From Cincinnati to Topeka, you will find the best of what these select Midwestern states have to offer. Whether you are looking to spend a day in an exotic botanical garden, take a ride on a floating winery, or take nature a walk through a national lakeshore, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Heartland. Get ready to explore the food, culture, and events that these top-rated cities are churning out for both locals and visitors alike!
Head to Evansville for their 5 different cultural districts, all with something to offer every visitor. The Downtown, Haynie’s Corner Arts, North Main Street, University, and West Franklin Street districts are overflowing with events and things to do, from checking out the college scene, to enjoying local art and history. The Downtown district has plenty of hotels, complete with skywalks, as well as locally-owned restaurants and bars, and classic Victorian architecture to view.
Haynie’s Corner is “where the artists play,” and they mean this quite literally, as the outdoors have become more like extended common areas for locals to gather and share their work. Enjoy the sound of jazz music on weekend afternoons, and stop in a local pub for a beer while you view art from the streets. North Main Street is the hip area, where the cool kids hang out, so if you’re trendy, head here. There are always new bars and restaurants popping up, as well as a few local long-time favorites. Stop in at Turoni’s Pizza & Brewery for a slice and beer, and watch for bikes! Everyone likes to go green lately, so you’ll notice bikeways and pedestrian lanes everywhere.
The University district is actually quite the opposite from what one would normally expect in a college setting. There is tons of greenery, with the nearby Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, and the architecture on campus is spectacular. The Wesselman Woods is one of the “largest urban old-growth forests in the country.” Here, you can take a long nature walk in an untouched woodland area without being disturbed, and then head to one of the other districts for a bite to eat. If you’re looking for something to do as far as events go, West Franklin is the place to be. This is where Mardi Gras, Independence Day celebration, Nut Club Fall Festival, and Dickens Christmas are all held. So, if hot street food and live music is your thing, this district is for you.
Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana, which is why it isn’t hard to find something you’ll like to do there. Nature walks and outdoors events are popular here in the summer, so try the Canal Walk when you visit. The Canal Walk is refurbished from its original build, and is now blooming with cyclists and pedestrians. It is perfect for sightseeing and enjoying the fresh Indiana air. If you’d rather be swinging through the air than simply breathing it, try out the Go Ape Treetop Adventure. Admission is between $30-$60 and is recommended for ages ten and up. During the adventure you can swing from and fly through the canopies for a day, feeling as free as a bird.
Bloomington is a town centered around its school, Indiana University. Indiana University has been around nearly as long as the town and the county of Monroe, itself, with foundation in 1820, only two years after Bloomington. The large limestone buildings of the campus provide art and structure simultaneously, and the history of Indiana University and Bloomington seems to come alive within the architecture. Indiana University is known for its basketball, so there are plenty of local hang-outs that cater to school spirit. Make your way to Nick’s English Hut, and icon in and of itself, that has been in business for over 80 years. There are a ton of TVs all around the restaurant and bar, so watching the game is both easy and enjoyable. Choose from a wide variety of bar food, including burgers and sandwiches, like the Italian Beef or Nick’s Panini of the Day. All of the meats are locally sourced, and the food is always fresh. Grab a beer and kick back here for a few hours to get a feel for authentic Bloomington living.