Urban Explorer | University Park

words and photos by Kristina Aiad-Toss

Populated by college students and comprised of academic buildings, University park seems to have little to offer other than cheap housing and over priced campus food. However, this neighborhood is as diverse as the students that inhabit it and as interesting as the subjects they study—home to some of the most unique and interesting places in the area.


Urban Explorer 2Don Drumm Studios & Gallery
437 Crouse St.
Akron, OH 44311
(330) 253-6268
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am-6 pm, Sat 10 am-5 pm

Hidden amongst the student housing, five colorful houses comprise Don Drumm Studios &  Gallery filled with handmade treasures including jewelry, household decor, ceramics, sculptures, glass, and many other creations. While the Main Gallery features the elaborate metalcasting handiwork of a local artist Don Drumm and the work of other North American artists, the Different Drummer store houses many oddities and quirky items, from the music box that plays Stairway to Heaven to a “Jesus Toast” maker.


Urban Explorer 3It’s a Kling Thing! House
403 Kling St.
Akron, OH 44311
Hours: Events posted on Facebook page

Part of a local underground music community that hosts concerts, It’s a Kling Thing! House is a venue that supports local bands by allowing them to play without charge and giving all proceeds directly to the performers. Forget about those overpriced concerts, and check out a show at this venue to feel tangible energy of a unique show that brings you back to the roots of how live music should truly be experienced.


Urban Explorer 4Taste of Bangkok
514 E Exchange St.
Akron, OH 44304
(330) 252-2270
Hours: Sun 12 pm-9 pm, Mon-Thurs 11 am-10 pm, Fri-Sat 5 pm-10 pm

Although the exterior may be deceiving, stepping through the doors of the Taste of Bangkok is like walking into Thailand with the atmosphere, food, and staff all included. With a price that fits a college budget and service that exceeds expectations, this restaurant is dripping with authenticity in both its decor and its flavorful selections, even offering a tailor made spice level for every dish.


Urban Explorer 5Hower House
60 Fir Hill
Akron, OH 44334
(330) 972-6909
Hours: Wed-Sat 12 pm-3:30 pm, closed in January

Reminiscent of a more elegant time in Akron’s history, The Hower House is a shimmering beacon of local history and jaw-dropping architecture owned by the University of Akron. Whether you are a history junkie or just looking for something new to do on campus, take a tour of this intriguing museum or attend one of their countless special events and exhibitions. During your visit, don’t miss the attached Cellar Door gift shop for a collection of exclusive Victorian era memorabilia.