Whether you grew up in Akron or are a transplant from somewhere else, the North Hill neighborhood has something for you. Shopping, dining, cocktails and international flair abound in this quirky, historic, working-class neighborhood.
Bring the kids for a fun day of exploring cultures and trying new things, or bring a date for an evening of romance, fun and adventure—regardless of the reason, North Hill is worth a little exploration.
Day Out with the Kids
Looking for a way to occupy and exhaust your kids after school or on a weekend? Start at the North Hill branch of the public library, where family-friendly events and activities abound. From pre-school story time, to teen crafting events, to Saturday afternoon movies, you’ll find something interesting for every member of the family. There are even coloring classes for adults and teens that include warm beverages and relaxing music. Call ahead to verify times and events, as many are subject to change depending on weather or attendance. The North Hill branch is located at 183 E. Cuyahoga Falls Ave, and their phone number is 330-535-9423.
You’ll need to feed your little darlings too. If it’s a Thursday, definitely take them to the Italian Center for a bargain spaghetti meal. The meal includes cake and a slide down the polished wood ramp that used to convey cases of beer to the basement. This historic venue offers family-style seating and authentic red sauce in a relaxed environment. Find them at 134 East Tallmadge Ave., 330-535-3919.
If it’s not Thursday, or your kids insist they are too sophisticated for pasta, head down North Main to Family Groceries, an international market owned by local immigrants. Take in the incense-tinged aromas and the beautiful veggies, then have your kids each pick out one new food item to try. Perhaps they’ll be delighted by the nubby-skinned jackfruit or the almond-flavored cookies from India. Your more adventurous child might be persuaded to try a sample of goat meat at the meat counter in the back. Even if it’s just a bag of plantain chips, a new food experience will give you and your kids something to talk about for quite a while. The market, located at 768 North Main St., is open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Learn more by calling 234-678-7003.
After all of that food, you’ll want to take the kids somewhere to burn off a little energy before heading home. Head back up North Main, turn right onto Cuyahoga Falls Ave., pass the library, then turn right onto Patterson Avenue to get to Patterson Park. This lovely green space offers clean restrooms, a baseball field and lots of open room for running around. The center also offers a variety of after-school and social activities for all ages. Call Angie at 330-375-2819 for more details on homework groups, the crochet club and the Singing Seniors.
Night out with a Date
Are you looking for a new twist on traditional date nights? Plan on a cultural adventure in North Hill. Whether you are looking to impress the new love in your life, someone you’ve been with for years, or are just working on a tight budget, an amazing night awaits you in this neighborhood.
—To impress a new love interest
When impressing a new love, you’ve got to show that you’re different from everyone else and that you know how to show off your town. Why not have a donut instead of a drink before dinner? North Hill Donuts, near the intersection of Tallmadge Avenue and Glenwood, stays open until 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on weekends, so share a bear claw with some coffee. Check out the photos on the wall of owners Louie and Linda working in the kitchen circa 1976 and share stories about your own past. Call the shop for more information at 330-253-8383.
Once you’ve warmed up a little, head up Cuyahoga Falls Avenue a bit to Ranchero’s Taquerias for an authentic Mexican dinner. Dust off your high school Spanish to order in the native language, or just smile and select from hard-to-find favorites like Mexican quesadillas or tamales. Chef Dave makes everything fresh in this casual eatery, including the simply amazing guacamole.
After supping in south-of-the-border style, head down to North Main Street for a drink at The Office Bistro and Bar. Relax and get to know your date over a Basil Mojito or a pint of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in the sleek-but-cozy atmosphere of this local favorite. Your culinary tour of North Hill’s history and culture will surely impress your date and give you both a lot to talk about.
—For a date night on a budget
Even if you are on a budget, North Hill has you covered for date night. Start by taking your amore to Waters Park for the best sunset view in Akron. This little park is popular on the Fourth of July because of its impressive view of the Y Bridge and downtown Akron, but it’s equally breath-taking without the fireworks—and it’s free! Snap a photo of your beloved framed by Akron’s unique skyline and the sumptuous colors of the setting sun.
Next, head up Glenwood Avenue until it almost intersects with Nevin St, near Tallmadge Avenue, for dinner at Louie’s Bar & Grille. Fresh-cut fries, huge half-pound burgers and complimentary popcorn will fill your bellies without breaking the bank. Afterward, head back down to North Main Street for dancing and karaoke at BG Bree’s, an Akron nightlife staple for some 40 years. For more info on Louie’s, call 330-535-5030. To check on karaoke and DJs at BG Bree’s, call 330-615-7753.
—For the cozy couple looking to shake it up
There are many options in North Hill to break a couple out of a boring routine. Start the evening with a glass of chianti at Dontino’s Ristorante, a North Hill fixture since 1930, directly across Cuyahoga Falls Avenue from the Carovillese Club. Soak up the old-world Italian ambiance and maybe sample some stuffed olives or sauerkraut balls while there.
Next, head down to East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue to the Nepali Kitchen for dinner. Expand your worldview with authentic Nepalese dishes, like Chicken Tikka or Vegetable Thukpa and a side of Bhatura, a traditional fried bread. Be sure to pick up a take-out menu for those nights when you want to stay cozy at home and still delight your taste buds. For more information, call 330-631-1112.
After dinner, head back up to Main Street for a nightcap at Dante’s Gameday Grille. It’s the perfect spot to relax and commiserate on all the new, exciting sights, sounds and flavors you’ve both just experienced in a sports bar atmosphere that might feel a little more familiar. No matter how long you’ve been together, this date night might just find you holding hands and making moon eyes again. Call 330-922-8344 for more information on Dante’s.