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The 10 Most Overrated Destinations in the Midwest

America's Heartland is a spectacular region for travel, but some places aren't necessarily worth your time or tourism dollar.

by
Ari J. Kaufman

Bio

July 28, 2014 - 9:30 am
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SOO

Last week I shared my choices for most underrated destinations in the Midwest; this week I present the most overrated destinations.

10. Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

A vital commerce site and river bypass between Great Lakes along the Canadian border, but ships pass through as infrequently as Old Faithful, so you’re usually staring at empty locks. If you’re in that gorgeous region of our nation, there are superior places to visit like Traverse City, LelandSleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island, the Porcupine Mountains and much more.

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Top Rated Comments   
Exactly, unless you're looking for the company of "fellow travelers", I don't see why you would give Madison a second thought.

As regards Madison and its denizens, a great philosopher once said -

Sod Off Swampy!

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am thinking of writing an article - The Ten Most Annoying Stories at PJMedia with Top 10 in the Title. Or maybe, the Ten Most Annoying Headlines Using 10 in the Headline Because Lists of 10 Get the Most Hits. Or 10 Reasons Why We No Longer Read Articles with No Lists of 10 in Them.

I think we are being overtaken by an alien force that is from a society that uses lists to defeat its enemies. We are almost defeated. Then we will be among the Top 10 Cultures that No Longer Exist Due to Alien Domination.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re: The Corn Palace. I was in NYC on business on 9/11/01 and way too close to the World Trade Center. Somehow, my business partner and I managed to get out to the Westchester airport and were able to rent a car one-way to Seattle. We stopped at the Corn Palace on a whim and found old folks dancing the polka. Seeing that made me feel that America would endure. Not saying that would make it a "destination" for tourists on a normal day, but that memory means a lot to me.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (41)
All Comments   (41)
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I found myself in South Bend on a free afternoon returning from a business trip.

Yes, the city is so-so, and the miniature football field memorial for Notre Dame football was tacky, but the Studebaker museum was an absolutely must-see. From early builder of Conestoga wagons and ranch buckboards, to the Lincoln's presidential carriage to a long line of beautiful motor cars, Studebaker remains an American industrial icon.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, some history, but overall, so many better places across Indiana and the Midwest.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I disagree on the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. I really enjoyed it and could've spent a week there and still not become bored. Granted I went there in March 1998, but I don't recall any exhibits shut down and, after the TRULY overrated experience that is the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC, I'm not upset about the lack of interactive exhibits. But then I'm an old guy.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The food is great, the architecture is great and the Art Institute is one of the best fine arts museums to be had. Just three reasons why I enjoy Chicago.

The Soo Locks are indeed quite boring. I'm not sure I could stand to be in Madison for more than five minutes.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
One time I visited Chicago for a conference, went to a Cubs game. Yes it's a dumb, but there was no jumbo torn nor constant music. I hate the idea the senses have to be assaulted all the time. Then I went to the art museum. One painting was a ten foot tall, at least, portrait of Mao. Felt like asking where the Stalin & Hitler ones were.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Absolutely right about Madison Wisconsin, impossible to gt a decent picture of Scott Walker's house there. Almost as bad as the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or Niagra Falls. Too many tourists!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
This piece was rolling like a Corey Kluber shutout for seven innings, complete with South Bend and Mall of America (or any other dinosaur brick and mortar mall) included.

But then came the inevitable destruction of Madison by the author at Number 2. Only my favorite city, looking eagerly to my visit in November, snow or shine.

Wrigley saves Mad Town from the top spot, least that decaying dump is good for something. It was perfect for the post-apocolyptic scene on Revolution.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tell me exactly what you like about Madison. I know the food is good (like any college town) and so are the sports, but what else? The capitol building is nice but constantly obscured by protests and construction. Plus 35 -40 other states have beautiful capitol complexes.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lakes, incredible scenery, outdoor activities, State Street, massive university, looking at college women:)

I know everyone wants to turn it into political beliefs.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some of it is political beliefs, unless you're just there for a day. Tough to live somewhere you're not ideologically compatible, though undoubtedly many of us have. There are lakes all around America and especially MN/WI. Madison has two large ones near downtown, but too crowded, need more isolation for the best lake experience. Ditto outdoor activities/incredible scenery. (It's a large capital city, after all). State Street/massive university/college women can be found in most college towns, and most schools definitely have better, cleaner women than Madison. :)
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly, unless you're looking for the company of "fellow travelers", I don't see why you would give Madison a second thought.

As regards Madison and its denizens, a great philosopher once said -

Sod Off Swampy!

