Hot off the minds of Midwest travel writers: a fresh look at where to eat, drink, play and stay around the region.
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prince the immersive experience
Credit: Steven Parke

Prince: The Immersive Experience, Chicago

If you've found yourself crooning "purple rain, purple rain" or searching for a raspberry beret, Chicago has an exhibit for you. Prince: The Immersive Experience takes visitors through 10 multidimensional rooms dedicated to the iconic musician. Step into Studio A to mix a hit. Groove to an audiovisual dance party. Practice your sultry stare for the Purple Rain album cover. Presented in partnership with The Prince Estate, the exhibition runs through October 9 at 540 N. Michigan Ave.

Màre Mediterranean, Birmingham, Michigan

At Màre Mediterranean, patrons visit the in-restaurant fish "market" to select their meal with the assistance and knowledge of their servers. Fresh fish is flown in from the Mediterranean on a bed of dry ice three times each week, fulfilling co-owner Nino Cutraro's goal of replicating the fish markets of his native Sicily. Choose to have your fish grilled, under salt, panfried or baked, and complete the meal with raw bar selections and over a dozen specialty cocktails.

Loti Pencil, Lake of the Isles, Minnesota

A giant, 16-foot-tall pencil recently appeared near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The brainchild of property owner John Higgins, the sculpture gives new life to a 180-year-old bur oak that was damaged during a violent storm five years ago. Sheared of its canopy, the tree's trunk remained intact and provided a unique canvas for local artist Curtis Ingvoldstad, who carved it on-site using a chain saw and other tools. Well on its way to cult status, the Loti Pencil will be sharpened by humorist and cultural critic David Rees, "the number one No. 2 pencil sharpener in the world," according to his award-winning short film on that topic.

good eating indianapolis fried chicken
Credit: Courtesy of Chicken Scratch

Chicken Scratch and Burgeezy, Indianapolis

Two Black women chefs are tantalizing taste buds at new restaurants in Indy. At Chicken Scratch, Tia Harrison rewrites the script on wings and chicken tenders. "Fresh food, not fast food," she says. "All from scratch, made with love." Try hand-breaded wings tossed in sauces like Honey Hot, Mango Habanero and Cajun Ranch, and pair with fries for a loaded combo. For a different type of craving, Kadeesha Wiggins and her husband run a 100 percent vegan spot inside the Amp at 16 Tech food hall. Burgeezy specializes in "burgers" but also offers a gigantic, in-demand Crispy Chick'n (vegan!) sandwich that requires a two-handed hold.

Tattersall Distilling, River Falls, Wisconsin

Minneapolis micro-distillery Tattersall Distilling has gone macro with the opening of a new 75,000-square-foot distillery in River Falls, Wisconsin. The expansion allows for increased production of favorites like Orange Crema and Aquavit, along with space for a full-service restaurant. Despite its Goliath size, the distillery leaves a David-size footprint with a rooftop solar array and first-of-its-kind water reclamation system. All ingredients used in the libations are sourced from local farmers and trusted sustainable partners. So order a second Father John Twisty cocktail in the name of a good cause.