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49 Best Places to Visit in the Midwest

49 Best Places to Visit in the Midwest

The Midwest features a diverse blend of scenery and culture. Here are the best places to visit in the Midwest, including great vacation spots and weekend getaways.

The Midwest is one of the greatest places to visit in the entire United States.

Dubbed America’s Heartland, the Midwest area is famed for its rich natural resources, picture-perfect open roads, and wonderful, diverse culture.

Sometimes, it’s also referred to as the Midwestern United States. Both are correct!

The Midwest is where you will find attractions like the House on the Rock and the Art Institute of Chicago.

There’s no lack of things to see!

Planning a road trip or backpacking excursion through the American Midwest?

Here’s your guide to the best places to visit in the Midwest.

Table of Contents

Midwest Vacation Spots & Tourism

The Midwest is comprised out of twelve different states. 

While there are still arguments about where the boundaries of the Midwest begin and end, most official websites and resources agree about which twelve states make up this long stretch.

The Midwest is…

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

There are a lot of things to do in the Midwest, USA. Our guide covers the best midwest destinations you’ll find through these states.

More About Tourism in the Midwest

The Midwest is one of the most popular destinations in the whole United States. 

Midwest points of interest are a common sight in films and television shows: The House on the Rock located in Wisconsin features heavily in American Gods. The Art Institute of Chicago is seen in hundreds of movies and TV shows, including Shameless.

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul will forever be associated with Steve Buscemi’s opening lines in Fargo.

Tourism in the Midwest is big business. 

The good news about this is that it’s easy to find accommodation, cheap to travel, and affordable to find excellent food near most attractions listed here.

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The Best Places to Visit in the Midwest

Illinois

1. See The Skydeck

Skydeck, Chicago, United States

The Skydeck is located at 233 S Wacker Drive, Chicago on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower.

It’s an impressive architectural sight to see, but that’s not all it’s built for. The Chicago Skydeck offers one of the only views that let you see across four whole states and sweeping views of Lake Michigan!

More than 1.7 million visitors pass through the Skydeck each year.

If you’re more daring, step into the Ledge for a closer view from suspended glass cubes.

Of course, if you are visiting Skydeck, ensure you visit the many other amazing attractions in Chicago such as the John Hancock Building, taking a boat tour along the Chicago River, the beaches of Lake Michigan and so much more.

Chicago has an endless list of fun things to do no matter the season. Grab a Chicago CityPASS if you want to get access to all the sights.

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2. Visit Anderson Japanese Gardens

A Flower in Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens is located at 318 Spring Creek Road in Rockford, Illinois.

It’s one of the largest Japanese-themed gardens in the states and a must-visit for nature lovers. It was donated to the local Rotary Association in 1998 and has been open for the public ever since.

Adults pay $10 to get in, while kids and senior citizens can venture into the gardens for a slight discount. 

Select days are free, including the third days of August, September, and October.

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3. The Art Institute of Chicago

Lion Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the largest, oldest, and most prestigious art museums in the world.

Located at 111 South Michigan Ave and founded in 1879, the Institute contains some of the world’s most famous pieces of art.

The truth is that you won’t believe the extent of how large and impressive the Art Institute is until you’ve actually seen it! 

Plan for at least an hour or two at least. There’s a lot to see! Be sure you stop by the nearby Millennium Park for a nice stroll in the summer or go ice skating in the winter.

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4. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.

Sitting between Chicago and St. Louis is Springfield, the unassuming capital city of Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is commemorated at local attractions including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.

Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll want to see the latter because it’s surrounded by the Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center.

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Indiana

5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Aerial View of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest racing track in the world.

This place is a must-stop for anyone who would say they are an autophile, adrenaline junkie, or racing lover.

This is where the famed Indianapolis 500 (commonly known as the Indy 500) and Verizon 200 races take place. Other big events like the NASCAR Series are also scheduled to happen at the famous speedway in Indiana.

For schedule information and ticket purchases, visit the official website.

If you’d like even more to see in the same trip, this is also the location of the Speedway Museum.

While there are plenty of things to do in Indianapolis, you may want to schedule some free time to visit White River State Park, which is a large green space in the city with a three-mile walking path, shops, and restaurants.

