Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Canton, OH

  • Published 2022/12/07

Canton is a unique location in Ohio, with many beautiful places to visit.

Canton is the county seat of Stark County, recognized as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame League and the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

However, the city has more to offer.

While visiting Canton, explore historical landmarks and museums to deeply understand the local culture and history.

There are many great attractions that you won’t want to miss!

Here are the free things to do in Canton, Ohio:

Pay Your Respects at William McKinley National Memorial

View of William McKinley National Memorial

Zack Frank /

Visiting a United States president’s tomb is a way to appreciate their deeds for the country.

William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, is laid to rest in a massive circular, domed mausoleum in the William McKinley National Memorial.

During construction, the entrance’s two bronze doors were the biggest in the country.

Likewise, a long, small reflecting pool once spread out from the bottom of a hill at the front of the mausoleum.

Kids climbing the stairs at William McKinley National Memorial

Barbara Kalbfleisch /

This feature, along with the 108 stone stairs leading up to the mausoleum, represented the President’s sword in times of war.

They swapped out the pool for a stretch of low grass in 1951 but kept the blade feature.

Up the steps, about halfway, is where you’ll find a massive bronze sculpture by Charles Henry Niehaus.

It depicts President McKinley giving his final speech in Buffalo.

The memorial includes a museum about McKinley’s life and Presidency.

View from William McKinley National Memorial

Zack Frank /

Today, the memorial is one of Canton’s most popular tourist attractions.

Visitors can explore the museum, view the tomb, or join one of the many events held at the memorial each year.

Visit the William McKinley National Memorial and remember his legacy.

Enjoy a Family Picnic at Cook Park

Cook Park is the perfect place in Canton to enjoy a picnic with the entire family.

The park features a playground, pavilions, and plenty of open space to run around.

It also has a walking trail that winds through the park, making it a great place to exercise.

Likewise, you can take your kids fishing at Cook’s Lagoon or take photos at the park bridge.

Pack your picnic basket and head to Cook Park for a fun day in the sun!

Check Out the Frankenstein Grave

Speaking of the memorial, did you know there is a grave just behind the McKinley Memorial Park that attracts many curious visitors?

Canton’s West Lawn Cemetery has a headstone with the word “Frankenstein” carved on its polished granite face.

The Frankenstein Grave has become a source of fascination for many people, who believe it is haunted by paranormal activity.

The interest in this grave is mainly due to the myth and legend surrounding the name Frankenstein.

The stone is frequently visited and mentioned by people who have made frightening visits to it throughout their youth.

Brace yourself when you visit Frankenstein’s Grave because it may spook you!

Relax Your Body and Mind at Sippo Lake Park

Sippo Lake Park is a beautiful spot for a day out in Canton to spend time on a quiet stroll by yourself.

The park offers various activities for visitors, from fishing and boating to hiking and picnicking.

The lake is a great place to relax and take in the scenery, and plenty of shaded spots to escape the summer heat.

You will feel in harmony with nature when you hear the birds singing and feel the cold breeze blowing around you.

Spending time here will be a refreshing experience.

With so much to see and do, Sippo Lake Park is the perfect place to spend some time alone or enjoy the day with family or friends.

See the Stunning Artwork at the Hub Art Factory

You can find stunning artwork in this fantastic vibrant hub in Canton.

The Hub Art Factory is a local art gallery in Canton that showcases the work of regional artists.

The gallery opened its doors and became a hub for creativity in the community.

The gallery features a range of artworks, from paintings and photography to sculpture and installation pieces.

Adding to the exhibits, the Hub Art Factory also offers workshops and classes for children and adults.

These classes allow people to learn new skills and explore their creativity.

The Hub Art Factory is dedicated to supporting the local arts community, and its efforts have made Canton a more vibrant and thriving city.

Stop by and enjoy your time appreciating artworks in this hub!

Take Pictures at Centennial Plaza

Going to the two-acre Centennial Plaza will show you the Canton sign, a symbolic gesture to the McKinley Monument and the city’s prominence as the birthplace of professional football.

The Canton Sign is strategically located downtown in one of the most attractive sites.

It is also the city’s most popular photo opportunity location, symbolizing the communities’ influence and lasting legacy.

The downtown landmark includes a cafe, a 5,000-person event field, and a high-definition movie screen.

There is also an 11 NFL 100 Year Player Recognition Steles, which honor every NFL player on an active roster throughout the National Football League’s first 100 years.

Drop by the Centennial Plaza and take a photo with the Canton sign!

Smell the Flowers at the Canton Garden Center

The Canton Garden Center has the best gardens in the city.

It’s located in Stadium Park and has different beautiful gardens, including a Children’s Garden.

The garden offers picturesque views that feel like they came from a fairy tale.

The Canton Garden Club wants to provide a free and central source of gardening information for anyone interested in making their home or neighborhood more beautiful.

They also want to promote and train the youth to appreciate our natural resources, so they host events for adults and children open to the public.

If you want a green thumb, the Canton Garden Center is the perfect place to find everything you need about planting and gardening.

Take a Mindfulness Walk at Petros Lake Park

Petros Lake Park is the perfect place to enjoy a day outdoors, with 127 acres of waterways and beautiful grasslands.

Not only can you picnic and take scenic walks at the park, but there are also shelters where you can have a picnic with friends or family.

You can also fish here, adding to the fun!

