When I talk to travelers from Australia, the UK, Germany, or anywhere else that is not America about visiting the United States, they always rattle off a short list of the U.S. cities that they have visited or plan to visit. New York. Los Angeles. Miami. Las Vegas. Maybe San Francisco or Washington D.C. if they are extra adventurous.
Even though these cities are pretty cool, a U.S. itinerary that only includes them is incredibly incomplete. I mean, America is a HUGE country. And limiting yourself to only large, well-known cities on the coasts is really doing the rest of the United States a great disservice.
As a born-and-raised Midwestern girl, I’m always a bit miffed that foreign travelers tend to skip over my part of the country. Yes, we have lots of cornfields and cows. But Middle-America also has some gems that I think visitors would really enjoy if they actually took the time to visit them.
The Windy City is slowly being added to more travelers’ American bucket lists. But it is still nowhere near as popular as it could (and perhaps should) be. Sure, it’s a bit harsh in the winter. But during the other seasons Chicago is pretty awesome. With great public transportation, cool neighborhoods, and impressive architecture, there’s more to do and see in Chicago than most people realize.
A little further south, the “Gateway to the West” is also a fun U.S. city that is often overlooked. It gets super hot and humid here in the summer months, but St. Louis is nevertheless a great stop in Middle America. With plenty of history and a quirky vibe (not to mention a nice spot on the Mississippi River), I’ll bet you didn’t know you can:
Lastly, I’ve put Pittsburgh on this list. This Pennsylvania city had a rough time during the fall of steel mills in the 1980s, but has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Today Pittsburgh is usually named one of the most “livable” cities in America – and I also think it might be one of the most underrated.
So are you surprised? I’ll bet you didn’t know you could do all of these things in Middle America. Now that you know, though, don’t skip this part of the U.S. next time!
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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