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6. The Indiana Medical History Museum

The Indiana Medical History Museum is located at 3270 Kirkbride Way, Indianapolis – and if you’ve never heard of it, it was opened as a monument to the beginnings of psychiatric research in the United States.

Is it for everyone?

Well, maybe not, but it still gets thousands of visitors from all across the world every year. Atlas Obscura features it as one of their top strange world destinations.

All sorts of historical items, records, and weird antique stuff can be seen here.

The IMHM opens from 10 in the morning.

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7. Antique Alley

Antique Alley is the perfect stop-over for anyone who enjoys fine antiques.

Located in Richmond, Indiana, Antique Alley is the nickname for a two-tiered destination that brings you straight to more than 1, 200 different stores along the route.

Maps are available from local stores or can be downloaded online to plan your walkthrough better.

As far as antiques go, Indiana’s Antique Alley is one of the best places in the world.

It’s impossible to visit without taking something home with you!

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8. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The beautiful sand dunes along Lake Michigan will make visitors want to explore the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

There are over 15 miles of trails in the park, including places where you’re free to roam without getting on a trail. The park also features several beaches, scenic lookouts, and places for bird-watching.

The natural attractions of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore have made it one of the best outdoor things to do in the Midwest.

The park offers boat tours, ranger-guided programs, educational activities, and visitor center exhibits.

The dunes are located near Windy City, making it one of the best weekend getaways from Chicago.

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Iowa

Looking to explore the great midwest? Iowa will give you a real midwest experience. Check out our full list of best things to do in Iowa.

9. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a great day out for anyone who wants to get closer to nature during their time in the Midwest. It is a great tourist attraction in Iowa.

Located at 350 East 3rd Street in Dubuque, entry is affordable. Adults pay $15 for entry, while kids get a discounted rate of $10. Added extras can cost more, although generally won’t break the bank.

Tours of the museum and aquarium part are only some of what you can do here. The venue also hosts shows and movies if you can afford to stay for longer.

What else can you find here?

Great restaurants right around if you want to stop for a bite to eat. Predictably, few seafood options are offered at the aquarium.

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10. National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is located within Cedar Rapids in Iowa.

It was first opened to the public in 1974, though moved to its current address at 1400 Inspiration PI SW in Iowa in the eighties.

The venue promises much more than just a museum and library. History buffs will be right at home here, with movies, tours, and current cultural events that are great for anyone.

The Museum & Library lets you do more than just see things at a distance: you’ll experience some of the culture and food first-hand. 

Absolutely worth your time!

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11. Greater Des Moines Botanical Center

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden can be found at 909 Robert D Ray Drive in Des Moines. Opening hours are from 10 am – and this makes it perfect as one of the morning stops in your day trip.

The Botanical Garden closes at 5 pm and has certain days of the week where it might be closed to the public. Call ahead to be sure that it’s an open day.

Its true scope is massive, with 14 acres that make up the garden.

Garden tours are granted throughout the whole year. Special events are hosted from time to time, though it’s best to check the online schedule for event dates.

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Kansas

12. Rock City Park

Rock City Park can be found at 1051 Ivy Road in Minneapolis. 

Made from natural formations of sandstone, Rock City Park is a popular destination for hiking trails or picnics – or sometimes, just a great place to rest your legs in the middle of a long trip. 

The Rock City was formed approximately 100 million years into the past, though it only turned into a public park open for visits in the 1970s. Since then, millions of footsteps have found their way to this ancient landmark.

Approximately 200 different rocks comprise the great Rock City Park. 

You’ll want to take photos!

Pets are allowed, and admission is kept under $5 for adults and kids.

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13. Sedgwick County Zoo

Sedgwick County Zoo is located at 5555 W Zoo Blvd in Wichita.

While the idea of the zoo has lost popularity, Sedgwick County Zoo is one of the few left in the world that guarantees to be for the best treatment of the animals. 

More than 3, 000 different animals are housed at Sedgwick County Zoo. You’ll be glad to know that these are some of the happiest animals you will find anywhere! 

Check their website schedule to find out which shows and events are on through the year.

Admission prices vary. Adults pay $20, seniors and kids get in for $15. Members can get free entry throughout the year, if they would like to support a good cause – or pass through the state several times per year.

