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North America > United States of America > Midwest > Ohio > Northeast Ohio > Akron Metropolitan Area > Kent (Ohio)

Kent

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Kent, Ohio Downtown

Kent is a college town in Northeast Ohio. Kent, the home of Kent State University, is a quaint town with a very diverse community where northeast Ohio locals mix with students from across the state nation and globe. Kent is also home to many annual events, such as its annual Folk Music Festival.

Understand[edit]

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Kent, a city of 30,071 (2016) people on the Cuyahoga River in Northeastern Ohio, is part of the greater Akron area.

Established in 1805 as Franklin Mills, a settlement that exploited the river to operate water-powered mills. 1830s and 1840s development was based around the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. Franklin Mills was a waypoint on the Underground Railroad before the American Civil War; abolitionist John Brown operated a tannery here from 1836-1837 (the site is now John Brown Tannery Park, a nature park on the Cuyahoga River) and Woodard’s Tavern was a station on the Underground Railroad (the tavern building is gone, although a private home once occupied by Joshua Woodard and his wife Rebecca Wordon still stands).

In 1864, the settlement was renamed for Marvin Kent, who brought the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad maintenance shops to town. Kent has been a college town since Kent State University was established in 1910 alongside its sister school in Bowling Green.

Kent is infamous as the site of the Kent State massacre, in which unarmed college students at Kent State University were shot by members of the Ohio National Guard (killing four and wounding nine others) on 4 May 1970 during a protest against the US military bombing of Cambodia. This created a counter cultural legacy that continues to this day.

The aftermath of the shootings inspired protest music, notably from Bruce Springsteen and Crosby Stills and Nash. The event also inspired locals who would later become founding members of DEVO and The Pretenders to change the style of their music.

Kent offers public bus service and hike-and-bike trails, Kent is "The Tree City". The town has nearly 20 parks and preserves with a number of annual festivals related to Earth Day, folk music and the U.S. Independence Day.

Watch[edit]

  • The Vietnam War (The end of Episode 8). A Ken Burns documentary series about the Vietnam War. The end of episode 8 covers the events of May 4th, 1970 in Kent, and how it affected the war. The Vietnam War (Q30607886) on Wikidata The Vietnam War (TV series) on Wikipedia
  • The Day the 60's Died. A documentary about the shootings, and their effect on American culture.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

State Route 59 is the main east–west highway, following East and West Main Streets and Haymaker Parkway. Summit Street is another major east-west road mainly on Kent's eastern side, passing through and linking much of the Kent State campus. Fairchild Avenue is an important east-west road on the city's west side connecting with Stow and Cuyahoga Falls. State Route 43 is the main north–south highway, mainly following North Mantua and South Water Streets. SR 43 connects Kent with Interstate 76, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) to the south via exit 33 in Brimfield and to the Ohio Turnpike/Interstate 80 and the eastern terminus of Interstate 480, approximately 7 miles (11 km) to the north via Turnpike exit 187 in Streetsboro. Both SR 43 and SR 59 are four to five-lane roads within the city limits. State Route 261 passes through the southern and eastern edges of the city and is a four-lane divided highway for a short distance with the remainder a two-lane highway. It serves as a bypass between SR 43, SR 59, and Summit Street on Kent's south and eastern sides and to Tallmadge on the southwest.

By bus[edit]

  • PARTA. Offers bus service from Portage County cities, a route from Akron, and a route from Cleveland. $1 (Akron)-$5 (Cleveland). Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (Q7231402) on Wikidata Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority on Wikipedia

By plane[edit]

Get around[edit]

The Kent Central Gateway

By bus[edit]

By bike[edit]

Kent is a very bike friendly town! Covered bike parking is often available, and the PARTA Kent Central Gateway has bike lockers for completely enclosed storage. The Kent State Student Center has a free self-service bike repair station outside.

