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Discover Midwestern USA, the country's heartland

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Less well-known than the Far West or the East Coast, few people make the journey to the Midwestern USA. But those who do are rewarded with some of the most vibrant cities in the country and an incredible natural landscape to discover.

Travel guide

Few tourists travel to Midwestern USA; it is less well-known than the Far West, but is just as important. It is officially made up of eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, to which are often added four others: North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. Being such an immense and rich region means there are plenty of things to discover and makes it an unforgettable travel destination. Prairies, lakes, mountains and deserts divide up the landscape and are a real treat for the eyes. In the Midwest you can drive along part of Route 66 in the morning, grab a burger and chips at lunch, and visit Mount Rushmore in the afternoon. You're sure to be charmed by this region full of contrasts that will immerse you in the historical and traditional America that you see in the films.

Our Editorial team's advice

A trip to the Midwest wouldn't be complete without a visit to Chicago, in the state of Illinois and the third largest city in the US. There's so much to see here, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Willis Tower and the Harris Theatre. Next on the list are Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee followed by the other big cities in the region, to get an understanding of American culture and the spirit of the locals.

If you're more of a nature buff, though, we recommend you start with the Great Lakes region and the surrounding forests. You can even go surfing there, so don't forget your surf gear! In summer it is possible to go swimming in designated areas. The current is extremely strong in certain places, so make sure to check where is safe beforehand.

Dare to venture on to the legendary Route 66 and drive a few miles to admire the landscapes of deserts, cliffs and plains. In fact, we recommend hiring a car upon arrival, and why not hire a 4x4 and take it off-road? If you get hungry, stop off at one of the many fast-food restaurants on the roadside for a bite to eat any time day or night.

Keep a look out for the wildlife wherever you are. The Midwest is full of buffalo but they're generally harmless.

pros

  • +The Great Lakes region with its magnificent landscapes
  • +The Indian summer period
  • +The cultural diversity

cons

  • -The risk of tornadoes in summer
  • -The huge distances that require a vehicle

Food

You'll find typical American dishes in the Midwest, such as grilled meats, hamburgers and salads. There are plenty of fast-food restaurants on the roadsides. Try some of the more traditional foods as well, such as fish boil or fish fry, a fish dish often served with chips. The locals are also crazy about beef steaks, particularly in Kansas. On the drinks front, there are lots of different varieties of beer to taste and enjoy.

Souvenirs

You'll have no problem shopping in the Midwest, as all the big towns have their main streets full of shops. Chicago's 'Magnificent Mile', for example, is home to a number of internationally renowned department stores.

Midwestern USA : Discover our cities

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