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personaly i think we should sticky this thread and everyone should contribute and build upon it.

Midwest cities sizzle during summer
Issue date: 5/4/06 Section: TruLife
PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1 Des Moines, Iowa

Believe it or not, Des Moines, Iowa, knows how to appreciate summer.

Des Moines might be surrounded by cornfields, but it has plenty to do for those willing to try new things.

The farmer's market takes place downtown every Sunday morning. It's always jam-packed and a favorite social place.

The Art Festival is June 23 to 25, located downtown. Artists everywhere come to sell artwork and exhibit their own.

Nitefall on the River goes from June 1 to August 3 at the Simon Estes Amphitheatre. The music includes jazz, folk, blues and more.

The river walk stretches from Gray's Lake into downtown. Gray's Lake has opportunities to swim at the beach, take out a boat, have a picnic, rollerblade, bike, run or walk around the trail.

Ragbrai, a bike ride across Iowa, is from July 23 to 29. Ragbrai is known nationwide, and thousands every year show up to ride in it.

Principal Park, located downtown, hosts the Iowa Cubs baseball team. It is always a great time to go enjoy games with family or friends, and they always have a great Fourth of July show.

Those who aren't such fans of the great outdoors also have many options.

Prairie Meadows horse racing and casino always offers plenty of entertanment for those who are old enough to participate.

The new Science Center, located downtown, has great exhibits for all ages and an IMAX theater.

Jordan Creek is a new mall in West Des Moines and is the largest in Iowa. It offers a variety of shops, a massive theater and plenty of places to eat.

All of these ideas are just a few of the many things to do in Des Moines, but the final event that every self-respecting Iowan attends is the Iowa State Fair, August 10 to 20. It draws nearly one million people every year and is quite a shock for the first-time visitor. There are events, concerts, presentations, contests, animals, food galore, rides and games for all ages. For more events and information, visit

Kansas City

by Loretta Palmer

The City of Fountains, better known as Kansas City, offers abundant cultural opportunities and fun-filled days, ranging from jazz to famous barbecue.

One could decide to view the exquisite fountains while strolling on Country Club Plaza. A variety of restaurants surely will accommodate anyone's preferences. Places of interest include Buca di Beppo, The Cheesecake Factory and the George Brett Restaurant, owned by the famous and arguably the most well-known Kansas City Royals player. After dinner, wonderful carriage rides are available through a variety of companies.

Aside from the Plaza, Pam Whiting, Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's vice president of communications, said the city has a boatload of art and cultural experiences.

"There is the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum, and that is free for contemporary art, which is a quick walk from Nelson, which is a quick walk from the Plaza," she said.

A must-do on anyone's list is a visit to the historic 18th and Vine District. You can visit the premier jazz museum in the United States, the American Jazz Museum. While there, make sure to stop by the jazz club The Blue Room, which showcases some of the best local jazz talent, Whiting said.

Other places of interest include Union Station, Powell Gardens and the Kansas City Zoo.

"The zoo is going through some transitions, but it is a very good place to go," Whiting said.

The Kansas City Royals have several Buck Nights throughout the summer when hot dogs, small Pepsis and peanuts are just $1 each. Top on the list for any visit to Kansas City should include a visit to Starlight Theatre. This year's Broadway shows include Riverdance, Dr. Dolittle, Grease, Rent and Hairspray.

"We have a thriving theater community, so there is lots of live theater and lots of music in Westport and around town whether your tastes are rock, jazz or country," Whiting said.

A summer in Kansas City would not be complete without a taste of KC's famous barbecue. Check out either Gates Bar.B.Q or KC Masterpiece Barbecue and Grill. If you are looking to step it up a notch, two fancier but certainly affordable places include the Italian restaurant Cascone's and Golden Ox, a delicious steak restaurant located in the West Bottoms of Kansas City.

All in all, Kansas City can offer an exciting but affordable day.

"For one thing we are a large city, and we have a small town field, and getting around the city is not as difficult as in [larger] cities, it is also less expensive," Whiting said.

Saint Louis
by Lauren Miller

With more than 33 percent of enrolled students hailing from the St. Louis area, it only figures that on one hot, boring, July day, an impromptu trip to visit St. Louis friends will be necessary.

