free activities including an educational program for children, tours of downtown historic sites, trolley rides, and family activities and games.
Visit Dr. Bob's House
Take a free tour of the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob's House. This restored home is where the concept of AA began, where over 300 alcoholics sobered up and received treatment. Watch the video on how it all started, and flip through the photo archives of those that AA has helped. The house is open from noon to 3 p.m. daily.
Take a Turn at Akron Skate Park
Akron Skate Park is 19,000 square feet of fiberglass reinforced concrete, with areas for the beginner, intermediate and advanced skater. Skating areas include a four-sided pyramid for stunts, a large bowl with sinking depth of seven feet, a 65-foot snake roll, a smaller bowl with 5-1/2 feet depth, a spine, stairs, ledges, rails, and quarter pipes. Akron Skate Park is located on the service road for the Rubber Bowl and Derby Downs Road, next to the BMX track.
Walk Your Dog at BARC Dog Park
This safe, fenced in the play area is an excellent place for the family to play with their dog off-leash. Dogs love the exercise and socialization that they receive from playing with other dogs as well. What's more: The park setting is a great place for dog-owners to relax while their dog plays.
Browse Summit Artspace Gallery
Visit the Summit Artspace Gallery for free. This ever-changing gallery showcases work from greater Summit County artists. Free workshops are offered on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on various art genres. They also provide affordable studio, workshop, and classroom space for local artists.
Learn about a crucial part of Ohio's history at the Magnolia Flouring Mills. This small-town mill was built in 1834 along the Sandy & Beaver Canal and remained in the same family for more than 150 years. Now, the red, five-story mill is open for tours, which showcase the innovation, transportation, and community effort that went into Magnolia's award-winning flours.
The outskirts of Akron is home to the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. The towering monument, in particular, is a meaningful highlight and visitors can climb 108 steps to where President McKinley and his wife, Ida, rest in a pair of marble sarcophagi.
Stroll Around Downtown Seville
If you want to take a quick day trip from the city, head to downtown Seville, about a 30-minute drive outside of Akron. You'll have a great time exploring the cute downtown area, which is home to historic buildings, antique shops, craft boutiques, and restaurants and bars. If you want to step back into the 1800s, there's no better place to do so than Seville.
The Akron Art Museum is free for all visitors on Thursday nights. The museum, which first opened in 1922, has a collection of more than 5,000 objects, with many world-renowned contemporary works. Recently, a temporary exhibition showcased the work of African artist El Anatsui, who's known for creating giant tapestries made from metal scraps and other waste.