Akron, Ohio, is my home. I will always be here. I'm still working out at my old high school. -LeBron James
Best Part About Akron?
More Bang for your Buck
Most people who know Akron know it for being a neighbor of Cleveland or as the birthplace of basketball legend LeBron James. The city though has a lot to offer relative to its quiet reputation. Despite the perception of it as small, it has a population of ~200,000 and a metro area of nearly 700,000. This size is a sweet spot, particularly in the midwest, for a combination of low housing prices and interesting city amenities.
Downtown Akron is host to a good mix of concerts, shows, expos and cultural events throughout the year that are usually reserved for bigger or more prominent cities than Akron. This, fortunately for Akron residents, does not translate to big city prices. Low cost of living and a median home value of $80K means residents save on the essentials so they can enjoy everything else Akron has to offer.
Here's a local with a review of the social scene in Akron:
Entertainment options have really grown with a plethora of restaurants downtown and west side. Both shopping areas mentioned have most of the chain restaurants, but downtown and west side have more small chain and independent restaurants. Craft beer is just as big here as Cleveland proportionately with great taps at several bars the The Office in North Hill or 69 Taps, Lockview, Baxter's, etc. downtown. Our biggest breweries are Thirsty Dog and Hoppin Frog, but in the last couple years we have microbreweries opening up with two almost next door to each other in the Akron Valley Area that approaches the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Live entertainment includes big acts that hit UAkron's EJ Thomas Hall (home of Akron Symphony) and Akron Civic Center in downtown, with smaller venues including Musica (stone's throw from Civic), Annabelle's (Highland Square/near west side), and others. Outdoors downtown in the Summer includes Lock 3 live next to our historic canal that runs through downtown.
For more reviews of what living in Akron is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Akron?
Safety and Education
Akron is known for high crime rates, and while plenty of neighborhoods have better stats, safety is something to consider when making a move. As with most cities these safety statistics are not helpful on a city-wide basis but regardless they are trending in the right direction in most major categories. Perhaps more important, the Akron City School District consistently places in the bottom 50% in the state of Ohio for most educational categories.
Here's a review of the cons (with a few pros) of Akron from a local ready to move on:
If you do not have employment, savings or another source of income, it will be difficult for you to thrive in Akron, OH. Housing and rent is inexpensive, but Akron does have an issue with crime and drug addiction. You must also like cold weather and SNOW because we get a lot of it. The roads are bumpy from the winter weather conditions, and cars do get rust. Most people do not move to Akron; they were born here. Many leave for larger cities; I went to Atlanta, GA in 1987 and returned in 2009. Since I was disappointed at the city's decline and I want to leave again. Plan B: Spring 2018 - Jacksonville, North Carolina. Low cost of living, low crime, low property taxes, NICE weather & smooth roads!
Benefits of Akron? Low cost of living, 4 seasons & great food. Akron is small and you can get just about anywhere from East to West or South to North in about 15 minutes. They have great medical care because many of the residents are baby boomers and older. Young people tend to move away.
Lifestyle of Akron
Akron is often lauded by residents as an embodiment of midwestern hospitality and small city living (even if it’s not really as small as that ideal warrants). Lock 3 Park in the city’s downtown is home to outdoor events year round, including ice skating, bumper cars and the aforementioned concerts and cultural events. Akron is a diverse city with a great park system, including the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, and easy access to Portage Lakes State Park, giving Akron an outdoor edge over most midwestern destinations. Cleveland also isn’t too far away for those looking for a bigger metropolitan.
If you're interested in checking out what locals get up to in Akron here is the downtown calendar of events: downtownakron.com/calendar
Workstyle of Akron
Revitalization is a term Akronites throw around a lot and for good reason. In 2018, the city began investing in neighborhood business districts to catalyze small business growth across the city. While Akron was no exception to the struggles that came with COVID, the city has doubled down on its support of small businesses through additional investments and incentives in an attempt to make Akron one of the best places in the country to start a small business. The big name in Akron is Goodyear, one of the largest tire manufacturers on the planet and the owner of an abnormally large fleet of airship blimps. Goodyear started in Akron and still employs thousands of people in the area.
Why Move Now?
Those investments in Akron’s revitalization could make for a wise investment for you. Buying into the area’s relatively cheap housing market as the city improves and grows might be a wise move for both your future home and career.