Our beloved Browns may still be working to cement their place in pro football history, but it’s comforting to know that literally the entirety of that history is right in our own backyard.
What You'll See:
- The heart and soul of the Pro Fooball Hall of Fame is, of course, the legends inducted over the years. So any trip here should start with a visit to the Hall of Fame Gallery, home to the bronze busts of all 300+ (and counting!) players, coaches and contributors who have been enshrined since the charter members were inducted in 1963. But the gallery is no longer just about the busts. In 2003, the Hall added interactive touch-screen kiosks for each player, which provide more information than any plaque ever could. In 2019, the Talking Bronzed Busts of John Madden and Michael Strahan debuted, powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality, allowing guests to have a conversation with the legends' busts in real time.
- Whether it’s football, baseball, basketball or rock 'n' roll, what are hall of fame museums most known for? You guessed it: stuff. It’s the memorabilia that keeps us coming back again and again. The artifacts. The history. So, naturally, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is home to the most comprehensive collection of football memorabilia anywhere in the U.S. The game balls. The jerseys. The hand-written documents. The hunk of turf saved by the star player (Franco Harris) of your team’s (Cleveland Browns) most bitter rivals (Pittsburgh Steelers) from one of their most famous wins (Immaculate Reception). Sigh. Go anyway. This place is awesome.
What Else to Do?
- Among the most popular attractions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame are the ones that rely on you to make them work. A recently added instant replay exhibit gives you the chance to either confirm or overturn a ruling from a real-life game. You can throw an actual replica NFL ball (which are made about two hours away in Ada, Ohio), outsmart coaches in the Call-the-Play Theater, or play a game of Madden — because what museum trip is complete without a video game break?
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame is also home to the Black College Football Hall of Fame and, each September, the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic, featuring two Historically Black Colleges and Universities in a game played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
- If you really want the full experience, you have to come down for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, held every summer to celebrate new inductees into the Hall. This almost two-week-long football party includes parades, hot air balloons, concerts, meet and greets, photo ops, autograph sessions and (of course) the annual Hall of Fame Game. It all culminates in the Enshrinement Ceremony, where football legends are officially inducted into the Hall of Fame and debut their busts for the world to see. Bring a team-branded hanky, it always gets emotional.