Midwest Living

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Mike Wickham remembers that as a boy, he would sit in Cedar Rapids’ Paramount Theatre and watch bats fly around the ceiling. Today Mike is a house manager; he and General Manager Jason Anderson have just started giving tours of the 88-year-old theater. The bats are gone, and after a $35 million renovation, the building is in the best shape it's... More
Every year, my dad spends the weekend after Thanksgiving putting up holiday lights outside my childhood home. It’s always a scene straight out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He clambers onto the roof, sending puffs of breath into the wintry air as he hammers away, only to notice later that a strand of lights has burned out. But in the end, the house looks... More
A good eye. A sense of adventure. And tons of patience. That’s what it takes for 28-year-old Benjamin Olson of Burnsville, Minnesota, to capture his incredible wildlife photos. Ben grew up in the ‘burbs, but his parents often took him fishing, hunting and camping when he was younger. He credits them—along with his grandfather who gave him his first camera—for his passion... More
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, bringing back to the big screen a franchise that shaped an untold number of childhoods.   But if you want a unique rush of Star Wars nostalgia ahead of the film’s premiere, check out the newly reopened National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, Missouri, for a firsthand look at the collection of rare and vintage... More
Rocks in shades of rose, gray, slate and cement stack like optical illusions on the scenic beaches of Minnesota’s North Shore. Think this image is Photoshopped? Think again. These creations (and photos) are the handiwork of Twin Cities resident Peter Juhl, an avid rock stacker. Peter describes rock stacking as the opposite of a magic trick. While magicians... More
At Detroit-based Leadhead Glass, urban renewal comes in the form of a home for your ficus. Entrepreneurs and owners Chad Ackley and Derek Smiertka handcraft terrariums out of materials salvaged from abandoned Motor City homes. Midwest Living chatted with Ackley to discuss the new company and how it's helping reclaim Detroit. Derek Smiertka (left) and Chad... More
There's no question about what our Instagram fans loved in October—fall color! Photos from Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa made our five most-liked pictures of the month. 1) @saurand captured this autumn scene in Granger, Indiana (https://instagram.com/p/9ULYW-mzRZ/). "This time of year certainly brings out an amazing show of color," she writes.... More
If you hope to sell more of anything these days, just rebrand it as handmade by some old-school—preferably eccentric, preferably mustachioed—craftsperson. Our household budgets still demand mass-produced products, but our hearts pine for something brimming with today’s buzzword: authenticity. Which, surprisingly, brings me to college football, one of the Midwest’s... More
One of my favorite parts of producing our annual Comfort Food magazine (available online and on newsstands) is digging around to find recipes that have lived in relative anonymity on our website for many years, waiting to be rediscovered and beautifully photographed for a new audience. Here are five oldies-but-goodies I had never tried before producing this year's issue... More
Growing up, northwestern Ohio salesman Andy Weills came to admire his dad’s Volkswagen bus and the era it symbolized. “My father was a child of the sixties, a hippie in every sense of the word,” he says. “I’m a Gen-Xer, so I missed that era. But if you watch Instagram, there’s a whole movement of vans and people who live in their buses... More