Best Midwest Cities to Visit in the US

The best Midwest cities to visit in the US offer an unforgettable vacation, activities, dining experience, and immersive culture that will make you want to go back for more vacation time.

Finding the best city getaways in the Midwest means that you have to scour the internet and compare all the cities to decide your best pick. And I’ll tell you now that you might get frustrated with the number of cities to pick your options from.

For a city to be coined as the best, you have to consider different things depending on your preference. So, we did all the research for all the best cities in the Midwest for various preferences to narrow down the options.

These cities are not only proven to be well-loved by visitors for what they have to offer, but they also have their hidden charms waiting for every tourist to discover.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the best Midwest cities to visit in the US for your next best weekend getaways.

15. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri is another must-visit in the Midwest and one of the best Midwest cities to visit in general. This city is known for its delicious barbecue and world-class jazz music. If you’re a foodie, then this is the city for you because it boasts more than 100 barbecue restaurants.

As one of the best cities in the Midwest, Kansas City will not disappoint with its range of family-friendly activities and attractions.

The first stop should be at the Kansas City Zoo which is one of the largest zoos in the United States. With over 200 acres, this zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals from all over the world.

After a visit to the zoo, make sure to drop by your children’s favorite amusement parks like Worlds of Fun which is 235-acre in size that will keep you entertained the whole day in Kansas City. This park has more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions that are perfect for the entire family.

And if you want to learn more about the history of Kansas City, then a visit to the National World War I Museum and Memorial is a must. This museum is dedicated to preserving the artifacts and stories of the Great War.

14. Duluth City, Minnesota

Duluth City, Minnesota 

Duluth City in Minnesota is a port city that brings delightful weekend getaways to those who are seeking a relaxing trip near a refreshing body of water.

Lake Superior in Duluth made this city such a wonderful destination and of course, there are other things too that made Duluth city a place to visit in the Midwest.

The Canal Park with restaurants, gift shops, antique stores, and dessert places is a marvelous place to explore during afternoons or evenings. A neighbor of the Canal Park which is Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge offers a once in a lifetime experience that will bring you back to the past, in the year 1905, with postcards, keychains, and local art.

Visiting Minnesota, you would not want to miss the Instagram-worthy Split Rock Lighthouse, overlooking the picturesque Lake Superior. The best time to visit the place is during sunset and sunrise which makes the place even more magical.

If you’re into outdoorsy activities, you will love hiking, biking, or skateboarding on the 7-mile Duluth Lakewalk, taking a walk around Jay Cooke State Park, or being in the waters and sailing around Lake Superior. Make sure you prepared all your essentials for these outdoor activities.

Weekend getaways will not be complete without the search for the most delicious food. Duluth City also has its share of mouth-watering local dishes. Included in the restaurants that will satisfy your cravings for the best food are Grandma’s Saloon & Grill, At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Café, and Bellisio’s.

13. Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan is one of the unique cities in the Midwest for a weekend getaway. This city is famous for M-22 Highway, Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Aside from the famous spots that you might have already heard of, this best city in the Midwest has a lot more to offer for every tourist.

The top attraction, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park, offers a view of marvelous 35 miles of perched dunes left by glaciers on Michigan’s Eastern Coast. Millions of visitors every year flock to the place not only for the dunes but also for the variety of things the park has to offer which include scenic hiking trails, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, and many more. Just make sure to bring the appropriate backpack for these activities.

For wine lovers out there, Traverse City as one of the large Midwest cities is a haven for incredible wineries. There are about 40 wineries in this city for you to enjoy. The proximity of the city to Lake Michigan has allowed vineyards to flourish in abundance.

You can also take a relaxing boat tour in the Grand Traverse Bay, wonder about history and art in the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, shop at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and take a tour of the different breweries in the city.

Traverse City delivers a beautiful dining experience with Michigan being second to California as the most agriculturally diverse state in the U.S. Experience alfresco dining with farm-to-table cuisines from the best restaurants around town. The highly recommended restaurants are The Cook’s House, Sugar-2-Salt, and Grand Traverse Pie Company.

