The town of Kent is dominated by Kent State University with its 30,000 students and an active campus life that includes sports, the arts, music and Greek life.
Of course, many of the businesses are student-oriented which means a variety of places to grab inexpensive food. But the university’s educational assets and attitude spill over into the community too, with local businesses such as a food co-op, a couple of old-fashioned music stores, an arts center and numerous small bars that book live music.
The city’s beautiful downtown has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. An old movie theater is now the Kent Stage which books concerts by touring and local acts. A new hotel and several more upscale restaurants have opened. But the city still has a bucolic flavor, enhanced by its dozen parks and preserves and the Portage Hike and Bike Trail connects Kent to other towns in Portage and Summit counties.
Kent hosts special events like the Kent Heritage Festival held every July, which includes a 5k and 10k race as well as arts, crafts, fireworks and live entertainment. The Black Squirrel Festival in the fall honors the university’s unofficial mascot — the black squirrels which have made their home in Kent. Throughout the year, downtown hosts outdoor movies, ice cream socials and an ice sculpture festival in the winter.
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