Last Minute Gifting in Akron

Last, Last Minute Gift Ideas that Support Small, Local Businesses

Many of these are experience gifts, but don't sleep on gift cards!

By Shananne Lewis, Madison Latona, Carmen Addison & Julie Cajigas

Well, it's Christmas morning. No really, I'm sitting here at 5:58 a.m. combining pieces and parts of a few of our student stories and adding this foreword to help those of you who, like me, always forget someone or something. Was I out desperately searching for a "how-to" manual for a Rubix cube for one of my nephews? Maaaayyyyyybeeee...

Did I run into dollar tree at the 11th hour to buy marshmallows for an experience gift's wrapping and leave with unicorn poop marshmallows? Maaaayyyyyybeeeeeee....

At some point, there just isn't time. There isn't time to shop, the stores aren't open and there isn't even a few minutes to wrap just one more gift (and hunt down the gift tags and the tape and scissors that actually cut).

If you've woken up this Christmas morning to the realization that you forgot someone on your list, and you would rather shop local (than at the big box corporation where I bought my marshmallow poop), here are three ideas you can do from the comfort of your keyboard and mobile device, and share digitally or printed out with someone TODAY. 

Without further adieu... here are our thoughts:

Street Craftery, Jilly's Music Room and Chill & Indulge are three of the participants in the Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card Program.

The "Akron" E-Gift Card: Downtown Dollars
Downtown Akron Partnership is making it even easier for you to shop and gift local with its new Downtown Dollars Akron E-Gift Card

Recipients can use this card at their favorite retailers, restaurants, services, and entertainment venues in and around downtown Akron. 


This E-Gift Card is not your average gift card.


“Since it's an E-Gift Card, there's no plastic card to lug around or lose; it goes on your phone,” says Dominic Caruso, Communications Director. 

Select locations have partnered with Downtown Akron Partnership to be a part of the E-Gift Card Program launch, including Northside Marketplace, which offers items from more than 150 local makers, and is an experience in and of itself.

Businesses featured in this guide that currently accept the Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card include Chill Ice Cream and Indulge Chocolate, Jilly's Music Room and Street Craftery 

E-gift card holders can use them at any participating location. More partner locations are being added nearly daily. Be sure to check the website for updates on where you can spend your downtown dollars.


To purchase an e-card, click the link here to select an amount. Next, choose who you want to gift it to (or keep all the goods for yourself).

Be sure to provide the recipient’s name and email address. Know your recipient isn't tech savvy? No need to worry. Just check the box for “Print for Hand Delivery.” 

When you're finished, hit next to write a customized message for that special someone. For the final step, you officially purchase the gift card. The e-card will be delivered via email or text message.  


The E-Gift Cards are easy to redeem. Card holders will display it on their phones at check out and clerks will ring up the numbers. That’s it. No more fumbling around in your wallet or purse, nor conveniently forgetting it at home. Now how easy was that?

Realized you forgot a gift for your employees as you watched Cousin Eddie kidnap Clark Griswold's Boss?

 The Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card program can be purchased at a discount for:

Get access to reduced or waived fees for purchases over $1,000, plus direct assistance and a free Enterprise Account with business reporting. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Last Minute Memberships
Purchasing a membership to one of Akron's attractions is straightforward and hassle-free. All of the Downtown Akron Partnership organization memberships below can be purchased online and printed off to place inside a card - in minutes. 

What you might not know is how affordable they are and what an incredible value they offer.

For as little as $65, you can gift an annual membership which provides unlimited access to the museum's engaging exhibits and programming. 

Purchasing a membership is simple and can be done in just a few clicks through the museum’s website. Plus, it not only benefits the children but also provides a much-needed respite for parents throughout the year.

Turns out, it's a great gift for kids AND their parents.


“As a stay-at-home mother of four, it is hard be at home, because either I am always cleaning, or it is chaotic," Jenna Pavlov, local mother, said. "It [The Akron Children’s Museum] is just a really wonderful place to get out of the house on a rainy day and have fun.”

Visit the Akron Children's Museum's website and navigate to the 'Membership' section, which should be at the top of the front page. Choose the right membership level for your gift, fill out the necessary information, and proceed to checkout. Once the payment is processed, an email confirmation will be sent with all the details of the membership.

CVSR (Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad):
Become A Member – Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad ( Ride the rails for one year of adventures! Great for train enthusiasts, CVNP frequent flyers, bicyclists, and people with kids. 

Akron Art Museum:
The Art Museum provides visual learning for the whole family at different exhibits throughout the year. 

Akron Zoo:  Both parents and kids enjoy the zoo while exploring special exhibits during the year. The Akron Zoo is easily walkable for your little ones and has plenty to do for older children and adults.

(top) 'You've never been this close' proves itself true at Akron Zoo. Photo by Julie Cajigas 

An Akron Children's Museum membership gives Jenna Pavlov something to do with her children on rainy days, or any day. Photo courtesy of Jenna Pavlov.

(top) Show posters outside EJ Thomas hall. (bottom) The Akron Symphony performs. Photos by Shananne Lewis. 

Gift the Performing Arts

Even last minute, tickets are always on sale, and they are on sale online, which makes it easy and quick to get some for your loved one. From Akron Symphony Orchestra to the Broadway in Akron series at EJ Thomas Hall, the city is brimming with nationally and internationally renowned entertainment. 


E.J. Thomas Hall at The University of Akron
E.J. Thomas ( offers a Broadway in Akron series and more. 

One can choose to purchase gift certificates in person Monday to Friday at 198 Hill Street 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 330-253-2488. 

Also, E.J. Thomas Hall offers certificates through Giftly: E.J. Thomas Hall - The University Of Akron Gift Cards and Gift Certificate - 198 Hill St, Akron, OH (

Though not an avid theater goer, Beth Steenwyk of Green said, “A gift certificate to EJ Thomas Hall sounds like the perfect Christmas gift. It is easy to wrap, supports the arts, and I can spend quality time with my husband or friend.” 

Akron Civic Theatre ( and Goodyear Theater ( gift certificates can be purchased with this link: Akron Civic Theatre Gift Cards and Gift Certificate - 182 South Main St, Akron, OH (


The Akron Symphony Orchestra provides online certificate purchases with ease and comfort from your own home. The Akron Symphony Orchestra performs at E.J. Thomas Hall and brings a distinct flair for the music lover. Easily purchase at Gift Certificates - Akron Symphony Orchestra or in person at their box office at 92 North Main Street, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Downtown Akron Partnership Announces Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card Program > read more here. 

To reach content author Shananne Lewis, email her here.