The Ultimate Guide to Downtown Youngstown
Over the last 10 years Downtown Youngstown has enjoyed an incredible resurgence. From bars and restaurants to the DoubleTree Hotel, Covelli Centre and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre the heart of our city is alive and well! Whether you’re a new student on YSU’s campus or a resident from the ‘burbs that hasn’t been Downtown in a few years, we put together the Ultimate Guide to Downtown Youngstown to help you navigate our great city.
Federal is the main thoroughfare through Downtown Youngstown and is the home to most of the businesses on our list. You’ll also find the headquarters of Home Savings and Loan, whose iconic clock tower is an essential part of the Youngstown skyline, and the campus of the Youngstown Business Incubator, the organization responsible for bringing startup technologies and additive manufacturing to Youngstown.
You’ll notice us refer to Youngstown’s rich history a lot throughout these guides and that’s for a very good reason. Yes there have been stumbles but we’ve also got a proud heritage and there’s no better place to discover this story than the Tyler History Center. They have exhibits, programs and events to help you learn about the history of the Mahoning Valley.
As you walk down Federal Street from the Tyler History Center you’ll notice a gorgeous building with a glass facade on one side and neon marquee on the other. The DeYor Performing Arts Center is the home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and a number of community events, concerts and stage plays. One upcoming event to keep your eye on is TEDxYoungstown, an independently organized TED event. To hear from some of the most influential members of our community about what’s next for Youngstown, get your tickets to TEDxYoungstown.
Joe Maxx is the preeminent coffee shop in Downtown Youngstown and was one of the first local specialty coffee shops in the area. They serve a full menu of breakfast and lunch options as well as a handful of signature pours.
One of our favorite Youngstown dive bars, this is the only place we know of downtown that has pool tables, a dart board AND incredible food. Visiting the Draught House is a right of passage in Youngstown and a classic experience that’s made even better by their food provider Space Kat.
Ready for a little detour? Geo’s is a hidden gem record store located a block behind the Draught House that boasts the largest selection of LPs and CDs in the area including a number of records you won’t be able to find anywhere else! If you’re a music fan this might be your home away from home.
Next to Geo’s Music you’ll find the Morley Building, home to Ballet Western Reserve which is a dance academy specializing in classical ballet, modern dance styles and more. You may know them from their annual performance of the holiday classic, the Nutcracker!
Once you make it back to Federal, if you’re looking for a night out that’s a little more stylish and contemporary these are two bars, stacked right on top of each other, that you’ll want to hit up.
O’Donold’s is THE Irish pub in Youngstown offering a modern twist on classic Irish cuisine and a full selection of Irish whiskey and craft beer.
At first glance this may look like your typical convenient store, but if you go inside you’ll find a grill that cooks up killer Mediterranean food and deli sandwiches plus all your typical convenient store items. Behind Downtown Circle you’ll find the Circle Hookah and Bar.
Restaurant by day, club by night. The Federal offers a large selection of specialty burgers, craft beer and cocktails from lunch through dinner and at night converts into one of Youngstown’s hottest nightclubs.
V2, brought to you by Vernon Cesta who owns Vernon’s Cafe, has been one of Downtown’s most popular restaurants since 2011. They serve delicious stone-fired pizzas, burgers, small plates and have a full bar.
Across the street you’ll find another popular Italian restaurant serving up homemade Italian cuisine in an atmosphere designed to make you feel like you’re enjoying Sunday dinner with the family. Sadly, Robertos is currently not in operation but keep an eye out if it ever comes back!
If you want to spend your night trying a variety of craft beers, stouts, ciders, or mead, Whistle and Keg offers 44 self-serve taps that allow you to pay by the ounce so you can try whatever drinks you want. This bar concept is so unique that they’ve expanded to Cleveland and have a new spot opening in Columbus! How’s that for a Youngstown original?
Youngstown has a number of legendary pizza shops and Avalon is at the top of many people’s lists. Stop in for delicious city favorites like Brier Hill.
OH WOW! is a highlight for families and a wonderful addition to the city. Featuring a number of engaging and educational exhibitions, OH WOW! is sure to capture the hearts and minds of the children of Youngstown.
The opening of the DoubleTree hotel was a monumental moment for the city as people could finally travel from outside the area and stay overnight right in the heart of Youngstown. The gorgeous historic architecture combined with modern flourishes make it a must-see when visiting Downtown Youngstown. On the ground floor of the DoubleTree you’ll find Youngstown’s most buzzy new restaurant, Bistro 1907. The Bistro was created by master chef Mark Canzonetta and features unique twists on classic dishes in an elegant, upscale environment.
If you’re in the mood for a smoothie, the Smoothie Bar will have just what you’re looking for. They also offer paninis, wraps and breakfast options if your hungry for something more substantial.
A&C is a couple blocks away from the center of Downtown but is definitely worth a visit. This family-owned liquor store has been in business for over 30 years and their location serves as a gathering spot for people of all walks of life.
As you can tell there is a lot to do on Federal Street but the places listed above are not the only things to see and do in Downtown Youngstown.
If you head down North Phelps street you’ll find this popular bar and restaurant that specializes in live music and build-your-own hot dogs and hamburgers. They offer over 50 toppings (with some truly crazy options) so you can customize your meal however you like. And their tater tots are to die for! Plus they have jam sessions every Thursday and bring in bands pretty much every Friday and Saturday night.
Next to Suzie’s is an Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall brings the flavor of Germany to Downtown Youngstown. They also recently opened a couple axe throwing lanes in the back of the restaurant so you can reserve a spot and try your hand at this popular new past-time.
This throwback candy store has all your favorite treats, plus confections you’ve forgotten about and some you’ve never even heard of! But more importantly, their mission is to provide functional employment to adults with disabilities. So for a downtown spot that’s sweet with a mission that’s even sweeter visit Touch the Moon.
Art on Phelps
A couple windows further down Phelps is the quaint Art on Phelps exhibit. There are always different artists and exhibits being featured so make sure to take a look inside while walking by.
Commerce runs parallel to Federal and is home to even more notable Youngstown businesses. Plus it’s the beginning of the gateway to YSU’s campus!
The Kitchen Post has a modern and artsy vibe and unbelievable food. There are many who consider this to be the best restaurant in the area and they certainly do a lot to push the envelope when it comes to menu development. If you want food unlike anything else Downtown, stop in to the Kitchen Post!
If dessert is more your thing then One Hot Cookie is the place to go. Their cookies are served HOT and piled high with a variety of toppings like candy bars, Oreos and cream. Open til 3 A.M. on weekends for all you night penguins and it’s a great way to end a night out.
All the way on the other side of Downtown Youngstown is the entertainment corridor featuring some of the most exciting new developments happening in the city.
The amphitheater opened earlier this summer and has been a marvelous addition to Youngstown. For an awe-inspiring night out under the stars enjoying a live performance from the likes of Gucci Mane, Earth, Wind & Fire and Rob Thomas you have to get tickets to a concert at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater.
While the Amphitheater is the hot new destination in town we can’t forget all that the neighboring Covelli Centre has done for the city over the years. Covelli hosts concerts by legendary performers like Elton John, as well as arena events like pro wrestling and monster truck rallies. It’s also the home of the Youngstown Phantoms, a play-off caliber junior hockey team competing in the United States Hockey League.
We hope you enjoyed our Ultimate Guide to Downtown Youngstown! Now that you’re informed and ready to take on Downtown Youngstown, tune in tomorrow for a tour of the up-start Elm Street just north of campus! And if you missed our Ultimate Guide to Lincoln Avenue on YSU’s campus, click here.