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
You left out Graceland, Elvis Presley's monument to tackiness.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything you say about Chicago is correct except you are absolutely wrong in your conclusion. From Memorial Day through Labor Day Chicago is the greatest urban area to visit in the United States. No other city, including NYC, has the combination of food, museums, culture, sports, parks and beaches that are found in Chicago. If you aren't a wimp the lakefront is still a pretty cool place even in the dead of winter. Your conclusions indicate that you are a coastal snob of the first order. Now your opinion of Wrigley is spot on. The place to see a real baseball team play is on the Southside. Cubs fans who are knowledgeable about baseball will even tell that White Sox fans know more about the game than you average Wrigley patron.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chicago is great. Just remember to bring your bulletproof vest, running shoes, and somebody slower than you.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Like most large, liberal places, Chicago a racially-segregated city. Massive wealth (and mainly white/asian) on the north side, black and hispanic to the south. West is a bit more mixed. Just not a desirable place, especially with bad weather, high cost of living.

The Somali areas of MSP are very dangerous. Thanks, Bill Clinton
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All but 50 of the murders occurred in Chicago gang country. Stay out of those neighborhoods and you are no less safe than you are in Minneapolis.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, that's damning with faint praise.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
You obviously aren't good with numbers. The gang infested areas of Chicago may look like Mosul but the rest the city looks like Toronto. Toronto might be the safest big city in North America excluding the gun infested urbanized area of Northern Virginia.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
We like it gun infested. :)

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. He's dead wrong about Chicago for all the reasons tdiinva and DGinGa mention. I might add that the architecture is far more interesting than that of New York.
And another thing. Chicago is a great city for kids. (The Museum of Science and Industry alone provides a barrel of fun and learning for the whole family.)

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I live near Chicago. It is an interesting city to visit as long as you stay out of the bad neighborhoods. As far as the Museum of Science and Industry is concerned, I have visited many museums and there are not like at anywhere that I have been. It is my favorite museum.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Been there dozens of times on summer weekends. Correct, but you need $1000 for a day for a family to park, eat, see museums, etc. Not to mention the traffic. I despise the coasts, as evidenced in every column I've written. Chicago, to me, is an honorary coastal city, politically, culturally, cost of living, etc.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree. I HATE New York City, but have had a love affair with Chicago for over 40 years that continues to this day. It's a big city with so many things to do and see - most within walking distance of each other. The people are very friendly and helpful, and I don't fear being mugged or killed if I walk Michigan Ave after dark. Maybe it's because I'm a Midwesterner that I find New York a big, dirty, nasty city with belligerent, arrogant people of all nationalities, most of whom don't bother to learn to speak English. Broadway is no big deal, and I'd rather see a good road company of a show than pay the prices to sit in a smallish theatre near Times Square with a bunch of arrogant New Yorkers. And Chicago, while expensive enough, doesn't come close to the outrageous price structures of pretty much every hotel restaurant and corner store in Manhattan.

As for some of the other places, I agree that the people in Madison, WI are obnoxious lefties - when I lived in Milwaukee we referred to it as Moscow on the Mendota, and the Mall of America is just a big, busy, NOISY mall. I used to go to Minneapolis on business a lot, and stayed at a hotel walking distance from the MofA when it was brand new. There is so much going on in that mall that I could only stand to be there for about an hour and then I'd have to leave.

Good information on the Soo Locks though. A couple of years ago I traversed the Panama Canal on a cruise ship and thought it would be cool to take my nephews to see the Canal, but maybe cheaper to just take them to the Soo Locks, which was designed by the same guy. But if there aren't really any boats going through the locks, it would be a waste of time. At the Panama Canal the ships are lined up for days waiting to go through the Canal.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been walking the streets of New York after dark over the course of a lifetime and have never feared being mugged or murdered. Every afternoon on Times Square, you can get tickets to any number of Broadway shows for half price. I'm a transplanted native and every time I go back I make it a point to do a couple of things I've never done before. From the looks of it, I'll never run out of new things such is the variety of the place. I've been to many of the world's great cities; they are all special but none has the vibrancy of New York.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am thinking of writing an article - The Ten Most Annoying Stories at PJMedia with Top 10 in the Title. Or maybe, the Ten Most Annoying Headlines Using 10 in the Headline Because Lists of 10 Get the Most Hits. Or 10 Reasons Why We No Longer Read Articles with No Lists of 10 in Them.

I think we are being overtaken by an alien force that is from a society that uses lists to defeat its enemies. We are almost defeated. Then we will be among the Top 10 Cultures that No Longer Exist Due to Alien Domination.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, Kent: I thought about an article on "The Top 10 Most Annoying 'Top 10 Lists' from P J Media," but then I realized we would have to forfeit slots 2 - 9 since all of these lists would tie for "most annoying."
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find Las Vegas a boring trash farm so urban areas as destinations in America aren't exactly bucket lists. I favor natural wonders and even then only if the only person in sight is me.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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