When you think of great cities to vacation in New York or Seattle might spring to mind, but how about Omaha? The Midwest is often overlooked as a tourist destination, but there are some great cities and places that are definitely vacation-worthy. Here are five of my favorites.
1. Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa may not seem like a mecca of tourism, but the friendly people and wide open spaces are only the tip of the iceberg for what it has to offer. Des Moines is the capitol of the state, and the largest city in Iowa. There are countless hotel options, like the Downtown Mariott, that are not only affordable, but offer great views of the city scape. Check out the Blank Park Zoo, the Des Moines Botanical Gardens, and Adventureland amusement park while you are here.
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis is a great big city in the Midwest. If shopping is your thing, book a room at the Radisson Hotel in Bloomington, which is home to the tallest indoor water park in the world. Right across the street is the Mall of America, which is a free shuttle ride away. While in Minneapolis you can catch a professional football or baseball game, or check out the arts and music scene which has produced artists like Prince.
3. Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha is home to the Henry Doorly Zoo, which is the best zoo in the Midwest, and one of the best in the country. It is a must-see for young and old when you are in town. Book a room at the Embassy Suites downtown and walk to the Old Market, which is an area of downtown with unique shops, are galleries, and fantastic restaurants.
4. Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City offers endless shopping and restaurants. If you are traveling with kids, check out Science City at Union Station. There is a World War 1 Museum at Liberty Memorial that is sure to please any history buff. You can also catch a Nascar race while you are in town.
5. Rapid City, South Dakota. Of course Rapid City is near Mt. Rushmore, but its is home to a plethora of attractions and activities. Jewel Cave is less than an hour outside of Rapid City, and is one of the longest caves in the world. Badlands National Park offers stunning views of some of the most unique landscape in the world. Whether you want to hike, or just drive through, it is worth a visit.
Next time you are planning a vacation or road trip, you might want to give some of these Midwestern cities a second look.