Eclipse Weekend in Downtown Akron: Family-Friendly Itinerary

We've got baseball, festivals, fireworks, late night cookies, giant inflatable slides, kid friendly food and Mr. Jeff - let's go.

By Madison Latona

Dinner: On Friday, after you settle in at your hotel, we recommend choosing between two of Akron’s best-loved restaurants for dinner. 

First, consider Luigi’s, the legendary spot in the Northside District, famous for pizza, pasta, its “cheese salad” (it’s an Akron thing) and its cash-only policy. 

There’s a quirky ATM on site that dispenses a receipt for money at the register, but you may want to plan ahead to avoid fees. 

An alternative choice, The Lockview Restaurant, across from the ballpark on Main St., has an expansive menu of gourmet grilled cheese sammies and a gorgeous bar for mom and dad. 

Fun: If you get in early enough, you may be able to take in some Baseball as the Cleveland Guardians affiliate Akron Rubber Ducks play their season opener vs. Altoona Curve at Canal Park at 7:05 p.m. 

With affordable tickets, over-the-top concessions that can serve as dinner and dessert, a giant inflatable slide (weather permitting, $1/slide), post-game fireworks, and the best mascot team around, your family will want to return for Saturday’s game as well. 

Pro Tip: Just remember to dress in layers, because April in Ohio can be unpredictable.

Treats: For late night treats in downtown, check out Insomnia Cookies. If you’re feeling snacky after the game, stop in and get a gourmet cookie, or a gourmet cookie slathered with ice cream. Or, perhaps two different flavored gourmet cookies with ice cream in between. 

Open until 3 a.m., they also deliver locally, so you may be able to have cookies brought to your hotel’s front desk.

The classic grilled cheese is always a winner at The Lockview Restaurant, but don't sleep on the numbered gourmet grilled cheese combinations. Photo via Facebook. The Akron Rubber Ducks Mascots include Webster (pictured), Orbit (pictured - the mascot from the team's days with the Akron Aeros name), Homer the Pigeon and Rubberta.

Breakfast: On Saturday morning, if you are up for breakfast/brunch, we suggest you head over to Akron Family Restaurant for a homestyle cooked American food.  They have all the classics-eggs, sausage, hot cakes, biscuits & gravy. They also have a variety of breakfast food with a more unique flavor like blueberry pancakes, pumpkin pancakes, apple cinnamon waffles for the people who enjoy a dash of something to their food. 

 A Walk In The Park Cafe is a little bit outside of downtown Akron, but when you walk inside and are transported to a glowing forest with clouds in the ceiling, you’ll agree it was worth it. A Walk in the Park  offers all of the classic breakfast food, plus, for as little as $5, you can turn your meal into an artistic experience where you can paint while you eat. After you’ve had your fill of breakfast and creating, you can shop their small retail boutique.

Shop ‘Til you Drop: Now it’s time to shop. Head to Akron Bazaar: Total Eclipse of the Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bazaar is a juried indie handmade event where you will discover curated, unique finds and treasures made by more than 55 local artisans and crafters. 

Pro tip: set aside at least a few hours for Akron Bazaar. There's so much to see that people have been known to get lost in there and lose track of time.

Akron Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival: We encourage people of all ages to join the Akron community at the Downtown Akron Sakura Festival from 3 to 9 p.m. There will be many activities to choose from, including live performances, crafts, a variety of food and sushi, a story walk and of course the fragrant cherry blossoms. The festival occurs along the Towpath Trail, a unique feature for an urban city-center, where over 450 cherry blossom trees are planted, which can be explored on foot or by bicycle. The trail will be lined with luminaries and haikus written by local students, with activity stops all along the way. Bonus: Downtown Akron Partnership will be giving out eclipse glasses (while supplies last), and admission is free.

During the Sakura Festival, Street Craftery will be hosting ‘Sakura Fest: Paint In the Park event,’ a guided painting class on the Canal to celebrate the blossoms on more than 450 cherry blossom trees planted along the towpath. The two sessions are from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. You do have to secure tickets to attend, so be sure to secure yours at the link above to create your own artistic memory of the festival and your trip.

Dinner and Dessert: If you’re eating dinner in Akron on Saturday, April 6, you should be eating it at the Sakura festival. Options will include Dr. Hibachi Food Truck, Thai It Up Food Truck,  Eddies Famous Cheesesteaks and Grille, Galaxy Grille, Birdie’s Food Truck, El Patrón Tequilería and Cuisine, Crepes All Day, Bereka Coffee, Red Bean Bakes, Malila Kitchen, Henry’s Creamery and more. From boba tea and teriyaki to street tacos and corn dogs, you’ll capture tons of local flavor choices. 

Pro tip: Don’t miss the sake flights inside of Lock3’s concession area. 

Bonus, you can walk a few steps and visit Chill Ice Cream & Indulge Chocolates afterwards for a sweet ending to the evening. Check out the flavor specials, including a new one themed for Saturday’s Sakura Festival  ‘Cherry Blossom’ that is available April 6 only. In addition, ‘MoonPie’& ‘Hello Darkness, My Old Friend’  celebrate Monday’s eclipse. Hurry to try them before they run out. 

(Top Right) A Walk in the Park Café is a bit outside of downtown in the Firestone Park Neighborhood, but worth the trip. Photo by (Middle Right) Akron Bazaar's "Total Eclipse of the Market" event promotion. Photo via Facebook. (Bottom Right Two) Photo of Sakura performers and photo of the Street Craftery Sakura Fest: Paint in the Park event. Photos by Richard Walter.

