Take a closer look at Canton

There’s a lot going on downtown — and not just on First Fridays. A growing arts district has ignited a spark in downtown Canton during the past few years.

There’s a lot going on downtown — and not just on First Fridays. A growing arts district has ignited a spark in downtown Canton during the past few years.

arts_sign2First Friday, the monthly downtown arts celebration, has made the city a prime destination one night each month.

But there is plenty to explore all month long. Downtown offers art galleries, vibrant theater, art films, live music, coffee shops and a variety of restaurants and nightspots. This map highlights many lively locales within the downtown hub.
arts_imperial

BARS:

CONESTOGA GRILL, 217 Second St. NE, (330) 458-0834.

CREW NIGHTCLUB, 304 Cherry Ave. NE, (330) 452-2739.

IMPERIAL ROOM, 420 Court Ave. NW, (330) 455-5770.

Amid downtown Canton’s upscale restaurants, the Imperial Room is, refreshingly, just a good ol’ bar centrally located on Court Avenue NW between Fourth and Fifth streets. The Imperial attracts a diverse crowd, from younger to older, artsy to blue-collar, with a good male-female balance.

There’s a pool table, a wide menu of beers and a well-stocked, genre-jumping jukebox. On First Fridays, the place is happily mobbed, inside and on the brick alley out front.

PICCIANO MARTINI, 410 Market Ave. N, (330) 454-3800.

THEATERS:

KATHLEEN HOWLAND THEATRE, 324 Cleveland Ave. NW, (330) 451- 0924.

A big, low-ceilinged room with a smallish platform stage located under 2nd April Galerie, the Kathleen Howland Theatre has become a busy headquarters for underground theater. In the two years since it opened, the Howland (named for a beloved local actress, now deceased) has hosted concerts by Marti Jones and Don Dixon, monthly shows by the improv comedy troupe Scared Scriptless, and such in-your-face shows as the prison-flick spoof “Women Behind Bars,” Sam Shepard’s “True West” and the touring revue “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad.” www.secondapril.org.

PALACE THEATRE, 605 Market Ave. N, (330) 454-8172.

COFFEE:

CARPE DIEM COFFEE SHOP, 215 Market Ave. N, (3330) 455-2326.

arts_muggswiczMUGGSWIGZ COFFEE & TEA. CO., 137 Walnut Ave. SE, (330) 452-6336.

Muggswigz Coffee & Tea has a low-key, comfy vibe. Some groups of friends casually socialize, while other patrons intently study their laptops and iPhones. But the real attraction here is the coffee, which is state-of-the-art in preparation, presentation and flavor, with all beans roasted in-house.

Muggswigz’s resident java expert Lindsey Myers has been Ohio’s top-ranked barista. And don’t miss the Tuesday open-mike nights, which are a magnet for high-school and college hipsters. 137 Walnut Ave. NE, (330) 452-6336, www.muggswigz.com.

DINING:

ARCADIA GRILL, 321 Court Ave. NW, (330) 454-6055.

BENDER’S TAVERN, 137 Court Ave. SW, (330) 453-8424.

arts_brownstoneTHE BROWNSTONE STEAKHOUSE, 585 Market Ave. N, (330) 580-4444.

Downtown Canton’s Brownstone Steakhouse has a prime location on the corner opposite the Palace Theatre. Opened in late April, the Brownstone hit the ground running with its menu of hand-cut and aged steaks, chops, seafood and cocktails attracting a steady crowd to its handsome, high-ceilinged cosmopolitan setting. Lunch, including a two-fisted Brownstone Angus burger, is offered on weekdays, and there’s live music on weekends. www.thebrownstone.com.

THE CANTON CLUB EVENTS CENTER, 101 Central Plaza S, (330) 454-2582.

The Canton Club sits high atop the Chase Tower, the tallest building in Stark County. With stunning views of downtown Canton, the event center has an upscale and elegant appeal. The Canton Club is open to the public on First Fridays as well as other events throughout the year and is often host to weddings, bridal showers and other private parties. www.cantonclubevents.com.

arts_irisIRIS, 228 Fourth St. NW, (330) 313-1519.

