In the northeastern corner of Ohio, Akron is a well-planned city spreading out over several hills. Although it’s just 40 miles south of Cleveland, Akron has its own vibrant gay scene centered around Highland Square. Many who live in the suburban neighborhoods between the two cities opt to party here rather than driving to the larger city to the north. Students from the University of Akron and Kent State, and workers from the Goodyear plant rub elbows in the friendly bars and clubs, mingling easily in this well-planned city. A visitor will find few places anywhere in America with a friendlier welcome.
The best way to get around Akron and the surrounding area is by car. For public transportation see Akron Metro
Highland Square. Akron’s gay community seems to center around Highland Square, but gay bars are scattered in all directions. Almost all the businesses in the area are very gay-friendly.
Media & Resources
CANAPI, the umbrella group of the Community AIDS Network and the Akron Pride Center provides community services and resources, and provides meeting space for several LGBT organizations, social clubs, political organizations and religious groups in the Greater Akron Area.
Ohio.com is the Akron Beacon Journal website, with general interest news and resources for the local area.
The Gay People’s Chronicle, a longtime GLBT newspaper with news and listings for all of Ohio and a website, ceased publication in December 2015. Their archives continue to be available online.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Akron listings pages.
The Parkside Male Residential Hotel (1431 S Main St; 330-724-1800) has 15 fully-furnished rooms and six shared bathrooms in the Firestone Park area, just minutes from downtown. Three home-cooked meals are served each day in the dining room and they have a fitness area, tanning facilities, plus gay movie nights in the surround-sound theatre area, and other special events.
Three general-public hotels close to everything include: Best Western Akron (160 Montrose West Ave; 330-670-0888); Econo Lodge Akron (2873 S Arlington Rd; 330 645-1100 ); and Red Roof Inn Akron South (2939 S Arlington Rd; 800 843-9999), right off the I-77 exit 120 ramp.
Bars & clubs
Cocktails (33 W Mapledale Ave), men's neighborhood bar, stripper nights, drag shows, big patio deck, Levi, leather and fetish events, theme parties.
Interbelt (70 N Howard), sprawling gay/mixed dance and show club, Saturday 18+ young, energetic dance crowd; drag, wet underwear contests, showtunes and hip-hop nights.
Square (820 W Market), neighborhood gay bar in Highland Square, karaoke, games; DJs and live music entertainment.
Tear-EZ (360 S Main), Akron's downtown gay neighborhood institution, open daily, makes out-of-towners feel truly welcome. "Always a show, never a cover charge," WiFi, drag sows and pageants, cheap draft beer happy hours.
CLOSED: Adams Street / Pecs (77 N Adams), college boys to leathermen gay bar, piano sing-alongs, dance club, stripper nights, drag shows, patio; Roseto Club (627 S Arlington St), women's bar, food & drinks.
On the mixed gay/straight scene: Angel Falls (792 W Market St), is a gay-owned coffee shop specializing in the finest Venezuelan beans with a variety of flavors; and the Akron City Tavern (778 N Main St) with cocktails, craft beers, suf & turf mains, burgers, wings and salads. The Office, formerly at this location, now in Cuyahoga Falls (1846 Front St), serves bistro food and Sunday brunch; with cocktail lounge, karaoke, and live music sets.
To the south, down Interstate 77, Circle JJ Ranch (1104 Amsterdam Rd, Scio; 330-627-3101) is a gay tents and RV campground with lodge rooms and cabins, heated pool, spa and nightclub entertainment - open April through November.