  • 5 The Portage Hike and Bike trail. This dedicated bike and foot path helps connect Kent with Ravenna and the rest of the Cleveland Metro. Free.
  • Flashfleet (Veoride) (Bikes may only be parked within a certain radius of campus and downtown.), +1-855-VEO-2256 (836-2256), . 24/7. A dockless bicycle rental service offered by Kent State University. Bring your own helmet. Has an selection of pedal, electric, and ADA compliant cycles. $0.50 every 15 minutes or $7 for a day pass.

By foot[edit]

Kent is a very walkable city due to its compact size and dedicated walkways like the Lester Lefton Esplanade.

  • 6 Lester A. Lefton Esplanade (Lesplanade). A path that goes from Downtown through Kent State University, and to Dix Stadium. The biggest pedestrian path in Kent. Walkers should stay out of the bike lanes on either side of the esplanade, and bikers should stay out of the center walking lane. Free.

See[edit]

  • 1 Kent State University, 800 E Summit St, +1 330-672-2444, fax: +1 330-672-2499, . Kent State, a public research university founded 1912 as a teachers' college, offers 300 degree programs on eight campuses. The main campus in Kent houses 28,800 of the system's 42,500 students. Programs include nursing, liquid crystals, business, history, library science, aeronautics, journalism and fashion design. Kent State University (Q1473615) on Wikidata Kent State University on Wikipedia

Museums[edit]

The Pagoda
  • 2 May 4 Visitors Center (May 4 Memorial), 300 Midway Dr (Taylor Hall First Floor room 101), +1 330-672-4660, . Semester Hours: Mo-Fr 9AM-5PM, Sa Noon-5PM. The May 4th Visitors Center surrounds the area where the May 4th Shootings occurred. The Visitors Center has an exhibit that helps provide context to the shootings including larger scale conflicts such as the Vietnam War. Informational packets are available near the site when the Visitors Center is closed. Often offers special programming around May 4th. Free. Kent State shootings (Q482635) on Wikidata Kent State shootings on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kent State University Museum (Kent State Fashion Museum), 515 Hilltop Dr (Corner of E Main St (Route 59) and S Lincoln St, enter the front of the old part of Rockwell Hall), +1 330-672-3450, fax: +1 330-672-3218, . W-Su 10:00AM-4:45PM. The Kent State University Fashion Museum is in Rockwell Hall, and features historical and cutting-edge articles of fashion. $5 General Admission, Free on Sundays.
  • Kent Historical Society & Museum, 237 E Main St, +1 330 678-2712, . F Sa 9AM-2PM. Local history of the city and residents, the railroad and the university. Free.
  • 4 Kenneth W. Berger Hearing Aid Museum and Archives (Hearing Aid Museum), 1325 Theatre Dr (Music and Speech Building), +1 330 672-2672. M-F 8AM-5PM. A museum of hearing aid technology that houses over 3000 hearing aids. Free.
  • 5 The MuseLab, 1125 Risman Dr (Kent State Library 3rd Floor Room 321), +1 330 672-3887, . Mo & Fr 10AM-4PM, We 1PM-7PM. A museum about museums. Has rotating exhibits that are usually interactive. Free.

Fine Arts[edit]

  • 6 Center for the Performing Arts (PABO) (Roe Green center in the Center for the Performing Arts), +1 330 672-3884, . Mo-Fr Noon-5PM. This building is the core of the Kent State Performing Arts programs. The basement houses the Performing Arts Library which features some special collections. The first floor houses the Ludwig Recital Hall for musical performances, as well as several dance rooms and theaters.
  • 7 Center for the Visual Arts (CVA Gallery), 325 Terrace Dr (Center for the Visual Arts), +1 330 672-1379, . Tue,We 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-7PM, Fr 10AM-2PM. Features many galleries of Student Artwork, as well as workshops. Partially built out of an old power plant. Free (Parking may cost depending on lot).
  • 8 The Kent Stage, 175 E Main St, +1 330 677-5005, . See a production at the primer theater of Downtown Kent. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a often shown here.
  • 9 Wick Poetry Center, +1 330 672-2067, . Housed in the historic May Prentice House, the Wick Poetry Center houses poetry readings and more. It's surrounded by a poetry park, which is small, but packed with art and an amphitheater. Free.

