The midwest is an underrated travel destination in the United States, with fewer crowds than coastal destinations but just as much to offer in the way of culinary experiences, attractions, and unique accommodations. Prices are reasonable, and the area is growing in terms of tourism, so now is the time to visit before the secret gets out. Check out these charming American cities in the Midwest this year and fall in love with a different region of the country.
Columbia boasts a small-town charm with a big-city appeal. It’s full of culture and history and has a great art scene. Locally referred to as “CoMo,” Columbia, Missouri, is a college town with a young population that participates in live sporting events and tailgating parties. The art scene in Columbia is one of the midwest’s hidden gems. Visitors can attend the True/False Film Festival, the Roots N Blues Festival, and more. The city is also a haven for outdoor lovers, with more than 70 parks and 50 miles of trails.
Topeka, the capital of Kansas, is a fun destination for families. This midwest city is usually overlooked in favor of flashier getaway spots, but it has plenty to offer. Families can visit the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center for educational and enriching entertainment. Then, dine at one of the many delicious restaurants in Topeka, like Tuptim Thai or Lonnie Q’s BBQ.
Hamilton County, Indiana, is waiting to be discovered. This midwest destination is a fantastic place for families to enjoy enriching activities with their kids while also indulging in the local gastronomy scene. There are world-class chefs and restaurants here, plus the fresh produce that is available all year enhances the quality of food. Hamilton County’s signature dish that visitors must try is the Hoosier breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.
Families with kids will find lots of ways to entertain them in Hamilton County. There are four city centers, an agricultural park, a living history museum called Conner Prairie, and the White River offers kayaking opportunities.
Related: The Ultimate Midwest National Parks Road Trip
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is hardly on any tourist radar. Most people coming to Iowa single out Des Moines before moving to another state. But Cedar Rapids is a rewarding choice for history buffs and museum lovers. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art first opened in 1905 and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the city’s downtown core. Visitors can also explore the Grant Wood Studio and Visitor Center, the former creative space of Grant Wood, who famously painted American Gothic.
For those who prefer history and culture to art, Cedar Rapids is home to many other museums, including the National Czech and Slovak Museum and the African American Museum of Iowa.
Milwaukee deserves more attention than it gets from domestic and international travelers for being one of the top 10 most diverse large cities in the United States. Major redevelopment is underway in Bronzeville, which is a hub for the local African American community. America’s Black Holocaust Museum is a must-visit educational attraction here and contributes to the many reasons why the New York Times named Bronzeville one of 52 places that changed the world.
Aquatic fun is also an important part of visiting Milwaukee, given that the city was founded on three waterways, Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic, flowing into Lake Michigan. Go kayaking and boating, and then sit down for a local beer at Lakefront Brewery.
St. Louis, Missouri, is frequently called the “Gateway to the West,” a name literally reflected in the massive St. Louis Arch. The city is an underrated travel destination for food and entertainment. There are lots of things for families to do here, including visiting the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center, and the St. Louis Art Museum. Known for its unique style of barbecue, St. Louis has a little something for everyone.
South Dakota leans into the Wild West, which is an iconic part of United States history and cinema. History enthusiasts will love that part of Deadwood, South Dakota, which is a city that was part of the Wild West during the Gold Rush. Walking tours and museum visits in Deadwood paint a vivid picture of what life was like in the Wild West.
Minneapolis is the most populated city in Minnesota, and while it is possibly the most well-known city in the state, it isn’t a hot travel destination…yet. Minneapolis deserves international attention as a fun destination in the midwest with a lively arts scene. It is home to both the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, both top attractions for visitors who are interested in visual arts.
Related: These Are The 10 Most Breathtaking Midwest Winter Weekend Escapes
Detroit is gaining traction as a popular destination not just among Americans but Canadians coming from just across the border in Southern Ontario. The birthplace of Motown Records and nicknamed “Motor City” for its once-booming auto industry, Detroit has a unique history. Travelers can visit the Detroit Institute of Arts and tour the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant. Detroit also has a great craft beer scene, so travelers can visit some local midwest breweries like Atwater Brewery & Tap House, Founders Brewing Co. Detroit, and Detroit Beer Co.
Wichita, Kansas, is one of the most underrated cities in the midwest and the entire nation. Located in the near center of the country, Wichita offers botanical gardens, colorful street murals, and a large zoo. A great destination for families with young kids or couples looking for a long weekend escape in the midwest, Wichita is just waiting to be discovered. As the birthplace of Pizza Hut, it’s practically obligatory to grab a slice there while visiting.2023-02-04T21:14:24Z dg43tfdfdgfd