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Things To Do & See On A Road Trip In The Midwest, According To Students

The midwest is the heart of the United States — both figuratively and literally. For both work conferences, concerts, and to see friends, I’ve found myself in Chicago several times in the past year. With the help of Chicago natives, I found the best deep dish pizza (and then texted my New Yorker friends all about it), explored the coolest art museums, and fell in love with the midwest culture: gritty and down to earth, but filled with eagerness and charm. I even took the train to Milwaukee, where I met the nicest people and found a charcuterie board that could rival any other. 

But there are plenty of hidden gems in the midwest (outside of the glamour of Chicago) that are worth road-tripping to. Here are a few unique destinations in the midwest, according to three Her Campus chapters in the region, that are worth checking out. And you won’t want to miss out — from Iowa to Michigan to Illinois, there’s so much to explore. Pack your bags, baby. Let’s hit up the midwest.

Davenport, IA: Take a walk through Vander veer.

“Check out Vander Veer, a 33-acre botanical park full of nature and beauty. Check out the flowers and various other plants, and sit by the fountain or lagoon and enjoy a snack. There are lots of opportunities to get amazing photos. The best part is the botanicals in the conservatory!” – Her Campus at St. Ambrose University

East Lansing, MI: Visit Constellation Cat Cafe.

“Enjoy seasonal drinks and a cute shop all while being able to destress with a room full of cats!” – Her Campus at Michigan State University

Champaign, IL: Check out the cherry blossom trees at the Japan House.

“The Cherry Blossom trees only blossom for a short period of a time (end of March into April), and they’re a great way to kick off the spring season!” – Her Campus at Illinois

Maddie Solomon is a writer for Her Campus, where she reports on pop culture, travel and local adventures, national style trends, and more. She is a writer, advocate, and Jewish professional interested more broadly in community building, social justice, and civil rights. Maddie graduated from Occidental College in 2021, where she majored in Political Science with an Education minor. Her work has been published in The Denver Post, Women's Media Center, The Jewish Journal, Persephone's Daughters, amongst other publications. Maddie grew up in Denver, and carries her college experiences in Los Angeles – the land of sunsets, tacos, and oceans. She moved to Boston last summer to explore a new East Coast post-grad life and lives in a Moishe house. In her free time, she enjoys coffee hopping, going to concerts, soul cycle, Shabbat dinner parties and bringing people together, traveling, and exploring Boston with her friends.