Brunch Munch: On Sunday, to kickstart your day, we recommend brunch at Nomz in Northside Marketplace. They have many entrees to choose from including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options at an affordable price. To entertain yourself- before, during, or after your meal, Nomz has board games available to play next to their tables, oh and craft mimosas. Then, wander over to the shops at Northside (in the same space) to see Akron’s “Etsy-come-to-life” with more than 100 makers represented.

If you're craving something sweet after lunch, in the same gathering space where Nomz and the Plannerz Place Eatery are located, you can find Essential Dipped Delights. Owner Takila Nuss is there most days doing made-to-order chocolate dipped confections, but even if she's not on site, there is always a fully stocked grab-and-go-cooler filled with puddings, cakes, cookies, parfaits and more. 

Pro tip: Even though this is just our brunch stop, set aside some time to browse. You won't want to miss any of the vendor displays in the marketplace.

Here's a quick list of additional Northside vendors that are featured on Learn the story of the people behind each of these shops: Banned Books Box, BlackRose Bubbles, Dirty River Bicycle WorksDover Clay, Embrace Earthleta, Fat T's Cookies, Glam Scents, India Ink, Jilly's Music Room  LiRo Apparel, Modern Traditions Co.Northside Cellar, Rubber City Comics (since the original guide was published, they have added a shop inside Northside Marketplace), Sage Designs Co., The Soap Rack, Trust Books, We Care Tees.

Afternoon Fun: Once you've savored every bite, consider attending the ‘Asteroid City’ Eclipse Party at The Nightlight at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., which is a theme party and screening of the 2023 Wes Anderson film, Asteroid City. If you just want a fun place to play with kids, we definitely recommend stopping by the Akron Children's Museum. They have many hands-on exhibits to capture the imaginations of the kids (and adults too - lots of playing adults in there). The Children’s Museum is open from noon  to 5 p.m., and tickets for the day are $7 per person. Plan ahead to buy a parking garage ticket as that is the easiest access to the museum. (They accept both cards and cash.)

Dinner: For Sunday dinner with the family, choose based on how adventurous everyone’s taste buds are. For those who like sushi, pad thai and a culinary adventure, Cilantro is a guide favorite. Check out our Cilantro review here. Alternatively, check out Spaghetti Warehouse for an affordable family dinner. Sit inside the train (you'll see what we mean), and mom and dad can enjoy a nice dinner for two while the kids play Pacman (bring quarters). For something unique, we recommend the beer chili over spaghetti. Yum.

(Top Right) A child savors the chocolate pudding parfait from Essential Dipped Delights in the gathering space that also includes Nomz and The Planners Place Eatery. (Middle Right) The Nightlight Cinema is Akron's Arthouse Film Mecca. (Bottom Right) The Akron Children's Museum offers a wide variety of exhibits for children of all ages. Photos by

Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch: On Monday try a colorful spot with food that is out-of-this-world, then we suggest Chameleon Cafe

If it’s lunch time, we recommend the Zippy wrap, named after our famed mascot Zippy (the kangaroo) at the University of Akron. The Zippy wrap features baked chicken, pickles, mixed greens, ranch, garlic herb cream cheese and chili crisp. It captures the zip in ZipsGuide too. 

The café also offers baked goods, a variety of coffee, tea and handcrafted lotus energy drinks.

THE MAIN EVENT: Eclipse Viewing Time

An Astronomical Event of a Lifetime: Akron hasn’t seen an eclipse since 1806 and it won’t see another one until 2099. Predictions are that downtown (and everywhere along totality) will be busy, so we recommend planning ahead. Just being in totality is amazing, but Akron offers several viewing parties and locations to enhance your experience.

Pro-tip: Tickets are limited for all viewing events. At the time of this writing, both events below have space, but if you're seeing this guide closer to the eclipse, they may not. Reserve as soon as you can if you want to attend.

Enjoy the eclipse from a literary post at the ‘Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party’ at Akron-Summit County Public Library from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and eclipse glasses will be provided while supplies last.  

The Akron Art Museum is celebrating the eclipse with ‘The Sun, Moon, and the Art’ from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event includes a collection of eclipse inspired pop up exhibits including the Pneuhaus Compound Camera, an inflatable dome with 109 cameras. Attendees are even encouraged to touch the textured walls. Cocktails and Mocktails inspired by the eclipse will be available for purchase. Members can register for free and non-members can register with a $5 fee per each three people registering. 

Jilly’s Music Room is hosting a free family event in the Northside District from 1 to 6 p.m. They will have live children’s music by Mr. Jeff  (check out his brand new album release on spotify or where you get your music) and reggae by Umojah Nation, outdoor food stations, bar & dora (designated outdoor refreshment area), and merch to purchase. NASA approved eclipse glasses are free with the purchase of food or beverage.

We hope you and your family have an outstanding experience in downtown Akron during your visit. We are proud of our city and the people who make it a great place to live, work and have fun. We hope you think so too.

(Top Right) Zippy's Chicken wrap. Photo by Chameleon Cafe.  (Middle Right) The Pneuhaus Compound Camera. Photo by The Akron Museum. (Bottom Right) The cover of Mr. Jeff's brand new album, available wherever you listen to music. Mr. Jeff is performing at the Jilly's Music Room family eclipse event. Photo via Mr. Jeff.

Looking for an adult-friendly itinerary with comedy, concerts, rooftop tequila and brunch mimosas? Check out our Grown-Ups Itinerary here.

Come Back and See Us

Downtown Akron has so much to see and do. We hope you come back to visit us again soon.

Madison Latona is an Akron Community Internship Program (ACIP) intern with Downtown Akron Partnership, funded by The University of Akron EX[L] Center for Community Engaged Learning.

To reach Madison Latona,

 email her here.