Sporting venues have always been the focus of my travels, however an unintended genre that I’ve touched upon without realizing until recently are Hall of Fame exhibits. In total, I’ve been to 8 and most of them being clustered in the Northeast makes it easier to visit as a side attraction to a game. I’ve only encountered one that wasn’t worth the time and money, so if you are within the area, check them out as they are generally well-worth a visit. Here are the ones I’ve seen, in alphabetical order:
Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown, NY): It’s been over 15 years since I’ve been here and my strongest memory was of the town. Walking the streets on a crisp Autumn day is something I’ll never forget as there was this serene feeling. Added bonus in being able to watch an adult league game at nearby Doubleday Field. This HOF has plaques that are widely recognizable and for fans of the sport, it is a bucket list place more than any other.
Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, MA): I remember stopping in Springfield with friends on the way to seeing someone in college and we probably spent an hour on the indoor court before going in to the Hall. Couldn’t resist. Made it back a second time and the progress through time that they take you through is a great way to learn and appreciate the sport.
College Football Hall of Fame (South Bend, IN): Not sure if this counts since I visited the one in South Bend and that is no longer there as they moved and rebuilt in Atlanta. The pageantry of it all was in full display when I first visited and I’m sure the new place in Atlanta expanded on that.
Hockey Hall of Fame (Toronto, ON): You can touch the Stanley Cup. Let me repeat, you can touch the Stanley Cup! For any hockey fan, that moment where you see and actually touch the Cup is something unforgettable. I mean, as a kid, I tried to make a similar cup with popcorn barrels and a bowl, wrapped in aluminum foil for all-night knee hockey games. Not to be overlooked is the rest of the museum, which does a great job honoring everything hockey related. They also have some fun interactive stuff. Bonus point for being in the fantastic city of Toronto.
(Horse) Racing Hall of Fame (Saratoga Springs, NY): Surprising in depth, this was a welcomed, unexpected detour when there last year. As someone with little knowledge of the sport, they presented it all in a nice manner. While short on interactive exhibits, the displays are vibrant and informative, never boring.
Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, OH): The Busts! That room has real mystique and when I was inside, it was almost like I felt this odd aura that is hard to explain. Along with baseball, there certainly is a club feel to this HOF and I don’t think more men cry than the inductees do during the speeches they make each year. I was here in 2012 and they did a major renovation to it recently, so I’m looking forward to hopefully returning in the Fall.
Rowing Hall of Fame (Stonington, CT): Eh, not much here, basically a one-room hodgepodge of display case memorabilia.
Tennis Hall of Fame (Newport, RI): Underappreciated and not as universally regarded as a pinnacle of sport given that tennis constantly recognizes individual achievement. I’m an avid player and fan and really enjoyed all that this HOF had to offer, though I could see how others may not be as enthused. Located in a neat, historic building.
Left to See: Auto Racing (Charlotte, NC), Golf (Saint Augustine, FL), NCAA (Indianapolis, IN), Soccer (Frisco, TX)