25 Most Dangerous Cities In The US In 2020

The United States is ripe with amazing cities to live in and travel to (in fact, here are some of our favorite cities to visit in the US). Despite ongoing concerns over firearm violence in America, the country as a whole is safer than you might realize. In fact, with a violent crime rate of 369 incidents committed for every 100,000 people in 2018, the U.S. is statistically the safest it’s been in the last three decades. Unfortunately, safety can look quite different at a local level than it does nationally. When it comes to individual cities, there are definitely some that are considered more dangerous than others.

Using the FBI’s most recent crime data from its 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting Program, we’ve ranked the cities with the highest violent crime rates in the country. This population-adjusted statistic measures all violent crimes and is a useful tool for determining how dangerous a city is.

We should note that just because a city is declared dangerous, doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether. You’ll find there are safe neighborhoods in even the worst cities. Still, we’d recommend exercising caution if you’re thinking of traveling to one of the following 25 cities, which rank as the most dangerous in the U.S. in 2020.

25. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,048
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,058

Surrounded by mountains and nestled along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga more than lives up to its official nickname of “Scenic City”. However, those looking to explore the great outdoors in Chattanooga should take heed of the city’s high violent crime rate. While homicides were low, the city experienced 783 cases of aggravated assault per 100,000 people in 2018 — more than triple the national average.

The good news is that local authorities are taking steps to address the problem. More than 30 surveillance cameras have been installed across the city over the last three years to help increase public safety in Chattanooga’s most dangerous areas.

Source: Shutterstock

24. Beaumont, Texas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,059
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,783

With a violent crime rate of 1,059 per 100,000 residents, Beaumont just narrowly tops Houston as the most dangerous major city in the Lone Star state. Much like Chattanooga, Beaumont has an aggravated assault problem, with a whopping 798 reported in 2018. In 2019, Beaumont has also experienced more homicides than the previous year and city officials are desperate to change the narrative.

“Per ca-pita, we are the murder capital of the state of Texas, and we want to change that, we’re not satisfied with that,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham.

The Beaumont Police Department has implemented a high tech tool to help curb firearm violence. Known as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, the tool allows authorities to better track firearms used in different crimes.

Source: Shutterstock

23. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,065
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,430

While it may not be under attack by masked criminals like in HBO’s hit 2019 series Watchmen, the real-life city of Tulsa is still a dangerous place. In fact, based on its violent crime rate, Tulsa is the most dangerous major city in the state of Oklahoma.

While there’s a lot to love about Tulsa, including a thriving craft beer scene and a world-renowned art museum, its violent crime rate is not one of them. Firearm violence, in particular, has been a major problem for Tulsa, which has prompted police to more than double the number of firearms confiscated since 2011.

Source: Shutterstock

22. Hartford, Connecticut

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,066
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,602

The capital city of Connecticut, Hartford is also known as the “Insurance Capital of the World” thanks to the many insurance companies headquartered there. It also holds the distinction of being one of the oldest cities in the United States and a great destination for history buffs. In spite of these distinctions, Hartford is a city currently suffering through a high crime rate and economic woes.

Hartford’s violent crime rate of 1,066 incidents per 100,000 people can be at least partly attributed to the city’s high unemployment and poverty. The unemployment rate (7.0%) and poverty rate (30.5%) are both well above the national average of 3.9% and 14.9%, respectively.

Source: Shutterstock

21. Lansing, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,108
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,030

The capital of Michigan (that’s right, it’s not Detroit!), Lansing is home to Michigan State University — one of the largest universities in the country — and is an important cultural, commercial, and industrial hub. Unfortunately, Lansing is held back by higher than average violent crime and poverty. The city’s main issue is aggravated assault, which accounted for nearly 74% of the 1,301 violent crimes reported in 2018.

The good news is the Department of Justice awarded Michigan more than $122 million earlier this year to help curb violent crime, so the situation stands to get better in Lansing going forward.

Source: Shutterstock

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,113
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,011

With its unbeatable live music scene and an amazing selection of bars and restaurants, it’s no surprise Nashville is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. But what you won’t find on your typical list of the best things to do in Nashville are the city’s crime statistics, which are actually quite alarming.

Believe it or not, Nashville’s violent crime rate is more than triple the national average, with aggravated assaults leading the way. In fact, the city’s Metro Police reported that aggravated assaults were up 23% in 2019, which suggests things may be getting worse in Nashville.