Science[edit]

  • 10 Kent State Planetarium (enter Smith Hall and head straight on the first floor). Occasionally offers showings Free.
  • 11 Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute (AMLCI), 1425 Lefton Esplanade (End of the science mall), +1-330-672-2654, . Birthplace of the Twisted Numeric LCD (when it was in Smith Hall). Has an art installation outside, and occasionally offers conferences. The building interior is normally off limits, but is sometimes opened up for seminars. Free. Liquid Crystal Institute (Q6557352) on Wikidata Liquid Crystal Institute on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Activities[edit]

Fall in Kent
The theater building
  • Adventure Center. The center offers a variety of "adventures".
  • 1 Crooked River Adventures. A Kent State University program open to the public that offers canoeing on the Cuyahoga River. $18.
  • 2 Eastway Game Room, 1375 Eastway Dr (Immediately in front of main entrance). Bowling Alley and Video Game Arcade in the Eastway Center. Operated by Kent State University but rarely used by students so you can usually get it for yourself.

Festivals[edit]

  • 3 Kent 'Round Town (Kent State Folk Festival). A fall music festival that started in 1966 as the Kent State Folk Festival. Free.
  • 4 Black Squirrel Festival (Risman Plaza and Student Green). Annual festival featuring university organisations, local companies, and student organizations. Free.
  • 5 Kent Heritage Festival, Downtown Kent. A midsummer festival held in the beginning of July celebrating the heritage of Kent. The heritage festival has food, activities, entertainment, and fireworks.
  • FlashFest. Held every spring, FlashFest brings activities and big name musicians to campus.
  • 6 FS² (Annual Fashion Show), 515 Hilltop Dr. Kent State's spring fashion show. This event showcases student work and alumni success in the field of fashion. Tickets for the event are available at the Performing Arts Box Office (PABO) in the center for the Performing arts, which is in a different building then Rockwell Hall. $30 matinee - $55 awards show - $250 VIP.
  • Kent/Blossom Music Festival, +1 330 672-2613, . A summer music festival that also acts as a collaboration between Kent State, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Blossom Music Center to train musicians. Single Tickets for audience members are $20. $900 to participate as a musician.

Hackathons & computer science[edit]

Kent State University has a large, active, computer science program, and this is reflected in many of its facilities and annual events. You don't have to be a Kent native or student to work in this scene, so don't be a stranger.

  • 7 Kent Hack Enough (Kent State Library), . 3 Day event in October. Annual collegiate hackathon at Kent State University. Visitors are encouraged, especially for the opening and closing ceremonies. Non-computer science majors and Non-Kent students are very welcomed to compete. Free.
  • 8 Fashion Tech Hackathon (Rockwell Hall). A collegiate hackathon centered on fashion and technology as an interdisciplinary field. Free.
  • 9 Spark Innovation Studio, 104 S Lincoln St. A hackerspace at Kent State University. Facilities include 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, fabric printers and a CNC router. Free.
  • 10 Student Multimedia Center (SMS), go into the Library and walk straight, staying on the first floor, +1 330-672-0221, . Despite the name, the SMS offers services to non-students too. They have video-conferencing rooms, 3D printers, and help with computer software. Free.
  • 11 Tech Style Lab, 515 Hilltop Dr (Rockwell Hall Room 302), +1-330 672-1635. A interdisciplinary Lab/Hackerspace in Rockwell Hall at Kent State University. Has resources for Fashion Students and Computer Science Students. Features one of the largest laser cutters in Northwest Ohio. Name is meant to sound like "Textile Lab".

Sports[edit]

Kent State Basketball
The Theodore Roosevelt High School Rough Rider marching band

Most of the Kent State sports facilities are far from the campus and downtown; some walks to some facilities from campus are not wheelchair friendly. Be sure to allow for ample time to walk, or take a PARTA bus to the game.

