(UPDATED OCTOBER 2022) Canton, Ohio, has always been on my radar for visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After a visit, I learned that Canton, and neighboring city Hartville, pack a big punch for a road trip, even without the Hall of Fame, or HOF. Here, you will find friendly locals, unique businesses, hidden gems, and world-class attractions. Check out my weekend guide recommendations for what to see and do in Canton, Ohio.
Canton Museums and Attractions
You will be surprised to see how many things there are to do and see in Canton, Ohio. I always try to visit presidential sites, and there are two important ones in the area, plus a noteworthy car museum.
Visit the National First Ladies Library and Historic Site in Canton, the only one of its kind. Start with a guided tour through William and Ida McKinley’s home, followed by a stop at the museum, complete with first ladies’ fashions, China, and other memorabilia. The dress exhibit is fantastic, and I was thrilled to see the First Ladies getting their own space.
Minutes away is the gorgeous McKinley National Memorial, the final resting place of the 25th US President. Be sure to take the stairs to the top of the memorial; they will remind you of the Rocky movie. Unfortunately, visitors cannot enter the tomb, but there are incredible photo-ops of the city from the top.
The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is directly beside the National Memorial, which doubles as a science center. It is an excellent place to take kids and has interesting permanent, hands-on, and touring exhibits. You can even see a planetarium show at this multi-faceted venue.
The Canton Classic Car Museum, open seven days a week is fun to learn about or admire vintage automobiles. Two of the more popular cars on display are the Model T Ford and the 1962 German-built Amphicar.
Murals and Cultural Draws
Afterward, drive around admiring the impressive street art that fills the city of Canton at nearly every corner in the downtown area. I’m a football fan, and my favorites were “The NFL Draft, 1936” and the multiple-story Jim Thorpe above 5th Street and DeWalt Avenue. Don’t miss the classic postcard mural in the center of town, part of a series of the same across America, which is excellent for selfies.
The Incredible Pro Football HOF
It would be a shame to visit Canton without going to the incredible Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF). Even if you do not like football as a sport, the museum is world-class and has displays, artifacts, and state-of-the-art offerings that would still be of interest.
- Ann Instant Replay Booth (see if you have what it takes to determine if a play is legitimate.
- Super Bowl ring.
- Bronzee busts of Hall of Fame inductee.
- A photo-op with the next Vince Lombardi Trophy
Canton truly is “The Cradle of Professional Football.”
Delightful Canton Dining Options
Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant is a great place to indulge for lunch or an inexpensive snack. The restaurant has been serving Canton since 1926. Choose from a wide array of salads, sandwiches, soup, or chili, but be sure to save room for an ice cream treat. My favorite, The Bittner, is Taggart’s signature item. This sinfully delicious combination mixes vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and is topped with salty, roasted pecans. Yummy!
Nearby, in Hartville, is the family-friendly Maize Valley Brewery, a fun choice for Ohio craft beer. The brewery serves wine and beer while offering a full menu of tasty items, such as a Reuben Sandwich and Buffalo Chicken Dip. Maize Valley has a small market, live music, and often special festivities. Try a flight of beer or wine (the Big Red Pecker is a hot choice) and pair it with a tasty cheese platter. It is common to see a variety of ages at Maize Valley having fun together and enjoying live music.
Gervasi Vineyards is one of the coolest-hidden gems we’ve discovered to date. The private property, nestled in a beautiful setting, contains a high-end retail store, an upscale restaurant (The Bistro), a casual eatery offering wine tours (Crush House), plus villas and farmhouse accommodations. Consider staying there for a romantic getaway or a large group reservation.
Gervasi’s award-winning wines come from the vineyards on the property. Opt for Fioretto if you like crisp white wine or Velluto for a fuller-bodied red. Gervasi also carries Ice Wine, so if you haven’t tried it, be sure to. Ice wine is a very sweet and great for enjoying with or instead of dessert.
If you are lucky enough to dine at The Bistro, try a gourmet pizza or the House Made Ravioli. Both are excellent choices. You will surely enjoy a stellar meal and dining experience, from the complimentary bread to the professional service. The Bistro, using fresh and seasonal local products when available, is really something special.
Hartville: Too Amazing and Too Close to Miss
Delightful Hartville offers three unique family-operated businesses that you should visit. Hartville Hardware is a substantial two-story 305,000 sq. Ft. store that even features an idea house inside. The model home is fully furnished with trendy decor, state-of-the-art appliances, and HGTV favorites. Women will love this store as much as men! I was more than impressed with the hardware store’s fantastic selection of goods.
The Hartville Kitchen serves every comfort food imaginable, including a daily blue plate meal with a wide variety of veggies and side items. Honkin’ big homemade dinner rolls accompany your meal. Guests rave about the Meatloaf and Chicken but save room for the cakes and pies (made on-site), which are guaranteed to make you drool.
At Hartville Kitchen, shop the market for fresh baked goods, candy, cheeses, specialty items, and other tasty treats. There is also a gift shop with souvenirs, Alex & Ani, Pandora, Vera Bradley, high-end ladies’ apparel, and much more.
Shop from more than 200 vendors at the Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market, expanding for the summer season. Dozens of more vendors gather outdoors at the Flea Market on weekends to sell at the outdoor stalls.
Where to Stay
Canton offers both a Hampton Inn & Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton at affordable rates. The tastefully decorated Hambleton House is a choice if you search for a bed and breakfast option. My favorite part of staying at a B&B is always the delicious complimentary breakfast. In Hartville, stay at the friendliest and most stylish Comfort Suites you’ve ever seen. Rates range between $90-100 per night. Breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking are included.
Canton and Hartville: A Trip Full of Surprises
Canton and Hartville are quite the consummate hosts for your weekend getaway. With super affordability, family-friendly hotspots, and both essential sports and historical attractions, our weekend guide to Canton should please most anyone. Safe travels.
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