What's New in the Midwest for 2020 Travel
Check out some recently opened or upcoming attractions across the region, just in time to plan your 2020 bucket list.
Year of Chicago Music festivals | Chicago
The city has designated 2020 as the Year of Chicago Music. To celebrate Chicago's vibrant musical history and influence, Millennium Park will host a 17-day music festival that includes the annual House of Music Festival (May 21-23), Chicago Gospel Music Festival (May 26-30) and Chicago Blues Festival (June 5-7). Look for other special events throughout the year, too.
Frida Kahlo 2020 | Glen Ellyn
From June 1 to August 31, Cleve Carney Museum of Art and McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage will show Frida Kahlo 2020, the largest display of Kahlo’s work in the Chicago area in more than 40 years. The exhibit features 26 works on loan from the Dolores Olmedo Museum Collection as well as information about the life of the 20th century Mexican painter.
Tsunami Surge at Six Flags | Gurnee
Ride the world’s tallest water coaster when the 86-foot-high Tsunami Surge opens this summer at Six Flags Great America, 45 miles northwest of Chicago. The ride joins other thrillers like Maxx Force, the world’s fastest inversion and tallest double inversion coaster.
Grafton Sky Tour | Grafton
An unusual aerial ride called a "chondola" — an open-air chairlift and enclosed gondola on the same lift — opened in fall 2019, linking Grafton's Main Street with Aerie's Resort and Winery. Take in Mississippi River views on your ride, then grab a glass of rosé at the winery and share a few small plates on the outdoor deck.
Fort Wayne Promenade Park | Fort Wayne
The first phase of a riverfront redevelopment debuted in 2019 with the opening of $20 million Promenade Park. Enjoy a playground, boat tours, a tree canopy trail, event lawn and amphitheater. Future plans include a boutique hotel on the riverfront.
The Bottleworks District | Indianapolis
The multi-use facility in a former Art Deco-era Coca-Cola bottling plant will include a hotel and 30,000-plus-square-foot food hall. Also planned: retail stores, an independent movie theater, apartments and a third location of one of Indy's top breweries, Daredevil Brewery.
200th birthday | Indianapolis
The city's bicentennial anniversary kicks off in June and ends with the 105th Running of the Indy 500 in May 2021. Look for community-centered events as well as city-sponsored celebrations focusing on the diversity of Indy's arts, culture and education.
Cheetah Chase water coaster at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari| Santa Claus
Launch into a race against your family and friends—literally—on the world's first launched water coaster, featuring two Pro-Slide RocketBLAST-powered racing slides. When you've conquered the Cheetah Chase, try out Splashin' Safari's other two water coasters, Mammoth and Wildebeest.
Hotel Millwright | Amana
The Amana Colonies' 160-year-old Woolen Mill complex is being restored and transformed, with a 65-room boutique hotel opening this spring as well as a restaurant, bars, retail spaces and conference facility. The complex's original 1855 weaving room will continue to produce signature textiles.
Lauridsen Skate Park | Des Moines
The $6.1 million project near the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines will be the nation's largest skate park, with a design influenced by the surrounding land and water.
MLB and the Field of Dreams | Dyersville
Mark your calendars, baseball and movie lovers (and especially baseball-movie lovers): The Yankees and White Sox will play a regular-season game just north of this iconic site on August 13. A temporary stadium will hold 8,000 fans. No, it's not heaven — it's Iowa.
Boot Hill Museum | Dodge City
Visitors can already relive the Wild, Wild West at this historic museum, but a $6 million expansion really puts education at the center. Expected to be completed in May, the project will include a permanent exhibit hall with interactive displays, gift shop, lobby and temporary exhibit space.
Evergy Plaza | Topeka
The downtown venue, set to open this spring, will feature a performance stage, splash pad that doubles as a light-up fountain in the winter, fire pit and 30-foot digital screen, along with free events offered about 250 days of the year.
Wichita Wind Surge | Wichita
Wichita scores both a new MiLB team and a new $75 million stadium that will become home to the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. "Wichita is the air capital of the world, and we're paying homage to the wind" with the Wind Surge name, according to Bob Moullette, the team's assistant general manager. "It's powerful to us, and timeless."
Edsel and Eleanor Ford House | Grosse Pointe Shores
A major remodel at the estate of this prominent American family includes a new two-story visitor center slated to open in spring 2020. The first exhibit in the new space will be Driven by Design, with three rare cars illustrating Edsel Ford's role at Ford Motor Company.
Highlands steakhouse | Detroit
A reservation and an elevator ride to the 71st or 72nd floor of The GMRENCEN will get you an unforgettable dining experience and a great view of the Detroit waterfront. Enjoy a wood-fired steak and glass of wine from the large selection. Two other new culinary destinations also opened in late 2019 on the top floors of the iconic skyscraper: High Bar and Hearth 71.
The Mackinac House | Mackinac Island
Located on Market Street, one block from downtown, Mackinac Island's newest lodging gives guests easy access to shops and restaurants. Choose from five charming room options.
