There’s no place like home for the holidays, and few places in America evoke family values like America’s heartland. If you have the urge to hit the road this busy season, America’s midwest offers a treasure trove of wonders to explore.
From chilly days on the ski slopes to hot nights out on the town, this region has something to offer everybody during the winter. There are tons of parks for nature lovers to explore and cultural offerings for those with sophisticated tastes.
You’ll also find delights abound for the youngest family members, helping your clan make memories that last a lifetime. Here are eight reasons to visit the midwest this holiday season.
1. You Could Win Some Extra Holiday Cash
Are you feeling lucky? While Vegas and Atlantic City may see all the publicity, America’s midwest features numerous casinos where lower crowd counts mean better chances of striking it rich. Besides, you need lodging on your trip, and many such facilities offer attached luxury hotels complete with restaurants, shops and fitness centers to fulfill all your needs.
Furthermore, such spots are the perfect place to master the game. It’s okay if you’re a complete beginner — most dealers will help you learn the ropes. However, it is up to you to know your limits and resist gambling away your souvenir cash.
2. You Can Meet Santa Claus
America’s midwest is known for its main streets featuring department stores — and Santa somehow manages to visit them all! Let your little ones recreate the famous scene from “A Christmas Story.” You decide if they discover a hidden Red Ryder BB gun under the tree.
Some towns go above and beyond. You’d expect a city named Santa Claus to put on a breathtaking holiday display, and you’d guess correctly. Your kids will marvel at the Lands of Light show, witness live reindeer and even have dinner with the big man in red himself.
3. You Can Ride the Polar Express
As if the annual trip to Santa isn’t enough holiday fun, the Polar Express will take your kiddos on a magical adventure. You can find multiple venues depending on your location. For example, Branson, Missouri’s Ozark Zephyr Scenic Railway transforms this time of year to take you and your family on a holiday adventure.
Your kids will ride to the North Pole to pickup Santa Claus. Along the way, they’ll receive hot chocolate and cookies. Don’t worry about the dress code — the little ones are encouraged to wear pajamas to recreate movie scenes. Adults are welcome to play along, too, so bring your fuzzy bunny slippers.
4. You Can Skate a Figure 8
The upper midwest is home to the Great Lakes. Although some are the size of inland seas, they’re freshwater, meaning they can freeze for skating. You’ll find some of the most magical outdoor rinks to show off your figure eight.
The Great Lakes aren’t the only place to lace up your skates. You’ll find plenty of indoor and outdoor rinks where you can hit the ice.
5. You Can Plough Some Fresh Powder
Did you think that the midwest was entirely flat? It is the gateway to the West, and the dividing line is the Rocky Mountains. There, you’ll find some of the most challenging slopes imaginable if you want to test your skiing skills.
The upper midwest also abounds with ski resorts. You’ll find plenty of places to pizza and french fry in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, to name a few.
6. You Can Dine Farm to Table
Your mind might rightfully turn to corn and cows when you think of the midwest. America’s heartland is home to farm country, which means you can enjoy some of the freshest dining you’ll find anywhere.
Seek one of the region’s top farm-to-table restaurants for the ultimate in freshness and sustainability. Here are some hotspots to put on your midwest road trip itinerary:
- Corner Table, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Enjoy down-home cuisine accented by French cooking techniques.
- Lily’s Bistro, Louisville, Kentucky: Enjoy free-range beef and a wide array of artisan cheeses for the ultimate burger.
- Morel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Enjoy rustic cuisine with a menu that changes daily.
7. You Can Indulge in Fine Chocolates
Hershey, Pennsylvania, might dub itself “the sweetest place on earth,” but Kansas City might give them a run for their money. This metropolis is home to Russell Stover candies, those drug and department store staples in the fancy boxes you buy for special occasions.
The store alone is a good reason to make the trip. Upon entering, you’ll receive a free sample that will tempt you to buy more.
8. You Can Catch a Holiday Show
Broadway might be world-renowned for theater, but the city of Chicago has a thriving district in its own right, creating another reason to visit the midwest this holiday season. This year, you can choose from multiple offerings, including “A Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Story” and “Elf: The Musical.” You can also find venues offering “The Nutcracker” if you’re a ballet fan.
Visit the Midwest This Holiday Season
If you plan to travel this holiday season, why not make the midwest your destination? You’ll find something that the whole family will love.
From plays and musicals to fine food and outdoor adventures, there are scores of reasons to visit the midwest this holiday season. Few places spread cheer like America’s heartland.