Crashing at someone's house makes life easy. Joining in on family dinners makes life easier. The only question left is, "What to do now in the St. Louis humidity?"

No matter where a person is in the St. Louis area, a trip to Forest Park is a must. As the largest city park in the United States (yes, it is bigger than Central Park), it houses both the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum. Both attractions are free, except for special exhibits. However, it's important to note that special exhibits at the Art Museum are free Fridays.

After either burning at the zoo or feeling cultured at the museum, popping a couple blocks over will land sightseers in the Delmar Loop. Fondly known as just the Loop, it contains some of the most unique shops and restaurants in St. Louis. Blueberry Hill has live music and some great burgers. If cheaper, faster food is a must, St. Louis Bread Co. (no, it's not Panera) is right up the street.

For seekers of some real live music, the Pageant brings in a number of smaller concerts to St. Louis. The Fray will be playing there June 17.

What do the STL natives suggest to tourists?

"I always say the Zoo," St. Louis native senior Julie Mangrum said. "I've been to several zoos in the country, and St. Louis is just by far the best for the best price."


by Alicia Collins

Chicago is so much more than tall buildings, bright lights and bustling crowds.

Although downtown Chicago is the tourist hot-spot, it is well worth the time it takes to find the city's diamonds in the rough.

Gwen de Veer, a theater major at the University of Utah, said many people do not realize how many theatrical venues Chicago hosts.

"When most people think about Chicago theater, they think about the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Second City [because a lot of Saturday Night Live actors started there], but there are a million little theatres," she said.

Some of those smaller venues include Comedy Sportz, an improv show that is set up like an athletic competition with audience interaction, and the Breadline, which has plays from young and unknown playwrights, de Veer said.

Aside from theater, Chicago also is well-known for its music variety. The Elbo Room is a good place to get a drink and listen to indie rock music. The Metro, the Riviera and the Aragon Ballroom all are sure to quench any music lover's thirst for a good time.

As far as concerts go, Chicago will host the Pitchfork Music Festival on July 16 and 17, and Lollapalooza will be August 4 to 6.

Other obvious yet entertaining places to visit include the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium (the largest indoor aquarium in the world) and the Field Museum of Natural History.

After such a day of exploring, any traveler is bound to be ravenous, and with all Chicago's restaurants, even the pickiest of eaters will end the night with a full stomach.

Magiano's is a little Italian restaurant in downtown Chicago with more-than-generously sized portions for about $10. Seafood lovers can go to Hey Sushi or a more upscale restaurant such as Shaw's Crab House. As Chicago is famous for its pizza, Gino's East and Giordano's are great places to get a slice. Café Babareeba and A la Turka also are great places for ethnic food, de Veer said.

Chicago also has the Taste of Chicago festival every summer along the lakefront in Grant Park every summer.

So plan a day trip to Chicago. Shop, listen to music, go to a play, eat delicious food and then call it a day.

757 Posts
^^^^^Yeah maggianos....I mean come on there must be hundreds of better italian joints in the city

201 Posts

Minnehaha falls.

Sunday brunch on top of the IDS: You can make reservations (for sunday morning only) to have an amazing brunch at 750 ft.

Mall of america/MOA: Nations largest mall with an indoor amusement park.

Waterpark of america: coming in the sumer I think.

Mill city museum: never ben there.

St anthony falls/stone arch bridge.

Winter carnival: it has 2 paraids and sometimes an ICE CASTLE in st paul.

Fort snelling: an old fort overlooking the junction of the minnesota & mississippi.

The lakes: You got calhoun, lake of the isles, hariet, and ceder lake.

The sience museum.

Thats all I can think of.

Look closer...
1,137 Posts

Washington Post

Milwaukee: Something's Brewing

By Cindy Loose

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page P01

Raised Baptist, I never did get the hang of dancing. But I can stamp my feet along with the best of them, and enjoy watching other people make damn happy fools of themselves.

The polka dancers at Art's Concertina Bar in Milwaukee get so happy that I'm tempted to join in. When an older gentleman invites me to be his partner, I allow my klutzy self to be led to the floor. It hardly matters if you miss a step because there'll be another one just like it a split second later.