However, this doesn’t mean you should cancel your trip to “Music City, USA”. As long as you take precautions and avoid Nashville’s most dangerous spots, there’s no reason you can’t safely take in the Grand Ole Opry.

Source: Shutterstock

19. New Orleans, Louisiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,163
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,557

The home of Creole cuisine and Mardi Gras, New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the United States. But while the city has benefited greatly from redevelopment efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s mass devastation, crime continues to be a major issue in “The Big Easy”.

Homicides are especially high in New Orleans, with the city’s homicide rate (37 per 100,000 people) ranking fifth-highest among mid – to large-size American cities. Fortunately, the 141 homicides New Orleans saw in 2018 were actually the lowest total since 1971 and that downward trend has continued in 2019, so things might be looking up for Louisiana’s most populous city.

Source: Shutterstock

18. Wichita, Kansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,179
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,618

Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and a major aeronautical hub, earning it the nickname of “The Air Capital of the World”. While Wichita’s unemployment and poverty rates fall within national averages, the city has experienced a “precipitous increase” in violent crime over the last three years.

The situation has gotten bad enough that earlier this year, Wichita sought federal help. The city is now a participant in the U.S. Department of Justice National Safety Partnership, a national program that aims to drive down crime. The three-year program provides training and technical assistance to the Wichita Police Department at no extra cost.

Source: Shutterstock

17. Indianapolis, Indiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,272
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,129

Home to the Pacers and Colts, Indianapolis is also where you’ll find the world’s largest children’s museum and one of the largest privately funded zoos in the country. The city is an economic hub for the state of Indiana and boasts an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Unfortunately, Indianapolis’s violent crime rate makes it the most dangerous city in the state, with hate crimes and firearm violence, in particular, standing out as pain points.

The good news is that Indianapolis has made great strides in tackling its firearm problems in recent years. There are now several intervention programs in place, including firearm buyback events designed to get firearms off the streets.

Source: Shutterstock

16. Oakland, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,273
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,390

For years, Oakland has struggled to break free of its reputation as a dangerous city. Unfortunately, statistics only help support the reality of Oakland being one of the most dangerous places to live in California. While the city’s violent crime rate did go down a bit in 2018, it still sits nearly four times the national average. The robbery rate in Oakland (610 incidents per 100,000 people) is especially concerning, trailing only Baltimore as the highest in the country.

There is reason to be optimistic about crime prevention in Oakland though. The city’s police department now uses a high tech program developed in nearby Silicon Valley called Law Enforcement Analysis Portal to help collect and analyze large amounts of crime data.

Source: Shutterstock

15. Anchorage, Alaska

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,309
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,927

Home to more than 41% of Alaska’s entire population, Anchorage is an important northern economic center that boasts spectacular views (six different mountain ranges make up its skyline). Sadly, along with being the most northern capital city in the U.S., Anchorage holds the unfortunate distinction of being the country’s sexual assault capital.

With 210 reported sexual assaults for every 100,000 people, Anchorage has the highest rate of any US city with a population of at least 100,000. The reasons for this are complex but it’s not just Anchorage suffering from violent crimes. Alaska as a whole is considered the most dangerous state for women, with 59% of women who live there having experienced violence.

Source: Shutterstock

14. Springfield, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,316
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,019

Home to three universities — Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University — Springfield has the look and feel of your average midwestern college town. However, this unassuming city has a surprisingly high violent crime rate, nearly three times that of Missouri as a whole.

In an effort to curb violent crime, Springfield Police recently formed the “Career Criminal Task Force” alongside the FBI to target repeat offenders. “We’re going to go after the bad guys and we’re going to put them in jail. People deserve to feel safe,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told KSPR.

Source: Shutterstock

13. San Bernardino, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,333
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,135

Home to the very first McDonald’s restaurant (now a McDonald’s Museum), San Bernardino is an inland California city that lies along the iconic Route 66. Unfortunately, the city has become better known for its struggling economy over the last 25 years. The closing of Norton Air Force Base in 1994 cost San Bernardino 10,000 jobs and the city has never truly recovered.

San Bernardino was declared America’s second poorest city behind Detroit in 2011 and while things have somewhat improved, more than 30% of residents still live below the poverty line. Areas with limited economic opportunities tend to have high crime, so it’s little surprise the violent crime rate in San Bernardino is nearly four times the national average.

