Think outside the gift box with baking classes, exclusive tours, overnight stays and so much more.

Hone a new skill, overnight in an exciting place, support small businesses—and have memories to look forward to in 2023. We've rounded up five experiential gifts per state to give now and enjoy in the months to come.


Cocktail class at The Aviary, Chicago
Credit: Courtesy of The Alinea Group

Cocktail Tasting at The Aviary, Chicago

Treat the bon vivant in your life to a cocktail tasting at The Aviary, from the same minds of Chicago's famous Alinea restaurant. Bartenders will guide you through a tasting of uniquely different cocktails, often paired with small bites. Check the website for upcoming classes or to request a private tasting.

Sankoty Lakes glamping
Credit: Courtesy of Sankoty Lakes

Luxury Glamping at Sankoty Lakes, Spring Bay

Sankoty Lakes' new luxury glamping tents, perched on the edge of Trout Stream, provide all the beauty of the outdoors with all the comforts of a traditional accommodation. Treat loved ones to a gift card so they can fish, enjoy seasonal cuisine, hike and more.

Retro Boats, Chicago Electric Boat Company
Credit: Courtesy Chicago Electric Boat Company

Retro Boat Rental on the Chicago River, Chicago

Who doesn't want to be aboard a cherry red or aqua boat as it cruises down the Chicago River? Chicago Electric Boat Company rents candy-colored retro boats—as well as round donut boats—by the hour from multiple locations in the city. The best part? Since they're electric, the boats are totally quiet—no annoying engine noise.

Wrigley Field, Chicago
Credit: Stephen Green

Wrigley Field Tour, Chicago

Major League Baseball's second-oldest park (it opened in 1914) is famous for its manual scoreboard, ivied outfield walls and neighborhood setting. If you tour the Friendly Confines on a nongame day, you might get to sit in the Cubs dugout and step on the field.

Hoof It Goat Treks Galena Illinois
Credit: Courtesy of Galena Country Tourism

Hoof It Goat Hike, Galena

This may be the GOAT goat hike—a joyful jaunt through woods and prairie in the company of adorable baby goats just waiting to be hand-fed treats. The 1.25-mile trail suits all ages and abilities.


Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Credit: Courtesy of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Subscription to Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Already have a music subscription, you say? Well, this one's for the live variety. Choose any three concerts and get a fourth free. Along with Beethoven and Mozart, the current season covers doo-wop, Aretha Franklin and Coldplay.

Getaway House in Brown County, Indiana
Credit: Courtesy of Getaway

Getaway House Stay, Brown County

Imagine waking up in your own tiny cabin in the woods of Brown County, surrounded by creature comforts and nature's serene soundtrack. Getaway's well-appointed retreats feel a world away from it all, yet they're only an hour's drive from Indianapolis.

MOtorSpeedwayTour, Indiana
Credit: Courtesy of Jason Lavengood Photography

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tours, Indianapolis

Take a narrated lap around the track for the Indy 500, aka the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The tour bus doesn't go 200 mph, but like winners of the race, you can kiss the bricks of the original 1909 track surface at the start/finish line.

Circle City Sweets laminated dough baking class
Credit: Courtesy of Cindy Hawkins

Class at Circle City Sweets, Indianapolis

Learn to make magnifique French macarons, croissants, breakfast breads, pies and more at this premier patisserie. Coursework is hands-on—and you get to take home your creations. For macarons, that means about 100 cookies in up to 6 flavors.

Eero Saarinen’s Miller House and Garden
Credit: Courtesy of Exhibit Columbus

Miller House and Garden Tour, Columbus

Columbus emerged in the mid-20th century as an unlikely hub of modernist design, and the Miller House and Garden is one of its finest examples. Architects and designers Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard and Dan Kiley created the home and 13-acre garden masterpiece for industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia in the 1950s. It's now a National Historic Landmark available for tours.


Boone Bridge Girls, Rail Explorers USA
Credit: Rail Explorers USA

Rail Explorers Tour, Boone

Hop aboard a motor-powered rail bike for a 12.5-mile round trip tour along the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. The highlight? Zipping across the 156-foot-high Bass Point Creek High Trestle Bridge.