The loop walk around the lake is excellent for exercise, or you can explore one of the other small nature trails.

They also have a one-mile Mindfulness Walk with ten mental health stations.

You will see a variety of flowers and trees as you take a peaceful stroll through nature.

These greeneries will help you relax while doing activities in the ten stations that foster mental health.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a stroll and clear your head by enjoying the mindfulness walk at Petros Lake Park.

Taste the Water at John Barker Spring House

If you ever get thirsty while taking a tour in Canton, stop by the John Baker Spring House.

John Baker Spring House offers water from its stainless steel faucets and sinks.

Don’t worry.

The water from the springhouse is cool, clean, and fresh, so it’s safe to drink.

It’s along the roadside on the park’s outskirts and is maintained by the city government.

Just stop by this springhouse when you get thirsty from your long walks!

Complete Your Exercise Session at Stadium Park

The best place to get active in Canton is the stunning Stadium Park.

Featuring a baseball stadium, football stadium, and basketball arena, the park has something for every sports fan.

Best of all, these facilities are free to the public.

Adding to the athletic amenities is a playground, picnic area, and nature area consisting of 68 acres of land and walking trails where you can run.

Stadium Park is a popular destination for both Canton residents and visitors.

Its wide range of activities means that there is something for everyone to use while they try to keep fit.

Stretch your muscles at Stadium Park!

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

You can also check out other must-see attractions nearby in Canton.

Make sure to visit these places whenever you visit the city.

Take a Selfie at Umbrella Alley

View of Umbrella Alley

Bskiba14 /

The city of Louisville, Ohio, just 15 minutes from Canton, is home to Umbrella Alley, an art attraction that will brighten your day.

Umbrella Alley is more than a beautiful place for visitors to take photos.

It has become a popular destination spot, attracting people around the Tri-State area.

Visitors can enjoy to-go lunches from any lovely local eateries or meet with loved ones.

Colorful umbrellas at Umbrella Alley

John Judnick /

Enjoy seeing the umbrellas hanging in the air as chairs and benches line the alley.

The umbrellas provide shade on hot summer days, making the alley a calm oasis in the city.

The next time you’re looking for a unique photo op or a place to escape the heat near Canton, check out Umbrella Alley in Louisville!

See the Animals at Joseph J. and Helen M. Sommer Wildlife Conservation Center

The Joseph J. and Helen M. Sommer Wildlife Conservation Center is a nature preserve in Massillon, Ohio, just 13 minutes from Canton.

The preserve is home to various birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants.

The Sommer Wildlife Conservation Center is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.

The center has an indoor atrium featuring various displays and exhibits all year.

The center’s non-releasable wildlife animals are kept in outdoor cages where they join educational programs relating to wildlife for schools, community events, libraries, and flexible learning.

The Joseph J. and Helen M. Sommer Wildlife Conservation Center is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the natural world.

Wander the Massillon Museum

Exterior view of Massillon Museum

Mikenbridge, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Massillon Museum is a must-see for any history buff visiting Ohio.

Located in the town of Massillon, just 17 minutes from Canton, the galleries of the Massillon Museum are filled with creative art shows, sometimes historical.

The primary museum contains award-winning, frequently in-house exhibitions rotating roughly five times per year.

Second-floor galleries often emphasize the permanent collection; the museum has over 100,000 artifacts to choose from!

While a 1907 Massillon-built Jewel automobile is almost constantly on exhibit, the photography gallery varies regularly.

This gallery features modern artists, and showcases themed selections from the 60,000 photos of the collection.

Exhibits on permanent display are the Paul Brown football exhibition and the Immel Circus, a 100-square-foot hand-carved tiny circus lot surrounded by old circus posters, photographs, movies, and costumes.

Whether you’re interested in American history or simply looking for a fun day out, the Massillon Museum should offer something of interest.

Let Your Kids Have Fun at Mary C. Metzger Park

Go to this park in Louisville, just 17 minutes from Canton, to let your kids play all they want.

Mary C. Metzger donated this beautiful land spanning 88 acres to establish the park.

The Mary C. Merger Park features pavilions, and miles of walking, running, and biking trails.

Your kids will enjoy the so-called Magical Rainbow Playground of the Louisville community, soccer fields, and grasslands for picnics.

The park is well-maintained and offers an excellent place for families to spend time together.

If you want to take your family for a picnic or just let your kids play outdoors, visit Mary C. Metzger Park!

See the Hoover Company at Hoover Historical Center

Facade of Hoover Historical Center

Sanfranman59, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hoover Historical Center is located in North Canton, 13 minutes from Canton.

The center is dedicated to preserving the history of the Hoover Company and its founder, William Hoover.

The museum features exhibits on the history of the Hoover Company and its products, as well as the life of William Hoover.

Information plank at Hoover Historical Center

Barbara Kalbfleisch /

The center also houses a research library and archives containing documents and artifacts related to the Hoover Company and its founder.

Visitors to the center can learn about the history of the Hoover Company, see artifacts from its past, and view documents and photographs from the archives.

The Hoover Historical Center is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the Hoover Company or William Hoover.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a fun day to explore beautiful outdoor areas or an educational time learning about the area’s history, you’ll find something exciting to do at Canton!

Remember these free things to do in Canton, Ohio, on your next visit to the area to make the most of your trip!

Start planning your trip to Canton with these destinations in mind.

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