12. Cleveland City, Ohio

Cleveland City, Ohio

Cleveland City, Ohio is one of the best weekend getaways in the Midwest that offer a diverse experience from music, art, museums, sports, food, and lovely nature escapes.

This city to visit in the Midwest has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum features spectacular exhibits of the best rock and roll performers in history which include The Beatles, Graham Nash, and Bruce Springsteen.

You can also listen to classical music in the Cleveland Orchestra or be entertained by theatrical performances in the Cleveland Opera Theater.

Cleveland City belongs to the big cities in the Midwest near Lake Erie and offers lovely views for all nature lovers. Head to the Cleveland Botanical Garden which has 20 unique gardens to have a rainforest experience or wonder a the sights of rare orchids.

While you are in this Midwest city, make sure to have a tour or shop at one of Cleveland’s best public markets called the West Side Market. West Side Market is an old market with a variety of shops from fresh produce to baked goods.

The other places that should be included on your list to visit while in this city for one of your best weekend getaways in the Midwest include the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the USS Cod Submarine Memorial.

The top-rated restaurants in Cleveland City as one of the biggest Midwest cities include Marble Room Steaks & Raw Bar, Slyman’s Deli, and Taza A Lebanese Grill.

11. Des Moines City, Iowa

Des Moines City, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa is one of the coolest Midwest cities for a weekend getaway with its many art galleries, museums, and performing arts venues. It is also one of the most family-friendly places in the Midwest with a variety of activities for both adults and children.

Some of the best places to visit in Des Moines include the State Capitol Building, the Iowa State Fairgrounds, and the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. For art lovers, the Des Moines Art Center is a must-see, and for history buffs, the State Historical Museum of Iowa is a great place to learn about the state’s past.

Families will enjoy spending time at the Blank Park Zoo, the Science Center of Iowa, and the Adventureland amusement park.

Des Moines is one of the best Midwest cities to visit which is also a great place to enjoy some good food. Some of the best restaurants in the city include 801 Chophouse, Django, and Centro.

10. Wisconsin Dells City, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells City, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin is one of the most fun cities in the Midwest to visit. Ready your swimming essentials as it is known as the Water Park Capital of the World, this city in Wisconsin has more than 20 water parks that the whole family can enjoy.

Some of the most popular water parks in Wisconsin Dells include Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, and Wilderness Territory.

In addition to a day in a water park, Wisconsin Dells is also home to several museums such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, and the H.H. Bennett Studio.

If you want to experience the great outdoors, you can go hiking, biking, or horseback riding at the Mirror Lake State Park or take a scenic drive along the Wisconsin Dells Parkway.

And of course, no visit to Wisconsin Dells is complete without trying their famous Wisconsin Dells Cheese Curds. Other popular food items include the Reuben sandwich at Del-Bar, the fish fry at Romano’s, and the ice cream at Kilwins.

9. Milwaukee City, Wisconsin

Milwaukee City, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also one of the best weekend getaways in the Midwest with its Summerfest, gathering places by the water, interesting museums, and splendid breweries.

As one of the largest cities in the Midwest, Milwaukee offers plenty of things to do that will have you experience one of the most unforgettable weekend getaways.

Milwaukee is located in America’s heartland on the west side of Lake Michigan and there are a lot of awesome places to explore near the lakefront of the Lakeshore State Park. The places to include in your lakefront stroll are the Milwaukee Art Museum, the War Memorial Center, the Henry Maier Festival Park, and the Municipal Pier.

The city of Milwaukee is also home to the iconic Harley-Davidson Museum, collections of stunning art deco in Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, and interactive exhibits in the James Lovell Museum of Science, Economics, and Technology.

If you’d like to enjoy some local entertainment then head to Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for some classical music and theater. You can also drop by the Pabst Theater and the Pabst Mansion which are magnificent architectural pieces in the city.

