midwest travel

The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri, citing recent "race-based incidents" and new state legislation that makes it harder for fired employees to prove racial discrimination.

It's the first time the national civil rights organization has issued a travel warning for an entire state, the Kansas City Star reports.

The group warns "African American travelers, visitors and Missourians" to "exercise extreme caution" in the state.

If you are looking for Mexican culture in the midwest, the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago has you covered.

Indianapolis has several museums that make a trip there fun for the whole family.  It also has a vibrant art scene.

From modern art to a western theme to exhibits that even Chicago might not be able bring in, art lovers will find plenty to like in Indy.

Mary Galligan wrote about the arts in Indianapolis for the Illinois Times in 2013.  You can read her article here.

Midwest Travel: Explore The Titanic In Peoria

Jan 16, 2017

Ever since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet stood on the bow in that blockbuster movie, crowds have flocked to exhibits dedicated to all things Titanic. Swinging a trip to museums in Southampton, England, or Halifax, Nova Scotia, would be a stretch, but your heart can go on with a day visit to Peoria. 

You say you’re tired of the neighbors’ inflatable Santas, pushy crowds at the mall and The Chipmunk Song on the radio? Time to pack up the family or friends and head southwest to historic St. Charles, Mo., for a slice of old-fashioned holiday cheer.


One of the most scenic towns in Illinois, Galena is especially picturesque in the winter. The historic town’s snow-covered hills, valleys and charming 19th century architecture make it a perfect winter wonderland. Instead of traveling south before or after the holidays, you’ll find real winter fun in northwestern Illinois.

Brent Bohlen

New Harmony, Indiana, is a special place to stop and smell the roses – or at least the red geraniums. Fall is an especially good time to visit with colors abounding and temperatures moderating.

Founded in 1814 by a German communal society and sold 10 years later to a Welsh visionary, the town of 800 in far southwestern Indiana along the Wabash River has deep roots in contemplation, nature and the arts.


Mary Galligan's latest column follows her visit to Columbus, Indiana. 

All eyes in the audience were focused on King Lear, when an unannounced walk-on briefly stole Shakespeare’s play. Like others, I watched a small skunk appear onstage, pause, and then exit into the dark woods.

That summer night was part of a memorable visit to Spring Green, Wis., where the arts thrive along with nature. 

Brent Bohlen

For a quick fix to get your kicks on 66, pile the family or friends into the coupe and head north to Atlanta, Illinois. Fewer than 50 miles from Springfield, Atlanta is chock full of enough Mother Road memorabilia to make your own memories.

Milwaukee Visitors' Bureau

You can’t beat Milwaukee for a summer getaway that combines art, culture and music, along with sunshine and cool breezes on the shores of Lake Michigan. This city of about 600,000, and the largest in the state of Wisconsin, offers a fabulous lakefront, an art museum that’s a treasure, summer festivals and many delightful attractions for adults and kids.

Midwest Travel: Amish Heritage In Shipshewana

Jul 26, 2016

The horse’s hooves clip-clop along the pavement, pulling the black buggy in the early morning mist. The aroma of cinnamon rolls and berry pie wafts from the bakery, tempting all who pass by. Hand-sewn quilts wave gently in the breeze as the vendor sets up shop.

These and other symbols of simpler times beckon visitors to the Shipshewana area in northeast Indiana, the third largest Amish community in the United States. Settled by Dutch and German immigrants 200 years ago, the area is just south of I-80 before the Ohio border.  

National Park Service

Jerry Brandsford knows a thing or two about Mammoth Cave National Park. You could even say his affinity for the massive cavern in central Kentucky runs deep.

Brandsford is the fifth generation of his family to introduce visitors to Mammoth, 360 miles from Springfield. If you are lucky to land him as your National Park Service tour guide, you will learn about Mat Brandsford, his great-great grandfather, a slave who worked as a cave guide in the 1800s.

Brent Bohlen

“Road trip!” can evoke images of fun and freedom for family and friends. This summer toss in a little history and take off with a “National Road Trip!”


