50 Things To Do In Youngstown

1. Take A Trolley Ride Through Mill Creek: The Mahoning Valley's Mill Creek MetroParks is the crown jewel of all things nature related in the Youngstown area. The park, itself, is enormous. In fact, at 2,600 acres, it's one of the largest metropolitan parks in nation. Founded it 1891, it was also the first park district established in Ohio.

Lanternman's Mill at Mill Creek MetroParks
Photo By: Mill Creek MetroParks
Mill Creek features three lakes; a wetland; experimental farm; two 18-hole championship golf courses (see #32); a recreation area with an outdoor performing arts pavilion; Fellows Riverside Gardens & Davis CenterLanternman's Mill; a hike-bike trail; 20 miles of drives; 15 miles of foot trails; and a variety of bridges, ponds, streams, well-tended gardens and waterfalls. With so much to do, it's hard to suggest a starting point. So, take trolley ride park tour on the Cohasset Express. It's a fun and efficient way to experience an overview of the 'Green Cathedral'.

2. Order The 'Hunky Platter' At Rip's Cafe: Rip's is a throwback bar from the days when molten steel was still being poured along 42 miles of the Mahoning River. It was founded in 1933 by George Repasky, moved to its current location in 1958 and is currently run by George's granddaughter Marilyn and her husband Don.

The Hunky Platter at Rip's Cafe
Photo By: The Vindicator
Their signature dish is the 'Hunky Platter' which features homemade halushki, pirogi and stuffed cabbage. It's one of the few places in the Valley where you can get a combo such as this year-round. Order a draft the bar with it and enjoy some ethnic comfort food at this 80+-year-old tradition on Youngstown-Poland Road in Struthers.

3. See A Show At Stambaugh Auditorium: Since 1926, Stambaugh Auditorium has served as a premier entertainment venue in the region and the crown jewel of Youngstown's historic Wick Park neighborhood (see #15). The venue gets its name from Henry Stambaugh who was a prominent local businessman in the early 20th century.

Stambaugh Auditorium from 5th Avenue
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
The Greco-Roman style auditorium features a 2,500+ concert hall, a 9,700-square-foot ballroom, recital hall and an outdoor garden/reception area for private functions. The concert area's acoustic quality has been compared to that of Carnegie Hall by those who have played both. It's also home to a large un-augmented E.M.Skinner pipe organ (the only remaining one in the area) as well as Opera Western Reserve. Stambaugh is a popular place for weddings and community events but also for many national acts and speakers. Click here for a complete list of events.

4. Attend A Discussion At The City Club of the Mahoning Valley: The City Club of the Mahoning Valley is a chapter of the City Club of Cleveland which was launched in 1912 and was conceived from the ideals of the Progressive Era. The Clubs serve as some of the oldest non-partisan, and continuously operating free speech forums in the nation.

A City Club of the Mahoning Valley event at Stambaugh Auditorium
Photo by: City Club of the Mahoning Valley
The Mahoning Valley chapter holds its forums at different venues between Youngstown and Warren but calls Stambaugh Auditorium home. The events address local issues with high caliber speakers and focus around themes such as community & economic development, government & politics, education and arts, culture, entertainment and sports. If you are civic minded and care about the Mahoning Valley, these discussions are not to be missed.

5. Take A Tour Of Oak Hill Cemetery: Oak Hill cemetery is Youngstown's oldest and most historically significant cemetery. Built in 1852, some of the city's most prominent families are buried here.

Oak Hill Cemetery tour by MVHS
Photo by: Youngstown Nation
Beautifully designed and featuring a unique view of downtown, the best time to take a stroll is during the fall when the Mahoning Valley Historical Society hosts an organized walking tour. Also, each year around Halloween, the cemetery serves as the starting point for the Youngstown Zombie Crawl. For more information on the history of the cemetery, click here.

6. Visit The Arms Museum & The Tyler History Center: The Mahoning Valley Historical Society has two locations in the greater downtown area where one can learn about local history. The first is the Arms Family Museum of Local History which is located on Wick Ave. Built in 1905, the first floor features original period rooms while the lower level and second floor showcase a complete history of life in the Mahoning Valley. A gift shop is located in the back. Arms is also a great place to view historic photos of the Valley.

The Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center
Photo by: Mahoning Valley Historical Society
The second location is the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center located on W. Federal Street in downtown. Purchased by the MVHS in 2008 and originally home to Good Humor Ice Cream and Ross Radio, the 22,400-square-foot facility has three floors with a beautiful grand ballroom on the second. Already a popular place for notable community events (see #25), the MVHS is currently in the process of developing a large exhibit room on the third floor.

7. Order The Hot Raspberry BBQ Ribs At The Royal Oaks: The Royal Oaks is Youngstown's oldest bar and perhaps its most interesting. Owned by the Kennedy brothers and located on the East Side near downtown, the Oaks looks like your typical non-descript dive bar from the outside. But don't be fooled. Everyone goes to the Oaks (and even more do now given its Bar Rescue exposure).

Hot Raspberry BBQ Rib dinner at The Royal Oaks
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Aside from its old-school-meets-punk-rock vibe, perhaps the biggest reason to visit the Oaks is for their BBQ. It's arguably the best in the city if not the Valley. Their ribs are marinated for days, are smoked with cherry wood and the portions are huge. The grilled wings are fantastic as well. Their signature sauce is Hot Raspberry BBQ which is so good that you could put it on tree bark and you'd order seconds. You haven't experienced Youngstown unless you've been to the Oaks, so put this one close to the top of your list. Bonus recommendation: If you're just looking another great BBQ experience in the Valley, you must check out Cockeye BBQ in nearby Warren. Chef Erik Hoover has created something off-the-charts in our companion city to the north.

