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
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
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
For fans of thrills, chills and creepy costumes, one night is not enough Halloween. Luckily, the Midwest builds up to the holiday with events that include face painting, ghost tours and even a haunted ship. Lincoln’s Ghost Walk | Springfield, Illinois Tour guides weave facts about Abraham Lincoln’s life with tales of séances... More
As we were planning this fall's feature on college towns more than a year ago, we knew we'd capture some lovely campus photos, but we didn't imagine the sheer bounty of gorgeous shots we'd have to choose from. Photographers Bob Stefko and Greg Whitaker framed the campuses of Miami University, Indiana University and Michigan State University in unique and... More
Among getaway destinations, Traverse City is like that neighbor who not only has the gall to add athleticism to good looks, but shamelessly piles on with intelligence, charm and good taste. Really?, other towns are probably thinking. You couldn’t get by with any ONE of those?          But for travelers, TC’s embarrassment of riches provides... More
On fall weekends, the city of South Bend, Indiana, swells with legions of diehard football fans. They come to cheer on the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame and to snap photos of the university’s famous Touchdown Jesus mural. But football isn’t the only fall draw in this picturesque college town. Here are eight more reasons to visit South Bend this season. 1) South Bend... More
The most dedicated ones enter South Dakota’s Custer State Park by 3 a.m., beating sunlight into the valley by a good three hours. As the stars fade, the visitors turn up their jacket collars and lean on the wooden fence, confident of the view they’ll enjoy once the midmorning action starts. Undoubtedly, these are the same people who made hotel reservations inside the park four or five... More
In fall, the phrase "get lost" takes on a new meaning. We gladly lose ourselves on drives through lush fall foliage, on bike rides through crisp temperatures and in fields plowed into intricate imagery. Here are some of our favorite designs at Midwest corn mazes this year. These aerial views can help you plot out your path, but don't worry if you take a wrong turn. It's fall,... More