Introducing Great Lakes
Here’s how it’s going to go down. You’re planning your USA trip, you unfurl the map and gravitate immediately to the coasts. Mountains! Oceans! Metropolises! Movie stars! But the middle of the country – what’s the middle ever good for? Middle management, middle child, middle of nowhere. It’s nothing to strive for.
Fine. Be that way. You’ll miss out on the rural–urban mash-up that plops Tibetan temples in the middle of corn fields and Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche near Amish women churning butter. This is surely the only region where you can sip a fresh-from-the-dairy-farm milkshake for lunch, then take part in a five-way in the city for dinner. Are you sure you want to pass it up?
Roll call for the Midwest’s cities starts with soaring Chicago, which shoots up the country’s mightiest skyline. Milwaukee keeps the beer-and-Harley flame burning, while Minneapolis shines a hipster beacon out over the cornfields. Detroit rocks, plain and simple.
The Great Lakes themselves are huge, like inland seas, offering beaches, islands, dunes, resort towns and lots of lighthouse-dotted scenery. Dairy farms and fruit orchards blanket the region, meaning fresh pie and ice cream await hungry road-trippers. Thirsty travelers can indulge in the Midwest’s beers – the cities here have long been known for suds crafting, thanks to their German heritage, and several microbreweries maintain the tradition.
Most visitors come in summer when the weather is fine for hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking in the local lakes and forests. Snowmobiling and cross-country skiing take over in the butt-freezing winter (as do eating and drinking in warm taverns). Whatever the season, you’re guaranteed a true slice of America here in the heartland.
Great Lakes destination guides
Chicago dominates the state with its sky-high architecture and superlative museums, restaurants and music clubs.
How to deal with bedbugs
Nothing sends a shiver down a traveler's spine quite like the prospect of bedbugs. After 50 years of virtual absence in the USA, bedbugs came back with a vengeance in 2010, giving rise to such hysteria that Chicago hosted a bedbug summit with demos on how to freeze or fry the bugs.
Chicago City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
See all the sights of Chicago at your own pace! On a Chicago City Hop-on Hop-off Tour you can get off the bus at any scheduled stop to visit Chicago's most popular attractions, then pick up the tour where you left off or get on at any other regular stop on the route.
Chicago Holiday Lights Trolley and Christmas Market Tour
Get into the holiday spirit with this trolley tour in Chicago! See famous landmarks such as Lincoln Park, the Magnificent Mile and Daley Plaza, all beautifully lit up with Christmas lights. Then, spend an hour at the Christkindlmarket, a German-inspired Christmas market full of vendors and family-friendly festivities.
50 best US presidential sites
Presidents' Day: that strategic February Monday holiday in the US that's situated at arm's length between George Washington's birthday (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln's (February 12).
Sights in Great Lakes
Activities in Great Lakes
Tours in Great Lakes
Restaurants in Great Lakes
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
The sun dips.