8. Go To A Show At A Local Community Theater: For a city its size, Youngstown possesses an impressive array of cultural options. To that end, there are a number of local community theaters which consistently turn out one great show after another. The Youngstown Playhouse is the oldest continually operating community theater in the nation. The Victorian Players was started by a professor at Youngstown State in 1992 and conducts its plays in a former Mahoning Commons church built in the 1890s. And the Rust Belt Theater Company conducts their original shows at the Calvin Center For The Arts, a former elementary school once operated by the church next door. There's other great community theater groups in the area as well so your options are plentiful on this front.

At play at the Youngstown Playhouse
Photo By: Youngstown Playhouse
And for you classic and indie movie lovers, The Youngstown Cinema shows interesting flicks in the lower level of downtown's Erie Terminal Place.  Metro Monthly always provides a good comprehensive monthly calendar. Support the locals and go check out a show.

9. Take A Tour Of The Youngstown Business Incubator: Around the year 2000, the leadership team at the Youngstown Business Incubator made a very risky but important decision: they would focus on incubating business-to-business software companies exclusively. Some thought this was too niche for a place like Youngstown but the decision proved to be a game changer.

The Youngstown Business Incubator
Photo By: Youngstown Business Incubator
The YBI has grown from one building to a campus of nearly 6 and incubates numerous start-ups. Within the campus resides YBI 'graduate' Turning Technologies which, not long ago, was rated as the fastest growing privately held software company in the nation. On the southern end is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (America Makes), a national research & development center spearheaded by the Obama administration (and which got two State Of The Union shout outs). YBI's success has become so prolific that in 2015 it was named the No. 1 University-Affiliated Incubator In The World. You can take a tour of the facility by contacting Chief Evangelist Jim Cossler. A great example of Youngstown 2.0.

10. Get A Schooner Of Beer At The Golden Dawn: There's a few places in Youngstown that you can still visit and be immediately struck with a sense of Youngstown of yesteryear. The Golden Dawn is one of them. The non-descript restaurant tucked away on Logan Ave is a throwback to the days of shot-and-beer neighborhood bar-restaurants during Youngstown's industrial heyday (video). It's a popular stop for locals as much as it is for national media or top politicos passing through town. Nothing about the Dawn has changed: the decor, the food options or the people. Owned and operated by the Naples family, the staff still wears classic white button-down shirts, black ties and black pants just like they did in 1934 when the joint first opened.

The bar at the Golden Dawn
Photo by: TripAdvisor.com
The menu is simple comfort food and there's nothing on it that will change your life. But it is pretty good, definitely affordable and the atmosphere is great - and that's why folks continue to come since the 30s. Their signature sandwich is the 'Jumbo Chop Steak' which is kind of like a Salisbury steak on two pieces of white bread (get it with 'the works'). Their pizza is also very popular. Of course, no trip to the Dawn would be complete without a frosty schooner of beer. When in Youngstown, do as the Youngstown-Americans do and go to the Golden Dawn. Update: It's with a heavy heart that we announce the Golden Dawn has closed (...at least for now).

11. Take The Kids To Oh Wow! Children's Center For Science & Technology: Located in the heart of downtown Youngstown in the historic McCory building, Oh! Wow is a STEM-focused, interactive children's center. It draws thousands of families each year and consistently has new and interesting hands-on exhibits which will 'wow' both young and old alike.
A child plays at Oh Wow! Children's Center
Photo By: Business Journal
To that end, Oh Wow! also offers different adult-themed events like the popular Science Of Brewing. Bonus recommendation: After your visit, be sure to take the kiddies for a treat at Touch Of The Moon Candy Saloon and/or the wildly popular One Hot Cookie, both just a stone' throw away on Phelps Street.

12. Order A Brier Hill Pizza At St. Anthony's: There are a few local food items that Youngstown can claim as its own. Brier Hill pizza is one of them. The pizza gets its name from the city's Brier Hill neighborhood which was once considered the 'Little Italy' of Youngstown. Like many Rust Belt neighborhoods, Brier Hill has seen better days. However, two legacies that have survived the times include the annual Brier Hill Italian Festival (see: #29) and Brier Hill pizza.

An example of a Brier Hill pizza (taken at Avalon Downtown)
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
A simple recipe consisting of red sauce, red/green peppers and Romano cheese, it was a pizza that many early southern Italian immigrants could make in their own backyards. Many years later, it has become a source of pride for a city that takes food very seriously. There's lots of great places in Youngstown that sell their own version of this style of pizza. However, for the real deal, you need to get a pie at St. Anthony's church in the old neighborhood itself. It's served every Friday but make sure to call no later than 11am to place an order. It's still that popular (and worth it).

13. Take A Ride Through The City On The WRTA: The Western Reserve Transit Authority is the region's public transportation provider. In addition to providing much needed transportation to those who rely on it for work, school, shopping or to just get around town (ridership of over 1 million annually), it's also a very affordable and interesting way to see a good bit of the city and the surrounding townships unfiltered and on your terms.

A WRTA bus about to depart at downtown's main station
Photo By: WRTA
Purchase an all-day pass for $3.00 at the main terminal in downtown Youngstown, jump on any bus and go for a ride. Additional suggestion: On a Saturday, take the bus from downtown Youngstown to Courthouse Square in downtown Warren and have lunch at Sunrise Inn (considered my many to be the best pizza in the Mahoning Valley) and grab a coffee a block away at the original Mocha House. A great two hour round-trip.

