The city of Boardman might not have flashy attractions to make it a tourist center, but it does cater well to its residents and those of neighboring cities such as Youngstown with a broad range of indoor and outdoor activities. Boardman may be known out of state as the location of the first Arby’s restaurant, but around the Mahoning Valley, it’s seen as a safe bet for some family fun or contemporary retail therapy.
Hit the Stores
As home of one of the first strip malls in the United States, Boardman is still the place where neighbors from Youngstown and many visitors from farther afield shop. The Southern Park Mall, one of the first, has 120 stores and plenty of restaurants where you can pass the time. Visitors also find everything in one place at the Shops at Boardman Park, including big name megastores, restaurants and a movie theater. Away from the malls, shoppers can explore the only indoor Amish market in Ohio at The Valley, picking up goods from pretzels to furniture. Hops aficionados will love Vintage Estate Wine and Beer, which has over a thousand beers in stock.
Mill Creek Park
The country’s second largest metropolitan city park has riverside gardens and well-preserved wetlands ready to visit. Educational tours start at the Ford Nature Center, with both natural habitat exhibits inside and a series of organized hikes outside. The 12-acre Fellows Riverside Gardens are free, and on a spring visit you'll see more than 40,000 bulbs come into bloom. Also in the park, is Lanterman’s Mill -- one of the oldest historic landmarks in the county. Fully restored in the 1980s, this working mill grinds grains and has great views over the nearby falls. Mill Creek also hosts a full program of free open-air shows and concerts.
Hikers, bikers and in-line skaters are well served by the new paved North Trail at Boardman Park, which runs for a mile, eventually linking to the 4 miles of trails throughout the park. During the summer, the park also hosts a kids' adventure day camp to encourage nature awareness and team-building. On the water, the 3,590-acre Berlin Reservoir is Ohio’s fifth largest natural lake, where you can go boating, kayaking, fishing and water skiing. The region is highly ranked for the quality of its public golf courses. The championship course at Mill Creek, Lakeland course at Reserve Run and a forest setting at Kennsington Golf Club are all in Boardman, while the surrounding Mahoning Valley is bursting with top courses.
During winter, or when the weather is bad, Boardman has more options for things to do. Sports World keeps whole families busy, with go-karts, mini golf, batting cages and arcades. Bowling fans can descend on Camelot Alley, which has open, league and Cosmic bowling accompanied by laser lights and fog. At Skate World, kids can race on go-karts, play laser and arcade games, or try their skating skills on the indoor rink. For fans of ice skating, the Ice Zone is the only Olympic-sized rink in the Mahoning Valley and also has an NFL-sized hockey rink.