With summer fast approaching, you may be thinking of cities that you would like to visit. I have found that there are countless cities in the Midwest that are great destinations for anyone. I suggest taking a weekend trip because they are a perfect way to find time to relax in a busy schedule. Also, with COVID, you may feel more comfortable staying local instead of hopping on a plane to somewhere farther away. With that being said, here are four cities in or near Missouri that I love visiting myself, and I encourage you to try in the future.
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas
I have been visiting Eureka Springs with my parents since I was in middle school, and every time I go, I find something new to love. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs is a must-see because of its eclectic vibes, unique shops, impressive art galleries, beautiful gardens and fascinating history. Previously known as the “Magic City” people began traveling to Eureka Springs in the 19th century because they thought that the flowing natural springs in the city had healing powers. The entire city is built up around these springs and the mountains and cliffs around it. Also, positioned above the city on a hill is the Crescent Hotel, which claims to be the most haunted hotel in America. The grounds of the hotel are stunning, and the drive up showcases the colorful Victorian homes that line the streets and cliff edges.
- Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha really surprised me, and I had a wonderful time visiting in late January of this year. It had an adorable downtown area with unique architecture, shops, delicious restaurants and museums. Also, other pockets of neighborhoods have cool streets to explore whether you want to shop, drink, take photos or eat. My favorites were the Old Market and Benson. However, the real highlight of the trip is the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. Even though I visited in single-digit temperatures, I spent nearly a full day exploring and wished I had more time there. It was seriously the coolest zoo I have ever been to, and I am already planning a trip back this summer.
- Jefferson City, Missouri
Jefferson City may be one of the smallest state capitals by population, but there are still plenty of places to explore. I actually spent the first 10 years of my life living just outside of Jefferson City, so my family would regularly spend weekends in the city, and we still visit often now that we have moved away. The city is perfect for any lover of history or nature. A few of my favorite activities in Jefferson City include learning about Missouri history in the State Capitol, gazing out at the beautiful Missouri river, walking through the gardens of the Governor’s Mansion and touring the historic run-down (and very haunted) Missouri State Penitentiary. Also, no trip to Jefferson City would be complete without stopping at Central Dairy which I’d argue serves the best ice cream in the world.
- Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs is another great town to visit in Arkansas. The entire town is a National Park and claims to be the first resort town in America. Like Eureka Springs, travelers have been flocking to Hot Springs for centuries to see the natural springs for themselves. Lining the city’s main streets is Bathhouse Row, which showcases numerous historic bathhouses and gardens, each with its own unique style. You can tour these and even enjoy a hot bath yourself. The scenery in the city alone makes a trip to Hot Springs worth it because of the countless waterfalls and trails. Also, the nearby Garvan Gardens is a beautiful 210-acre botanical center that is beautiful year-round. However, I would recommend visiting in spring when you can see the acres of tulips and flowers in full bloom. Also, there is a horse racing complex that hosts races every weekend, which makes you feel like you are at the Kentucky Derby and is seriously so fun.
Many people I know claim that there is nothing to do in the Midwest, but that is simply not true. You just need to ask around for recommendations and research online in order to know the right places to go. With that being said, I hope that this article will help you the next time you are planning a new adventure.