  • 12 Dix Stadium. See Kent State's football team at Dix Stadium. Dix Stadium (Q5284768) on Wikidata Dix Stadium on Wikipedia
  • 13 Kent State Ice Arena, 650 Loop Rd, +1-330-672-RINK (7465), . 8AM-10PM in the fall semester. Dual rink ice arena. Features hockey games and public skating. Kent State University Ice Arena (Q6391912) on Wikidata Kent State University Ice Arena on Wikipedia
  • 14 Schoonover Stadium (Diamond at Dix (Alternate Stadium)). The official baseball field of Kent State University. Kent State Golden Flashes baseball (Q6391907) on Wikidata Kent State Golden Flashes baseball on Wikipedia
  • 15 Allerton Sports Complex, 1565 Campus Center Dr. University operated sports complex.

Parks and nature[edit]

A park downtown
  • 16 Standing Rock. Standing Rock is a unique rock positioned above the Portage River. Rumored to have been a meeting place for Native Americans before Kent was established. Free.
  • 17 Partially Buried Woodshed. 24/7. A woodshed that was created to fall apart after being partially buried in 1970. Free. Partially Buried Woodshed (Q7140400) on Wikidata Partially Buried Woodshed on Wikipedia
  • 18 Ernest B. Miller Trail. An easy walking path along the Cuyahoga River. Near the site of "Brady's Leap" where Samuel Brady is said to have jumped across the Cuyahoga River in 1780 while fleeing Native Americans. Free.
  • 19 Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, 1028 Meloy Rd. Contains a number of tamarack trees and a small boardwalk.
Franklin Hall at Kent State University
  • 20 Fred Fuller Park. Ballpark along the river
  • 21 University Prairie Reserve. A reserve of natural prairie land on campus. The university conducts a controlled burn once a year, so don't be surprised if you notice it on fire. Free.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Kent State University Bookstore (The Bookstore), 1075 Risman Dr (To the right of the Student Center's main entrance), +1 330 672-2762. 8AM-5PM. Travelers might find the bookstore's selection of charging cables, umbrellas, water bottles, bookbags, clothing, cosmetics, and memory cards useful, if somewhat overpriced. Besides books the bookstore sells Kent State brand apparel, stationary, and computers.
  • 2 Off the Wagon, 152 E Main St, +1 330-474-1330. Jan & Feb hours: Tu-Th 11:30AM-5:30PM, F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su-M closed. Toy store, with many gag items geared at older people.
  • 3 Acorn Alley. A open air pedestrian mall downtown

Eat[edit]

Coffee shops[edit]

On campus[edit]

  • 4 Rosie's Rations (Rosie's Diner), 1475 Leebrick Dr. 24/7, diner closes from 4AM-6AM. Kent State's Late Night Diner and convenience store. Sells breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert 22 hours a day. The food is very greasy and often hastily cooked, but on the flip side it's relatively cheap and it's quick. In the morning and around lunch Rosie's is pretty quiet, but at night, especially on Thursdays and Fridays, it gets loud and rowdy with a bar like atmosphere. You have to operate the register yourself - paying with a card here is far easier then paying with cash. Hold onto your receipt until your number is called and don't be afraid to ask if it gets loud. Requires a Kent State student ID to enter after midnight. Offers late night delivery. The grocery part is open 24/7 during the school year and offers a good balance between junk food and healthy food, but it's a little pricey for a traveler. $1.50-$10.
  • 5 Schwebel Room (Schwebel Garden Room), 1075 Risman Dr (take the elevator to the third floor of the Student Center), +1 330 672-2583. 11AM-2PM. The most classy dining option at Kent State University. Most students don't realize it exists and since Meal Plan isn't usable here students that do know rarely eat here. As a result most of the diners here are professors, administrators, and other visitors. Specializes in cheeses, seafood, and meats, but there are a few vegetarian options. Has a balcony with a great view of Risman Plaza. $6-$16.
  • 6 Eastway Center. The second floor of Eastway houses the Eastway Fresh Food Company, a dining hall frequented by freshmen and vegans. Downstairs there is a deli and market. Eastway Deli is popular with upperclassemen and can prepare custom sandwiches. Eastway Market carries a small selection of international brands outside the usual fare.
  • 7 Prentice Hall. Prentice Cafe is the main dining hall on this side of campus, Prentice Cafe is fully gluten free. Munchies Market is small, but they have a wide variety of snacks and candy as well as a small deli that can make custom wraps. The closest dining facility to the May 4th Memorial site.
  • 8 Kent State Student Center. 7AM-11PM. The first and second floors of the Kent State Student Center serve as the primary dining hall of the area. The Hub is on the first floor and serves branded fast food alongside branches of local restaurants. The Hub has bagel, sub, pretzel, Asian, and Mexican specialty resaurants. Because the Hub is a favorite with students, between 11AM and 2PM they don't accept meal plan to accommodate commuter students and visitors - conversely the times immediately before 11AM and immediately after 2PM are extremely busy. Also on the first floor is the Kent Market, which is a small convince store in a nook that also sells soup and bent tree coffee. On the Second floor is the Kent Market 2, which handles the influx of students between 11AM and 2PM. Besides American food, the Kent Market 2 also has Italian and Indian options, as well as a deli. $4-9.
  • 9 Food 4 Thought Cyber Café (Food 4 Thought Cafe). 8AM-8PM. A cafe that serves coffee, tea, smoothies and vegetarian or vegan food.