Being in a town where no one knows me only partly explains my loss of inhibition. Fact is, it's easy to get caught up in the spirit of a rousing concertina number. And Art's is both the best, and claims to be the only, concertina bar in America.

Art's is part of old Milwaukee, that familiar Midwest city of breweries and bratwurst, bowling and polka. But there is also a new Milwaukee of high culture and chic.

A $1.5 billion investment in private and public funds has paid for major new attractions, including a grand centerpiece -- the $121 million addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum by the highly lauded architect/engineer Santiago Calatrava. Other old buildings have been refurbished and new ones built. And in the next few years, another billion dollars' worth of projects will be added, including a big development along the Lake Michigan waterfront, with two aquariums and a Great Lakes educational center.

On my only previous visit to Milwaukee 20 years ago, I left with an overall impression of a rather downtrodden Midwest city suffering, like Detroit, from the downturn in American manufacturing plants. Last summer I returned to find that the brick warehouses along an oily river had been transformed into trendy restaurants, with alfresco dining along a new riverwalk of brick and stone. The downtown galleries, shops, museums and free concerts reminded me more of a mini-Chicago than a factory town turned to rust.

Rest o' the Article

Look closer...
1,137 Posts
More Milwaukee:

09:00 January 12, 2003

Beer made city famous but art, architecture are giving it pizazz
By Jane Wooldridge - Miami Herald
Sunday, January 12, 2003

Milwaukee --- If they could see this place now, Laverne and Shirley would tear the buttons right off their sweater sets. It sure isn't the Milwaukee those TV beer-bottlers knew.

• A sleek modern gothic tower looms above the 19th-century banks and offices that are in cream-colored brick.

• The Brewers are cracking the bat in a smart new $394 million field with a retractable roof.

• The old warehouses down on the Milwaukee River have been transformed into art galleries, theaters, brewpubs and a hip museum of advertising design.

• The Midwest Express Center, a sharp convention complex opened in 1998, is a hit with techies and other meeting planners around the Midwest, resulting in 683,000 room-nights in area hotels in the past three years.

• And on the shore of Lake Michigan, a half-block from downtown's stately offices, is a winged white mast --- an addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum that is arguably the most striking architectural statement in America in recent years.

Sure, they still brew beer here --- though most of the major breweries are gone, and a South African firm recently agreed to buy Miller. They make powertrains, too, for Harley-Davidson, founded here nearly 100 years ago. But if you're thinking of Wisconsin's signature city as more cheesehead hamlet than urban enclave, it's time to turn off the reruns.

These days, it's art, architecture, museums, cafes, theater, sports, the lakefront, weekend festivals and a newly expanded casino that bring 6 million visitors here annually.

Those, and the friendly locals. Like the visitor-center volunteer who offers this secret: The main public library sells old books for $1 each.

Or the crew at Downtown Books, where Thor, a Norwegian elkhound named for the god of thunder, greets visitors who are promptly asked to put on Elvis sunglasses and pose for a picture that will be posted on the wall. The store staffers have real names --- Darren, Justin, Keith, Larry --- but most days they wear tags recalling beloved book characters.

"Milwaukee is a nice place because the people here are nice," says Darren Schach, posing as the namesake from Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon."

Make no mistake: This is, first, home to 600,000 people who work in manufacturing, insurance, tourism and education. (Marquette University is here.) On weekdays, senior citizens and school groups pack the halls of the expansive Milwaukee Public Museum, focused on natural and cultural history, and stroll through the Milwaukee Art Museum. The streets and downtown trolleys are mostly quiet, save for lunchtime.

It's not until after work --- 5 p.m., 6 at the latest --- and weekends that lakefront parks bubble with 'bladers and cyclists and festivalgoers. Revitalized historic districts swell with theater buffs and the post-work crowd sipping pale ale at a microbrew pub or heading off to the current hot spot.

It is, simply, a nice place to live for all kinds of people. In the past two years, Milwaukee has appeared on lists of America's best-mannered cities (No. 3), best cities for families (No. 33), best places to live if you're a lesbian (No. 1), healthiest cities (No. 16), best places to be single (No. 24), best sports cities (No. 26) and best places to earn and save money (No. 38).

