This is the third installment of a three-part series on the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its expansion. The first part focused on the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and the second part detailed the other nine components of the forthcoming Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.
When the Johnson Controls Pro Football Hall of Fame Village is complete, the timing of which is planned to coincide with the NFL’s 100th season in 2019, the village will be a destination all its own — but I encourage those who visit not to miss out on the city the Pro Football Hall of Fame calls home: Canton, Ohio.
This past April, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Canton learning about the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s plans, but many of the memories that will stick with us took place off the campus.
My husband and I were lucky enough to be shown around town by a group of locals, all of whom own businesses downtown, who couldn’t have exuded more excitement and pride for their chosen home. If I’m being honest, Canton was really a travel destination that was on my radar prior to this trip, but I was happily proven wrong in my misconceptions of this vibrant city that has so much to offer beyond the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
We flew into Canton late on Friday afternoon, so that left us just enough time to sneak in dinner at a local spot. We ended up at Table Six, which was located just down the street from our hotel, the Hyatt Place in Canton (average nightly rate: $129).
Table Six was hopping on this Friday night, and it was clear the locals enjoy both the food and the drinks. If you love bacon — and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t? — you have to order the Maple Pecan Bacon ($5.80) as a starter. As you can tell from the copper mug, Table Six has a great selection of Moscow Mule varieties, which I very much enjoyed. If you arrive in time, hit the daily happy hour from 4-6 p.m.
The Hyatt Place is conveniently located less than four miles from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so we took a short drive over that morning to check out the Hall of Fame Museum and learn more about all the future plans.
After spending our day at the Hall of Fame Museum, we kicked off our evening with the Canton Underworld Experience ($48/person), a walking tour by Canton Food Tours. As we walked through “Little Chicago” in downtown Canton, we were treated to a history lesson from our guide Barb Abbott on prohibition and the speakeasy culture in Canton at the time.
During our walk, we came across the first art installation placed as part of “The ELEVEN, a $2.2 million multi-year project of ArtsinStark and The Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrating the greatest moments in professional football history. The eleven pieces of world-class art that are part of the project are placed throughout downtown Canton. This walkable exhibit is just another way in which the football culture is woven throughout the city, even off the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s campus.
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