This guest post was written by Michelle from Travel After Five, a blog specializing in tips and guides for traveling professionals.
The Midwestern United States has a lot to offer, stretching from North Dakota down to Kansas, and east to Ohio. Besides some of the nicest people you will ever meet, the Midwest has a variety of activities that make perfect day trips.
5 Places in the Midwest Worth Visiting
House on the Rock – Wisconsin
The House on the Rock is a bizarre attraction that is difficult to explain. Located about an hour outside of Madison, Wisconsin, this house built at the top of a rock is more like a hoarder’s collection of interesting objects. The house opened in 1959, and was created by architect Alex Jordan Jr. The story goes that Jordan’s idea for the house was ridiculed, but he decided to proceed with building it anyway.
There are many notable features of the house. The Infinity Room is the room extending out over the cliff, without any supports underneath. There are windows and mirrors within the room, designed to make the room look never-ending. Within another room is the world’s largest carousel, which has 269 animals and over 20,000 lights. Another feature that stood out to me was a 200 foot tall sea creature in one of the rooms. I was not at all expecting such gigantic and strange rooms; visiting the House on the Rock was a mind-blowing experience.
Gateway Arch – Missouri
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri is an engineering triumph of the Midwest. At 630 feet (ca. 192 m) high, this steel monument is the world’s tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Construction of the arch was completed in 1965, and you can still go inside the arch today.
One of the most unique features of the Gateway Arch is the elevator inside. Built similar to a Ferris wheel, you will enter small 5-person pods to ride to the top. This is not a ride for individuals who are claustrophobic. The windows at the top are surprisingly small, but you can crouch over to get a unique view of the city.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Ohio
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can be found in Cleveland, Ohio. Explore the history of rock and roll as you see different memorabilia all throughout the ages. Open daily except on Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can get a $2-3 discount by purchasing your tickets online ahead of time, or for bringing your university ID.
The museum has multiple floors showing how the music industry has evolved, and you will definitely sample music from a variety of artists. At the end of the museum, you will walk through a hallway presenting the inductees to the hall of fame. You are only eligible to be inducted 25 years after the release of your first recording so you will see a lot of old school names.
I visited with some friends a while ago, and some interesting items we saw included Michael Jackson’s glove and Lady Gaga’s meat dress from a few years ago. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibits have a variety of outfits and props from all sorts of music legends.
Mount Rushmore – South Dakota
Within the mountains of South Dakota is Mount Rushmore, a sculpture of four American presidents carved into the side of a cliff. Located in Keystone, South Dakota, Mount Rushmore features the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. These men are four of the most popular presidents that the United States has had.
There are no entrance fees to see Mount Rushmore, though there are fees to park at $10 per vehicle. This site is the most popular tourist attraction of South Dakota. There is an ongoing conservation program by the National Park Service to preserve the monument, and try to prevent weathering as the years go on.
The Bean – Illinois
A visit to the Midwest is not complete without a visit to Chicago, Illinois. One of the nation’s largest cities, Chicago is popular because of it’s central location in the United States. Chicago is similar to New York, but a lot cleaner. One of the most photographed sculptures in Chicago, however, is Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean.
Located in Millennium Park in the center of the city, The Bean is called such because of its shape. The sculpture beautifully reflects the city’s skyline, making great photo opportunities.
The Midwest has so much to offer, and definitely provides a great setting for a road trip. With so many sites to see, there is certainly something for everyone.
About this Featured Blogger:
Michelle Maraj is a technology consultant who has the opportunity to travel for work. She created the blog Travel After Five to provide resources for other traveling professionals. Besides traveling, Michelle also enjoys bothering her husband and spending time with her cats.