Canton, Ohio had always been on my radar for visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What I learned after a recent visit is 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 what we recommend for your weekend to Canton, Ohio.
What to Do on Your Trip
Hartville Family Businesses
Delightful Hartville offers three unique family-operated businesses which you should definitely visit. Hartville Hardware is a huge 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 amazing selection of goods.
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 2018 summer season. Dozens of more vendors gather outdoors at the Flea Market on weekends to sell at the outdoor stalls.
Do you love learning about Presidential history? If so, Canton has a big treat for you. Visit the National First Ladies’ Library and Historic Site, the only one of its kind in the nation. Start with a guided tour through the home of William and Ida McKinley followed with a stop at the museum, complete with first ladies’ fashions, China, and other memorabilia.
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 put you in mind of the Rocky movie. Unfortunately, visitors cannot enter the tomb, but there are wonderful photo ops of the city from the top. Directly beside the National Memorial is the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, which doubles as a science center. It is an excellent place to take kids and has several interesting permanent, hands-on, and touring exhibits plus a planetarium.
More Great Photo Ops
The Canton Classic Car Museum, open 7 days a week, is a fun place to learn more about or admire vintage automobiles. Two of the more popular cars on display are the Model T Ford and the 1962 German-built Amphicar.
Afterward, drive around admiring the cool street art that fills the city of Canton at nearly every corner in the downtown area. Being a football fan, 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 great for selfies.
Canton’s Biggest Draw
It would be a shame to visit Canton without going to the incredible Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF). Exhibits include an Instant Replay Booth (see if you have what it takes to determine if a play is legitimate), Super Bowl rings, bronze busts of Hall of Fame inductees, and a photo-op with the next Vince Lombardi Trophy. This truly is “The Cradle of Professional Football”. Look for the $799 million sports and entertainment “Smart City” and Hotel opening in September 2020.
Where to Eat in Canton and Hartville
Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant is a great place to indulge in 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!
Check out the family-friendly Maize Valley Brewery, a fun choice for Ohio craft beer in Hartville. The brewery serves wine and beer plus a full menu of tasty items, such as a Reuben Sandwich and Buffalo Chicken Dip. Maize Valley also 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.
Cultured Coffee & Waffles
For a unique meal, go to Cultured Coffee & Waffles in downtown Canton. A big draw is that breakfast is served all day. The fun and funky menu options range from classic Chicken & Waffles to a mind-blowing Hell’s Chicken Waffle with buffalo chicken dip and blue cheese. Also, try Cultured Coffee & Waffle’s craft coffee or beer. I recommend the Bomb Coffee— it’s almost like dessert!
The Hartville Kitchen serves every comfort food imaginable plus a daily blue plate meal, with Fridays offering Turkey and Dressing. Guests rave about the Meatloaf and Chicken. There is a big variety of vegetable selections and side items. Bonus, homemade dinner rolls come with every meal. Save room for the enormous cakes and pies, all made onsite and guaranteed to make you salivate.
Check out our road trip to Canton via YouTube video here.
Where to Stay in Canton
Canton offers both a Hampton Inn & Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton at affordable rates. The tastefully decorated Hambleton House is a great choice if you are searching for a bed and breakfast option. My favorite part of staying at a B&B is always the fantastic breakfast that is included.
In Hartville, stay at the friendliest and most stylish Comfort Suites you’ve ever seen. Rates range between $85-100 per night. Breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking are included.
A Hidden Gem That Will Surely Impress
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, upscale restaurant (The Bistro), casual eatery offering wine tours (Crush House), plus villas and farmhouse accommodations. Consider staying there for a romantic getaway or for a large group reservation.
Gervasi’s wines come from the vineyards on the property. In business less than ten years, the Gervasi Vineyards has won several awards for their smooth wines. 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. It is very sweet and a great dessert pairing.
If you are lucky enough to dine at The Bistro, try a gourmet pizza or the House Made Ravioli. Both are excellent choices. The restaurant is really something to see and uses local and seasonal products as available.
Canton and Hartville: A Road Trip Full of Surprises
Canton and Hartville are quite the consummate hosts for your weekend getaway. With super affordability, family-friendly hotspots, and both important sports and historical attractions, our weekend guide to Canton should please most anyone. Safe travels.
If we have missed something you know and love in Canton, please leave us a comment.
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