There’s a lot to see here, and there’s even more to learn about.

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14. Cosmosphere

If you didn’t guess from the name, Cosmosphere is a space museum and educational center located in Kansas. Cosmosphere is located at 1100 North Plum Street, Hutchinson, Kansas – and was formerly known as the Kansas Cosmosphere.

The Cosmosphere opens at 9 am. Entry can cost between $25 for adults to free for kids aged younger than 3. If you’re a regular visitor, you can get a season pass – or book specific show tickets according to their schedule.

It’s a busy place, with a lot to experience. It’s recommended that you spend at least two to four hours here or you might miss out on the best bits.

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Michigan

15. The Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford Museum is located at 20900 Oakwood Boulevard and opens from 9:30 am. Admission is affordable for kids, adults, and senior citizens. 

Great day out for fans of vehicle history or great cars. Tours are its biggest attraction, but that’s not all you can go there to see.

Shows and special events are held throughout the entire year, and you should check their schedule to see what’s on during your trip.

It’s more than just another museum: The Henry Ford Museum is considered a National Historic Landmark. 

Spend at least 1 to 2 hours here if you want to make sure you’ve seen everything there is to see.

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16. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is one of several hundred national parks littered throughout the United States, and one of the multiple parks you’ll go past on a trip through the Midwest.

Open from 9 am, mark out at least 3 to 4 hours within your day if you want to see a large section of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Plan for more time if you want to have the full experience. 

Guided tours of the park can bring you right up to nature.

The moment you’ve seen it, you’ll want to stay longer. Accommodation is available at the park if you would like to extend your stay there. If you love outdoor activities, this is one of the best getaways in the Midwest to explore and relax.

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17. The Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts is known on an international scale as one of the best and largest art collections in the world.

Located just 25 minutes from main Detroit at 5200 Woodward Avenue, most road trips through the Midwest will bring you close enough to the Institute for a stop.

More than 100 different galleries can be seen here. Guided tours are possible, though a self-guided tour can also get you to see the best parts. 60,000 different works of art call the Detroit Institute their home.

Why wouldn’t you stop here? Check out these best things to do in Detroit.

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18. Mackinac Island

 Mackinac Island

There’s a serene charm on Mackinac Island as cars aren’t permitted on that island. The Victorian architecture of the houses and the beautiful Grand-Hôtel is set higher on a hill.

The best experiences happen when you explore Mackinac Island on your own through the delicate garden and lilac trees.

You can book a sunset cruise or fireworks cruise on the Star line ferry on summer weekends. The island has a location across from Lake Huron on the shores of Mackinaw City Michigan.

The island is 5 miles long and 1 mile wide and is home to Mackinac Island State Park and many 19th century buildings and places of interest.

See more of Mackinac Island on horseback with several tours offering daytime excursions. This is one of the most romantic road trips and weekend getaways you can possibly find in the Midwest.

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19. Traverse City

Traverse City

Traverse City is a laid-back neighborhood with spas and golf course and scenic roads. Go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National lakeshore a day for a hike around famed dunes or go for a swim in Lake Michigan.

The sunsets on Lake Michigan are magnificent, so plan to stay a few days enjoying farm-to-table dining in one of the two waterfront restaurants on the water.

Shop small boutiques and check out interesting galleries and historical monuments in Traverse City, which contains boutiques, art galleries, and antique stores.

Near Grand Traverse Bay, shopping in this area is mainly upscale.

Traverse City is one of the most popular getaways in the Midwest due to its combination of charm, outdoor activities, things to do for families, and proximity to key Midwestern cities like Chicago and Detroit.

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Minnesota

20. The Mall of America

MOA Mall of America

The Mall of America is the largest shopping mall in the United States, based at 60 East Broadway in Bloomington.

The total store directory contains more than 500 different retailers, Clothing, food, and electronics are just a small section of what you’ll find here.

Picture it; a real-life Amazon where you can find anything you might want to gawk at.

Millions of people from across the world walk through Mall of America’s doors each year.

Expect to do a lot of walking from one store to the next. It’s a literal shopping marathon, but can also be a lot of fun. There’s even an indoor theme park! Check out these other best things to do in Minneapolis.

