Inside: Join along as I explore Canton, Ohio, including outdoor recreation, national attractions, historic sites, a vibrant art scene and some seriously amazing food and wine! This is an easy weekend trip from Columbus, Ohio and perfect whether you’re looking for a family-friendly trip or a romantic getaway.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the hunt for a fun weekend trip from Columbus. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much we have to explore right here in beautiful Ohio. And I’m embarrassed to say that even though I’ve lived in Columbus my whole life, this was my first visit to the Canton area. And you guys – I’ve been missing out.
10 Reasons To Visit Canton – An Easy Weekend Trip From Columbus!
Canton is full of all the things that I love – delicious food. Wineries and vineyards to explore. A vibrant art scene. Plenty of outdoor recreation. Museums and historic sites. Plus, it’s such an easy weekend trip from Columbus. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or fun for the whole family, Canton has it all.
So today, I’m sharing 10 reasons to visit Canton!
The Pro Football Hall of Fame
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really into sports. Like at all. So no one was more surprised than me at how much fun the Pro Football Hall of Fame was to visit. My 8 year daughter and I thought we were being good “sports” as we pulled into the parking lot of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After all, it was Father’s Day, and my husband is a huge football fan. So of course we were going to go along and pretend we were having a lot of fun.
But – we actually LOVED it! And I really recommend giving this a visit. For me, it was incredibly inspiring to get to hear all the stories from players and coaches about overcoming physical hurdles and mental battles. It was so fascinating to see how the football uniforms have changed over the years. My daughter loved trying on a championship ring and football gear. The two theater shows are incredibly well done. They had an exhibit where you could listen in on what the players and coaches talked about during a few games, and I laughed so hard.
My tips: Plan on spending at least 3 hours at this attraction. It is self-guided and you can go at your own speed. If you’re on a tighter schedule, the highlights are the two theater shows, and the video where you get to listen to the coaches and players talk throughout the game. The attraction is kid-friendly, and children under 6 are FREE!
Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant
You can’t visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame, without a trip to Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant. In business since 1926, Taggart’s is an institution and Canton landmark. Your weekend trip to Canton should most definitely include a stop here. Walking in to Taggart’s feels like you’re stepping back in time. Vintage, high-backed maple booths, marble counters, and an antique soda fountain.
They are well known for their delicious ice cream and generous portions, but I recommend having a meal here as well. Food is delicious and affordable, and very kid-friendly!
My tips: Kids meals come with a drink and a side, but adult meals are all ala carte. A side of fries is generous and plenty for the whole table to share. Their ice-cream sundaes are huge and cheap! We shared a large amongst the three of us and couldn’t even finish.
Stark Parks for Outdoor Recreation
After a meal (and ice cream) at Taggart’s, you might want to go for a beautiful hike in nearby Stark Parks. With dozens of local trails, you’ll find easy trails to follow with little ones, or more challenging hikes to get a good workout in. Check out nearby Sippo Lake and rent kayaks, canoes, boats, and paddle boats at incredibly affordable prices! I also recommend a stop at the Stark Parks Visitor Center.
There’s a window that you can peek through to watch animals being rehabilitated and watching a park ranger feed baby opossums was the highlight of my trip. Called joeys, these tiny babes were being bottle-fed through a skinny tube. Fun fact: Opossums are pregnant for only 12 days before giving birth to little-bitty jelly-bean sized joeys. These babies crawl into mama’s pouch, where they feed and remain for up to 2 months.
My tips: Bring sunscreen and plenty of water to drink before a day of hiking and boating.
Experience Hartville – Flea Market, Hardware Store, Shops, and the Hartville Kitchen & Bakery
You could spend an entire day exploring this Hartville, Ohio attraction. With a large flea market, hardware store, many boutique shops, and a welcoming restaurant & bakery, there’s plenty to do for the entire family.
While we didn’t have a meal at the Hartville Kitchen, we could tell it was extremely popular by the long lines to get in. Don’t worry, the line moves pretty fast! Serving homey comfort foods, Hartville Kitchen is sure to be a fan favorite. You can also pop in to the bakery for sweet treats and even a few savory sides, all packed up and ready to be taken on a picnic. We sampled cookies from the bakery and they were excellent AND affordable. We also loved walking through the boutique shops and sampling chocolate at the craft chocolate shop.
For a full write-up on all the cool things to do, check out my friend Nick’s blog post “The Comfort of Home in Hartville.”
My whole family fell in love with Gervasi Vineyard and I can’t wait to come back. This would be a PERFECT place to go for a romantic weekend getaway, but it’s also great for a family-friendly meal.