Tourism is gaining ground. Since 1998, $2.2 billion has been spent on tourism development, including the convention complex, the baseball stadium, an expansion to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, and new hotels, including Hotel Metro, Milwaukee's first boutique lodging. A Harley-Davidson Museum is planned.

The most dramatic symbol of the tourism push is the $100 million addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and named by Time magazine as the best new design of 2001. (Calatrava was selected last year to design the Atlanta Symphony Center at 14th and Peachtree streets.)

The pavilion is a sleek white ship moored permanently on the Lake Michigan shore adjacent to the museum's original hall, a 1950s cavern designed as a combination art center and war memorial by Eero Saarinen.

The sails --- or are they wings? --- of Calatrava's addition open during the day, a sunshade for the fountained gardens. The operatic sweep continues inside, with a 90-foot-high reception atrium enclosed in glass.

"The building we had didn't announce itself from the outside," explains Russell Bowman, museum director. "The museum was growing. We needed space for events and education."

The addition did its job, drawing more than 420,000 visitors in the first year --- 2 1/2 times the previous number.

Though distinctive, the museum addition mixes surprisingly well with the eclectic architectural styles reflecting Milwaukee's historic roots. Within the course of a few blocks you can walk from the cobbled Bavarian village of Old World Third Street past 19th-century offices in the city's famed cream brick, stately Classical Revival edifices, Victorian turrets, art deco facades, mansard roofs and sleek late-20th-century towers linked by a skyway of bridges, to the sleek Calatrava museum.

Still, much of Milwaukee retains a working-class ease. Restaurants in the Walker Point area promise bratwurst, spicy wings and some of the best Mexican food north of Texas. And while historic Brady Street may be the up-and-coming spot, you can still pick up old-style Italian groceries in the local market.

City boosters will tell you that this all adds up to "Milwaukee --- the Genuine American City." What it really means is that on a fine summer day, you can grab a 'wurst and a seat in Miller Park and find yourself chatting with a fellow who has been coming to games since the 1950s. He misses the Brewers' old park and reminisces about the good old days.

In Milwaukee, they might be now.

Fresh Coast
1,513 Posts

Milwaukee's Tourism Investment
Over the past decade nearly $2.4 billion in public and private investments were made in improving Milwaukee's tourism and cultural infrastructure including the Riverwalk, Miller Park, Midwest Express Center and Milwaukee Art Museum's Calatrava addition.

Current Projects:
Pier Wisconsin-Pier Wisconsin will house Discovery World – the James Lovell Museum of Science Technology and Economics, and an innovative, fresh and saltwater education center with aquariums, interactive experiences and dynamic laboratories all designed to highlight and educate visitors on the Great Lakes and oceans. The 65,000 square foot complex will be located directly on Milwaukee’s lakefront and will lead to the docks of the Wisconsin’s Flagship, S/V Denis Sullivan while also providing public access for fishing, walking and biking. "Exploration Portal" is Pier Wisconsin's digital learning studio hosting two-way video conferencing and live, interactive education programs via satellite and broadband wireless technologies. Portal Expeditions take classroom explorers, in real time, right to the deck of the S/V Denis Sullivan as she travels our fresh and saltwater seas, to the research stations of our partners or to the deck of a shipwreck lying deep beneath the Lakes.

Milwaukee Public Market- This new market will provide locally grown organic items, produce, meat, poultry, seafood, cheese and specialty foods. This $11.3 million project is designed to provide consumers with a new experience and “green market” for downtown while also adding to the architectural ambience of the area.

Bayshore Mall is undergoing a major expansion and transformation to a more “pedestrian-friendly” Town Center, giving the area a more “downtown” atmosphere. The end result, expected to be completed by October 2006, will include one million square feet of retail and office space, townhouses, parking garage, a town square, upscale restaurants and more. The Town Center will serve as a community-gathering place, while transforming the area into more than just a shopping center.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company is planning a state-of-the-art museum complex, located in the downtown area, creating an international attraction drawing visitors to experience the culture, history, product and people of Harley-Davidson. The Museum will celebrate the company’s rich motorcycle legacy along with highlighting the passion and enthusiasm of riders. First phase of this $60 million project is scheduled to open 2006.

Minneapolis has to have some interesting articles on tourist investment, especially considering the Mall of America expansion.