14. Order Tressel Tortellini And Play A Game Of Bocce At MVR: Cassese's MVR is arguably the most popular and well known restaurant in the Youngstown area. Located in the Smoky Hollow neighborhood just east of Youngstown State University, MVR opened its doors in 1927 and hasn't looked back since. The restaurant offers generous portions of Italian cuisine at an affordable price in a family-friendly environment. While busy any day of the week, it's the place to go before or after a YSU sporting event.

Cassese's MRV from Walnut Street
Photo By: MorroneWebDesign.com
One of the more popular dishes is the Tressel Tortellini, named after former YSU and Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel (now YSU president). MVR is also known for its large outdoor bocce court area which features an outdoor dining area and a patio bar. During the summer, it's a popular place for league games as well as casual group play. Bonus recommendations: book a reservation to the New York City-styled Roberto's Italian Ristorante in downtown, order the meatballs and/or the anancini di roso from V2 Wine Bar Trattoria, and sample Scarsella's red sauce which some believe is the best in the area.

15. Get Lunch At Cultivate Cafe & Take A Walk Around Wick Park: How many cities offer a 34-acre, forest-like city park built in the 1880s located in a historic district only one mile from their downtown and two blocks from their university? Youngstown, Ohio does. Wick Park is the crown jewel of the Wick Park neighborhood (which is experiencing a bit of a renaissance). It gets its name from James Wick who was an early industrialist. He and his family's original hunting cabin still stands a block away as does a number of other notable historic structures including the homes of former Ohio Governor David Tod, John 'Bone Setter' Reese and Stambaugh Auditorium (#3). On the eastern portion of the park are four churches.

Volunteers pose for a photo after sprucing up Wick Park
Photo by: Youngstown CityScape
A block south of the park on the corner of Elm & Baldwin is Cultivate Cafe, a co-op restaurant owned between area farmers and producers that belong to the Lake-to-River Co-op. It strives to offer the community a healthier, local food option. Also, each Saturday morning from spring through fall, the Northside Farmers Market operates across the street. Bonus: If you'd like to help raise funds for the park, you can attend the annual 'Wedding Soup In Wick Park' fundraiser at the pavilion the first Thursday in November. Also, check out the Idora Farmer's Market (Tuesdays) and the B&O Night Market (Thursdays) for more farmers market action.
16. See A Free Weekend Show At The Ward-Beecher Planetarium: Located on the YSU campus, the Ward-Beecher Planetarium is one of Youngstown's lesser-known but very interesting places for quality entertainment. The 145 seat venue uses a $490K Chronos star projector on its 40-foot diameter dome to offer free public programs of the cosmic variety nearly every weekend (and has for over 40 years).

Inside the Ward-Beecher Planetarium
Photo by: Youngstown Live
Evening programs are geared for general audiences while Saturday afternoons are normally intended for families and children. However, sometimes they mix things up (check out this rock n' roll laser show). Whether you're 8 or 80, you'll enjoy the planetarium. And you're likely to learn something in the process.

17. Get A Blueberry Donut At White House Fruit Farms: This is one of the few recommendations that isn't in the city but it would be inexcusable not to include it on this list. Way out in the pastures on the periphery of the Mahoning Valley sits one of the largest and finest farmers markets in the state of Ohio. The 10,000 square-foot White House Fruit Farm offers a wide variety of fresh, quality produce and excellent baked goods.

An assortment of famous donuts at Whitehouse Fruit Farms
Photo by: Youngstown Nation
While just about everything at White House is outstanding, there's one item in particular that stands out: homemade blueberry doughnuts. These things are so good that the New York Giants football team had a special order sent to them before their 2012 Super Bowl win. Seriously. White House might be off the beaten path in relation to the other 49 recommendations but it's well worth the drive. Pick a warm summer day and head out to the country via State Route 62. Bonus recommendation: check out Haus Apple Orchard & Cider Mill for some great fresh cider donuts than give White House a run for their money and the region's only sauerkraut festival (Krautfest). (See #49 for more donut goodness).

18. Order A Scoop Of Chocolate Pecan At Handel's Ice Cream: If one were to rank the recommendations on this list, this might top it. Founded in 1945 by the wife of a gas station owner on the South Side (where the ice cream was originally sold), Handel's Ice Cream has grown to gain national and international recognition over the years for its fresh, high-quality ingredients and silky smooth quality. In fact, the Travel Channel named it one of the best ice cream parlors in the United States and National Geographic named it to their list of the '10 Best Of Everything (In The World)'.

A scoop of Handel's Chocolate Pecan ice cream at the original stand
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
You really can't go wrong with any item or flavor at Handel's. However, their most popular flavor is Chocolate Pecan. Start there. You won't be disappointed. Bonus recommendation: get your scoop at the original stand near the intersection of Market Street & Midlothian Boulevard on the South Side.

19. Take A Kayak Ride Down The Mahoning River: The Mahoning River spans 113 miles and runs through five counties in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Once upon a time, it was so polluted that it never froze during the winter. That's because the steel mills that lined it used it as a cooling and dumping mechanism for its raw product.

Folks line up to try some organized kayaking on the Mahoning River at Riverfest
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Fast forward several decades later and while there's still parts of the river that have issues, most of it is suitable for recreation like kayaking. In fact, the Trumbull Canoe Trails Kayak Club holds an annual event in August at downtown Youngstown's B&O Banquet Hall in which a good portion of the river is covered. This is a good opportunity to take your trek. Bonus recommendation: join the Friends Of The Mahoning River at their annual Riverfest event in June for some Mighty Mahoning education, advocacy and fun (and also some guided kayaking).

