Hidden in plain sight: How to walk Downtown Akron’s skywalk

Reporting, writing and photos by Chris Harvey

Inevitably, during conversations about downtown Akron, at some point someone will mention the downtown Akron skywalk — usually followed by a couple of comments and questions like, “There’s a skywalk? Where? How do you get to it?”

I’m here to clarify some of these questions and steer you in the best direction during these times. 

A quick Google search pulls up the Downtown Akron Partnership’s skywalk map. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, not all of the 32 locations are accessible at this time. Masks in these places are mandatory in accordance with the Ohio mask mandate

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According to the DAP’s website “Many of the office buildings in the heart of downtown Akron are linked by a system of skywalks that make it convenient to travel through downtown no matter what the weather is like outside.”  

My favorite way to start exploring the skywalk is located in Lock 4, just behind the glass doors adjacent to the back of the Bowery. These double doors will take you into the Cascade parking deck, located below Cascade Plaza. This parking deck is not only an access point for the underground portion of the walk but also the Huntington Tower, which is Akron’s tallest building and a former hotel.

After you enter the parking deck, continue to your right then head left, toward another set of almost storefront-like doors that will lead you into the first part of the skywalk: The underground portion that takes you from Cascade Plaza to the Main Place building. 

In this tunnel you will see skylights in the ceiling. Those same skylights are visible from Main Street. 

At the end of the tunnel portion, there are two sets of stairs on the right and left and an elevator in the middle. At the top of those stairs you will find yourself in the lobby area of Main Place. On your right, you will see Hamad’s restaurant; on your left is a mural titled “Made In Akron” by Michael Gearhart. You’ll see a sign above you labeled “Skywalk” with a red arrow pointing to another elevator straight ahead. 

At this point, you will take the elevator to the skywalk level, or as indicated on the elevator panel, “SK.” After a short ride up, you will come to the signs that lead you to the portion of the skywalk between the Main Place building and the CitiCenter building

As you walk further down this portion of the skywalk, you will come to the door that leads to the Law Building, which is where City Hall is located — and to the next portion of the skywalk, which continues all the way to the Polsky building. 

If you go up the escalator on your left, you will be heading in the direction of the Ocasek building. You must have a key card to enter the Ocasek building, but you can still see some pretty cool Akron sights from this view over High Street. Best of all are the lighting fixtures in this section.

If you need something to get you out for a bit or would just like to explore more of downtown, the skywalk is a great start. Just remember to heed all of the signs, because some parts of the buildings are closed to the public and may be under renovation. Also, remember to mask up and make sure to practice social distancing if you come across a fellow sky-walker! 

Chris Harvey is the art director at The Devil Strip.