Summer Activities in the Midwest

Click to scroll down and read more

1. See St. Louis from the top of the Gateway Arch
Take a 630-foot ride to the top of this world-famous stainless steel monument for the finest view in the Gateway City. You can also hop aboard a 19th-century paddle-wheel boat replica for a narrated cruise down the mighty Mississippi River.

2. Take a free tour of Chicago
The Chicago Greeter Service, operated through the city’s tourism office, matches you with a friendly, knowledgeable local for an insider’s introduction to Chicago. You can explore almost any interest, from art to history to food – all for free!

3. Rock out in Cleveland
This Ohio city has Elvis’ Cadillac, Michael Jackson’s glove, John Lennon’s colorful Sgt. Pepper uniform, and more of the best memorabilia in one place: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

4. Appreciate art in Ann Arbor, Michigan
This charming city is artistic year-round, but every July it fills up with half a million arts and crafts lovers attending the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Visitors are treated to paintings, pottery, photography, sculpture, and more, along with live music and specialty foods.

5. Visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Auto racing is a popular American sport, and the 2.5-mile oval speedway in Indiana is our most famous racetrack, home to the Indy 500 race. Learn more about the history of the sport at the track’s Hall of Fame Museum.

6. Discover the Great Lakes, America’s “Third Coast”
Take advantage of the Great Lakes’ 11,000 miles of coastline, ideal for kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming. One popular spot, Sleeping Bear Dunes at National Lakeshore, features miles of sandy beach and towering bluffs that rise 450 feet above Lake Michigan.

7. Make a splash in Wisconsin
The area known as the Wisconsin Dells is home to the greatest concentration of splash pools in the country. Now a land-based alternative has arrived – Heightened Adventures, an aerial park with six acres of woodlands, and an obstacle course with zip lines, high ropes, and suspended planks in four different routes from 10 to 45 feet off the ground. Try it if you dare!

8. Explore Badlands National Park
See the fascinating canyons, spires, and buttes of this famous South Dakota park, home to one of the world’s richest fossil beds. The park’s 244,000 acres also protect a large area of mixed-grass prairie where you can see bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs.

9. View pop art in Minnesota
The “International Pop” exhibit at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis traces the global emergence of pop art from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Next to the museum is the 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Museum admission is free every Thursday evening and the first Saturday of each month.

10. Volunteer in your local community
Whether you prefer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter, serve food at a soup kitchen, or plant a tree with a conservation group, there are many ways to volunteer in your local community. You’ll find plenty of other opportunities at or Be sure to tag #cieegivingback when you post your photos! 

We’d love to see and hear about your adventures on Facebook.