|Akron was formerly known as the "Rubber capital of the World", and before that, as the original home of Quaker Oats, and before that, as a pottery works. Built right on the edge of the Connecticut Western Reserve, Akron really grew by selling gravity. It happens to be right on the shortest possible line drawn between the Cuyahoga River (connecting to Lake Erie), and the Tuscarawas River (connecting to the Ohio River and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico.) The Ohio & Erie Canal (which can be seen downtown and throughout the Cuyahoga Valley National Park) connecting the two was inevitable, and is the primary reason Akron grew just where it did. |
Now, Akron is home to:
• The lowest total cost of living in the U.S., almost every year.
• University of Akron (science and engineering - top five nationally; polymer science - second in the U.S.)
• Inventure Place - The National Inventors Hall of Fame (almost everything modern humans use was invented, at least in part, in Northeast Ohio or by its inhabitants-automotive, aerospace, aviation, shipping, electrical, polymers and rubber, biomedical, healthcare, gasoline, steel, paint, coatings and lubricants, etc.).
• Akron Aeros - named for Northeast Ohio's prominent role in the aerospace industry. The Aeros are a champion Eastern League (AA minor league baseball) team that is part of the Major League Baseball Cleveland Indians farm system.
And, probably, that person in the grocery store who started talking to you as if you were old friends. That scene in Crocodile Dundee where he tries to introduce himself to everyone in New York and never even got a snicker in Akron.
- All-American Soap Box Derby
- National Inventors Hall of Fame
- Towpath Trail (foot and bicycle, runs from Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park)
- EJ Thomas Hall - Home of the Akron Symphony Orchestra
- Blossom Music Center - Outdoor Summer home of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, located 8 mi. North of city in Cuyahoga Falls.
The Quaker Square Hotel - made out of the round grain bins from the Quaker Oats plant. Sleep in a circular room (maybe with a balcony onto a fairly quiet - by big city standards- street). Near the University and the Inventor's Hall of Fame.
West of town in Fairlawn (near the intersection of I-77 and State Route 18,) there's almost any accommodation you could want.
• Comfort Inn Akron Hotel - 2873 S. Arlington Road; tel. (330) 645-1100 fax. (330) 645-1101
• Comfort Inn West Akron Hotel - 130 Montrose West Avenue; tel. (330) 666-5050 fax. (330) 668-2550 - close to I-77 interstate and 25 miles from Cleveland International Airport, and surrounded by several area attractions including Six Flags, the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Pinnacle Sports, Akron University, etc. !
• Quaker Square is a splurge by Akron standards.
Well, if you can't stay safe in Akron, I don't know where you could possibly be from. Given the size of the city, and diversity and activity there, it's really pretty safe. You can tell when things are "iffy" - pawn shops, temporary labor shops, quick loan places. Still, there's almost nowhere in Akron anyone shouldn't go in the daytime, and very few places at night.
Generally, the South side of the city (known locally as Kenmore) is regarded as the worst section of town. With a higher rate of violent crimes and theft, it is best avoided by outsiders. Some, but not all, housing projects - notably Elizabeth Park (under the "All-America" Bridge) - are also somewhat unsafe and should be bypassed altogether by foot and car.
If visiting the University of Akron, it's best to stay west of the Market / Buchtel intersection. The near-East neighborhood of which this is the "border" (Middlebury) is not necessarily unsafe, but does have a large amount of medium-scale drug activity and the occasional assault and non-violent robbery.
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Fly into Akron-Canton Regional Airport (AKC) if you can - small, easy to navigate, quick in-and-out. Alternatively, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) - it's a bit of a drive though, maybe an hour to the north-west of Akron.
Akron lost its AMTRAK station in the last round of cuts, so you'll have to go into Cleveland.
Akron has always (well, for a good 40 years) had wonderful interstate support. I-76, I-77, and State Route 8 (limited access, for the most part) all run right through the middle of town, and there is very little in the city that is more than 10 minutes from an expressway. One nice by-product - rush hour is not even an hour.
Akron METRO - Somewhat limited but adequate service to most Akron locations.
University of Akron - One of the best schools in the country for engineering and polymer science.
The housing in and around Akron is ridiculously affordable for a larger city. Even near the lakes, it's a whole lot cheaper than other areas of the country.
Akron doesn't have very much of a night life; most locals are "home-drinkers", and most bars are low-scale local places (some of which should be avoided by non-locals at all costs!). Highland Square, the cultural district, has a number of bars on the West Market stretch. Guidance about what location would suit your needs the best is best dispensed by (younger) locals. .