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Enjoying a boat ride in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Rhythms of the River

Embark on a musical journey across Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.

The Mississippi River has inspired musicians, poets and thinkers for generations. On this adventure, you’ll see exactly why: From picturesque vistas to charming towns and iconic music landmarks along the way, you’re sure to leave inspired. Pack your bags, a camera and a pair of good walking shoes for this tour of magical towns and cities along the world’s fourth longest river.

Viewing the sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

You’ll quickly discover why Minneapolis natives love calling this place home. From the eclectic sounds of its iconic music scene to its picturesque parks and landscapes, Minneapolis is a hidden gem of the Northern USA. Fans of Bob Dylan or Prince will be in for an extra special treat: Walking tours take you back in history on a journey to understand how their unique sounds were developed right here in Minneapolis.

Where to Stay:

The Hewing Hotel offers an upscale stay in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. Stop by its attached restaurant Tullibee for Nordic-inspired cuisine and cocktails made with local ingredients.

● Located in the heart of downtown and just a block away from the Target Center, the Loews Minneapolis Hotel is a great pick for travelers. Enjoy dinner and drinks at their accompanying restaurant, Cosmos.

● Relish in the height of hospitality at Hotel Alma, a boutique stay designed to feel like you’re staying at a friend’s house. You’ll receive complimentary beverages and antipasti upon your arrival, and bakery breakfasts are included with every stay. Need we say more?

What to Eat:

● Experience midwestern fare with a touch of French elegance at Spoon and Stable, set in a former horse stable. Local chef, owner and two-time James Beard award winner Gavin Kaysen crafts dishes that are sure to impress. Keep in mind: You’ll want a reservation.

● Stop by Midtown Global Market for to sample a diverse range of cuisines from local food stalls and restaurants, from authentic Moroccan flavors to ethically sourced teas and coffees.

What to See:

● Fine art enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Walker Art Center and adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, home to the famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

● Did you know that Minneapolis does not have tax on shoes or clothing? Even more reason to spend an afternoon at the Mall of America – just make sure you have room in your suitcase!

● Immerse yourself in the music of Prince at First Avenue, the historic landmark music venue that’s been putting on live shows since 1970. Sign up for a private tour, or check the lineup and pop in for some live music.

Touring Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa

Dubuque, Iowa

Welcome to Dubuque, Iowa! Nestled right on the Mississippi River, this jewel offers up small-town hospitality alongside the kind of quality attractions you’d find in a big city. Spend a day learning at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, stroll the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and soak in all the magical midwestern appeal this town has to offer.

Where to Stay:

● Nestled right on the Mississippi River, the Hotel Julien Dubuque offers excellent downtown walkability and all the comforts you’d expect from a big-city hotel. Enjoy a night of relaxation at their spa, indoor pool, restaurant and bar.

● Step into the Hancock House Bed and Breakfast Inn and find yourself transported back in time! Built in 1891, this architectural marvel offers up a slice of historic charm in the heart of downtown Dubuque. (Inside tip: Book through their website and enjoy a free full breakfast on the weekend!)

● If walkability to downtown and the Mississippi River waterfront is a top priority, the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Dubuque Downtown is a great hotel choice.

What to Eat:

● Enjoy “gourmet comfort food” at the locally loved L. May Eatery. (The locals love it SO much, you’ll probably want to grab a reservation. It’s worth it!)

● Stop in for a meal at Brazen Open Kitchen + Bar in downtown Dubuque. You’ll love the cozy, warm-lit dining environment and seasonally fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

● “Pop” into Freddie’s Popcorn Company on Main Street for a sweet treat you’ll want to take home! We recommend trying the Mississippi Mix – you won’t be disappointed.

What to See:

● Get your walking shoes on and head out to Dubuque’s Mississippi Riverwalk. Part of the 63-kilometer Heritage Trail system, this scenic walkway offers a chance for visitors to experience the world’s fourth-largest river to one side, and a 180-year-old city on the other.

● Enjoy a day at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, then pop over to the Dubuque Museum of Art for a day of fascinating midwestern history.

● Take a ride in the Fenelon Place Elevator, the cable car known as “the world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway.” From the top, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River, downtown Dubuque and three states.

