From our Midwest travel writers: new ideas for where to eat, drink, play and stay around the region in spring 2023.
worker at botanical bar
Credit: Martina Jackson

1. The Botanical Bar, Indianapolis

The Botanical Bar welcomes visitors with a neon sign declaring Beautiful Things Grow Here. Plants? Of course. But also, much more. "It's a place for plant-lovers to connect," owner Victoria Beaty says. "As the first Black woman-owned plant shop in Indianapolis, I intentionally created a space that feels welcoming to all." That means hosting hands-on workshops, sourcing plants from diverse suppliers and stocking home goods from local businesses (including many owned by women and people of color). Plus, staff will repot indoor houseplants for a small fee; just don't be surprised if you leave with a few additional beautiful things in your arms.

2. The Lafayette Place, Milwaukee

With the opening of brunch spot The Lafayette Place, Milwaukee's Lower East Side can make a fair claim to being the city's vegan epicenter. The cafe is just around the corner from beloved vegan spot Strange Town and half a mile from the second location of Twisted Plants (formerly a food truck). The Lafayette Place comes from the same folks who run popular brunch spot The National Cafe, and their newest venture is sort of a plant-based cousin: The fan-favorite Breakfast Sammie even appears on both menus. Other popular Lafayette Place options include burritos loaded with veggies, portobello banh mi and a Cajun-fried tofu po'boy. A smoothie bar, coffee menu and spiked lemonade round out the selections.

grocers daughter gelato and sweets shop
Credit: Courtesy of OB & Co. Media

3. Grocer's Daughter Gelato and Sweet Shop, Empire, Michigan

Just when we thought Grocer's Daughter Chocolate couldn't get any sweeter, our favorite chocolatier in Empire (24 miles east of Traverse City) opened a gelato shop. "This is a delicious medium to celebrate the unique flavors of fine cacao and chocolate, as well as the incredible fruits, spices and other local ingredients we love to use in our recipes," co-owner Jody Hayden says. The combination of hyperlocal ingredients (garden-grown mint) and those from farther afield (single-origin, ethically traded chocolate from Ecuador and Colombia) results in standout menu items like Fudgesicles, milkshakes and Italian-style affogato. And for the serious fans, Hayden has a special treat: "We added two Airbnb rental units above Grocer's Daughter Gelato and Sweets Shop, so customers can stay within a few steps of all the gelato and chocolate their hearts desire." Talk about sweet dreams.

season market detroit
Credit: Valaurian Waller

4. Seasons Market, Detroit

Seasons Market in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood lives up to its name. What you'll find on the store's shelves (think jams, honey, fresh-baked bread) varies, but you can bet it will be high-quality and locally sourced and produced. "Our main goal is to contribute to our community's well-being, which we do by providing fresh and accessible food and inviting our neighbors to connect with nature and each other in our adjoining green space, El Moore Gardens," says Maureen Agacinski, a member of the market's leadership team. Patrons can grab a coffee, beer, wine or pastry from the on-site cafe to enjoy in the Dining Loft, located on the market's second story. Seasons' focus on community extends to its sustainability practices as well. Composting, energy reduction techniques and responsible disposal of unsold food reflect the owners' desire to make the world a better place—locally and beyond.

5. Guinness Taproom, Chicago

The dates aren't settled, but our eyes are already smiling: One of Ireland's most famous exports will take up residence in Chicago soon. Slated for Fulton Market, the Guinness Taproom will be the second in the U.S. (the first was in Baltimore). Plans include a massive restaurant, event space, patio seating, tours and, of course, endless pours of Guinness Draught stout. Not a fan of the creamy dark stuff? The taproom will also feature Chicago-exclusive small-batch beers made on-site. Bottoms up!

6. Promised Land as Proving Ground, Fishers, Indiana

Step back into time—way back—at the upcoming Promised Land as Proving Ground at Conner Prairie near Indianapolis. The living-history museum's new permanent exhibit, opening this summer, starts in precolonial Africa and brings visitors on a journey to the present day, with a focus on faith in African American communities. Areas to explore include a cabin with audiovisual elements; an agriculture exhibit on religion and nature; and the Conner House, where visitors learn the harrowing true story of Pete Smith, an African American man kidnapped under the Fugitive Slave Act.

the inn at sentryworld golf course
Credit: Katherine Berdan Wolden

7. The Inn at SentryWorld, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

A haven for golfers and outdoor adventurers alike, The Inn at SentryWorld combines a championship-level course with easy access to Wisconsin's great outdoors. This new boutique hotel, done up in rustic charm, overlooks the 18th fairway—and in 2023, the U.S. Senior Open will be held here. Not into golf? Relax on the patio (or book a room with a private terrace); grab a chair near the fireplace; or stop by the on-site rental shop for bikes, fishing poles or hiking recommendations. Numerous trails and waterways for tubing, kayaking and canoeing are just beyond the grand front door. After working up an appetite, visit SentryWorld's dining options, including Muse, awarded a Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator last year.

8. CANVS Street Art, Detroit

There's a new way to appreciate Detroit's vibrant mural scene, and it's as easy as pulling your phone from your pocket. The CANVS Street Art app, which launched in Jersey City, New Jersey, is part map, part scavenger hunt. It documents urban street art in more than 100 cities and provides helpful details to enhance viewers' knowledge and context of the work. "[This app] was founded under the premise that street art is everywhere, it's ubiquitous, everyone sees it," says Ralph André, the app's cofounder. "But the stories behind the murals, the artists who create them, almost always go unknown." Much more than just a database of street art, the app—which just recently expanded to include Detroit's street art collection—offers users a way to engage and connect with their own neighborhoods, as well as new ones. "When street art is present in a city, it is always the prelude to greater creative growth," André says.