The Fields | South Haven
Combine luxury and nature–go glamping. A shuttle through blueberry fields takes you to the site, complete with 10 chic tents with pillowtop beds, nice bathrooms, wood stoves and playful flair like vintage baseball equipment.
Water Works Park | Minneapolis
The grand opening of the first phase of this project is set for 2020 and includes attractions like a riverfront pavilion on the Mississippi, outdoor recreation areas and biking and walking paths.
Destination Winter | Saint Paul
Relocated to CHS Field this year, Wells Fargo WinterSkate's free public rink is open until February 22; skaters can take lessons, join a hockey team or play broomball. And don't miss out on the Securian SuperSlide – a 130-feet inner-tube ride in the snow.
International Dark Sky Park certification | Voyageurs National Park
This 340-square-mile park is already known for its interconnected waterways —more than 40 percent of the park is water — but now the remote location is expected to gain International Dark Sky Park certification in 2020 as well.
Food halls | Saint Paul and Minneapolis
The food hall trend continues into 2020, and the Twin Cities are on top of it. If you're looking to experience the craze, visit Keg and Case (opened in 2018), Graze Provisions + Libations, Potluck and, new this spring, The Dayton's Project food hall and market.
St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station | St. Louis
The two-story aquarium, which opened on Christmas Day 2019, is the center of a $187 million family entertainment complex that also includes a new 200-foot-tall ferris wheel, The St. Louis Wheel.
Prohibition 100th anniversary | Kansas City
Experience one of America's wettest cities during the Prohibition era—a century later. Sample craft cocktails at speakeasy-style spots on the Kansas City Prohibition Craft Cocktail Tour and explore J Reiger & Co., a 60,000-square-foot distillery opened in July 2019, complete with a lounge, restaurant and exhibit area.
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum | Independence
A $25 million renovation will expand the museum and bring in updated technology and interactive displays. The opening of the renovated museum in 2020 coincides with the 75th anniversary of the start of Truman's presidency.
Chimney Rock Visitor Center | Chimney Rock National Historic Site
A $1.8 million renovation and expansion, due to open in late spring, will bring new displays and more interactive storytelling to the center at Chimney Rock, a 325-foot spire that served as a navigation point for pioneers.
Owen Sea Lion Shores exhibit, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium | Omaha
In fall 2020, the acclaimed zoo’s sea lions will get a state-of-the-art home, Sea Lion Shores, with a 275,000-gallon pool and 40-foot-long underwater viewing window.
U.S. Olympic Swim Trials | Omaha
From June 21-28, the nation's top swimmers compete at CHI Health Center Omaha for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. More than 200,000 fans attended the 2016 swim trials in the city.
Held annually at Fargo Theatre since 2000, this year's festival is set to showcase works of independent filmmakers from around the world on March 17-21. Guests can also visit the historic Art Deco theatre, open 364 days a year, to watch classic films and live performances.
Point to Point Park | Medora
The North Dakota Badlands gain a new family attraction this summer that will incorporate Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt themes into a mini-golf course, lazy river, zipline and more.
Frost Fire Park | Walhalla
After a multi-year renovation, Frost Fire is now open with a new lift that accommodates skiers and snowboarders in winters and mountain bikersin summer. The Pembina Gorge's 12,500 acres also allow for seasonal hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, snowmobiling and wildlife observation.
The Cleveland History Center Women in Politics | Cleveland
The new exhibit, opening May 22, tells the story of the suffragist movement, the growth of the League of Women Voters and the election of northern Ohio women to prominent positions in local, state and national government.
Orion at Kings Island | Mason
Open for summer 2020: the $30 million Orion, the tallest, longest and fastest steel roller coaster at the theme park in Mason, 23 miles northeast of Cincinnati. Orion will be the park’s 16th coaster.
Cedar Point amusement park 150th anniversary | Sandusky
The 365-acre park celebrates its 150th season this year with a new nighttime celebration, a reimagined Town Hall, a family-friendly river expedition, and more.
Deadwood Outlaw Square | Deadwood
The downtown entertainment space opened in December 2019 with a community ice rink. Concerts, movie nights, crafts fairs and other events will be held throughout the year.
Hotel on Phillips | Sioux Falls
The city's first boutique hotel just debuted inside a century-old downtown bank. Historical elements were preserved, such as the 16-ton safe deposit vault that now leads to The Treasury cocktail lounge, but modern touches include a spa and guest library.
Levitt at the Falls | Sioux Falls
The outdoor music venue opened in 2019 with about 30 free concerts and is expected to host 50-plus concerts in 2020 and beyond.
Cana Island Lighthouse | Door County
A new visitors and interpretive center is scheduled to open in May 2020 at the 150-year-old lighthouse. Climb 97 steps up the tower's spiral staircase for sweeping views of Door County.
Democratic National Convention | Milwaukee
Milwaukee hosts the DNC July 13-16 at the new Fiserv Forum, bringing about 50,000 state delegates, volunteers, media representatives and others to the city.
Ryder Cup | Kohler
Whistling Straits becomes the first public golf course to host this signature event (September 25-27) in 29 years.