5934923965_46c0575a97_b

Sure, we love New York City, Los Angeles, Miami Beach, and other coastal American travel destinations as much as anyone. There are, however, plenty spots in the heart of the continental United States that evoke wonder, and inspire travelers in their own special ways. Everyone knows Chicago, but we want to shed some lights on some lesser known spots. Here are 5 underrated destinations in the Midwest.

Kansas City, Missouri

Home of an American League Champion baseball franchise, highly regarded barbecue, and a cultural landscape dense with stunning museums, and the renowned Kansas City Symphony Orchestra who play at the curvy golden Helzberg Hall, it seems like this town won’t be underrated for long. The Midwest metropolis is steadily gaining recognition in the travel world, but, for now, remains under the radar in terms of costs and crowds.

Fargo, North Dakota

Decked out with vintage signage on theatres and restaurant fronts throughout, downtown Fargo’s classic Americana charm is ever-present. For fun, travelers can check out old planes at the Fargo Air Museum, or play video games at Fargo Pinball and Section 9 Cyber Cafe. The town is also an emerging innovation destination with annual events like the Misfit Conference led by the prolific digital agency of the same name, and the North Dakota Association of Technology Leaders’ Ignite Conference.

Des Moines, Iowa

Located below Minnesota and above Missouri, Iowa is perceived by many to be a large flat landscape that drivers brave through on their way across country. Des Moines, to the contrary, offers visitors an inspiring array of outdoor and cultural landmarks. From sailing on Gray’s Lake to observing abstract works at Pappajohn Sculpture Park to smelling flowers at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the city is a nature lover’s paradise.

Cleveland, Ohio

Unflatteringly nicknamed, The Armpit of America, Cleveland is another city that’s emerging as an attractive Midwest destination. Affordable rent brings in more young professionals and creative types each year, who in turn feed a booming cultural scene. The Cleveland Institute of Art is opening a new visual arts wing in 2016, and new restaurants from well known chefs like Iron Chef Michael Symon—who opened a killer barbecue joint in 2014, all point to a renaissance in the Rustbelt.

Bayfield, Wisconsin

Sitting on the shores of Lake Superior in northeast Wisconsin, Bayfield is one of the country’s lesser known rural retreats. A quaint downtown area offers fine dining, art galleries, and cute little bakeries, while the surrounding wilderness features challenging hiking trails, sea caves, and water sports. Take a kayak ride on the lake or pick berries at a nearby orchard during your relaxing trip to this underrated Midwest destination.

image via flickr