20. Get Some BBQ At Charlie Staples & Listen To Some Jazz At Frieda's: Located on Belmont Ave just outside downtown proper, Charlie Staples BBQ is probably the most well known BBQ joint in the city. Staples' 'cup of love' recipe has been sold on the same corner since the late 1930's when Bill Robinson operated a stand there. Charlie bought the recipe off of Bill in 1974 and ran his own place in the same location for years. Eventually, he and his wife moved to Houston to pursue another business venture and turned over operations to his business partner Carl and his wife Emma.

Owner Charlie Staples in front of his restaurant's sign on Belmont Ave
Photo By: Vindy.com
When Emma died, Staples closed for a brief period until Charlie moved back, bought a 1,500 square foot factory on the same corner and converted it to the beautiful restaurant it is today. Recommendations: 'Firehouse' chili, the 'Big Bertha' baked potato and, of course, some ribs and/or chicken. If you head to Staples on a weekend night, be sure to head across the street to Frieda's afterwards for some of the best jazz you'll find in the Valley. Here's a great video on that.

21. See The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra At Powers Auditorium: That's right. Youngstown has its own symphony orchestra (since 1925) and it's pretty awesome. Perhaps the only thing more awesome than the orchestra, itself, is the venue in which it plays. Edward J. Powers Auditorium was built in 1931 by Warner brothers (yes, the Warner brothers) Harry, Jack and Albert in memory of their brother Sam.

DeYor Performing Arts Center
Photo By: Cleveland Scene
Originally named the Warner Theater, it served as cinema house - one of many that the Warner Brothers Film Company would open nationwide in the years to come. Decades later and with millions invested in restoration, the theater remains an incredible remnant of the golden age of cinema. It's easily one of the finest in all of the Midwest. Symphony performances run from October through May (schedule). Make dinner reservations downtown, go see a show and experience some big city culture in smaller city Youngstown.

22. Purchase A Bottle Of Mill Creek Maple Syrup From The Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association: The Rocky Ridge Neighbors began a collaborating with Mill Creek MetroParks in 2012 to tap the trees in the Charles S. Robinson Maple Grove, located to the west of the Wick Recreation Area. The maple grove, named after a former Mill Creek park commissioner, was planted in 1951. The Neighbors had the idea of tapping the trees and distributing the syrup proceeds to the park as well as other projects that will benefit the surrounding area.

 A bottle of Mill Creek Maple Syrup
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
In 2014, the Neighbors unveiled the Rocky Ridge Sugar House. Located in the grove, the site houses all syrup production. Mill Creek Maple Syrup is a project that the Rocky Ridge Neighbors take great pride in and it is one that promotes community involvement. Syrup collection occurs during February and March and is later sold in the spring at Fellows Riverside Gardens. It's a highly desired annual commodity. So, be sure to get your bottle as soon as the sales are announced.

23. Take A Tour Of The Youngstown Historical Center Of Industry & Labor: Iron and steel production played such a significant role in the evolution of Youngstown that the city actually has an entire museum dedicated to the life and times of this era. Located on W. Wood Street in downtown and designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, the 'Steel Museum' is an impressive, three-story exhibit/archive/library which one really must visit to appreciate.

Steel worker monument outside of the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
By the time you are done with a tour, you'll have a very good understanding (and appreciation) for the blood, sweat and steel that went into making Youngstown one of the great industrial regions of the 20th century. The facility also has a large community room in which lectures and programs are held regularly throughout the year. Follow the museum on Facebook here to stay updated. Bonus: head to the east side to check the Tod Engine Heritage Park in June or September for one of their biannual tours. A very interesting and impressive project.

24. Run A Race In The City: Youngstown has several notable races which feature great routes and draw big crowds. The Youngstown Peace Race is the longest running race in the city (1975) and was inspired by the notion of bringing together runners from around the world as a symbol of unity. The 10k course includes Mill Creek Metroparks and finishes in downtown Youngstown.

Runners approaching the finish line at the Youngstown Peace Race
Photo by: Youngstown Nation
The Panerathon began in 2010 has quickly become the most well attended race in the region. The race begins at the Covelli Centre in downtown, winds around Lake Glacier in Mill Creek MetroParks and finishes back at the starting line. The Green Cathedral Half Marathon & 5K was organized in 2013 and features a great route held entirely within the park itself. New in 2017 will be the Youngstown Marathon, a 26.2-mile race with a course that takes you through the entirety of Mill Creek MetroParks as well as a pass through downtown. Any one of these races is a good way to see some of the best parts of the city in a fun and healthy manner.

25. Go To Youngstown's Annual Cookie Table Event: Like wedding soup, the cookie table is a regional phenomenon with a strong tradition (and debatable origin) that borders on obsession for many folks in the Valley. In fact, entire weddings can be judged on the quality, variety and presentation of one's cookie table. We'll leave it to others to judge whether that's healthy or not, however, the point is that Youngstown doesn't mess around when it comes to this tasty tradition.

Cookie samples at MVHS's annual 'Cocktails & Cookie Tables' event
Photo by: Youngstown Nation
To that end, the community hosts an annual event dedicated exclusively to the cookie table. Titled 'Cookie Table & Cocktails', it's held around the first week in February at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Museum in downtown Youngstown. Dozens of professional and amateur bakers produce thousands of cookies for attendees to sample. Award categories include fun and interesting titles such as 'Best Unexpected Ingredient' and 'Best Twist On An Old Tradition'. It's a great community event that you'll only find in Youngstown and the proceeds go to the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. So, put a few extra hours in at the gym that week and make plans to attend. It's worth it. Bonus recommendations: Memorable Meals Of The Mahoning Valley for a sample of some of the most notable restaurant dishes in the area as well as the Mahoning Valley Pizza Cook-Off.

