The Midwest is a popular destination for travelers from within and outside the country. The region is popular for its combination of urban and natural sights, offering something for everyone. Here is a list of some of the best cities to visit in the Midwest.
Champaign, Illinois might not be the first place you think to visit, but it is definitely a hidden gem. Champaign is a small city, but it has a great location and plenty to do. The city is located about 125 miles south of Chicago and 180 miles west of Indianapolis, making it the perfect place to stop at when travelling throught the Midwest.
Though the Champaign-Urbana area is located amongst fields and agriculture, the city has a great urban atmosphere with its modernity and diversity. Champaign is considered to be an up and coming city and has become the home of many students and startup companies, adding to the city’s appeal.
In terms of sites, the top attraction is Memorial Stadium, home to the university’s football team. Champaign also has a number of great theatres, with the Virgin Theatre and Art Theatre being absolute must-sees. Both are traditional old school theatres with a lot of history and a great atmosphere attached to them. The Art theatre shows a lot of original and independent films, while the Virgin Theatre puts on everything from concerts to movie screenings.
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Champaign also has some interesting museums, which are usually free or subject to a small donation. The Champaign County Historical Museum is great for getting to know the history of the region. The best museum to visit though is the Krannert Art Museum, which has both rotating and permanent exhibitions with some great pieces.
The best thing to do is to just allow yourself to get lost in the city and experience the atmosphere directly. If you need a place to stay in Champaign, there are a lot of cheap options too.
Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids is a big city in the west of Michigan that offers a whole range of great sights and activities. One of the city’s main sights is the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, a great interactive museum.
Those that enjoy outdoor activities have to go see the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park; the largest tropical gardens in Michigan. The gardens have a lot of diverse flora and boasts bronze statues by a number of famous artists.
For the beer connoisseurs out there, a visit to the Hair of the Frog Brewery is an absolute must. Enjoy the outdoors and some fresh local beer.
Grand Rapids also offers a lot in terms of socializing and nightlife, with great restaurants and bars all across the city. The city also has a lot of great affordable hotels to stay at.
Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana and is located at the center of the state. It is a hot destination for travellers from all corners of the country. Also known as the racing capital of the world, Indianapolis is a big city that caters to everyone.
There are many things to do and see in the city, from walking through its many parks to gazing up at its skyscrapers. In terms of sightseeing, the Indiana State Capitol, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and the colossal Indiana War Memorial are the main things to see. All are quite central and definitely worth a visit.
The city has many art and historical museums, the most unique one probably being the Children’s’ Museum. One of the coolest things to see is Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, which has the largest collection of antique and vintage racecars in the world.
As a major city, Indianapolis has an amazing nightlife with many great bars such as Chatterbox and the Jazz Kitchen. The city is known for its bar and live music scene. It’s also known for having one of the most exciting National Football Teams, the Colts. They play at Lucas Oil Stadium which is right in the heart of the city.
Whether you are visiting Indianapolis for work or pleasure, you’ll need a comfortable place to stay. Consider checking out the Crowne Plaza in the Downtown Union Station, which is directly between Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention center.
Des Moines, IA
Des Moines is Iowa’s biggest city and is one of the biggest cities in the Midwest. Iowa is probably most famous for being at the center of all political debate as the first caucus during presidential nominations and elections.
The first thing to see in Des Moines is the state’s Capitol Building, which has an impressive pure golden dome. From thereon, there are a lot of options. The Des Moines Art Center boasts a permanent exhibition with works from some of America’s greatest artists including Hopper and O’Keefe. In general, the city has a fantastic art scene.
Des Moines boasts the best nightlife in Iowa with awesome live music venues and plenty of places to eat and drink. Just walk around downtown and go with the flow. If you need a place to stay, there are plenty of great and affordable hotels.
Des Moines also has a zoo, a theme park and a botanical center if you ever feel like going out and doing something fun outside.
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Branson, Missouri is often referred to as a Las Vegas for families, due to all of the attractions, shows and activities that it has to offer. The city is most famous for its famous ‘strip’ where people travel to from around the world to be dazzled by flashing neon lights. The city is home to a number of shows ranging from street art to theatre and has all sorts of activities in store from horseback riding to golf.
A major attraction in Branson is its family theme park, Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City offers shops, rides, games, shows and all sorts of restaurants. The theme park is huge and you can easily spend a coupe of days discovering everything it has to offer.
If shows and theme parks aren’t your thing, don’t fret. Branson is also home to beautiful nature and landscapes. If you are looking to get away and see the countryside, take the Branson Scenic Railroad for a beautiful rail trip through nature.
There are many affordable hotels in Branson, so finding a place to stay isn’t hard.