How to Experience (And Support) Midwest Communities From Home
Midwest state and local tourism agencies are creating social media campaigns and web pages built around supporting businesses and individuals through the coronavirus crisis. Check out the links below.
Wherever you live in the Midwest, your state or city travel office (or both) has likely been busy compiling resources to help the community through #quarantinelife.
You’ll find links to virtual museum tours, lists of restaurants that deliver, playlists of local musicians, ways to donate in your area, coloring pages and other kids’ activities—maybe even Zoom backgrounds for your next video call.
Here’s a sampling of sites:
Read about how Illinois residents are helping each other through the crisis, change your profile pic on social media to reflect #AllInIllinois, download a PDF of an #Allinillinois sign to show your support and see celebrity public service announcements.
Links to virtual tours and other experiences at Chicago-area attractions, a calendar of virtual events in Chicago, restaurants that offer takeout and delivery options, curated playlists of Chicago musicians and stories about Chicagoans giving back to their community.
Blog posts suggest at-home activities such as a Hoosier State trivia quiz, Indiana virtual backgrounds to use in your video conferences, digital jigsaw puzzles with Indiana images, ideas for supporting local businesses and short nature videos to help you relax.
Look under categories such as Now Playing, On Your Bookshelf, Virtual Visits & Education, Game Night, In the Kitchen and Self Care for dozens of at-home ideas. Just a few: Daily tours at the Indianapolis Zoo hosted on Facebook, pop-up classes from Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, and the recipe for a Vonnegut cocktail.
Download a 99 Parks Outdoors Family Fun Guide, watch wildlife with webcams, try virtual museum tours, find kids’ activities, and watch the professional musicians and composers of the Des Moines Symphony perform from their homes. Plus, use the #IowansUnite hashtag to share inspiring acts on social media.
Dozens of links to virtual activities for families, restaurant updates, the #DSMlocalchallenge campaign on social media, ways to help small businesses, customized backgrounds for Zoom and more.
A collaboration of Iowa City Area Development, Iowa City Area Business Partnership, Think Iowa City and Iowa City Downtown District compiles COVID-19 updates and resources at this website.
Check out virtual tours to Kansas attractions such as the Eisenhower Museum, Cosmosphere and Kansas City Auto Museum, plus find a link to Garden City Arts’ online art classes, virtual information from the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, and links to resources in other Kansas cities.
The Wichita visitors site gives ways to support local businesses and restaurants as well as information on how to experience local attractions like the Sedgwick County Zoo, Museum of World Treasures and Wichita Arts Museum through virtual tours, video updates and Zoom groups.
Live webcams give you a peek at the Mackinac Bridge, Frankenmuth, Charlevoix and other destinations. Also: find links to concerts by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; drop in on a daily virtual visit at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park; and take virtual tours and visits of many state museums, including The Henry Ford, Air Zoo and the Michigan History Museum.
Detroit-inspired playlists, ways to donate to and support Detroit restaurants, Detroit bookstores selling online and Zoom backgrounds from Detroit.
Minnesota’s hub page links to virtual tours, webcams, trivia, Minnesota movies and TV shows, a list of books by Minnesota authors, mini cooking classes with Cooks of Crocus Hill and Crafting in Place online classes from North House Folk School.
#WeGotThisMPLS. What you need to know at home in Minneapolis—restaurants with curbside pickup and delivery, efforts to support other local businesses, and lists of organizations and businesses offering food, discounts, masks and other community support.
The “other” Twin City provides similar information to Minneapolis: restaurants with curbside, takeout and delivery services; “uplifting updates from Saint Paul”; general COVID-19 information; virtual tours and digital experiences; and stay-at-home activities for both kids and adults.
The latest information on how COVID-19 is affecting tourist destinations in the state.
Virtual tours and videos of attractions like Forest Park, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Gateway Arch; livestreams and other videos from Jazz St. Louis; virtual rides on some of the most popular rides at Six Flags St. Louis; and behind-the-scenes videos of caretakers working with creatures at the St. Louis Zoo and St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station.
Play #StayHomeKC bingo and look for links about where to donate, restaurants with takeout and delivery, virtual museum tours, online fitness classes and Huddle at Home education resources from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Take an interactive tour of the Nebraska State Capitol, try free online art classes from the Norfolk Arts Center, find out about free digital learning programs at the Durham Museum, and experience concerts and art lessons through the Minden Opera House’s Empty Opera House series.
Help collect inspirational content by sharing your photos and stories with the hashtag #InThisTogetherND.
Links are divided into six areas: Carryout from Ohio restaurants, virtual attractions and activities (including crafts, story times, livestream concerts, digital art collections and virtual tours), heroes and innovators, e-learning, breweries & wineries, and Ohio retailers with online shopping or local pickup.
For information more specific to Ohio’s major cities, check the travel websites for Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, which all have resources such as virtual tours, restaurant availability, travel updates and ways to help the community.
Links to closures and cancellations related to coronavirus.
Share inspiring photos and stories of the ways people, businesses and communities are helping each other with the #HowWiHelp hashtag on social media.
Read about “Milwaukeeans coming together to support one another and local businesses during this tremendously difficult time.” Dozens of links give shoutouts to businesses and individuals who are donating food, masks, hand sanitizer and other items; additional links go to at-home activities such as online mixology classes, a performance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and a scavenger hunt you can do while walking through Milwaukee.
Virtual tours and events, restaurants that offer take-out, city-themed coloring and sketching pages, movies and books that mention Madison, photos for use on Zoom or desktop and shops that offer pick-up or delivery in Madison and beyond.