The Midwest of the US features some stunning tourist attractions and areas of picturesque natural beauty. From urban masterpieces such as The Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Willis Tower in Chigaco to the untouched natural beauty of the Black Hills and Badlands National Park, there is everything for city-dwellers to hardcore hikers.
The Gateway Arch
It is only fitting that a trip to the Midwest starts with the Gateway Arch. St. Louis’ iconic 630-foot steel arch is the tallest of its kind in the world.
Situated on the edge of Downtown, the arch also features a museum that uses six themed areas to tell the story of Native Americans in the area and the pioneers that made the journey west. You can also take the iconic vertical tram to the top of the arch and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views from the top.
Over in Illinois, the city of Al Capone and Michael Jordan awaits with an abundance of great things to do and see. From the heights of the Willis Tower to the scenic walks along the shores of Lake Michigan, the ‘Windy City’ is a must on your itinerary.
While you are there, be sure to include a trip to the waterfront zoo. A walk downtown is always full of excitement. The spectacular urban setting is home to everything from some of the country’s best culture in the Art Institute of Chicago to many famous restaurants and diners.
The Black Hills
From the Midwest’s largest city to one of its natural treasures, you can also take in the wild splendor of the Black Hills mountain range. Peaking at well over 7,200 feet, the mountain range also includes the spectacular Black Hills National Forest.
Outdoors and hunting enthusiasts will love the majesty of the mountains and the challenges of the forest, with a network of paths and trails to enjoy the best of the stunning scenery.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Staying with wildlife for our next stop, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is an area of natural beauty on the Lake Michigan shore.
Depending on whether you are looking for a long hike along the beautiful shoreline to clear your mind or just to chill out on one of the many relaxing beaches, the Sleeping Bear Dunes are well worth stopping by. You can also catch some history along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which features forest walks and nineteenth-century farms built by early pioneers in the area.
No trip to the Midwest would be complete without a trip to the heights of Mount Rushmore.
The national park is home to the famous so-called ‘Six Grandfathers’ hill. Carved into the steep cliffsides of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills, the faces of ex-US presidents stare across the landscape below.
Climb the path up to the hill where Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Roosevelt are immortalized in the rocks as a tribute to the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of treks through the surrounding national park nature reserve and a visitor center and Hall of Records with information about the construction of the heads.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The next port of call on our beautifully varied tour of the Midwest is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.
As you would expect, the Hall is an energetic experience that rolls in a museum and hall of fame. The complex includes an homage to the decades of treasured artists, producers, sound engineers, and other key players that have shaped rock and roll over the decades into what it is today.
The exhibit, strikingly situated on Lake Erie’s shoreline, comprises several interactive exhibits and experiences. These include film, interactive booths, and as much rock and roll as you like!
M&M’s Mall of America
If you are venturing slightly further west and fancy some serious retail therapy, the huge Mall of America is just the tonic. With a choice of literally hundreds of stores across four stories, you can browse and buy to your heart’s content.
The huge complex also plays host to numerous restaurants and food courts, an aquarium, cinema, and even its own theme park – all under one roof! When visiting the Mall, bear in mind that if you spend 10 minutes in each shop, it will take you over three and a half days to get around every one! So go in with a plan and just enjoy the vast cathedral of shopping paradise!