Budget[edit]

  • Baked in the Village Cafe, 123 N Water St, +1 330-256-0790. Tu-Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 9AM-2PM, M closed. A bakery and cafe offering breakfast and lunch. The menu at this establishment features pastries and coffee, sandwiches and soups, as well as sides such as macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw.
  • 10 Euro Gyro, 107 S Depeyster St (go north of the PARTA garage or south of Main Street), +1 330-678-4976. M-W 10:30AM-3AM, Th-F 10:30AM-3:30AM, Sa 11AM-3:30AM, Su 11AM-2:30AM. Pizza, wings, gyros, and sandwiches. They also have bar and drink specials. A large 1-topping pizza is $5 on Wednesday. Open late. $5-20.
  • 11 Wild Goats Café, 319 W Main St, +1 330 677-2326. 7AM-8:30PM. Really good place for breakfast or lunch. They have great coffee, and food that is fresh. Try the corned beef hash.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 12 Guy's Pizza, 146 S Water St, +1 330-678-5368. Fresh ingredients from local vendors. In addition to the regular and specialty pizza pies, nine different fresh salads are on the menu, as are subs, calzones, and traditional and boneless wings. $8-20.
  • 13 Franklin Square Deli, 108 S Water St, +1 330-673-2942. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. In addition to its wide array of sandwich selections, they offer a full breakfast menu, soups and dessert items. The restaurant provides quick, courteous service and maintains a large local customer base. $2-$10.
  • 14 Mike's Place, 1700 S Water St (corner of SR 43 & SR 261. Look for the spaceship replica outside.), +1 330-673-6501, . M-Th 6AM-11PM, F Sa 6AM-midnight, Su 7AM-10PM. Mike's place has a huge menu, and all items have an unusual name (Ms. McNaster's Disaster, the Nunsiatta Devita, etc.). The atmosphere is similar to Dick's Last Resort's. Dinners $6-15, Sandwiches $5-10.
  • 15 Ray's Place, 135 Franklin Ave, +1 330 673-2233. Open daily; hours vary seasonally. Bar and restaurant, popular with college students and locals. Burgers, sandwiches, food and drink specials, great variety of beers. Serves a relaxed public. $7-17.
  • 16 Taco Tantos, 123 Franklin Ave, +1 330-677-0223. M-W 11AM-10PM, Th-Sa 11AM-midnight. Made from scratch delicious Mexican style foods. Cheap huge tacos, burritos, tostados, taco salads, pizzaritos , chips and salsa. Can call ahead for pick up or place order in the store. One can place an outdoor by phone and can pick up their order from the outside carryout window at the nextdoor Zephyr Bar. If you want a beer with your food then you have to go to Zephyrs. The website is a little outdated and food is a little more expensive but totally worth it. $4-$10.

