“Middle America” is a difficult term to define. It’s often used to describe middle-income America, or, more plainly, the United States’ middle class. In some cases, it’s also used as an alternative term for the U.S. itself – as in, the part of North America in the middle, between Canada and Mexico. Perhaps most frequently though, it simply refers to the parts of America that aren’t in the coastal states that tend to get so much of the attention. That’s what we’re referring to here as we look at some of the top sights and attractions in this part of the country.
Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois
When you think of a city park, the image that tends to come to mind is one of a public green space where people can get away from the buildings and crowds of a city for a few hours. Chicago’s Millennium Park is different though. It’s more of a massive city square or gathering area; it packs a lot into a small area, with sculptures, a pavillion, gardens, and all kinds of outdoor events and festivals.
Grand Canyon – Arizona
It almost goes without saying that you should keep the Grand Canyon on your list of things to see in Middle America. Quite possibly America’s most famous monument, ether natural or man-made, it’s about as stunning a display of nature as you can find. Just make sure you visit the north rim of the canyon, as that’s the part you see in photos and on postcards; the south is also beautiful, but it doesn’t quite capture the spectacle.
The Strip – Las Vegas, Nevada
The Las Vegas Strip may have a reputation for being gaudy and over the top, but it’s not as if this isn’t the point. And the bottom line is it’s quite something to see (and enjoy up close). Essentially, a long street packed with brightly lit casinos and resorts on both sides, it’s unlike any other urban area in the country or the world for that matter. The Strip is actually surprisingly impressive in daylight, but it’s best seen at night when the lights come on and the city really comes alive.
Churchill Downs – Louisville, Kentucky
Churchill Downs is the name of the venue where the Kentucky Derby horse race is held annually, and it’s positively overflowing with tradition. It has been run 144 times, has become one of the biggest horse racing events for bettors, and it’s essentially the crown jewel of American racing. All of this tradition is evident on the grounds, which are striking in an old-fashioned sort of way, yet complete with modern amenities. It’s really a nice place to watch a race.
Yellowstone – Wyoming
Yellowstone may be the most famous national park in the U.S., and with good reason. Here you’ll see some of the astounding natural appeal of northern America, evident throughout the park but showcased at a few destinations within the park in particular. Old Faithful, a famous geyser that erupts from the land periodically, is in Yellowstone, as are a few volcanic hot springs that look like something from another planet in a sci-fi film.
Smoky Mountains – Various States
The Smoky Mountains in the East are some of the more underrated attractions in the U.S. We’ve actually made note of them in a piece on Gatlinburg, Tennessee, so that you can get the general idea there. But suffice it to say these tame, densely wooded mountains that roll through an entire region of the United States offer a sort of peace and tranquility that it’s difficult not to appreciate.
Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Missouri
Something should be said for America’s stadiums and ballparks as well. Most of the best and most famous ones are in coastal states, but the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium has been ranked among the top 10 baseball stadiums, and with good reason. It’s a fairly traditional but lovely ballpark with a terrific view of St. Louis, including the famous arch that defines the city’s skyline.
— Uncharted101.com (@Uncharted1o1) June 8, 2018