26. Volunteer At Streetscape And Attend A Community Workday With YNDC: Most of the recommendations to this point have been food and fun. However, a big part of the Youngstown experience is hands-on, grassroots community involvement. While there's plenty of projects and activities that take place throughout the city each year, there's a few that serve as good opportunities to get your hands dirty.

Volunteers pose for a photo in Central Square at Youngstown Streetscape
Photo By: Youngstown CityScape
One would be Youngstown Streetscape, an annual event held the first Saturday after Memorial Day where hundreds of volunteers from all over the region gather in downtown Youngstown to help beautify the area. A second opportunity is the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation's monthly community workday events. At least one Saturday each month, YNDC gathers volunteers, residents and community organizations to conduct a hands-on project in different neighborhoods throughout the city. Both events are well organized and are always looking for a helping hand. Roll up your sleeves and help the good folks trying to make a physical difference in the city.

27. Check Out Four Seasons Flea & Farm Market: Lots of communities have flea markets and Youngstown is no exception. Located on the East Side at the city border on US-422, the Four Season's Flea & Farm Market is a year-round bonanza of all-things flea featuring 200 indoor vendors, 13 outdoor isles and 3 open-air pavilions. The 100-acre property originally served as an airport.

Fruit stand at Four Seasons Flea Market
Photo By: Four Seasons
In fact, the market's website still proudly proclaims that it was the 'largest airport between Cleveland and Pittsburgh until 1951!'. In the warmer months, there's a pretty good farmers market presence and plenty of popular food vendors from the region. Bonus recommendation: if you head to Four Seasons, stop at nearby City Limits restaurant for, arguably, the best breakfast in the city (not to mention the largest portions). Any omelette on the menu will leave you satisfied. Double bonus recommendation: Check out the The Valley Marketplace on South Ave in Boardman which is the only indoor Amish market in the state of Ohio.

28. Order The Corned Beef Hash At Kravitz Deli: Located on Belmont Ave in Liberty Township, Kravitz Deli is the oldest deli in the Youngstown area and the only Jewish delicatessen between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Kravitz ranks near the top of local legendary restaurants. The deli was founded in 1939 on the North Side by Rose Kravitz and moved to its current location in 1970 at which point it also became a full-service restaurant and bakery.

Corned Beef Hash at Kravitz Deli on Belmont Ave
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Their foods are baked fresh each day and it's evident in anything you order - from soups to sandwiches or their famous kiffel pasties. However, what Kravitz is likely most well-known for is their corned beef. To that end, a dish you really must try is their corned beef hash. It's arguably one of if not the single best breakfast dishes in the area. If you're a vegetarian, try the South Side omelette (get it with Munster cheese and put some hot sauce on top). Check out this video with owner Jack Kravitz and his mother Rose shortly before her passing.

29. Attend A Community Festival And The Canfield Fair: If you haven't figured it out by now, the greatest asset the Mahoning Valley possesses is its sense of community. This is likely no better reflected than in its many annual community festivals. In the city, a few notable ones include: Simply Slavic Heritage Festival, Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Italian Festival, Greater Youngstown Italian Festival, Brier Hill Italian Festival, Greek Summerfest, YSU Summer Festival Of The Arts, Spanish Heritage Festival, Arab American Festival of Youngstown, Youngstown Jazz Festival, and the Holiday Parade & Christmas Tree Lighting. Most of these festivals are held in and around the downtown area. Some are smaller while others are quite large but all will give you a good sense of the local community flavor (literally).

Festival-goers at the Simply Slavic Heritage Festival
Photo by: Youngstown Nation
However, the mother of all annual festivals in the Valley is the Canfield Fair. Established in 1846, the six-day extravaganza features 350 acres of vendors, activities and national musical acts. It is the largest county fair in Ohio with an average annual attendance of 380,000 people. The fair is a major regional community event and is something you should probably attend at least once.

30. Flip A Tire At Ironman Warehouse: In Youngstown, there is a man who is simply known as 'Dunner'. Paul 'Dunner' Dunleavy is a God fearing, log carrying, ageless, physical anomaly and co-owner of the Ironman Warehouse in downtown Youngstown. Dunner and Ironman are known for their primitive workouts which include flipping monster tires of various sizes at a non-descript warehouse basement on E. Federal Street.

A young women flips a tire at Ironman Warehouse
Photo by: Erica Joel Photography
While many gyms and sports programs now offer these types of workouts, Dunner and his band of loyal ironmen (and ironwomen) have been doing them for years throughout the city. Many local sports teams and even professional athletes call Ironman their home gym. And while it sounds like a pretty macho place, don't be intimated. You'll find plenty of folks from a wide range of ability levels. Head downtown and give a good tire flip with one of Youngstown's icon fitness gurus in an icon Youngstown workout environment.

31. Grab Some Authentic Italian Goods At Jimmy's: Established in 1974 in a garage on West Federal Street, Jimmy's Italian Specialties started out as Italian gift shop selling imported glassware and dishes. Over time, the store gradually added food. It has since grown into an award-winning specialty food retailer offering an expansive array of imported Italian groceries, homemade breads, cakes, cookies & pastries. It also has one of the largest selections of Italian deli meats and cheeses in the area, all cut fresh to order.

A sample of the pastries at Jimmy's Italian Specialties
Photo By: The News Outlet
Jimmy's is also one of the best places for lunch in the area. In fact, their lunch crowd is so busy that they decided to add a 7,400 square-foot addition for their 40th anniversary. Stop by Jimmy's for a hot cup of coffee, a fresh sandwich and a homemade cannoli. It's an Italian trifecta that won't disappoint. Bonus: Lariccia's and Tringheses' Cornersburg Italian Specialities for more Italian goods; Santisi's Wholesale Foods on Mahoning Ave for some of the best (and most reasonably priced) local deli selections in the city; and Ghossains Bakery for the absolute best in Mediterranean food. Double bonus: be sure to pick up some DiRusso's Hot Sausage at any local retailer in the area. It's an iconic local sausage produced in the heart of the city.