Plant Life Design dinner outdoors in Van Meter, Iowa
Credit: Courtesy of Figment Art Photography

Plant Life Design Dinner, Van Meter

Imagine attending a dinner in a friend's well-designed backyard—that's the vibe at Plant Life Designs. This landscape design company in Van Meter hosts special multi-course dinners as well as Friday night pizza picnics in a gorgeous outdoor setting.

Midwest resort revival
Credit: Courtesy of The Inn Hotel

Stay at the Inn Hotel, Okoboji

Upgrade a stay in Okoboji at this midcentury-inspired luxe hotel. Spend time at the pool on comfy striped loungers or walk down to nearby Arnold's Park for a thrill.

Kunzler Studio pottery class
Credit: Courtesy of Kunzler Studio

Pottery Classes at Kunzler Studios, West Des Moines

Learn basic throwing techniques during a single session at Kunzler Studios, or take a deeper dive into ceramics techniques, trimming and glazing with month-long classes. At the end, you'll walk away with beautiful handmade creations (3-5 pieces for a single session, 12-15 for a month).

Three Pines Farm charcuterie boards and table for guests
Credit: Courtesy of Three Pines Farm

Glamping and Workshops at 3 Pines Farm, Cedar Falls

Three Pines Farm is a fifth-generation farm that offers workshops and classes focused on arts, crafting and cooking. Now, you can make it a weekend stay with their new glamping tents, which launched earlier this year.


Swim with Penguins at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Goddard
Credit: Courtesy of Chelsey Schartz

Penguin Swim at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Goddard

Unlike most penguins, the African species here don't mind warm temperatures, so you can share their pool without freezing your tail off. A trainer guides the swims, which are open to adults and kids as young as 7. Learn more about the experience.

Saltwell Farm Kitchen
Credit: Courtesy of Saltwell Farm Kitchen

Alfresco Farm-to-Table Meal at Saltwell Farm Kitchen, Overbrook

What's for dinner at Saltwell Farm Kitchen? Eight seasonal courses made with ingredients from neighboring farmers (or foraged from the land), served in a shady walnut tree grove, and savored for three to four hours while chickens, goats and cows mill about.

NASCAR Racing Experience Kansas
Credit: Courtesy of NASCAR

NASCAR Racing Experience, Kansas City

​​Feel what it's like to drive a race car as you zoom around the Kansas Speedway track by yourself—no ride-along instructor, no pace car to follow, just a spotter giving you tips via radio. Pass slower traffic if you dare!

Boy in soap-making class at Providence Hill Farm, Atkins, Kansas.
Credit: Starboard and Port

Artisan Classes at Providence Hill Farm, Atchison

Goat hikes and farm yoga aren't the only major draws at Providence Hill Farm. Let the experts teach you the art of making natural soap, cheeses, candles, breads and more during one of their farmstead classes and workshops, available year-round.

A Flint Hills getaway at Clover Cliff Ranch Bed and Breakfast, Elmdale
Credit: Courtesy of Clover Cliff Ranch Bed and Breakfast

Flint Hills Getaway at Clover Cliff Ranch Bed and Breakfast, Elmdale

Escape to the beautiful Flint Hills at this 150-year-old working bison ranch. The limestone inn, set atop a ridge, features four Victorian-style rooms and wide-open views. Eat breakfast on the enclosed veranda.


The Fields Michigan, Angela Treimer
Credit: Courtesy of Angela Treimer

Stay at The Fields of Michigan, South Haven

At this luxurious glamping site in South Haven, 10 chic tents each offer pillow top beds, nice bathrooms, woodstoves and playful vintage decor.

Zingerman's Baking Classes, Ann Arbor

French pastries, noodles, soups, pizzas, pot pies—if you can crave it, Zingerman's probably has a hands-on baking or cooking class for it. Choose from in-person or virtual classes.

grape and grain wine tour
Credit: Courtesy of @wellplannedadventures

Grape and Grain Wine Tours, Southwest Michigan

The best part about visiting Michigan Wine Country? Tasting wine at several beautiful wineries. The worst part? Having to drive. Instead, booka tour with Grape and Grain, which will shuttle you to three wineries. Tours include all tastings and lunch.