Mostly Sane
2,399 Posts
Does anyone know what the top 10 tourist destinations are in the Midwest? I suspect the Mall of America is at the top of the list, but maybe some of you have better info.

If such a list does not exist, maybe we can collectively construct one with data that you research yourselves. We can then can put it all together.

Mostly Sane
2,399 Posts
^Good list, but because it only tracks "overseas" visitors, it doesn't begin the show what the top tourist destinations are for the Midwest. I consider tourists to include North and South Americans as well as "overseas" visitors.

Mostly Sane
2,399 Posts
ReddAlert said:
no offense, but whats the more exciting to see in Jacksonville, Albany, Newark, Denver, or Sacramento over Milwaukee?
No offense taken, because I agree that I haven't a clue either! :) Milwaukee rocks!

However I'll reiterate my previous post of just 45 minutes ago (because we all know we don't often look too far back when we scan these threads!)

What are the Midwest's top tourist destinations?

Can we collectively come to a consensus?

833 Posts
Ooops, you are right about the international visitors! I guess that is good info as well though! ;)

Here is something that I found using google:
this one shows oversees travelers, only illinois as a state make it in the top ten for 2003 (basically chicago)
CITY 2001 2001
New York City 22.0% 4,803
Los Angeles 12.9% 2,816
Miami 11.7% 2,554
Orlando 11.3% 2,467
San Francisco 9.0% 1,965
Oahu/Honolulu 8.0% 1,747
Las Vegas 6.9% 1,506
Washington D.C. 5.5% 1,201
Chicago 4.9% 1,070
Boston 4.9% 1,070
Atlanta 3.2% 699
San Diego 2.7% 589
Tampa/St. Petersburg 2.3% 502
San Jose 1.9% 415
Philadelphia 1.9% 415
Houston 1.9% 415
Ft. Lauderdale 1.9% 415
New Orleans 1.8% 393
Anaheim 1.8% 393
Seattle 1.6% 349
Dallas/Ft. Worth 1.6% 349
Maui 1.3% 284
Florida Keys 1.3% 284
Detroit 1.3% 284
Phoenix 1.2% 262
Minn./St. Paul 1.2% 262
Denver 1.1% 240
Newark 0.9% 196
Ft. Myers 0.9% 196
West Palm Beach 0.8% 175
Sarasota 0.8% 175
Riverside/San Bern. 0.8% 175
Buffalo-Niagara Falls 0.8% 175
Salt Lake City 0.7% 153
Sacramento 0.7% 153
Nassau 0.7% 153
Monterey 0.7% 153
Baltimore 0.7% 153
Santa Barbara 0.6% 131
Oakland 0.6% 131
Hawaii (The Big Island) 0.6% 131
Austin 0.6% 131
San Antonio 0.5% 109
Portland 0.5% 109
Pittsburgh 0.5% 109 (is it midwest)
Melbourne 0.5% 109
Kauai 0.5% 109
Cleveland 0.5% 109
Cincinnati 0.5% 109
Atlantic City 0.5% 109
Charlotte 0.5% 109
St. Louis 0.4% 87Raleigh Metro Area 0.4% 87
Columbus 0.4% 87

here is another one, i highlighted the cities in the midwest and pittsburg i dont know. as you can see the frequency is very low or they rank towards the bttm for the major cities.
this one doesnt even include anything from the midwest

if you want you can go and find some more and include them, or if you have time try to find a site that shows region to region travel within the usa.

833 Posts

Mostly Sane
2,399 Posts
Chicago 4.9% 1,070
Detroit 1.3% 284
Minn./St. Paul 1.2% 262
Pittsburgh 0.5% 109 (is it midwest?)
Cleveland 0.5% 109
Cincinnati 0.5% 109
St. Louis 0.4% 87Raleigh Metro Area 0.4% 87
Columbus 0.4% 87

Well then, it simply matches population size to a degree!

833 Posts
Lmichigan said:
2001-2002 is a horrible time to track tourism and use it as an example, as that time period was an anamoly with 9/11 and all.
I completely agree ... it's because this is the latest info, you know. However, I don't see why it would effect each midwestern city differently (i.e. I will visit Detroit over Cleveland because of 9/11.)
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