Home > Love Where You Live > The 20 Greatest Things About Living in the Midwest

The 20 Greatest Things About Living in the Midwest

Cheese curds, lakes, beer, quality education, four seasons: There's a lot to love about being in the Midwest.

By Lynsey Elve on May 10, 2018

Lake Michigan Beach

Ah, the Midwest: Home to Henry Ford, cheese curds, The Great Lakes, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, countless professional sports teams and more acres of farmland than anyone cares to count. It’s a beautiful place with steamy summers, and frigid (not to mention, long) winters, with pockets of pure bliss during the spring and summer. It’s the definition of Americana and one of the best places to call home in the U.S.

In this article we are paying homage to the great Midwest by sharing the greatest things about living in Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

So, why is the Midwest the best? Here are 20 reasons:

1. Tailgating is a serious pastime

I don’t care who you are: girl, guy, young or old. If you live in the Midwest, you probably like professional and college sports and you’ve probably tailgated. Even if you don’t like sports, you’ve probably tailgated. See which Midwest cities made our 2016 list of Top 10 Tailgate Cities in the U.S. 

2. Cheese curds or BBQ, anyone

Hearty, sometimes not-so-healthy, but always delicious and satisfying. Yup, this sums up Midwestern-style food. If you haven’t had Wisconsin cheese curds, Cincinnati chili, St. Louis BBQ, Chicago-style hot dog, sugar cream pie in Indy, or a to-die-for Ohio Buckeye, you really haven’t lived. And, if you want a laugh. Watch a few non-Midwesterners try Midwest foods for the first time.

Here’s Where to Find the Most Heartwarming Tradition in College Sports

3. More than 100 top-rated breweries to quench your thirst

The amount of craft beer available to Midwest citizens is just unfair to the rest of the United States. With more than 100 top-rated breweries, if you can’t find a “favorite†in the Midwest, I don’t think you ever will. In fact, more than a fourth of our Top 99 Beers in the U.S. are from cities in the Midwest. 

4. So, so many music festivals

Midwesterners like summer and they also like music, which results in some of the nation’s best music festivals. Outdoor music festivals such as Chicago’s Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, Michigan’s Faster Horses three-day country music affair and Milwaukee’s Summerfest, take the cake for some of the best live music around. Want more? Click here for a round up of great Midwest music festivals.

5. Dunes, trails and bike paths, oh my

There are so many ways to experience nature in the Midwest. It’s kind of our thing. From the Indiana Dunes to the Wisconsin Dells, to Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka and Starved Rock in Illinois, we’ve got you covered. We also have some pretty wonderful state parks.

6. Foodies, eat your heart out

So much food, so little time. If you think top notch chefs flock to the east and west coasts, think again. The Midwest has some seriously delicious and prestigious restaurants. Wisconsin is home to Viroqua, a world-class restaurant with a James Beard-nominated chef. There is the Urbana Market in Illinois, which has top of the line produce. Seriously – the list goes on and on. 

8 Illinois Day Trips for When You Just Need to Get Away

7. The Great Lakes: Our very own fresh water oceans

The Great Lakes are the largest fresh water system on Earth and just our luck, Midwest states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana all get to enjoy. Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario span 750 miles from east to west, including some the best beaches and swimming one could ask for!

8. Fashion: The Midwest can strike a pose

New York might have us beat from a fashion standpoint, but we hold our own in the Midwest. Minnesota is home to the Mall of America, which houses over four MILES of retail storefronts and is in a state that doesn’t have sales tax. We even have our very own fashion week

9. The best of higher education

The Midwest is known for its impressive list of colleges and universities, including Northwest University in Chicago, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago and more.

10. Ok, just great schooling in general

Besides great colleges and universities, the Midwest also has fantastic primary and secondary education options for families. For more information, check out our 2016 list of the 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family.

11. Summer may be short, but it’s glorious

We Midwesterners have a love/hate relationship with summer, fall, winter and spring. Summer is too short, albeit beautiful. Fall is full of breathtaking, crisp color, but a signal of what’s to come. Winter is lovely during the holidays but harsh and filled with blizzard-cold weather come January. Spring is sloppy and wet, giving us a shred of hope for summer. It’s a vicious cycle filled with 15 different types of coats, boots, bathing suits and umbrellas, but it’s worth it.

Lake Michigan Beach

12. Beaches & Boats: Sunbathing galore

Summer is the Midwest is the best and the beaches are plentiful. Plus, with the great lakes and the thousands of other lakes throughout the region, you’ll have ample opportunity to get out on the water. (Shall we mention the almost 12,000 lakes in Minnesota alone?) East and west coasters will argue the ocean is where it’s at, but in the Midwest, you’ll find people are just as passionate about lake life. 

13. Our laid-back way of life

In the Midwest, we’re pretty friendly, laid back people. We’re also a tad bit conventional according to Time‘s “Mood Map.â€

7 Gorgeous Beaches in the Midwest

14. Two words: Cedar Point

There are many great amusement parks in the Midwest, but one in particular takes the cake. Located in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is the second oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. with four roller coasters taller than 200 feet. Known as the ‘Roller Coaster Capital of the World,’ more than three million people make the trip to Cedar Point every year. 

15. The art scene

If you like art, you’re in the right place. From top notch art museums to regional art festivals, the Midwest has got you covered.

16. The best biggest cities: Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee

You don’t need to go to California or New York to experience big city living all the finer things that go along with it. In the Midwest we have some of the biggest cities in the nation and some pretty great mid-sized cities too.

Cleveland’s Creative Side: 5 Places to Discover C-Town’s Art Scene

17. State Fairs: All the elephant ears, deep-fried Twinkies and Ferris Wheel rides you can stand

State fairs are an American institution and a tradition in the Midwest. The Ohio State Fair is one of the biggest with just under one million people in attendance each year. Wisconsin lures people in with its world-famous “cream puffs†and 50 amusement rides.


18. The amount of culture in the Midwest is astounding

If you’re a museum lover, look no further than the Midwest. So many museums and historical monuments to choose from.

19. Jobs: The Midwest is where it’s at

Although the Midwest took a hard hit during the economic recession, it’s rebounding strongly, with cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Indianapolis on the rise across technology, healthcare and industry.

6 Places Where You Can Try Winter Olympic Sports

20. Skiing: No mountains necessary

There are so many opportunities for great skiing in the Midwest, whether you like downhill or cross country, you can’t go wrong.

Array ( [0] => 160571 [1] => 160549 [2] => 158429 [3] => 158423 [4] => 151576 [5] => 151084 [6] => 157403 [7] => 157388 [8] => 157375 [9] => 152206 [10] => 152199 [11] => 150561 [12] => 149988 [13] => 111954 [14] => 109200 [15] => 106673 [16] => 106663 [17] => 106641 [18] => 102374 [19] => 157090 [20] => 19581 )
Array ( )
Array ( )
Array ( [0] => 160571 [1] => 160549 [2] => 158429 [3] => 158423 [4] => 151576 [5] => 151084 [6] => 157403 [7] => 157388 [8] => 157375 [9] => 152206 [10] => 152199 [11] => 150561 [12] => 149988 [13] => 111954 [14] => 109200 [15] => 106673 [16] => 106663 [17] => 106641 [18] => 102374 [19] => 157090 [20] => 19581 )

More To Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles!
Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.