In the space of a single day, Iris Restaurant can evolve from a lively lunch spot for downtown professionals to an atmospheric yet comfortable evening dining destination, to a buzzy nightspot with live music Thursdays and Saturdays — and First Fridays. Owner Angus McIntosh touts Iris as a celebration of American food, wines and music with eclectic specials and seasonal ingredients. www.irisdowntown.com.

NAPOLI’S ITALIAN EATERY, 221 Market Ave. N, (330) 452- 7456.

PETE’S GRILL AND PIZZA, 401 Cherry Ave. NE, (330) 452-7383.

PETER SHEAR’S DOWNTOWN, 427 Tuscarawas St. E. (330) 588-8300.

PRIMO’S, 216 Fourth St. NW, (330) 456-2511.

SHERI’S SWEETS, 401 Market Ave. N, (330) 580-5873.

GALLERIES:

arts_acmeACME ARTISTS, 332 Fourth St. NW, (330) 452-2263.

Now in its third year, Acme Artists is downtown Canton’s outpost for young, off-center and proudly “lowbrow” artwork. From Erin Mulligan’s otherworldly fairy-tale creatures to Ron Copeland’s ’50s housewives in gas masks, Buffy’s handmade retro-pinup greeting cards to John Pinkerton’s macabre stuffed toys, Acme always is a lively browse with affordable and inventive items. www.acmeartists.com.

arts_andersonANDERSON CREATIVE, 333 Cleveland Ave. NW.

True to its name, Anderson Creative Studio is a downtown gallery that fosters creativity with its provocative and ambitious themed group shows. One exhibit merged the dual influences of prose and visuals most inventively; another asked an eclectic group of area artists to interpret the Stations of the Cross. The space itself, both rough and refined, feels like the kind of inviting gallery one might find in a hip neighborhood in Chicago or Boston. 331 Cleveland Ave. NW, (330) 280-1606, www.andersoncreativestudio.com.

ART ADVENTURES STUDIO, 336 Fourth St. NW, (330) 456-0477.

BLISS STUDIO, 334 Fourth St. NW.

DA STUDIO, 340 Fourth St. NW.

JOSEPH SAXTON GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHY, 520 Cleveland Ave. NW, (330) 438-0030.

A don’t-miss downtown attraction is the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, a spacious, handsomely appointed, museum-like facility that houses a remarkable collection of photography — all of it available for purchase. Lining the walls are superb images by the likes of Diane Arbus, Edward Weston, Annie Leibowitz, Alfred Stieglitz, Mary Ellen Mark and many more. Tim Belden’s year-old gallery also brings in nationally prominent photographers, such as Steve McCurry and Art Wolfe, for exhibitions and personal appearances. 520 Cleveland Ave. NW, (330) 438-0030, www.josephsaxton.com.

OHIO ARTS & CRAFTS GUILD, 338 Fourth St. NW, (330) 456-0477.

2ND APRIL GALERIE & STUDIOS, 324 Cleveland Ave. NW, (330) 451-0924.

SHOPS:

AH BELLA’S, 310 Fourth St. NW.

JOHN GASSER & SON FINE JEWELERS, 205 Third St. NW, (330) 452- 3204

arts_julzJÜLZ BY ALAN RODRIGUEZ, 220 Market Ave. N, (330) 493-9300.

Jülz by Alan Rodriguez blends high-end jewelry in exquisitely lighted display cases with a downtown-gallery vibe that comes from exposed brick and the art exhibits that change regularly. The diamonds at Jülz are hand-selected in Antwerp, Belgium, and the selection of watches includes investment-grade collectible pieces. Services include restoring family heirlooms and creating one-of-a-kind pieces to order. 220 Market Ave. N, (330) 493-9300, www.julzbyalan.com.

SARAFINA FABRIC & HOME, 208 Court Ave. NW, (330) 456-9170.