Canton, Ohio is as synonymous with football excellence as Cooperstown, NY is with the nations greatest past times. But for me, Canton is more than just a spot where the NFL greats get inducted as hall of famers, it is the town in which I was born and raised. For this reason I would like to share with you the top things to do in Canton, Ohio from a local’s perspective.
1. The Pro Football Hall of Fame – In 1963 the National Football League (NFL) chose Canton, Ohio as the location for their Hall of Fame. What many people don’t know is that Canton was the original birthplace of what is now the NFL. In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was birthed in Canton and would eventually become the National Football League. Canton was also home to one of professional football’s original teams, the Canton Bulldogs.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has gone through dramatic improvements and additions since I was a kid. It is has become a fun and interactive place where fans can experience the game like never before. At the time of this writing, tickets costs are adults – $18.00, children (14 and under) – $12.00 , senior citizens over 62 – $15.00 and children (5 and under) are free. Located next to the Hall of Fame is Fawcett Stadium, which is now home to the Canton-McKinley Bulldogs (a high school team). Fawcett Stadium is where the Hall of Fame game is held every year.
2. National First Ladies’ Library – The First Ladies’ Library is also a National Historic Site and is located in downtown Canton. This site is comprised of two locations. The first is the library education and research center which boasts a 91 seat Victorian theater on the lowest level and shows films about the U.S. first ladies. The second is the Saxton-McKinley house which is where President William McKinley and his wife, Ida, lived while McKinley served in the House of Representatives.
3. Eat at The Pizza Oven – This is a place that the locals know all about. If you are looking for a great pizza, then Pizza Oven is the place to go. Whenever I go back to Canton, I make sure to get one of their classic pizzas. I wouldn’t exactly call them a hole-in-the-wall, but they are a place that you MUST go to if you are visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many pro football players and cheerleaders even go there to eat whenever they are in town. Yes, it’s that good!!
4. The McKinley Museum and National Memorial – The McKinley Museum is located just about a mile or two from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is a place that honors the life of president William McKinley. Near the monument grounds are an eternal flame, flower gardens and a city park. The museum is a great place to go for history buffs. This is a great place to go to learn about the life of our nation’s 25th president.