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21. Como Park Zoo & Conservation Park

A Statue Inside the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park Zoo is located in Saint Paul, and you can find it by driving under 30 miles from the previous destination on this list! 

If you would like your trip through the Midwest to bring you right up and close to nature, Como Park is one of the best places that you can visit. Admission is affordable, and it’s a fun place for adults and kids to visit the whole year ’round.

Most of Como Park can be seen in about 2 hours, though allow extra time if you would like to attend an event or see a show. Shops and restaurants are located within the zoo if you’d like to take a break.

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22. The Museum of Quackery & Medical Frauds

Weird museums are an entire business on their own. The Museum of Quackery & Medical Frauds is one of the most famous “odd” museums in the entire world – and while driving through Wichita, you best believe it’s worth pulling over for it.

This famous museum displays medical oddities, lies, and snake oils from throughout history.

Yes, this is where you’ll see some of the strangest stuff you ever will!

Atlas Obscura lists the Quackery Museum as one of their top sites to visit. Bookings can be made through their official website.

Check out these other best museums in Minnesota to visit.

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23. Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Grand Marais is a beautiful vacation spot in Minnesota. It’s located about an hour and a half away from Duluth and is at the end of the National Scenic Byway of Highway 61 along the North Shore.

Grand Marais is up there for one of the most picturesque weekend getaways in the Midwest.

This small charming town is located right on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. It’s known for its fantastic fishing, trails and biking, and of course, the lighthouses as well as a number of nearby state parks.

The freshwater of Lake Superior is perfect for boating and good places to do that are the town’s marinas.

The Bayview Marina will provide you with rentals if you’re interested in checking out Lake Superior on your own personal boat or renting one yourself.

There is no better place to vacation than Grand Marais with its everlasting beauty of the north shore.

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Missouri

24. National WWI Museum and Memorial

National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is the official museum for World War I in the United States. The museum is located in Kansas City, Missouri.

The museum was completed in 1926 and was a Veterans Memorial Hall until WWII.

With 77 million people living around the area and being centrally located in the Midwest, it is important to educate them on what took place while highlighting this period in history.

In 2004, it was designated by the United States Congress as the country’s official war memorial and museum dedicated to World War I.

The museum’s library and archives are the largest repositories of Great War information in the United States. One of the museum’s other goals is to serve as a memorial for those who lost their lives during this time serving their country.

The museum offers educational tours, exhibits, and lectures that bring history to life!

You can take a self-guided or guided tour that will have you explore the trenches, view the film “The Price of Freedom” and see artifacts from this period.

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25. Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks

The Lake of the Ozarks is right in the warm heart of Missouri and was first built in the 1930s as a means to separate the surrounding bodies of water.

The Lake of the Ozarks is today a state-run park called Ozarks State Park where you’ll get to see some of the most natural sights in the whole state.

Accommodation is available, with bookings through the official Lake of the Ozarks website, or check out these top options on Booking.com.

Fun activities and guided tours can be arranged, if you have some more time or would like to do more than just window shopping through nature.

The lake stretches more than 1,100 miles in one direction. This is one of the most popular weekend getaways for residents from Kansas City as well as downtown Chicago.

This lake and the surrounding towns can get very busy in the summertime.

Nature lovers can’t afford to miss it!

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26. St. Louis Zoo

Penguins at St. Louis Zoo

The other very well-known city in Missouri that isn’t Kansas City is, of course, St. Louis. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the largest zoological gardens in the United States and is home to more than 12,000 animals of 500 different species. 

The primary focus of St Louis Zoo is high-quality animal care. Their secondary focus is education, which is where the public gets to see some of the fascinating sights that make up the day-to-day zoo operations.

Reservations are best made ahead of time and through their website. Membership is available for visitors who make their way through the state more often. As a note, the St Louis Zoo closes at 4 pm.

It’s one of the best things to do in the Midwest in June!

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27. Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in St Louis. 

It’s one of the most highly-rated stops for nature lovers, and there are even restaurants that offer something to eat if you would like to take a break.

The park first opened in 1859. This makes it one of the oldest parks in the United States.

Picnics, guided tours, and more are available right here.

It’s best to book ahead through their website. While there are tickets at the door, it can get busy during some parts of the year.