As one of the the best Midwest cities to visit, Milwaukee City is also near some of the best state parks which include Harrington Beach State Park, Aztalan State Park, and Kohler-Andrae State Park.

In search of the best restaurants during your trip, the top choices that are loved by visitors in Milwaukee City are Sanford Restaurant, Stella Van Buren, Mo’s A Place For Steaks, and La Merenda.

8. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is one of the best cities in the Midwest to live and it’s no wonder that it’s also one of the most wonderful weekend getaways in the Midwest. This city is not just a place of natural beauty but it’s also a place of endless fun and excitement.

Cedar Rapids is filled with an abundance of things to do like visiting the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, strolling through the Brucemore Mansion, or enjoying a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants.

There are also numerous parks and recreation areas in Cedar Rapids where you can enjoy the great outdoors. Some of these places include the Indian Creek Nature Center, Noelridge Park, and Usher’s Ferry Historic Village.

And if you’re looking for some shopping and nightlife action during your trip, be sure to check out Downtown Cedar Rapids and the NewBo District. These areas are filled with unique shops, trendy bars, and live music venues.

Some of the best places to eat in Cedar Rapids include The Class Act Restaurant, Blue Strawberry, and Trumpet Blossom Cafe.

7. Mackinaw City, Missouri

Mackinaw City, Missouri

Mackinaw, Missouri offers a charming-city vibe with its lighthouses, parks, forts, shops, and restaurants. This city is also a gateway to the famous Mackinac Island where the historic Fort Mackinac is located.

There are a lot of historical places to explore in this delightful city. The top attractions are the Colonial Michilimackinac which will take you back to the 18th century, the Old Mackinac Point Light Lighthouse which is a cream-brick lighthouse that looks like a castle, and the Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park which showcases the life in the 1700s.

Of course, something that you should not miss is going on a boat ride that will have you see the most fantastic views of the city while traveling to Mackinac Island. The Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry are among the best ferries to choose from.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is another fantastic place in Mackinaw. This 550-acre park is a place for outdoor lovers with hiking and biking trails. This park also offers a breathtaking stargazing experience.

If you like to get to know more about the impressive history of the city, you can visit a history museum in the city. The Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum Inc. and Mackinaw Bridge Museum are places worth to be explored.

Your visit will not be complete without spending time eating some good food from the best restaurants around the place. Make sure to eat your fill in The Chippewa Room, Audie’s Restaurant, or Darrow’s Family Restaurant

6. West Fargo City, North Dakota

West Fargo City, North Dakota

West Fargo, North Dakota is one of the popular cities in the Midwest that’s well-known for its friendly people and small-town charm. Visitors will surely enjoy the city’s many parks, trails, golf courses, and other recreational areas.

If you’re looking for some historical places to visit, be sure to drop by the West Fargo Pioneer Village and the Roger Maris Museum. You can also learn more about the city’s culture and heritage by taking a walk through the Red River Zoo.

Get yourself some refreshing drink from the Flatland Brewery or enjoy a good challenge at the Fargo Escape Room. You can also visit Tactical Action Gaming if you’re up for a laser-tag game.

For adventure lovers, West Fargo offers one of the best skydiving experiences. Head down to Fargo Skydive and book yourself an experience of a lifetime.

And of course, no trip to West Fargo would be complete without indulging in some of the city’s excellent food. Some of the best places to eat in West Fargo include the Boiler Room, Lucky 13 Pub, and the HoDo Restaurant.

5. Deadwood City, South Dakota

Deadwood City, South Dakota

Deadwood, South Dakota is one of the prettiest places in the Midwest with old-brick buildings, Black Hills Forest backdrop, and scenic hiking and skiing trails.

The picturesque sceneries even with horse-drawn carriages within this city of South Dakota will have you reminisce about the nostalgic past. The Historic Main Street in Deadwood City with historic shops and boutiques is one of the most important places that should be included in your trip.

