Hello fellow rumblers. I am a lifelong Bills fan who happens to live in Canton Ohio. After Bills great Andre Reed was announced as a Hall of Famer (congrats Andre, well deserved and long overdue), I have received multiple calls/inquiries from Bills fans who want to come down to enjoy the festivities (the enshrinement dinner, speeches, and game are the highlights). The basic questions are: what is there to do and where should I stay. I figured I might as well put up a quick post answering those questions for the BR community.
Places to Stay:
1: Anywhere in Belden Village...Belden Village is basically the mall area. Its a few miles away from the hall. You hop on the highway and you are there in about 5 minutes. The belden village area is littered with hotels as well as many bars and restaurants. It is one of the more popular places that visitors stay when they come into town for the HOF. I would recommend the Holiday Inn.
2: The McKinley Grand Hotel: This is in 'downtown' Canton. A lot of the HOF festivities are at the Canton Civic Center so it is really close to the action. Downtown Canton is not as nice as Belden Village, but it also has a lot of restaurants and bars (just stay away from Cherry street and Shorb...not good areas). If you are into autograph seeking, I know a few players stay at the Mck Grand.
3; Glemoor Country Club: This is by far the most expensive place to stay, but if you got a couple extra bucks laying around, it is definitely the place to go. Its about 10-15 minutes away from the Hall, but most of the players stay there. Additionally, the PGA Firestone event typically the same week as the HOF, so a lot of golfers stay there as well. A majority of the players stay there. A lot of players have their private parties there as well. When I was younger, I picked up autographs (much to the chagrin of the manager out there) from guys like Montana, Howie Long, Roger Craig, Kelly, Pete Carroll, Shula, etc. Sidestory/rant: The only person ever to turn me down was Tiger Woods. He was waiting for his car at the valet and i said, Excuse me Mr. Woods, may I please have your autograph. He looked at me and said 'No boy, Im done for the day'. I was 16 and he was 24 at the time.
Places to hangout:
1. Paninis/Pub: This place is in Belden Village right across the street from the Holiday Inn. They really do it up for the HOF weekend. I like to think of it as 3 different bars. They rope off the parking lot and have a stage and a lot of bands play (and the infamous wet t shirt contest where girls from the strip club across the street go to make a couple extra bucks on a Thursday night). There are beer trucks in the parking lot. Additionally, there is nice patio bar out there as well. Inside the Paninis part of the bar, they also usually have live music. There is good bar food and a lot of TVs. A lot of football players go there. I have seen Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Marcus Allen, and Michael Irvin there. Jim Kelly was kind enough to let me join him at his table when I offered to buy him a drink (Double Crown on the rocks if you are wondering). Probably one of the coolest moments of my life, but I digress. The Pub side of the bar is basically like a club, and I use that term loosely. Its connected to Paninis, but if you like to wabble, then thats the place for you.
2. Winking Lizard Tavern: There are two different locations, both relatively close to the HOF. These are basically sports bars, but they are known for having a huge selection of craft beer and whiskey/bourbons. They have really good food, both places have patios and the wings are pretty good as well (no, they don't compare to Duffs, or Anchor bar).
3. Fox and Hound: This is another sports bar in Belden Village. They also have a huge draft selection as well as a lot of TVs. This is more of a low key place, but they have pool tables, ping pong tables, and corn hole inside the bar. Watch out for the shot prices there. They tend to ding ya pretty hard.
4. Lobys: This yet another sports bar. They have a nice patio out back and typically have live music. It can get a little crowded there but every time I go there on weekends, it always seems to attract a lot of talent if ya know what I mean.
5. Conestoga: This is in downtown Canton. They pride themselves on having a wide variety of beers. If i was staying at the McKinley Grand, this is the place I would probably go.
6. Picchiano's: Also located downtown, this is a Martini bar. its not very big, but they offer all kinds of specialty drinks if thats the sort of thing you are into. I typically go there on Fridays for a nice vodka after a long week of work. Its not wild by any stretch of the imagination. Id say they are pretty low key there.
7. TD's Tailgate: This is also located downtown. They also have a nice patio and lots of TVs. I typically go here for lunch, but they are reasonably priced, have a nice drink selection, and they have really good 'bar food'
1. Basically every chain restaurant in the book: Belden Village is notorious for that. Fridays, Tilted Kilt, Ruby Tuesday, Bravo, Longhorn, Outback, Bonefish, Olive Garden, etc. Its littered with them.
2. Sylvester's North End Grille: One of my personal favorites, this place is also located close to Belden Village. I do not think that I have ever had a bad meal there. I typically get the Prime Rib, but everything is good. I would say that this is a 'nicer' restaurant and you would probably have to make reservations ahead of time if you plan on going there.
3. Bender's: This is located in downtown Canton. Its walking distance from the McKinley Grand. They like to claim that they are the best restaurant downtown, and they may be right. They are known for their seafood, but they have other stuff as well. Its one of the oldest places around (since 1903 if I recall). Side note: A lot of people claim that pro football was organized over a couple of drinks at Benders.
...there are many more, but these are my favorites
1. Christie's Cabaret: This place is located in Belden Village. They pride themselves on being 'high class'. I myself have not been there in quite some time, but they typically send their girls to Panini's to hand out free passes and they are always easy on the eyes.
2. The Diamond Royale: Known affectionately as 'The Diamond', I have been to many a birthday parties here. They have reasonably priced drinks and the talent is pretty good. Id imagine they will bring in their "A Listers" for HOF weekend. The place is pretty nice inside.
Well I hope this helps. This list is not by any means comprehensive. I just figured it would be a good starting point. If ya got any questions, let me know Ill try to answer them. Cheers fellow Rumblers. Enjoy the Super Bowl and go Bills!