Featuring stunning views, wine pairings, distillery tastings, live music, and some of the best meals and service I’ve experienced, you should most definitely put Gervasi Vineyard on your list. We actually enjoyed two meals here. We stopped in to the Still House for a delicious breakfast and fell in love with their Abruzzo-style coffee and warm pastries.
And for lunch, we dined at the Piazza – an outdoor patio with breathtaking views. It was actually rainy that day, but they had large, event-style umbrellas on their patio, and there’s nothing quite as romantic as dining outside, while the rain softly falls all around you. I enjoyed a glass of their delicious rosé with my lunch and I’ll be honest – I didn’t want to leave.
Canton Museum of Art
I have an 8 year old budding artist living under my roof, so of course we had to sample the vibrant art scene in Canton. My little one signed up for not one, but TWO art camps this summer and this was her absolute favorite stop in Canton. One of Ohio’s premier art museums, the Canton Museum of Art focuses on American art as expressed on paper, through watercolor, and ceramics. The museum is set up to be self-guided, but if you’d like a tour guide, you can make a reservation in advance. Guided tours are about 45 minutes in length and suitable for all ages. These tours are always FREE (however donations are accepted).
Groups also have the option to add on an artist’s workshop after the tour. Suitable for all age groups, students will participate in a 45-minute art workshop. The cost is only $4 a student!
We also had a lot of fun with the Downtown Canton Scavenger Hunt! You can download an app to play and it’s totally free. You’ll walk through the museum to find some art treasures, as well as around the downtown area. Plan on roughly 2 hours to complete the scavenger hunt. Upon completion, you’ll get a cool prize!
For more details, check out the link here.
My tips: Wear comfy shoes if you’re planning on completing the scavenger hunt!
Another cool artsy spot is Umbrella Alley. Colorful and quirky, your whole family will love this art installation. While we were there, they had live music and crafts for the kids to do, too. It was also fun wandering the area and watching local artists paint and create art on the sidewalks. We also stopped in to the Louisville-Nimshillen Historical Society for a quick walk through to check out all their bits of local history.
And I highly recommend a meal at Unhitched Brewery, right on the corner of Umbrella Alley. Featuring live music, cold drafts and delicious food, this was another spot that my family just didn’t want to leave. We sat outside on their large patio space and found it to be extremely kid-friendly. Unhitched Brewery is one of the stops along the Hall of Fame Hops Craft Brew Trail!
My tips: Try the pizza and burger at Unhitched, and if you like a little kick, the spicy cauliflower appetizer is CRAZY DELICIOUS.
William McKinley Memorial Library and Museum
I know what you’re thinking because I thought it, too – sounds like it might be a little boring for little ones. But despite the grown-up sounding name, the William McKinley Memorial Library and Museum is fun for all ages, and ESPECIALLY for little ones. Adults and kids alike will love the entertaining planetarium show (FREE with admission) as well as the historical village, complete with shops and homes to walk through.
On the lower level, you’ll find some cool kid-friendly science exhibits, and I personally loved learning about President McKinley and seeing his personal effects that were on display. Right outside is the William McKinley National Memorial, and a great spot to go for a little walk. There’s also a few picnic tables if you’d like to pack a picnic.
My tips: Your admission is good for the whole day, so I recommend spending some time exploring the museum, heading out to walk along the McKinley Memorial, have a picnic lunch outside, and then heading back in to explore a bit more.
Maize Valley Winery and Craft Brewery
Maize Valley was such a fun spot and I think it’s perfect for both a romantic getaway and also for family-friendly fun. We spent hours here – exploring the property, drinking wine, eating dinner and listening to live music. There’s something pretty special about enjoying a warm summer night outside, with a glass of wine in your hand and great music all around.
Stop in for a wine tasting, or to shop their market – featuring locally-grown produce, fresh baked pies, homemade fudge, jams, gourmet dips, and even some artisan gifts. If you’re not into wine, no worries, because Maize Valley also features great craft beer.
We enjoyed dinner on their patio, while listening to live music. Afterwards we wandered around the property. Depending on the season you can pick sunflowers or fresh lavender. There’s also a play area for kids and even cute goats!
Canton is a Quick Weekend Trip From Columbus!
And my last reason to visit Canton? It’s only 2 hours away, making it a perfect weekend trip from Columbus! I know it can hard to carve out the time to take a vacation. Which is why I’m always looking for a great idea for a weekend getaway. Canton has so much to experience that you might even want to make it a long weekend!
Where to Stay in Canton:
Comfort Suites Hartville – This newly appointed hotel is right next to the Hartville Kitchen & Bakery and a great location to base your Canton trip. It offers free breakfast and a pool!
Quality Inn Hall of Fame – This hotel features free breakfast and is located right by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Gervasi Vineyard – If you’re looking for luxury and romance, nothing beats this Tuscan-inspired resort.
We had so much fun visiting Canton. We’ll be back!