You also have a unique experience at the Broken Boot Gold Mine where you will see the traditional methods of gold-digging. If you want to know more about the history of gold in Deadwood, you can continue your tour atThe Days of ’76 Museum where you can learn about the Gold Rush era.

If you want to have some time enjoying games and try your gambling luck in South Dakota, then head down to Silverado-Franklin Hotel & Gaming Complex or the Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming.

Your one of the best weekend getaways will not be complete without joining a ghost hunting activity. Not quite Area 51 creepy but Deadwood as the name suggests features some haunted places that are hotspots for ghost hunting including the Historic Bullock Hotel.

Other exciting things to do in Deadwood City as one of the most fun cities to visit in the Midwest include going to The Deadwood Model Trains gallery, sightseeing at the Mount Roosevelt Monument, and catching a glimpse of the Historic Adams House.

Now for the food, make sure to taste some of the most delicious dishes this city has to offer in restaurants including Deadwood Legends Steakhouse at The Franklin Hotel, Mavericks Steak & Cocktails, and The Deadwood Social Club.

4. St. Louis City, Missouri

St. Louis City, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri is one of the most incredible places to visit in the Midwest that sits on the Mississippi River. As one of the major cities in the Midwest Region, St. Louis has several museums, lovely parks and gardens, top-rated restaurants, fantastic art galleries, and amazing breweries.

This city, as one of the impressive weekend getaways in the Midwest, showcases The Gateway Arch National Park. The Gateway Arch National Park is a fantastic architectural piece and the city’s most iconic landmark. You can take the tramways to the observation floor to see panoramic, breathtaking views.

To see the flora and fauna this city has to offer, head to the Forest Park, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Weldon Spring Conservation Area, and the Saint Louis Zoo.

The Saint Louis Zoo is home to more than 18,000 animals making it one of the biggest free zoos in the United States. The zoo is also home to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site which is a pre-Columbian Native American site that is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

If you’re one of the science geeks, then you will have a great time at the Saint Louis Science Center. This place is located in Forest Park and offers a wide variety of exhibits which include a planetarium, Mars exhibit, and sections dedicated to physics, chemistry, and biology.

As one of the top cities in the Midwest, you can also expect to find incredible museums such as the City Museum of St. Louis and The St. Louis Art Museum.

Make sure to drop by some of the famous breweries in this best city in the Midwest. The highly recommended breweries are Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

For the most unforgettable dining experience, St. Louis, Missouri has several restaurant choices. The most visited food places are Bogart’s Smokehouse, Rooster, Hendel’s, and The Crossing.

3. Toledo City, Ohio

Toledo City, Ohio

Toledo City, Ohio, also known as The Glass City or the Glass Capital of the world, offers one of the most remarkable weekend getaways in the Midwest. This city is not only rich in history but is also filled with a variety of attractions and outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Some of the must-visit places in Toledo City include the National Museum of the Great Lakes, the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, and the Imagination Station.

For art enthusiasts, make sure to visit the Toledo Museum of Art which has a collection of more than 30,000 works of art. In the Toledo Museum of Art, you must not miss the glass artworks of the late artist, Dale Chihuly.

If you want to experience the outdoors, take a stroll or bike ride along the Maumee River Trail or go kayaking in the Ottawa River. For a more adrenaline-pumping activity, try zip lining at the Zip Toledo Adventure Park.

And of course, no visit to Toledo City is complete without a stop at one of the many glass factories where you can see how different kinds of glass products are made. Some of the popular ones include the Toledo Glassblowing Studio and the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet.

When it comes to food, Toledo City will not disappoint with its wide array of dining options. For a taste of the city’s famous food, make sure to try the Toledo-style chili at Tony Packo’s Cafe or have a sandwich at Mancy’s Deli.

2. Branson City, Missouri

Branson City, Missouri

Branson, Missouri is one of the weekend getaways in the Midwest that takes you back to the rejuvenating bliss of nature and world-class entertainment. This city is even known as the Live Entertainment Capital of the World.