Scenic view of downtown Hannibal, Missouri

Hannibal, Missouri

Welcome to the boyhood home of Mark Twain and the setting of his famous books “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.” This idyllic Missouri town is full of stories of the past, from preserved historic architecture to parks and statues galore. Immerse yourself in times of yesteryear with a tour of the Rockcliffe Mansion of the Gilded Age, and soak in the sights of the unique and picturesque river bluffs. Between the town’s local color and its scenic landscapes, you may just want to stay in Hannibal!

Where to Stay:

● Stay at one of the top bed-and-breakfasts in the Midwest at the Garth Woodside Mansion. Situated on a 15-hectacre estate, this cozy hotel includes free breakfast, fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and authentic antique furnishings.

● For an affordable stay with an excellent location, go with the Best Western On the River. Clean rooms, superior customer service and a swimming pool makes this hotel an easy pick for any type of traveler.

● Get comfortable at the restored 1859 Italianate Mansion known as the Belvedere Inn. You’ll especially love the scenic porch and lush native plants on the property.

What to Eat:

● Make time for a stop into Becky’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor & Emporium on Main Street. How could you pass up a scoop of your favorite flavor after an afternoon of exploring?

● Cozy on up to a homemade slice of pizza at The Brick Oven, just a block from the Mississippi River. Make sure to get some garlic cheesy toast for the table!

● Enjoy a wide variety of delicious dinner options at LaBinnah Bistro, located in the heart of downtown and proudly veteran-owned and operated.

What to See:

● Exploring the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is a must-do in Hannibal, Missouri. Even travelers that aren’t literary fans will find the history and storytelling of Mark Twain fascinating.

● Take your adventure to new depths as you explore the Mark Twain Cave, an underground labyrinth of stalagmites, stalactites and a whole lot of inspiration. Tour routes are nearly 2 kilometers long, so wear sensible shoes.

● Want to see a spookier side of the city? Embark on a Haunted Hannibal Ghost Tour, where you’ll listen to the spine-tingling true tales and hidden secrets of Hannibal, Missouri.

Viewing the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

Welcome to St. Louis, your final stop on this tour of the magical Midwest! In this last-but certainly-not-least city, you’ll experience the infusion of diverse musical influences, feel the kindness and hospitality of middle America and see why this city has been called the “Gateway to the West.” From the goliath 192-meter Gateway Arch to the National Blues Museum and Blueberry Hill (a.k.a. Chuck Berry’s musical stomping ground), you’ll feel the inspiration at every turn right here in stunning St. Louis, Missouri.

Where to Stay:

● Stay in the heart of downtown at the Magnolia Hotel, which is within walking distance of some of St. Louis’ most exciting spots for food and entertainment. With 66 restaurants and 18 attractions within a half-kilometer, you can’t go wrong here.

● If getting the perfect travel photos during your stay is a top priority, book at the Angad Arts Hotel. You’ll be immersed in a new world of color and creativity that’s just asking to be a photoshoot background.

● Stay with an air of elegance at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, where mosaics, stained glass, fresco and gold leaf detailing transport you back into a different era.

What to Eat:

● Talk to a St. Louis local, and they’re sure to have an opinion on the best barbeque in town. We recommend Pappy’s Smokehouse, where the ribs are legendary and the loyal following is real.

Blueberry Hill isn’t just a bar and grill; it’s a sacred ground for rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts everywhere. Enjoy the live music and memorabilia as you savor an order of cheddar cheese balls for the table.

● Indulge in a little bit of decadence at Blondie’s Coffee, Wine and Dessert Bar. Whether you’re looking for a late-night sweet treat, a coffee creation or an Upside-Down Cake Martini, you’ll find flavors sure to satisfy. You’ve earned it.

What to See:

● It’s all about that arch! Spend an afternoon discovering the Gateway Arch, the tallest human-made monument in the USA. But don’t just admire it from afar: Take a tour and head all the way up to the very top. Talk about a view!

● Explore two museums in one day: Start at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in the Grand Center Neighborhood, then head over to the National Blues Museum. The latter’s interactive exhibit even lets you create your own musical compositions, including piano, harmonica, guitar sounds and lyrics to boot.

● Visit the site of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair for a day of outdoor fun and relaxation. Forest Park offers it all: winding paths, ponds, kayaks at the boathouse and top-notch facilities for a game of tennis or a round of golf. Those looking to squeeze in one last activity can explore the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum,Saint Louis Zoo or Saint Louis Science Center, all located at Forest Park.