32. Play A Round Of Golf At Mill Creek: If golf is your thing, Youngstown is a place to be. The area has more nationally ranked public courses in the region than any other part of country and is ranked #4 in the entire U.S. in quality. For real. These courses were developed back in the day when steel was king, money flowed like hot metal and golf courses became the playgrounds for business elite.

Golfers teeing off at Mill Creek Golf Course
Photo By: Mill Creek MetroParks
Steel is now gone but the courses remain. The advantage of this is that with so many courses, most are super affordable despite their superior quality. Perhaps the best course in the area is the Donald Ross-designed South Course at Mill Creek MetroParks which has been ranked by Golfweek Magazine as one of 'America's 30 Best Municipal Courses'. But there's plenty of other great courses to check out as well. Download this guide by Youngstown Live, pick a course and hit the links. Bonus recommendation: for some golf in the city, check out Henry Stambaugh Golf Course on the North Side.

33. Order Some Pirogi At Holy Trinity Or St. Stanislaus: This recommendation is a sensitive one because pirogi quality - like pizza or the cookie table - is a serious thing in Youngstown. So, making a specific recommendation comes with it the possibility of the threat of violence. That being said, most will agree that Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Stanislaw's produce some of the best and most notable pirogi in Youngstown.

Longtime volunteers making pirogi at St. Stan's
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
St. Stan's serves their pirogi Friday's between September and June while Holy Trinity serves year-round (also on Fridays). Here's a great video on Holy Trinity's process and a great series of radio stories on St. Stan's. We'll stop here with the recommendations or else we may get a 'Youngstown Tuneup' from a shadowy babushka-wearing figure.

34. Go To An Event At The Covelli Centre: The Covelli Centre is the area's premier entertainment venue and convocation center. Built in 2004 and located in downtown Youngstown on the former site of Republic Steel, Covelli is home to the Youngstown Phantoms amateur hockey team (which has sent a number of players to the NHL over the years) as well as some pretty big shows (ex. Elton John kicked of his 2014 U.S. tour here).

A sold out show at the Covelli Centre
Photo By: Covelli Centre
For family fun in the summer, the center hosts a free outdoor movie series each Monday evening on the front lawn. There's something for everyone at Covelli. Click here for a schedule of events.

35. Attend A YSU Football Game: Youngstown loves sports. It really loves football. And YSU is the home team. YSU football has a storied tradition, producing NFL greats such as Ron Jaworski and Jeff Wilkins as well as elite coaching talent such as Jim Tressel who won 4 national championships in the 1990s (not to mention one at Ohio State in 2002 and is now university President). Home games are played on campus at Stamabugh Stadium and tailgating is an event in and of itself. (YSU is consistently recognized as having the best tailgating in all of FCS football).

Youngstown State Football home game
Photo by: YSUSports.com
The best regular season game to catch each year is the annual homecoming game in which many alumni, friends and family return to Youngstown to reunite. The festivities include a parade on 5th Ave which passes by the tailgating lots and the stadium. Because the Youngstown area is a relatively smaller one, YSU games have an atmosphere something like that of a huge high school football game but with top level college talent. It makes for a fun experience. Grab your 'Pete-On-A-Stick' (ask a tailgater) and head to Stambaugh Stadium in the fall for this annual tradition.

36. Check Out The Butler Institute Of American Art: Established in 1919 by local industrialist and philanthropist Joseph G. Butler, 'The Butler' was the first museum in the nation dedicated exclusively to American art. It's known worldwide as 'America's Museum' and is, without question, a crown jewel of the local area.

Patrons observe a piece of art work at the Butler Institute of American Art
Photo By: NWTimes.com
The gallery features over 20,000 works of art spanning three centuries. In recent years, the museum has expanded significantly, adding a cafe, a digital art gallery and the acquisition of adjacent First Christian Church. Over 100,000 people visit the Butler each year. Bonus recommendation: check out the annual Area Artists exhibition which features the best artists within a 40 mile radius.

37. Get A Fish Dinner At Molly's: Located on Salt Springs Road in the Steelton neighborhood, Molly's is a popular place for West Siders to chow down on some super affordable food in a throwback atmosphere.

The front sign at Molly's
Photo By: Youngstown Eats.com
Many items are homemade and quite tasty such as homemade hot sausage sandwiches (with Iorda Park cut french fries), wedding soup and pasta sauces. The wings are also popular but what really brings a crowd is Molly's Friday fish dinners. Bonus West Side recommendations: head to Landmark Restaurant on Meridian Road for a great breakfast and the Youngstown Maennerchor - established in 1863 and the second oldest German singing club in Ohio - for wings on Wednesdays and fish on Fridays.

38. See A Local Band At Cedars or Suzie's: Since 1975, Cedars has served as a hub for Youngstown's independent music scene. The bar and music venue (and one-time restaurant) was founded by Tommy Simon whose daughter, Mara, took over operations in 2008. It was a staple of downtown for many years, however, moved to a new space on Steel Steel in 2013. Cedars West End (as it's now known) is a great place to experience some of the area's best independent music as well as other bands passing through the region (particularly from Pittsburgh and Cleveland). The staff are all longtime regulars who know their clientele, the city and what's hip. In addition to quality entertainment, cover charges are cheap and the drink selection is pretty solid.