One of the most popular attractions in the city is Silver Dollar City, an 1880s-themed amusement park with over 40 thrilling rides and 60 unique shops. Another family-friendly attraction is the Dixie Stampede, where you can watch a show while enjoying a four-course feast.

For country music lovers, there’s the Country Music Showcase where you can listen and dance to the greatest hits of all time. If you’re into more modern music, don’t worry because Branson is one of the places to visit in the Midwest that has that covered too with live shows featuring today’s pop, rock, and Motown hits.

Aside from the music, Branson which is one of the major cities in the Midwest is also known for its picturesque scenery. Take a stroll down 76 Country Boulevard and enjoy the view of the Ozark Mountains. Or you can go on an adventure and try out some of the adrenaline-pumping activities such as ziplining, parasailing, and kayaking.

In the Ozark Mountains, you will also get a chance to swim at Table Rock Lake which is considered a good alternative to Lake of the Ozarks for those who want a quieter atmosphere. Table Rock Lake is also a great place for fishing and boating.

For the best restaurants to try while in Branson City, head down to BillyGail’s Cafe for a hearty breakfast, taste a delicious barbeque at Gettin’ Basted, or experience farm-to-table dining at The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks.

1. Chicago City, Illinois

Chicago City, Illinois 

The city of Chicago, Illinois, also known as the Windy City is home to the most entertaining theatrical productions, awe-inspiring museums, a variety of enchanting parks, and excellent restaurants serving mouth-watering foods.

As one of the best cities in the Midwest, there are a ton of activities that await every type of visitor in Chicago, Illinois. But of course, there are top-rated activities that should not be missed by anyone visiting this fantastic city.

Visiting Millennium Park in Lake Michigan where all the exciting events are held should be at the top of your list. While at Millennium Park, make sure to drop by the Cloud Gate to get a glimpse of the iconic modern art.

Art lover or not, the marvelous Art Institute of Chicago which is one of the largest and oldest museums in the United States, will impress everyone with over 300,000 artifacts on display.

The top must-see artworks in The Art Institute of Chicago include the Buddha Shakyamuni Seated in Meditation, The Aztec Stone of the Five Suns, and El Greco’s The Assumption of the Virgin.

The city of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is where you feel satisfy your palate from international cuisines and spend time in one of the luxurious accommodations. There are over 275 restaurants, around 60 hotels, and more than 400 stores guaranteed to make our trip memorable.

Visiting Chicago City would not be complete without having to see the city sights from a skyscraper. The 360 Chicago will have a magnificent observation deck that will allow you to view the city in its full glory, from a view of Lake Michigan to the bustling area of the Magnificent Mile.

Additional Midwest USA Cities To Visit with their Top Attractions

Aside from the top Midwest cities mentioned above, other places that are worth adding to your Midwest places to visit list are as follows:

Columbus City, Ohio

The top attractions in Columbus City include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Willis Tower, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Center of Science and Industry.

Omaha City, Nebraska

The top places to go to in Omaha Nebraska include Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Joslyn Art Museum, Heartland of America Park, and The Durham Museum. Omaha, Nebraska also has the Strategic Air and Space Museum and Freedom Park.

Lake Ozark City, Mississippi

Lake Ozark, Mississippi’s top attractions include Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Bagnell Dam, Bridal Cave, and Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

Indianapolis City, Indiana

The main attractions in Indianapolis City, which is the largest city in the Midwest, are The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis which is the world’s largest children’s museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Central Canal.

Saint Croix Falls City, Wisconsin

Among the top attractions in Saint Croix Falls City are Interstate Park, Dancing Dragonfly Winery, and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

These are just some of the best Midwest Cities to visit in the US that offer a diverse experience from music, art, museums, national parks, state parks, and water adventures.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning a romantic trip with your loved ones to one of these wonderful Midwest cities today!

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Article by Alice

Hey I'm Alice. Based in San Diego where I write about my personal experiences but also well researched content pieces for curious travelers.