We Love 2015! Top Things to See
The Gateway Arch
St. Louis The monument to Lewis and Clark’s epic western adventures (which began in St. Louis) celebrates a half-century standing on October 28. A facelift of the grounds surrounding the Arch will be complete just in time for the big day; (877) 982-1410; gatewayarch.com
- Photo courtesy of MediaWright Photography
The Final Four
America’s spring sports obsession comes to Indianapolis April 3–6 with the men’s Final Four. It all happens at Lucas Oil Stadium; the dome in the heart of Indy seats more than 70,000 fans. Even if you can’t score tickets to the three games, you’ll find a weekend of hoops fun.
4 days of hoopla
• Friday, April 3: Fans can watch a college all-star game at Lucas Oil Stadium for free.
• Saturday, April 4: Semifinals day! Doors open late afternoon; the first game tips off in the evening.
• Sunday, April 5: Get player autographs at the Indiana Convention Center. Kids can practice at the Final Four Dribble in Lucas Oil Stadium. Hear tunes at the March Madness Music Fest in Military Park.
• Monday, April 6: National championship game.
How do you honor the 150th anniversary of our beloved leader's death? Mark the April date by learning more about the world's most famous rail-splitter and visiting a few special sites.
The train is back. On April 21, 1865, Lincoln's funeral train left D.C. for Springfield, arriving on May 4 after 180 stops in seven states. In 2015, a replica arrives in Springfield on May 2. See it, then take in these Lincoln-related events:
• Civil War reenactments Aficionados will don uniforms, set up camp and participate in Lincoln's memorial in Springfield, April 30-May 3.
• Our American Cousin Springfield Theatre Centre stages the comedic play Lincoln watched on his last night. Performances April 10-12 and 17-19.
• A memorial procession A replica horse-drawn hearse will carry a replica coffin to Oak Ridge Cemetery on May 3, where a memorial ceremony honors Lincoln's life. lincolnfuneraltrain.org
Lincoln's final resting place at Oak Ridge Cemetery (pictured) draws 300,000 visitors every year. At the tomb, many rub the statue's nose for good luck.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland Two big reasons to hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year: The Rock Hall turns the big 2-0, and Cleveland hosts this year’s induction ceremony. Party time! See Michael Jackson's sequined glove, the largest Beatles collection anywhere and John Lennon's Gibson J-160E guitar. (216) 781-7625; rockhall.com
National World War I Museum
Kansas City, Missouri In 1915, World War I raged across Europe (it wouldn’t end until 1918). That makes this year, and the next three, particularly good ones to visit the highly relevant WWI museum. Inside the front doors, a flood of silk poppies represents the soldiers who lost their lives. Interactive exhibits and recorded testimonies share the war experience from the viewpoint of soldiers, their families and the civilians living in affected countries. (816) 888-8100; theworldwar.org
Detroit Institute of Arts
Since 1933, visitors to the DIA have admired (or decried as “communist”) Diego Rivera’s sprawling 27-panel mural Detroit Industry. But from March 15 to July 12 this year, visitors can also see some 60 other works by Rivera and his sometimes wife (and famed painter) Frida Kahlo. The exhibit weaves together the story of their art, their marriage (both times), their 11-month stay in Detroit and the city’s Depression-Era history. (313) 833-7900; dia.org
- Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land
Chicago The 606, a 2.7-mile-long elevated city trail, is scheduled to open this summer. Capitalizing on unused freight train lines, this trail connects walkers, joggers and cyclists to four urban neighborhoods and six ground-level parks. Ample on-and-off ramps ensure access to ground-level eateries. Mike’s Italian Ice on a rest stop? Yes! the606.org
- “Ice Cream” by Evelyne Axell. 1964 oil on canvas. Collection of Serge Goisse, Belgium. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Walker Art Center: International Pop
Minneapolis Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein you know (Soup cans. Dots. Remember?) Antonio Henrique Amaral and Mimmo Rotella, maybe not so much. The Walker Art Center’s new exhibit goes beyond the London and New York pop art epicenters to places like Brazil, Argentina, France and Italy. It’s pop art on a global scale—highlighting influential works by oft-overlooked artists—and we can’t wait to see it. (612) 375-7600; walkerart.org
- Photo courtesy of the Chicago Sports Museum.
Chicago Sports Museum
Chicago The newest addition to Water Tower Place celebrates the Windy City’s sports heroes—and there are plenty. Visitors measure up against some of the tallest, strongest and fastest players by dodging a sack by Bears Hall of Famer Richard Dent or defending a goal against Blackhawk Patrick Kane’s slap shots. (312) 202-0500; chicagosportsmuseum.com
- Photo courtesy of Spielbound
Spielbound Board Game Cafe
Omaha Whether your tastes run to Scrabble or Dungeons and Dragons, gamers now have a safe space to geek out and get their game on. Board game cafes—all the rage in London, Hong Kong, Toronto and Boston—are bringing dedicated play space to the Midwest. The newest, Spielbound, opened in late 2014 and stocks its library with 1,000-plus games. Staff introduce guests to hidden gems, explain gameplay and, if needed, referee. The admission fee is flat: $5 per person for the day. The cafe sells coffee and beer to fuel the fun; (402) 763-8444; spielbound.org
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Paradise, Michigan The Great Lakes' rocky shores and towering waves have destroyed thousands of ships—and claimed thousands of lives. The most infamous shipwreck, the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald with all hands on board, occurred 40 years ago this November. Pay your respects at this Whitefish Point museum, where the bell from the Fitz is on display, and learn more about Great Lakes shipwrecks (906) 635-1742; shipwreckmuseum.com
The Medora Musical
Medora, North Dakota On the doorstep of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, small-town Medora embraces all things Western. To wit: The Medora Musical, a family-friendly celebration of Teddy Roosevelt, the Old West and America, marks its semicentennial this year. Although Teddy remains a constant, the music and script change each year, so both first-timers and regulars find good reason to experience the show. Some 90 performances each year draw about 100,000 total audience members; book your tickets early. (800) 633-6721; medora.com
- Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Indianapolis If only every science class was this much fun! This summer, the museum’s Transformers: Robots in Disguise (March–July) turns the beloved (if absurd) children’s cartoon/toy line/movie franchise into a primer on engineering and design. Hands-on exhibits encourage creative problem-solving, like how can this elbow become a headlight? It overlaps with a Hot Wheels exhibit (May–August) in which race car artifacts and a mini speed track (just right for toy cars) illustrate the science behind building a faster, safer race car. (317) 334-4000; childrensmuseum.org
Maah Daah Hey Trail
Medora, North Dakota Mountain bikers from around the nation trek to Medora to tackle the badlands on the Maah Daah Hey Trail. One hundred-plus miles of well-marked single-track run from the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to Medora, and a 45-mile extension that opened in 2014 covers a stretch of even more beautiful terrain south of town. Bring extra tire tubes, plenty of water and the GoPro. It’s dry and quiet out there, and the experience is inevitably epic. mdhta.com