Folks enjoying a show at Cedar's
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Suzie's Dogs & Drafts in downtown Youngstown - modeled after Happy Dog in Cleveland - opened in 2014 and has quickly become another popular venue for local music (plus other fun things like trivia and video game nights, Lit Youngstown book readings and other unique events and fundraisers). Stop by for a hot dog (choose from 50 different unique toppings) a good craft brew as well.

39. Visit Star Supply Bargain Outlet: Self-described as 'Youngstown's Second Greatest Wonder' (it's unclear what's first...it might be the very question itself), Star Supply Bargain Outlet is a quirky closeout bargain warehouse located on Mahoning Ave just outside of downtown Youngstown. This 'adventure in shopping' at the 'flea market without the fleas' features a 25,000-square-foot array of items ranging from practical to super random.
An example of the quirky signage at Star Supply
Photo: By Urban Ohio
In one aisle, you may find stop lights, a box of hula dancer dashboard ornaments, and some discount paint. In another, it might be a deal on gas masks, some great bar stools and a case of industrial size bolts. Who knows? Every trip is a new adventure. In addition to the interesting selection, the store's signage and general decor ranges from funny to the strikingly abstract. Here's a great video with owner Richard Rosenthal who explains what Star Supply is all about.

40. Get Some Lamb At Dubic's Palm Cafe: This is a food recommendation that is somewhat lesser known in comparison to other restaurants in the area, however, it's as Youngstown as it gets. Located on Steel Street, Dubic's Palm Cafe is a true American/Rust Belt success story. George Dubic immigrated from Croatia to Youngstown at age 18 in search of work as a tool-and-dye maker. All was well until 1983 when, at age 30, he received a layoff notice. Seeing the situation as an opportunity rather than a setback, George took a chance and bought a bar on Steel Street which now features some of the best picnic-style spit-roasted lamb, chicken, ham and pork served each and every Saturday. Given that it's first-come-first-serve, folks line up early at this West Side locale to secure a numbered blue ticket for a spot in line.

Individuals line up for lamb, ham, pork and chicken at Dubic's
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Over 800lbs of meat is cooked each Saturday and it's served in waves. First, it's the whole chickens, then the coveted lamb followed shortly thereafter by the ham and pork. Orders are carved up on the spot with a table saw at the checkout counter (no exaggeration). George still manages the bar/restaurant along with other family members and is always up for a shot of Slivovitz and a laugh with a new or old friend. Here's a good preview by I Will Shout Youngstown. Bonus: if cooking your own meat is your thing, check out Roscoe's Poultry (across the street from Dubic's), Perfette's and Anglin's (solid city options) or Catullo Prime Meats in Boardman (primo).

41. Celebrate Youngstown's Birthday And Take A Walking Tour Of Downtown: Around June 27th of each year, The Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Youngstown Rotary and Youngstown CityScape host a birthday celebration (for Youngstown) and provide a free walking tour of downtown Youngstown starting at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center. The event includes a birthday cake, a few words by the Mayor and the tour which focuses on the history of downtown as well as current and future plans for buildings, businesses, projects and events are discussed. Interesting architectural facts are also included.

MVHS Executive Director Bill Lawson leading a downtown walking tour
Photo: Youngstown Nation
Whether you are new to the area or are a long-time resident, this an excellent way to learn about the general history of the city, the specific history of downtown and what the plans are for the future. The cake is usually pretty good, too.

42. Go Bowling On Mahoning Ave: When it comes to recreation, there are few things more Rust Belt than bowling. The oldest bowling alleys in the nation are in Milwaukee and Detroit and the Professional Bowling Association was founded in Akron. During the height of the industrial age when the middle class was strong, bowling was a fun and affordable year-round activity for co-workers and their families.

A bowler at Mahoning Valley Lanes
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
At one point, Youngstown had 14 bowling alleys but now only has one remaining within the city limits. However, it's pretty solid. Mahoning Valley Lanes is a popular spot and features specialty grub such as their award-winning signature pirogi pizza which fuses two of the best ethnic foods into one delicious meal. Bonus recommendation: check out the Bowladrome in downtown Struthers which was featured in the Academy Award-winning film, The Deer Hunter.

43. Get Some Youngstown-Style Hibachi At Toyko House: Before hibachi became all the rage in suburban strip mall outlets everywhere, Youngstown's Toyko House was pioneering in one of the most unusual places in the city. Located in a non-descript former gas station on South Ave near the I-680 interchange, the restaurant and its owner, Can Dao, has an unusual operation style but a very loyal following.

Chef Can Dao prepares a meal at Toyko House
Photo By: Vindy.com
The restaurant is only open between 4pm-7:30pm Monday through Friday (and closed in the summer); there is no website; and the phone number is disconnected. Yet, folks patiently wait upwards of two hours for a seat at one of the six tables in which Dao serves up a multitude of dishes with over-the-top humor and fiery culinary skill. People from all over the Valley come to the South Side for some of this tasty Asian cuisine (and signature cheese sauce). So, if you're lucky (and patient enough) to secure a table, you'll experience an authentic/random Youngstown experience that's guaranteed to leave you with a full stomach and a smile on your face.

44. Attend An Artist Fair: Several times a year, some of the area's best artists from across the Valley gather to sell a gala of interesting crafts, art, food and other unique gifts. One of the longer-standing events is the Artists Of The Rust Belt which is held at the B&O Station Banquet Hall, Youngstown's beautifully repurposed main train station.  Artists of The Mahoning Commons Ward Bakery Building open studio and sale. The Ward Bakery is a former bakery-turned-artist colony and opens to the public for these bi-annual events. A super cool, raw venue that's worth checking out (and also within walking distance of Lake Glacier in Mill Creek MetroPark).