They even have their own Twitter account: @mobotgarden

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Nebraska

28. Carhenge

Carhenge at Nebraska

Carhenge could well be one of the weirdest attractions on the entire list, and pictures don’t do it enough justice. Gamers might recognize this from the popular game Fallout 4.

If you are anywhere near the area of Nebraska, stop by 2151 Co Road in Alliance.

This is where you’ll find the unique Carhenge sculpture, created by artist Jim Reinders. Admission is charged: keep this in mind before you show up for a trip.

Roadside America lists it as one of its top attractions. A great photo opportunity awaits. 

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29. Chimney Rock Museum

Chimney Rock Museum is based around one of Nebraska’s many natural rock formations. 

The peak of Chimney Rock is located more than 4, 200 feet above sea level. If you are the hiking type, you’ll be right in heaven at Chimney Rock – although some of the inclines can be pretty steep and hard to grip.

If you would like to stop by and see it, note that the Chimney Rock Museum is only open over weekends from 9 am. 

There’s a small gift shop here with memories for sale.

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30. The Old Market

The Old Market describes an area of Omaha where more than 40 different restaurants are packed along the same stretch.

Official resources call it “the most historic and entertaining neighborhood” in Omaha. It won’t take long to find out why.

The best way to approach the several acres that make up the Old Market area is with a look at the online guide first. A list of the stores and restaurants can be viewed here – and unless you plan on getting lost, you’ll need it!

Accommodation is also available if you would like to stay for a while before continuing your trip.

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North Dakota

31. Fargo Air Museum

The Fargo Air Museum is located at 1609 19th Avenue North in Fargo and first opened in 2001. The Museum opens at 10 am. 

History and education are their main focus. Events and exhibitions are hosted every day, with the obvious aviation angle. Interactive displays bring you up and close with real and historical aircraft.

If you or you know someone who loves to spend hours on Flight Simulator (certainly not me *cough*), the Fargo Air Museum can be one of the best trips you can make. Like what you are hearing? Check out these best things to do in Fargo, North Dakota.

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32. Red River

The Red River runs through the entire state, but spans all the way into Southern Manitoba from there – and alongside parts of the stretch, you’ll find perfect photo opportunities, roadside stops, and accommodation.

What could be better than a view of the Red River?

Very few things, let me tell you.

Guides and walking trails are the best way to see the Red River up close. There is plenty of nearby accommodation for those who prefer to look at it from a distance.

For the best experience, find a guide through the local newspaper! 

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33. Scandinavian Heritage Park

The Scandinavian Heritage Park is one of the best outdoor sights you’ll find in North Dakota

SH Park is located at 1020 South Broadway in Minot and is easy to access from either side of the highway.

You’ll find a lot of interesting things to see here, including a replica of the Scandinavian Gol Stave church and other historical landmarks.

Guided tours and walkthroughs can be booked through the official site.

Scandinavian Heritage Park closes at 5 pm. Plan for at least 1 to 2 hours for a proper tour.

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34. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in North Dakota and contains the northernmost portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

The park is named after Theodore Roosevelt who was instrumental in establishing the national park system. It has more than 500,000 acres that are split into three units: the South Unit, the North Unit, and Medora.

This park is one of the Midwest’s best places to visit for outdoor enthusiasts – there are scenic trails that will take you through the badlands as well as recreational activities like fishing or horseback riding.

Visitors can also enjoy stopping by the visitor center where they can learn about the local park animals like bison, coyotes, and black-footed ferrets.

This is one of the most underrated national parks in the US and makes for one of the best weekend getaways in the Midwest for national parks lovers.

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Ohio

35. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland)

Architecture of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland)

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is one of the holy sites of modern rock music. If you’re passing through Cleveland (Ohio), then you have got to make this one of your stops – it’s almost like a pilgrimage for rock fans.

The Hall of Fame is located at 1100 East 9th Street in Ohio and opens from 9 am.

Plan for several hours to make your way through several exhibits. It’s easy to miss something, especially when you try to rush your way through. Take your time!

Some of the greatest items tied to Rock Music History are here.

It’s best to book ahead: Check the website for availability and special events.

