10+ books to inspire Midwest travel

We are always looking for new places to travel, with so many we still need to explore right here in the Midwest.  We have a library of books ready to help us plan our next trip. From places that we need to explore further to places we’ve yet to visit, these books are full of great tips, ideas and history. We hope the inspire you, too.

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Lost Restaurants of Omaha (American Palate)

Omaha has quite the growing foodie scene. Many of its eateries have also been featured on television in different spots. One thing we know is that some of our favorites over the years closed, leaving a legacy of memories behind. Our friend Kim Reiner, who also writes the blog Oh My Omaha, has uncovered the stories around some of these lost gems. If you are a fan of food, great stories about local lore, then this book is for you.

Detour Nebraska: Historic Destinations & Natural Wonders

We love our home state of Nebraska, and take as many opportunities as we can to explore it. Written by our friend, Gretchen M. Garrison, “Detour Nebraska” is divided into seven regions and highlights great things to discover in each of them, covering the majority of the state. While we’ve been to several locations mentioned in the book, there are places highlighted in the book that we still need to discover.

Secret Cleveland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure

Tonya Prater and Deb Thompson are constant explorers and have scoured the landscape to bring you the hidden gems in and around Cleveland, Ohio. It has been years since we have been to this great Midwestern city. We will definitely use this as a guide during our next visit.

100 Things to Do in America Before You Die

Have you felt the mist from Niagara Falls? Or see the world’s tallest mailbox? Bill Clevlen takes you on a journey to nearly all of the states to give you a collage of American experiences worthy of being put on the bucket list. Midwestern attractions include eating ice cream at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, checking out some of the world’s largest items in Casey, Illinois, or visiting Johnny Carson’s hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. With a mixture of culinary eats, culture, history, sports, and much more, make sure to pick up this book for your next road trip.

North Dakota Beer: A Heady History

Are you a fan of craft beer? Fan of history? Time to check out this book on the history of North Dakota Beer by Alicia Underlee Nelson, who loves exploring and writing about her home state. From its time as a dry state during Prohibition to the current booming craft brewpub scene, you’ll get all the heady details.

Culinary History of Iowa

Iowa is well known for its pork tenderloins, sweet corn, Maid Rites and much more. Are you familiar with the stories behind them? Find out the behind-the- kitchen accounts of how some of these food icons made their debut from Darcy Maulsby, who proudly calls Iowa home. Learn about some of the iconic favorites of the famed Iowa State Fair to some of the famous food companies that call Iowa home.

Two Lane Gems Vol. 1

What started as a road trip halfway across the country has turned into a love letter to America in this book by Theresa Goodrich. Theresa and her husband Jim take you along on their journey from Chicago to San Diego and back. From riding on a vintage train with a singing engineer to meeting a World War II veteran and much more, this was a dream trip.

The Ultimate Kids Adventure Guide to Chicago – Toddling Around Chicagoland

Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest. With things to do, from world-class museums to culinary delights and plenty of outdoor activities, the choices can be overwhelming. Sarah Parisi has put together a well-laid out book for family-friendly activities whether you are looking for a day outing to a weeklong vacation.

The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers

Co-authors Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe searched Kansas to bring you the state’s gems. Having spent four years on the road going to all 626 incorporated cities, they can give you 4,500 reasons to explore their beloved home state. From dining to history to people and more, there is something in every community worth discovering.

The Unofficial Guide to Mall of America

The Mall of America is not only a destination for shopping but also one for dining and entertainment. From how to get there, where to stay and tips on what to see and do while at the Mall, this guide by Beth Blair is well thought out to help you maximize your experience.

The Milwaukee Bucket List: 101 Real Milwaukee Adventures

Think that Milwaukee is only beer and cheese? Grab this book to learn how much more there is to explore in this large Midwest city. From outdoor activities to history and fun in its eclectic neighborhoods and unique and delightful eats, you’ll be blown away by all of the adventures you can grab in Milwaukee.

Fun Days in Kansas City

Get your kids involved with the trip by having them follow along on your travels. Take a fun journey with Luke the Detective Dog to many of the family-friendly highlights in Kansas City as written by our friend Pat McGrath Avery.

Adventures Around Cincinnati: A Parent’s Guide to Unique and Memorable Places to Explore with Your Kids

Cincinnati is on our list of places to discover and explore. This guide provides the details needed to plan your family adventure in the city. From easy-to-read maps to over 120 kid-tested destinations within a 2-hour drive of the city – including several free and low-cost attractions – this guide is family-approved.

We have a ton of reading to do. What books would you add to this list?