William Shakespeare comes alive this year in Chicago, as the city celebrates the poet and playwright’s legacy, marking the four centuries since his death in 1616 with a fabulous international arts festival.  With more than 850 events in venues across the city, the Shakespeare 400 Chicago Festival offers exciting plays, operas, art exhibitions, dance and even cuisine that will make his works come to life. You’ll want to brush up on your Shakespeare and plan a Chicago visit this spring or summer, when many events are scheduled.

Brent Bohlen

When I was in seventh grade, my friends and I got our parents to drop us at the local small-town movie theater on Saturday nights. We would buy tickets at an enclosed booth, shell out a quarter at the concession stand for popcorn and settle into seats as close to our crushes as we could get without being too obvious.

Brent Bohlen

It was 56 years ago that a plane carrying Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Richie Valens and their pilot went down near Clear Lake, Iowa.  The trio were part of the Winter Dance Party tour and had just finished a show at the Surf Ballroom.  Trying to get to their next destination faster and avoid a cold bus trip, they hopped a plane and the rest is rock and roll tragedy. 

Woodstock Illinois web site

“It’s always Feb. 2nd and there’s nothing I can do about it,” complains Phil Connors, the character Bill Murray plays in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day. Trapped in a time warp, Connors desperately tries to escape his fate day after day until he reexamines his life and discovers what really makes him happy.  

Chicago Art Museums Add Joy To The Holidays

Dec 21, 2015
Museum of Contemporary Art

On a shopping trip or visit in the new year to Chicago, discover art treasures that will add joy and memories to your holidays. You’ll find wonderful art galore at the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Driehaus Museum, all located conveniently on or near Michigan Avenue.

Illinois Times

If you are into power trips, you can’t find a better place than central Iowa.

Hermann Tourism Office

The town of Hermann, Missouri is located approximately 180 miles away from Springfield, Illinois. 

In our latest midwest travel segment, Mary Bohlen wrote about the town with strong German heritage for Illinois Times. 

She tells WUIS' Sean Crawford there is a lot to see and do, but it's not necessarily a family destination.

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Freelance travel writer Mary Galligan says if creativity interests you, Oak Park should be on your destination list. 

The city just outside of Chicago boasts former homes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway and museums devoted to each. 

Her article in the Illinois Times showcases famous residents and their respective careers.  She also explains the best ways to get to Oak Park and visit the sites.

Brent Bohlen

Just over the border into Indiana sits the town of Vincennes.  The relatively small community boasts a big name as its favorite son.  Comedian Red Skelton hailed from Vincennes and, if you visit, you can learn a lot about his life and career.  An interactive museum shows off props from some of his most favorite characters. 

Burpee Museum of Natural History

Freelance travel writer Mary Galligan's latest article in the Illinois Times focuses on Rockford and the museums based there. 

She visited the Rockford Discovery Center Museum, considered one of the top children's museums in the country. 

The Burpee Museum of Natural History has an impressive display of dinosaur exhibits. 

Brent Bohlen

In our most recent Midwest Travel segment, Mary Bohlen visited the Quad Cities and tells us about some of the interesting and fun sites to see. 

You can read her latest article in the Illinois Times.

Midwest Travel: Hyde Park - Mr. Obama's Neighborhood

Feb 16, 2015
Luiz Gadelha Jr./flickr

Our series on midwest travel continues with a look at Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. 

Mary Galligan is a freelance travel writer whose latest article for the Illinois Times explores Hyde Park.  It's known now for being home to President Obama and his family, but there is a lot more to this area.

Read Mary Galligan's article in the Illinois Times.

Chicago Botanic Garden

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  And Chicago is one of the top locations to visit for the holidays. 

Mary Galligan wrote about some of the most festive attractions in the latest edition of Illinois Times. 

From the Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Garden  to the Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos, Navy Pier, Millenium Park and more.  Holiday light displays and events are sure to delight families.

flickr/Curtis Albert

If you are in the mood to travel, you might think about far away distances.  But there are plenty of things to see right here in Illinois and the midwest.  That's the focus of a new segment on Illinois Edition on WUIS. 

Mary Bohlen and Mary Galligan write travel articles for the Illinois Times.  Their trips are within a day's drive.  They look for affordable, family friendly destinations.  From state parks to small towns to big city amenities.