Water Street Glassworks
Credit: Courtesy of Water Street Glassworks

Glassblowing Class at Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor

Take a deep breath and try ancient techniques like hot glassworking, flameworking, and fusing to craft artistic ornaments, jewelry and home decor. No experience necessary. All supplies, tools, and safety equipment are provided.

Guardian Building Detroit
Guardian Building
| Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Detroit History Tours, Detroit

Explore the Motor City's high-octane past on foot, bus or boat. Tour options include haunted places, notorious crime scenes, tasting tours, architecture walks and LGBTQ history. Bonus: most tours make at least one stop for libations.


Show at Zeitgeist Arts Building, Duluth
Credit: Courtesy of Stevie Twining Photography

Dinner and a Show at Zeitgeist Arts Building, Duluth

At this downtown cultural hub, Duluth's only non-profit restaurant serves new American cuisine, local beer, craft cocktails and wine. The Zeitgeist Zinema shows art films and classics, and the Zeitgeist Stage Company performs live comedy and drama.

Afton Alps | Vail Resorts
Credit: Courtesy of Afton Alps | Vail Resorts

Ski Pass to Afton Alps, Afton

Set in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley, less than 30 minutes from the Twin Cities, the Vail Resorts property boasts 50 runs, 18 lifts, five chalets, and an acclaimed ski school. Most passes include access to other top ski spots in the Midwest and beyond.

Cooks of Crocus Hill
Credit: Courtesy of Cooks of Crocus Hill

Cooking Classes at Cooks of Crocus Hill, Minneapolis and St. Paul

Hone your knife-wielding skills, bake like a great Brit or create more appetizing appetizers in classes offered by this long-time culinary retailer. Their winning recipe blends nationally recognized chefs with state-of-the-art kitchens.

Whiskey Blending Class at O'Shaughnessy, Minneapolis
Credit: Courtesy of O’Shaughnessy Distilling and Meet Minneapolis

Whiskey Blending Class at O'Shaughnessy, Minneapolis

Study whiskey-making on a tour of the distillery, warm up your taste buds with a test flight, then try your hand at crafting a whiskey blend. You can take your DIY spirit to the bar and order a cocktail powered by it.

Textile Center, courtesy of Meet Minneapolis
Credit: Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Crafting Class at the Textile Center, Minneapolis

At this national hub for fiber art, get hooked on a new hobby or weave new techniques into your crafting repertoire. Courses at the Textile Center cover stitching, felting, dyeing, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, wearable art and more.


The Elms Hotel & Spa
Credit: Courtesy of The Elms Hotel & Spa

Spa Weekend at The Elms Hotel and Spa, Excelsior Springs

Those seeking more pampering in 2023 will find it at The Elms' newly renovated spa. President Harry S. Truman's favorite treatments famously included a salt rub and massage. Today, guests will find an extensive menu of wellness offerings—including The Grotto, a Roman baths experience.

Kansas City Royals
Credit: Courtesy of Ruby Pierce

KC Royals Holiday Voucher Pack, Kansas City

Go to the games that fit your schedule and budget with ticket vouchers that are good for opening day, plus select season games. This holiday promotion pack is available through the end of December.

Finley Farms
Finley Farms

Workshop and Overnight at Finley Farms, Ozarks

Give the gift of a girls' day out at Finley Farms. This recently opened complex includes gardens, a historic mill, three restaurants and plenty of activities. Book a crafting or cocktail-making class and stay for dinner and cocktails at The Garrison.

strawberry hill and downtown kck hike mural
Credit: Courtesy of Urban Hikes KC

Urban Hikes, Kansas City

Skip the woods and hit the pavement to see street art, architecture and more hidden gems around Kansas City. Group hikes led by Lisa Peña and her guides range up to 3.5 hours and 5 miles long.

children and sea lion at St. Louis Zoo
Credit: Courtesy of St. Louis Zoo

Zoo Membership, St. Louis

Forest Park brims with family-friendly attractions, including the city's top-rated zoo. While zoo admission is free, a zoo membership gets you perks like free parking for six visits and member tickets to Zooline Railroad, Dinoroarus and the Sea Lion Show.


Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel pool
Credit: Courtesy of Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel

Stay at the Cottonwood Hotel, Omaha

The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel is one for history lovers. Located in Omaha's oldest neighborhood, the hotel was formerly the Blackstone, built in 1916. The hotel claims the invention of the Reuben sandwich, and you can still order one today—before or after lounging at the gorgeous resort-style pool. Plan to visit on a weekend when the hotel is hosting one of its special dinners with guest chefs.

Art & Soul Lincoln Nebraska Cooking Class
Credit: Courtesy of Art & Soul

Cooking Class at Art and Soul, Lincoln

Spice up date night with a culinary class with Art and Soul. The course list changes seasonally, but expect to find options like cocktail making, holiday baking, wine and dine, and more.

Sandhill Crane Migration, Nebraska
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Kearney

Tickets to View the Sandhill Crane Migration, Kearney

Half a million Sandhill cranes rest and feed along the Platte River each spring. Reserve a viewing spot with Rowe Sanctuary or Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center to see this spectacular event.

Tree Rush Adventures, Bellevue, Nebraska
Credit: Courtesy of Tree Rush Adventures

Aerial Adventures at Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue

Just 10 minutes from downtown Omaha, families can climb, zip and soar through Fontenelle Forest's thrilling aerial course via TreeRush adventures.

Safari Park Ashland Nebraska
Credit: Courtesy of Nebraska Tourism

Animal Encounters at Wildlife Safari Park, Ashland

You don't have to travel across the oceans for close encounters with exotic species. Book a backstage experience to learn more about the safari park's cheetah and tiger conservation and breeding efforts.

North Dakota

lewis and clark riverboat at sunset
Credit: Ryan Donnell

Riverboat Sunset Cruise on the Missouri River, Bismarck

Cruise down the Mighty Mo on an old-fashioned riverboat at sunset for extra-romantic views. The two-story Lewis & Clark vessel continues the tradition of steamboating on the river, the main pathway west before railways expanded travelers' horizons. 

Dakota Cyclery Mountain Bike Adventures
Credit: John Noltner

Mountain Biking Tour with Dakota Cyclery, Medora

Woman-owned Dakota Cyclery leads mountain biking tours for all abilities on North Dakota's famous Maah Daah Hey Trail. Tours include bikes and all the basic equipment you might need.

Woodland Resort woman holding fish
Credit: Courtesy of Woodland Resort

Guided Fishing, Woodland Resort, Devils Lake

Each guided fishing experience from Woodland Resort in Devils Lake includes lodging, evening meals, fish cleaning and freezing. Ice fishing packages include all amenities except fish cleaning.

King Pinz Fargo
Credit: Courtesy of Dan Francis Photo

Game Day at Kingpinz, Fargo

An entertainment extravaganza for all ages at Kingpinz in Fargo features food, HyperBowling, Laser Tag and a FunPass to the largest arcade in the state.

Missouri Kayak Adventures
Credit: Courtesy of Missouri Kayak Adventures

Self-Guided Kayaking Trip, Bismarck

A self-guided kayaking trip from Missouri River Kayak Adventures in Bismarck includes watercraft, sandbar stops, waterfront dining and camping, depending on the option you choose.


Macaron Bar class
Credit: Courtesy of Anjali Fon

Macaron Classes at Macaron Bar, Cincinnati

There's an art—and a science—to making the famously fussy French cookies. Good thing the pastry chefs at Macaron Bar are willing to share their secrets. Adults and kids can take an intro class. An advanced course focuses on decorating.

Hocking Hills Treehouse Cabins
Credit: Courtesy of Hocking Hills Treehouse Cabins

Getaway to Hocking Hills Treehouse Cabins, Hocking Hills

Retreat with your sweetie, family or friends to a private luxury treehouse perched in the woods of a scenic, secluded region. Cabins come with kitchens, full baths, hot tubs, firepits, heat and air-conditioning, plus wraparound decks.

Playhouse Square, Ohio
Credit: Courtesy of Playhouse Square

Tickets to a Show at Playhouse Square, Cleveland

The nation's largest performing arts center outside New York City hosts Broadway shows, concerts, comedy and dance, drawing more than 1 million people each year to its 11 venues. This season's lineup includes Hamilton, John Mellencamp and Jerry Seinfeld.

