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Downtown Toledo: Lauren Farnsworth

Downtown Toledo Skyline

Table Forty 4

The Blarney

Toledo Art Museum

Lauren Farnsworth was born and raised in Toledo. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a degree in journalism, and now is now the Change Leadership & Communications Specialist at Owens Corning. As a Toledo native, Lauren has a life-long knowledge and familiarity with the city and knows all of the many unique cultural and social opportunities it has to offer.
The Great Outdoors 
For outdoor enthusiasts, downtown Toledo has much to offer. Being located on the Maumee River, the riverfront offers a wide range of outdoor sporting and recreational activities. For young professionals also looking to socialize, check out the Toledo Sport and Social Club. The club is close to downtown Toledo, just across the river, and offers indoor leagues, sand volleyball, and tons of other teams. They are open to people of any age but tend to attract mostly young professionals.
There is a new metropark being built at the base of the Owens Corning office at the high level bridge, which will be an excellent addition to the riverfront's amenities. The Owens Corning campus also features a walking trail with indigenous plant and wildlife.
For locavores looking for fresh, local foods, the Toledo Farmers Market on weekends in the spring, summer and fall offers fresh, seasonal, locally-grown produce as well as a meat shack that is open year-round. This is also a place to buy various home goods like candles and soaps, and the market hosts a variety of different events throughout the year including a chili cook-off and Halloween activities.

Arts & Culture 
Lauren says that the Toledo Museum of Art is one of the best in the country. In addition to their permanent and touring exhibits, every first Friday the museum is open later and hosts a free concert – everything from blues to jazz to swing to classical. (There's also a cash bar, so you can enjoy a beverage while you listen to great music.) For more outdoor live music during the summer, the Brown Bag Summer Concert Series presented by the Toledo Library brings in bands every Wednesday during lunchtime for free, everything from Celtic bands to African drums, so downtown workers can grab a bite to eat and sit outdoors while enjoying the music during their lunch break.
Film buffs and historic preservationists will love the Valentine Theatre, a 117-year-old theater that once had one of the largest stages of any theatre in the country. It now hosts live performances and screenings of silver screen classics, like It's A Wonderful Life during Christmas (and they're cheap to see). The Toledo Zoo also hosts outdoor concerts in the summer.
Toledo has a vibrant arts scene with many galleries and art studios located downtown. During the summer, downtown Toledo hosts the Toledo Art Walk when people can explore the galleries, studios and art stores. These art walks bring in a lot of people downtown to explore. The Art Supply Depo also offers art classes in painting, drawing and more, starting with beginners' levels where no prior experience or skills are necessary. The Gathered Gallery & Studio offers glass-blowing classes, also an homage to the city's heritage as "Glass City."

Dining and Drinking 
For food and drink, Toledo has a couple of great Irish pubs to relax and enjoy a pint. The Blarney has a huge St. Patrick's Day as well as the Irish Festival in the summer with live music and a ton of great energy. Mickey Finn's is an older bar located in a historic 1870s building with a restored original tin ceiling. The building itself has a lot of character, as do the acts inside. Mickey Finn's brings in live entertainment regularly and there is space to dance. For those who prefer quieter conversation, the pub is comprised of two separate spaces; the other is quieter without the live band.
Downtown dwellers and workers have plenty of dining options.  A new Mediterranean restaurant called Lazeez offers sandwiches, hummus and other Mediterranean specialties that are ideal for lunch downtown. The deli Focaccia's is only open for lunch and has good salads, sandwiches, gyros, an assortment of desserts and ice cream to go. Grumpy's is another great place for lunch, famous for their "Garbage Salad" – which is, as you might have guessed, a little of everything. (Lauren also loves their cookies.) If you have a sweet tooth like Lauren, check out Michael's Cafe and Bakery, which she promises has the best brownies ever.
For more leisurely dining, Lauren recommends Table Forty 4 for great food and a great patio in the summer. They also have bands in the evening. The Greek restaurant Manos has solid Greek food and live entertainment. Ice Restaurant has an eclectic menu and is great in the evenings, with talent on the weekends. Home Slice is a small, intimate bar that serves pizza, and their upstairs gets a totally different party vibe with live music in the evening. The Bronz Bar is a locals' spot, two stories with pool tables upstairs and live bands on weekends. 

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