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On Tour: Akron-Style

The Akron-Canton area offers touring options that range from hikes on amazing trails through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, guided bicycle tours through downtown Akron, food and wine tours through Canton, and more. Here are some of our favorites.

Next door to Akron is Canton, a.k.a. the “Hall of Fame” city because it's home to the football hall of fame. But the culinary side of Canton is worth checking out as well, and several tour options are make that an easy and pleasurable way to spend your time.  

Canton Food Tours offer three such options, including the Hall of Fame City Food Tour, a downtown walking tour that can be booked May through September, Monday through Saturday, 6pm–9:30pm. The tour includes three restaurants, a wine bar, a martini bar, and a microbrewery. Meet the business owners and chefs, and sample some amazing entrees. The three-stop tours rotate the following venues: Bender’s Tavern, George’s Lounge, Lucca’s Downtown, The Canton Brewing Company, The Canton Club, Basil Asian Bistro, DeliOhio, Tapas 218, Picciano’s Martini Lounge, and Grapes In A Glass. Tour guides also discuss various points of interest, architecture, art galleries, city history, and economic development projects.

Another option is the monthly Cork and Forks: Progressive Wine Tour. The tour’s focus is on wine education. It starts at the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. There, wine educator Dave Baloun discusses what he pours and gallery owner Tim Belden gives tours of the gallery and its collection. Next stop is the Onesto Hotel, where Baloun continues pouring and educating in this intriguing structure with its grand staircase, vaulted ceilings, and arched windows. The tour finishes at Canton Club Event Center atop Chase Tower with aerial views of the city and a multicourse meal and dessert with wine pairings.

Finally, if desserts are your thing, then the Just Desserts Tour is for you. It begins at one of the city’s oldest chocolate-making companies, Ben Heggy Chocolate Co., where you’ll watch employees hand wrap chocolates an unusual sight in our automated world. Next, it’s off to North Canton and Four Kids Coffee, where all the offerings are gluten-free. From here the tour goes to the Hazel Artisan Bakery, where chef and co-owner Lonnie Ball welcomes visitors with sample platters of fresh-baked cookies and pastries, before moving on to Anastasiades Chocolates where co-owner Larry Anastas shares samples and insights. A visit to the McKinley National Monument provides an eating break before the tour ends with sundaes at Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor

For more on any of these tours, call 330.495.0929. 

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If you’re looking for a way to burn through some calories after enjoying one of the foodie tours, you’ll find what you’re looking for on one of the many trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). With more than 2.2 million visitors annually, the CVNP is ranked among the top 10 most oft-visited national parks in the United States. And with nearly 33,000 acres of land along the banks of the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland, there’s plenty of room for everyone to roam. Some of the park’s favorite trails include waterfalls. We recommend starting your visit at the Visitor Center in Peninsula. Here you can meet with park staff and have all your questions answered and pick up brochures and maps. There’s even a short park video available upon request. Call 330.657.2752.

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If riding the rails captures your imagination, and you want to experience the CVNP, you can have the best of both worlds when you take a journey on the on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The CVSR operates diesel-electric and steam-powered excursion trips through nearby Peninsula, Ohio, in the Cuyahoga Valley, primarily through the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Special offerings include the Bike Aboard! tours that provide cyclists with opportunities to bike the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in one direction and ride the train in the other and “Grape Escape" Wine-Tasting Excursions & "Ales on Rails" Beer-Tasting Excursions.  Learn about details at 330.439.5708.   

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If you want to pedal your way through an urban tour, then How We Roll tours through downtown Akron are for you. These free, guided tours are available Wednesdays through Sundays, now through the end of August. The tour includes a trip on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail before heading south on Main Street and going through some of the old rubber factories. Other stops include the Hower House, the METRO RTA transit center on Broadway Street, The University of Akron, and Don Drumm Studios and Gallery. Tours take place on the following days: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m.; Fridays at 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sundays at noon and 4 p.m. Loaner bicycles and helmets are available. To register, click here

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If you’d like to extend your exploration to downtown Cleveland, we suggest cruising. Not in your car, but on one of Cleveland’s cruise ships: Goodtime III or Nautica (or both!).  

A family-owned operation since 1958, The Goodtime’s Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie ours are favorites of visitors and distinguished guests alike with past VIP passengers including Cleveland natives Halle Berry and Drew Care. Cleveland’s largest excursion ship includes quadruple-deck and capacity up to 1,000 passengers. With this much room, you’re not confined to your seats and have the freedom to roam as you enjoy panoramic views of Cleveland’s skyline, the Flats neighborhood along the Cuyahoga River, and learn little-known facts about our city. Choose from the Lunch Cruise, Rush Hour Cruise, Dance Cruise, Dinner Dance and special events such as the Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise.  Group tours and private charters are also available. For more, 216.861.5110.  

The Nautica Queen, “Cleveland’s Dining Cruise Ship,”offers lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch cruises that include an unlimited buffet meal, coffee, tea or iced tea, and musical entertainment while cruising under historic bridges and touring along the lake and riverfront. When your cruise ends, more adventure awaits at the Nautica Entertainment Complex. Sightseeing tours only are also available. Call 216.696.8888

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On land, Cleveland offers unique tours as well. If you enjoy walking, history, architecture, trivia, and talented acting, you can have it all when you participate in the award-winning Take a Hike Program, presented by Dollar Bank. Choose from five 90-minute guided walking tours led by actors and actresses as they portray past Cleveland notables, including business magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller; Frances Payne Bolton, the first woman from Ohio elected to Congress: and inventor and community leader Garrett Morgan.The tours offer opportunities to explore the city’s Gateway District, Warehouse District, PlayhouseSquare, Civic Center, and Canal Basin Park in the Flats. Reservations, as well as donations to fund future tours, are greatly appreciated. For dates, times, and group tours, call 216.771.1994. 

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If you’d rather be driven, how about a horse-drawn carriage ride? Shamrock Carriages is downtown Cleveland’s exclusive provider of horse-drawn carriage tours. Let’s be honest, there’s really nothing more romantic than a horse-and-carriage ride at night, right?  Shamrock will pick you up at one of Cleveland’s downtown hotels, and transport you and your special someone to the restaurant of your choice. Or how about a daytime tour of Cleveland’s architectural gems, its lakefront, or its neighborhoods? Shamrock makes all these available. Carriages operate until 1am and can hold up to four adults. Prices are $50/half hour ride and $90/hour ride. We recommend the hour and a reservation, particularly during the busy summer season. Call 216.280.2097. 

Check it out! 

Other favorite Akron-Canton Visitor tours include the following.   

Canal Park (home of the Rubber Ducks – Cleveland Indians double-A franchise), 330.253.5151

Don Drumm, 330.253.6268

Harry London, 330.494.9833

Root Candles Factory Tours (Medina), 330.723.4359