I grew up very close to Youngstown. In fact, while my small hometown of Hubbard lies in a different county, it still qualifies as being in the Youngstown Metropolitan Area. Even though I grew up very close to Youngstown, I can't say that I am an expert on the area. That in part is due to my moving to Columbus at the young age of 18. But I certainly have grown to appreciate my roots and have had the chance to explore the city a bit more as an adult when making trips back home.
1. Lemon Grove Cafe (122 W Federal Plaza): My Youngstown pal Steve Poullas first introduced me to The Lemon Grove Cafe just a few weeks ago. It is a fresh new bar that opened just about a year or two ago in downtown Y-Town. Steve, who took the above photos, is the webmaster for the Lemon Grove's website. The place is definitely full of hipsters, but has a youthful, artsy spirit that is a fresh addition to the area. Great drink specials and fantastic live music. Lemon Grove also prides itself in having artwork displayed by locals and is a favorite of the local Mahoning Valley "celebs."
2. Mill Creek Park (7574 Columbiana Canfield Rd): Brace yourself for this tidbit of information: the second largest urban park in the entire United States (ranked just after Central Park in New York City) is Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio. Isn't that wild?! This place is no joke. It is 4,400 acres of pure beauty smack dab in the middle of a bustling metropolis. Hot spots to see here are Lanterman's Mill, the "Cinderella" iron link bridge, and Bear's Den. You can go hiking, biking or boating and play tennis, volleyball, and the list goes on. We came here a bunch for field trips as kids and it never gets old.
3. Butler Institute of American Art (524 Wick Avenue): This art museum can be found adjacent to the campus of Youngstown State University. Many of my friends, as well as my brother, attended YSU, so I became familiar with the area. The campus area is like an oasis in the middle of a desert, and the Butler Institute of Art is one of the stand-out attractions of the area. My favorite is their collection of American sports paintings and artwork. The building itself is a beauty, and admission is FREE!
4. Youngstown Crab Company (3917 Belmont Avenue): If you're willing to dish out a few more bucks than normal for a meal, then you should be sure to treat yourself to the Youngstown Crab Company for an amazing meal of crab legs, mussels, steaks, and other seafoods. It's a favorite dining destination for me and my family, and I will be sure to review it in more detail so you can see the true splendor of the place! It's such a great spot that billboards can be seen over an hour away in Canton!
5. Cedars Lounge (23 North Hazel Street): I was told by my Youngstown friend Steve that Cedars is THE place to go for live music, as they have a killer sound system. He also said that swing night here is fantastic, and I can attest that the back patio is an experience in and of itself: you are surrounded my trees and plants of all kinds. It's really a fun place to go to grab some beers and party!
6. Cafe Cimmento Italian Eatery (120 E. Boardman St): The one place on this list that I have not been to personally is Cafe Cimmento. However, I have been told by many people, including Steve, that it is a great (somewhat) upscale restaurant that you have to try if you are looking to get a taste of Youngstown's prominent Italian culture (seriously I was one of the only non-Italians in my group of high school friends).