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36. West Side Market (Cleveland)

West Side Market (Cleveland)

West Side Market is the oldest public market in Cleveland and sees several thousand visitors and locals every week who stop by for the greatest fresh food, baked goods, and restaurants available.

West Side Market opens at 8 am and allows visitors to browse through the selection of restaurants and more at their own pace.

The food is great, the drinks are great and there’s no need to rush.

Hey, it’s almost safe to say that this is one of the best places to relax in Cleveland.

If you’re a chef or lover of fine food, you’ll enjoy it so much more.

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37. The American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)

The American Sign Museum is a monument to the arts.

Construction started in 1999, and the American Sign Museum was finally completed by its creator in 2005. It’s one of the largest sign collections in the world, with signs including vintage wooden signs and neon signs from their start.

Opens from 10 am, with tours the best way to see everything.

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38. Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Amusement Park Gate Keeper

Cedar Point is home to over 100 attractions that will thrill visitors of all ages.

Thrill-seekers will love places like Maverick that features an 80-degree drop, Top Thrill Dragster that reaches speeds of 120 mph in under 4 seconds, and Gatekeeper that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Erie.

Offering places to visit in the Midwest doesn’t mean there aren’t fun places for kids too.

The park offers places like Soak City Waterpark with its water slides and wave pool, and Snoopy’s Splash Dance that features water nozzles, sprays, geysers, dump buckets, and more.

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South Dakota

As a visitor stop, there is more to do around Mount Rushmore than at it. If you keep this in mind driving up to it, then it’s still a worthy place to stop during your midwest day trip. Check out our full list of the best things to do in South Dakota if you plan on building an itinerary there.

39. Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore is world-famous and closer than you think when you’re making a trip through the American Midwest.

The National Memorial can be found at 13000 SD-244 in Keystone and opens to visitors early in the day.

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40. Dinosaur Park

Dinosaur at Dinosaur Park

Dinosaur Park is located in Rapid City – at 940 Skyline Drive to be more exact.

It’s not the only Dinosaur Park in the United States, but Google Maps should know the difference. If you want fun things to do in the Midwest that won’t break the bank or destroy your budget, Dinosaur Park is great.

Seven unique, massive dinosaur sculptures look out over the city.

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41. Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

The Badlands National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. The park is also one of the places in the Midwest where there’s sandstone deposited over millions of years.

The sandstone formations are characterized by colorful bands and unique shapes. There are plenty of places to explore in the Badlands, including fossil beds, rocky outcroppings, and natural sand dunes.

The park is open all year round. It’s recommended that you visit between spring and fall to minimize exposure to harsh elements.

The Badlands offers ranger-guided tours, educational activities, and visitor center exhibits.

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42. Reptile Gardens (Colonial Pine Hills)

Reptile Gardens is located in Colonial Pine Hills at 8955 US-16, Rapid City.

The place isn’t just incredible, it’s record-setting: Guinness World Records has listed this as the largest reptile park in the world for several years in a row.

If you would like to delve into reptile education or just see some of these amazing creatures from close up, then Reptile Gardens is one of the best Midwest destinations on the list.

Shows, walkthroughs, and a small store are just some of what you can find through Reptile Gardens. Tickets are available at the door, but it’s recommended to view the schedule on their website to properly plan your trip.

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43. Black Hills

Black Hills and a River

The Black Hills is a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States.

Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet, is the range’s highest summit.

The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. With many places to visit such as Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower, and historic mines this region has something for everyone and is an excellent place to spend your vacation.

This is one of the best getaways in the Midwest for an extended stay. There are plenty of nearby attractions and things to do in South Dakota along the Black Hills, including Custer State Park.

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44. Custer State Park

Custer State Park, South Dakota

Custer State Park is home to more than 1,500 free-roaming buffalo and much other wildlife. The park features natural beauty that includes its rugged terrain and prairies and Custer State Park offers hiking and camping spots for those who enjoy the outdoors.

The park features an abundance of wildlife including:

  • coyotes
  • deer
  • bobcats
  • elks
  • mountain lions
  • beavers

There are plenty of great things to do in Custer State Park beyond the wildlife, including hiking trails, camping, and even notable landmarks like Crazy Horse.