Folks shopping at Youngstown Flea
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
One of the best and fastest growing events is the Youngstown Flea which started in 2016 and operates one Saturday a month in the late Spring through Fall near the Covelli Centre (and at DeYor for a holiday show).  Bonus: American Holiday Fine Arts & Craft Show at the Butler as well as West Side resident and nationally known comic artist and writer Chris Yambar's annual 'Lawn Con' event.

45. Attend The Annual Holiday Parade & Light-Up Event: Each year after Thanksgiving, Youngstown holds its annual Holiday Parade on West Federal Street. Parade participants from across the Valley march down Youngstown's main street and are introduced at the main stage in Central Square. Photos with Santa are available at 20 Federal Place, Oh Wow! Children's Center offers free admission and there is free musical entertainment (as well as free chestnuts roasting on an open fire).

A family takes a photo during the Youngstown Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Following the parade, the city lights the Christmas Tree in Central Square and the lighting display throughout downtown. It's a fun family event that draws thousands.

46. Get Some Pizza Or Broasted Chicken At The Elmton: Located in Struthers, The Elmton began as a family-run, neighborhood bar and restaurant in 1945 and has remained so ever since. The restaurant features two very popular food items which draws folks from all over the Valley: its pizza and broasted chicken.

Pizza and broasted chicken at The Elmton
Photo By: FoodSpotting.com
The pizza uses a green pepper-based sauce and a blend of cheeses (and lots of it) which gives it a delicious, greasy, dense texture. The dough is made fresh each morning at 4:30am. It's definitely unique and some consider it the best pizza in the region. Broasted chicken involves pressure cooking chicken in oil from the inside out and was a novelty back in the 1950s. This dish also comes with broasted french fries. Very tasty. In addition to the pizza and chicken, The Elmton offers a full menu with lots of other popular items such as gyros and cheese ravioli dinners. 95% of the menu is $8 or less. Here's a good review of this longstanding Struthers tradition.

47. Grab Some Grub At A Local Hot Dog Shop: Like most All-American towns, Youngstown loves a good hot dog shop. Jib Jab (Girard), Jay's Famous (Boardman) and the Warren Hot Dog Shoppe are three popular spots which opened shortly after World War II and serve up a simple menu of dogs, burgers, fries and the like.

Two chili dogs and a double cheeseburger at Jib Jab
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Jib Jab and Warren have more of a restaurant-type atmosphere while Jay's is smaller but offers wall-to-wall decor of notable locals. There's no frills here but that's kind of the point and why each place draws huge crowds from across the region daily. Bonus recommendation: if you're looking for a creative hot dog experience,try Suize's Dogs & Drafts (#38) in downtown Youngstown which features nearly 50 different toppings. Also, just a few storefronts down in the Knox Building is Martini Brothers Burger Bar which features hand-crafted, award-winning hamburgers that are worth going out of your way to try.

48. Have A Glass Of Beer Or Wine At Vintage Estate: Believe it or not but the Mahoning Valley has one of the largest beer and wine distributors in the entire world and it's located on South Ave in Boardman. With over 1,100 craft beer and 1,000 wines (and counting), Vintage Estate has just about everything you could possibly want when it comes to a quality adult beverage.

Owner Phil Reda (right) in front of some of his inventory at Vintage Estate
Photo By: Hop Cast.com
Owner Phil Reda took a chance and opened the business after his cell phone company was bought out by AT&T in 2008 (he also opened a full-service restaurant just a little down the road several years later). In addition to bottle purchases, Vintage offers a tasting room, flat bread pizzas and an all-around great atmosphere for the curious to the aficionado. Check out this video on the place. Bonus recommendation: check out Imbibe (and Ryes) in downtown Youngstown for a great selection of custom martinis, craft beers and high-end whiskeys.

49. Grab A Donut And A Cup Of Coffee At Plaza Donuts: Since 1953, Plaza Donuts has been the area's staple when it comes to a good local donut and a bottomless cup coffee. Founded by brothers Berkeley and Irv Frumpkin in Akron, the headquarters and main bakery is now located on Belmont Ave in Liberty. Nearly 35 varieties are offered with their cream stick being the most popular option.

A box of assorted donuts at Plaza Donuts
Photo By: Discourse.net
Each Plaza venue is a coffee bar/diner-style layout reminiscent of the era in which the franchise was founded. For less than $5, you'll be fully satisfied. Take a break from the chains and give this local a try. Fun fact: Plaza Donuts opened the same weekend as the JFK assassination. Coincidence or conspiracy?

50. Grab A Brew At Local Craft Brewery : Craft beers have been all the rage in cities and communities across the nation and Youngstown has not missed out on the trend. Once upon a time (specifically before prohibition), Youngstown had over a half-dozen local breweries. Today, there are just a few but they are good. The Rust Belt Brewing Company was founded in 2008 by Youngstown police officer Ken Blair. The beer is brewed at the B&O Station, uses tap water from the city and takes pride in its no-filter brewing method which leaves a 'rusty' sediment for good measure. (Grabbing a cold one at the downtown Rust Belt Tap House is the best way to sample).

A 'Coke Oven Stout' at the Rust Belt Taphouse in downtown Youngstown
Photo By: Youngstown Nation
Paladin Brewing in Austintown opened in 2015 and has some great selections as well as a nice joint brewing/tap room facility. There's also a few set to open in 2017: Modern Methods in Warren (the city's first brewery since 1880) as well as a church brewpub at old Butler Presbyterian Memorial Church on Rayen Avenue near MVR.

Note: These recommendations are not ranked in any particular order of awesomeness. Please enjoy each in their own unique way.

Last updated: December  2016