Splurge[edit]

  • 17 Bistro on Main, 1313 W Main St, +1 330-673-9900. M-Sa 11:30AM-close. Bistro is dark and quiet, with an extensive wine list and innovative menu selections. $6-26.
  • 18 Laziza, 195 E Erie St, +1 330-677-7000. M-Sa 11AM-11PM. Laziza is a Mediterranean-style restaurant in the downtown Kent area that offers lunch and dinner dining. The menu here offers steaks, seafood and Mediterranean specialties. The space here features two levels available for dining, a bar and an area for private parties. The restaurant also provides catering services for private events and functions. $7-17.
  • 19 Popped!, 175 E Erie St, +1 330 678-1893. 11AM-9PM. Popped offers a variety of hot popcorns, from butter or caramel to more unusual flavors such as Baja or Cayenne. Also offers gift tins of cold popcorn. $5-12.
  • Bario Tacos, 295 S Water St, +1-330-968-6118, .

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Zephyr Pub (The Zeph), 106 W Main St, +1 330 678-4848. Daily, opens 4PM. Zephyr has a reputation as a friendly drinking establishment that's not really frequented by any one social group. Plenty of groups get together here, whether they're current KSU students or grads from long-ago gathering for a casual night. Customers use the large outdoor patio as long as the weather permits and service on the patio is every bit as good as inside.
  • 2 The Loft, 112 W Main St, +1-330 678-0391. Mo-Sa 4PM-2:30AM.
  • 3 The Patio, 1075 Risman Drive (Go down to the Student Center basement). Sells pulled pork sandwichs, mac and cheese, and has a build your own burger bar. Has many TVs. Despite the name, it's underground and lacks a patio. $5-16.
  • 4 Dominick's.
  • 5 157 Lounge, 157 S Water St, +1 330 678-1577, . 4PM-2:30AM. Serves spirits alongside sushi. $4-12.
  • 6 The Dome, 166 Currie Hall Pkwy, +1 330 6775479. 4PM-1AM, Su 7PM-1AM. Entertainment venue offering DJs, stand up comedians and live bands $3-9.

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

The Kent Free Library
  • 1 Kent State University Library, 1125 Risman Dr, +1 330 672-3456, . The main library at Kent State University. Offers special collections, and is open to the public. The fourth floor, also known as the fab fourth, is a lounge and group study floor which offers a variety of amenities like beanbag chairs and graphic novels making this a good place to relax. The twelfth floor is the library's special collections, which is sort of like a museum of various artifacts the university has acquired. Free.
  • 2 Kent Free Library, 312 W Main St, +1 330 673-4414, . 9AM-9PM. Kent Ohio's public library. The current library building started as a historic Carnegie library which still stands as a wing of the current building. The library has public Wi-Fi, and hosts a variety of events as well. Free. Kent Free Library (Q6391730) on Wikidata Kent Free Library on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kent Post Office, 626 Franklin Ave, +1-330-673-3511.

Cope[edit]

Respect[edit]

Smoking[edit]

Kent State is a non-smoking campus. All forms of smoking, vaping, and hookah are prohibited.

May 4th[edit]

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard killed 4 students and shot 9 others. Although there was an ongoing anti-war protest, not all the victims were protesters, and some were just walking to class. One of the victims was even enrolled in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. The site of the May 4th Shootings is a solemn location. Please respect the location and victims of the shootings.

Go next[edit]

Local[edit]

  • Ravenna (Take Main Street east, or take a PARTA bus). The county seat of Portage County. Ravenna has nice architecture and a tall flagpole.
  • Akron (take SR59 to SR8 south or take a PARTA Bus). The nearest large metro to Kent.
  • Cleveland (take SR 43 North or take the PARTA bus). A culturally diverse city on the shores of Lake Erie.
  • Youngstown. A city with a resurgent arts scene to the east of Kent. Home of Youngstown State University.
  • Columbus. The capital city of Ohio. A few hours southwest of Kent.
Routes through Kent
AkronTallmadge  W I-76.svg E  RavennaYoungstown
ClevelandStreetsboro  N OH-43.svg S  HartvilleCanton
AkronStow  W OH-59.svg E  RavennaEnds at OH-5.svg



This city travel guide to Kent is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.