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Wisconsin

Let’s get into some of our favorite places to visit in Wisconsin. Be sure to check out our full list of the best things to do in Wisconsin to fill out the rest of your list.

45. The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock opened to the public in 1959 and is located between Dodgeville and Spring Green in Wisconsin.

Opening hours are 9 am, and guided tours can be booked through their website – or just show up to the door.

Unusual does not begin to describe what you’ll see at the House on the Rock. Created by Alex Jordan Jr, it is more than just a weird tourist attraction today. 

Accommodation, golf, and a spa are available – in addition to the tours through the House on the Rock

Stop by the House on the Rock! 

It’s one of the best things to do in the Midwest.

See Related: Minnesota vs Wisconsin: What’s the Difference?

46. Door County

Autumn in Door County

On the 67-mile peninsula, Door County has 19 little communities. Adventurers can spend a day hiking in one of these five state parks or visit one of the region’s many lighthouses.

The lake in Door County has about 100 miles of shoreline and is home to a variety of sea life. You may view lavender fields and Schoolhouse Falls. Kayaking and camping are popular activities at Peninsula State Park.

Visit a family-owned cherry garden take a bike ride in the Door County Trolley for a peek at a few of the area’s finest. For a fun day trip take a ferry to Washington Island.

See Related: Best Water Purifiers

47. The Harley Davidson Museum

The Harley Davidson Museum is located in Wisconsin – and it’s one of the places that have to be on your list as one of the best tourist attractions in the midwest if you are any kind of biker or biking culture enthusiast.

Vintage bikes are displayed here alongside a historical timeline of Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Shops allow you to deplete your vacation funds with gloves, helmets, and more.

Plan for at least 2 hours if you would like to make your way through the majority of the museum. Opening hours are at 9 am.

See Related: Best Travel Routers

48. The Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds

The Cave of the Mounds is a gorgeous natural cave formation located at 2975 Cave of the Mounds Road in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. 

It was first named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and sees thousands of visitors come through its doors every single year.

If you want to walk straight through a time machine into prehistoric times, visit this place and take a moment to breathe it all in. It’s one of the singularly greatest Midwest places to visit.

Admission fees get approximately an hour’s worth of time for the tour, but you’re welcome to book a longer pass. Time peaks during mid-day, so mornings or afternoons are the best if you want a quiet trip out.

See Related: Best Travel Soap Cases

49. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Dells is considered the water park capital of the world, making it one of the best things to do in the Midwest with kids. You can enjoy some of the most famous waterparks like Kalahari’s Noah’s Ark water park and Great Wolf Lodge.

Spend three days outdoors in a Wisconsin deer park, or hike to Lake Delton, to get a taste of the park’s natural side. The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum and Rick Wilcox’s magic show and illusion show are both kid-friendly attractions.

Outside of the water parks and amusement parks, the Wisconsin Dells is also known for some picturesque natural wonders of lakes, pines, and ponds with a diverse set of wildlife.

This is clearly one of the best weekend getaways in the Midwest for kids.

See Related: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review

FAQ

Where can I roadtrip in the Midwest?

You can visit places that are near you, not too far but just a few hours away. There is plenty to do in the Midwest if you know where to go. You can head north and explore Madison, WI, which boasts a lot of culture and architecture from the mid-century.

It’s also got a variety of attractions like zoos or festivals in town year-round – never a dull moment! Head south from there and check out Kansas City, Missouri if you’re looking for a blend of southern living and midwest living.

Smaller cities like Traverse City or Grand Marais often have more charm when it comes to places their residents frequently hang out.

Since they’re not trying to compete with other places on attracting tourists or hosting large events all year long that draw big crowds.

What are some important places to visit in the Midwest?

Visitors and students who come to the Midwest can explore some of the best places in America.

Such as downtown Chicago, the Great Lakes, Mount Rushmore, or one of the many amazing national parks. Visitors flock from all over the world to explore these Midwest vacation spots.

What are great places to visit in the Midwest?

As someone that has lived in the Midwest for my entire life, my personal favorites include the Windy City of Chicago, Badlands National Park, Mackinac Island in Michigan, the North Shore of Minnesota, and Door County in Wisconsin.

These all make for excellent weekend getaways or road trips with plenty of things to see and do around each area.

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