Visiting Canton - What to See and Do
(Akron Canton Regional Airport (CAK) Canton, Ohio, USA)
The industrial city of Canton is one of Ohio's many mid-size urban centers. Together with the city of Akron - America's 'Rubber Capital' just North, these two cities form one of the main communities in the northeastern part of the state. Though few people consider this city as a travel destination, it does have a handful of noteworthy attractions.
The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame is here, along with the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. You can take a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad or browse the artwork on display in the Canton Museum of Art. However, it is hard to escape the pervasive influence of football since this city was the home of professional American football. A visit during the annual Football Hall of Fame Festival in August is always a fun time.
There is a smattering of culture from the Canton Symphony Orchestra and the charming 1920s Palace Theater, which hosts most of the touring concerts, plays and other special performing arts events. This unpretentious Ohio city may not blow your mind, but it is a solid representation of the state as a whole. It is also a key gateway to the Amish Country in Central Ohio, and was the hometown of President McKinley.
Ten things you must do in Canton
- The sport of professional American football got its start in this very city, prompting officials to establish the Professional Football Hall of Fame here. Inside is the world's biggest collection of professional football memorabilia, along with special film rooms showing highlight reels and other interesting relics from the sport. Fans of the NFL should definitely visit this one.
- The Canton Classic Car Museum is an ideal place to spend an hour or two if you like vintage automobiles. Around 50 rare and unusual cars are on show inside this popular attraction. However, the real highlight is the collection of thousands of different pieces of automotive memorabilia, antiques and even vintage motoring fashion.
- Canton is the hometown of US President William McKinley, so it is no surprise that this city serves as the location of his William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. The library contains all of the personal effects of this obscure president, along with rooms full of period photos and other relevant artifacts from his tenure. Just as interesting is the huge memorial located on a hill just outside of the library and museum.
- The Canton Symphony Orchestra has been playing together in this city since the 1930s. If you are in the mood for an evening of classical music, you can find this group playing somewhere in town most weeks of the year. The symphony covers a range of musical styles, from new music to the classics.
- At the beginning of every August the town hosts the Pro Football Hall of Fame festival, an event that kicks off the new NFL season with the AFC-NFC All-Star Game. This popular pre-season match is played at the Fawcett Stadium, home to the city's two big high school teams.
- Take a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway for a really enjoyable three-hour journey between Canton and Akron, with a connecting rail line between Akron and Independence. You can spend a whole day cruising around this scenic region of Ohio, and the tracks run right through the amazing Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
- The First Ladies National Historic Site will be very interesting to anyone with a thing for American presidential culture. Opened in 2000, this venue celebrates the role that each of the US First Ladies played during their time in the White House. It is mainly academic, but there is nothing else like it in the country.
- The city's finest Victorian mansion attraction is the former home of President McKinley himself. Visitors are welcome to tour the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home, located right in the downtown district near several other historic sites. Costumed guides give tours of this amazing 1841 mansion that is still furnished as it looked during that Victorian era.
- The only notable art repository in this town is the Canton Museum of Art. It was opened in 1935 and has a decent little collection of American artwork, watercolors and ceramics. The bulk of the collection is made up of 19th- and 20th-century American artists complemented by regularly rotating temporary exhibits.
- If you want a night out on the town, check what is playing at the 1920s Palace Theater. This gorgeous old theater has been wonderfully restored right down to the moving sky on its ceiling. Everything from plays to music concerts are held here, and the atmosphere is always good.