Columbus Food Adventures
Credit: Courtesy of Columbus Food Adventures

Food Tour with Columbus Food Adventures, Columbus

Discover the delicious diversity of the city's food scene at well-known gourmet spots and hidden gems. Walk a neighborhood (like Dublin or German Village) or ride a van to taco trucks and meat lovers' meccas. There's even an all-dessert tour of the Short North.

Toledo Museum of Art
Credit: Courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art

Art Class at Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo

Practice painting with acrylics, pastels and watercolors; draw human figures in graphite and charcoal; or try glassblowing, flameworking, blacksmithing, and jewelry fabrication. Classes at Toledo Museum of Art draw inspiration from iconic works in the museum's galleries.

South Dakota

UnderCanvas Rushmore tent
Credit: Courtesy of Dreamtown Co.

Under Canvas Mount Rushmore Glamping Experience, Keystone

Set on a former gold mining settlement just 4 miles from Mount Rushmore, Under Canvas' elevated accommodations—think luxury tents with king-size beds, private baths and wood-burning stoves—provide the ultimate base camp for exploring in style.

Moccasin Springs Spa people in pool
Credit: Courtesy of Moccasin Springs Spa

Spa Day at Moccasin Springs, Hot Springs

Native Americans first soaked in these warm waters more than a century ago, and today, you can give the gift of healing waters with a day pass to Moccasin Springs in Hot Springs.

Black Hills Balloon ride
Credit: Courtesy of Keely Mahony

Hot Air Balloon Ride with Black Hills Balloons

A sunrise hot air balloon flight from Black Hills Balloons in Custer has been a bucket list item for travelers since the business began in 1984. Call to reserve winter flights too.

Wildlife Loop Road, Custer State Park
Wildlife Loop Road, Custer State Park
| Credit: Jason Lindsey

Annual State Parks Pass

An Annual State Parks Pass grants access to nearly 60 parks and recreation areas across the state. Available for one vehicle, two vehicles or one vehicle and a motorcycle.

Sioux Falls Food Tour
Credit: Courtesy of Sioux Falls Food Tour

Sioux Falls Food Tour, Sioux Falls

Treat friends and family to a Sioux Falls Food Tour, a weekly walking tour. Or opt for a self-guided experience with Sioux Falls Food Tour in a Box, which includes gift cards, walking map, menu suggestions and historic info.


woman standing at window wild rice retreat
Credit: Aaron Peterson

Wellness Weekend at Wild Rice Retreat, Bayfield

This darling holistic retreat in Bayfield lets you soak in Lake Superior's healing nature with yoga, foraged vegetarian meals and more.

Menu items at EsterEv in Milwaukee. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE

Tasting Menu Dinner at EsterEv, Milwaukee

Named after the owners' great-grandmothers, Evelyn and Ester, EsterEv celebrates adventures in gastronomy. Each Friday and Saturday, the restaurant's 8-course dinners feature seasonal ingredients and global flavors. 

ensign racing KChenoweth
Credit: Courtesy of Kristen Chenoweth

Sailing Class with Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, Milwaukee

The goal of this nonprofit is to make sailing accessible to everyone, no previous experience necessary. Eight-session, two-week courses teach basics like tacking, jibing, docking and proper sail trim.

Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Taliesin Tour, Spring Green

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin estate is widely known for its striking Prairie-style architecture, but the history is dramatic, too — the home burned twice before the current structure was finished in the mid 1920s. Learn all about both the house and Wright's Hillside Studio on a guided tour. The most popular option is the 2-hour Highlights Tour, but a 4-hour tour is also offered for true enthusiasts.

Family-friendly kayaking excursion Apostle Islands
Credit: Courtesy of Kylee Krizmanic

Kid-Friendly Kayaking Tour, Apostle Islands

Kayaks provide optimal access to the sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, a nearly 70,000-acre preserve that covers 12 miles shoreline along Lake Superior. Choose from a variety of Bayfield Kayak's tours, including easy journeys appropriate for kids from age two.

Want more ideas? Check out our 2022 Midwest-Made Gift Guide to shop small this season.