The good people at the US Census Bureau have worked to divide the continental United States into four distinct regions, each with its own states, its own territory, its own culture, and its own people. These regions all have distinctions that separate them from one another in addition to the obvious boundaries.
This is the fourth installment of Bjorn Koch’s walk through the regions of the United States. While travel guides are nothing new in the age of the internet, the opportunity that technology has afforded us to explore entire regions is less common. Now that the Northeast, the deep South and the Western USA, the fourth and final piece of this miniseries has been written.
Presenting: Bjorn Koch’s guide to the midwest.
What’s the MidWest?
If you asked an American from the coastal United States this exact question, what you might get in return is a hearty “nothing.” It’s a fairly widely-believed idea that the midwest United States is composed almost entirely of farms, flat plains, and nothing else. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The hard facts of the midwest lie in the states that make up the region: the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.
The Culture of the MidWest
The culture of the midwest is driven by the mesh of immigrants that currently call those states home. Originally, the midwest was populated primarily by immigrants from Germany, Britain, Greece, Italy and the Scandinavian countries. Later, people from Latin America and Asia began to make their way to this area, bringing with them the cultures and, of course, foods that come with their heritages.
It can naturally be assumed, then, that many of the restaurants and local delicacies found throughout the midwest are multicultural, allowing you to taste the best of everything. The dominating European culture that still persists in the midwest means some of the best European cuisine you’ll ever eat (outside of Europe, of course).
The midwest also touts some fantastic jazz and blues influences from decades past, as Chicago played host to many emerging blues and rock artists of the time.
The Places to See and Things to Do
Throughout the midwest you’ll find a number of sports teams–some of the larger markets and more historical teams dominate the area including the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves and Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals–and that doesn’t even include the college powerhouses of the area.
While the Midwest might be chided as lacking in things to do when compared to cities like New York or Los Angeles, some of the biggest attractions to the area comes in the natural beauty it touts. Numerous state parks can be found in the midwest as well as an incredibly diverse array of cities.