Source: Shutterstock

12. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,364
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,179

Although it never had to deal with a drug kingpin named Heisenberg, the real-life Albuquerque, New Mexico has crime problems of its own. Incidents of sexual assault and homicide are more than double the national average, while aggravated assaults are three times as common.

The fact that Albuquerque accounts for half of all crime in New Mexico while only being home to a quarter of the state’s population prompted the city’s mayor Tim Keller to ask for state help. We’ll have to wait until the FBI releases its 2020 data to see if the situation in Albuquerque improves.

Source: Shutterstock

11. Rockford, Illinois

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,386
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,671

Although Chicago is probably the first city that springs to mind when you think of crime in Illinois, the Windy City is actually not the most dangerous place in the state. With a violent crime rate of 1,386 incidents per 100,000 people, Rockford stands as the most dangerous city in Illinois.

Despite economic revitalization efforts creating new jobs in the automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industries over the last few decades, Rockford continues to struggle economically. Both its unemployment rate (6.8%) and poverty rate (22.2%) sit well above national averages.

Source: Shutterstock

10. Stockton, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,399
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,768

With a violent crime rate of 1,399 incidents per 100,000 people, Stockton ranks as California’s most dangerous city and the 10th most dangerous in the country. Home to the oldest university in California — The University of the Pacific — Stockton has a rich history, being one of the hubs of the 19th century Gold Rush.

Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis hit Stockton especially hard and in 2012, it became the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection (Detroit would surpass it the following year). Despite exiting bankruptcy in 2013, job opportunities in Stockton remain slim, with 6.9% of the city’s labor force unemployed in 2018.

Source: Todd A. Merport / Shutterstock.com

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,413
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,971

Milwaukee is often associated with its proud brewing tradition and cold Midwestern winters; not violent crime. Alas, with 1,413 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, the home of the Bucks is not only the most dangerous city in Wisconsin but the United States as a whole. Researchers have pointed to segregation and the opioid crisis being major factors behind Milwaukee’s violence, though a poverty rate nearly doubles the national average also hasn’t helped matters.

Much like the young Parkland survivors, Milwaukee’s youth have become heavily involved in violence prevention. 414LIFE and other organizations are currently working to establish a youth violence interruption coalition in the city’s school system.

Source: Shutterstock

8. Little Rock, Arkansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,446
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,547

Don’t let the name fool you. Despite having a name one would associate with a quaint American town, Little Rock has a shockingly high crime rate. In 2018, the city saw 1,446 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, nearly quadruple the national rate.

Property crime is also a major problem in Little Rock, with non-violent crimes like burglary and larceny leading the way. The city’s property crime rate ranks third among U.S. cities with populations of 100,000 or more. It’s a shame too, as Little Rock does have some decent attractions and boasts great walks down by the Arkansas River.

Source: Shutterstock

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,449
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,411

Crime is a serious issue in all major Ohio cities with the exception of Columbus, which does not rank on the FBI’s list of the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. Out of all of them, Cleveland has the unfortunate distinction of being the most dangerous city in Ohio.

Despite thriving healthcare and tech sectors, Cleveland has alarming poverty and unemployment figures. 6.5% of the labor force is out of work, while a staggering 35.2% of the population live below the poverty line. These factors have helped drive a violent crime rate four times the national average.

Source: Shutterstock

6. Kansas City, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,590
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,306

The biggest question most people have about Kansas City is, “Why isn’t it in Kansas?” But the question we really should be asking is, “Why is the city so violent?” After all, poverty isn’t a major problem in Kansas City and its unemployment rate is actually lower than the national average.

And yet, violent crime is out of control in Kansas City, with the city on course to see a record number of homicides in 2019. A 4-year wave of firearm violence has left Kansas City grasping for solutions. However, firearm violence is a problem across Missouri as a whole, meaning KC will likely have to wait for a solution to be found at the state level.

Source: Shutterstock

5. St. Louis, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,800
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,911

Believe it or not, Kansas City is not the most dangerous place in Missouri. That title goes to St. Louis, a major economic hub and home to ten Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, low unemployment has done little to curb violence in St. Louis, which saw 187 homicides in 2018.

When adjusted for population, St. Louis’s homicide rate of 61 incidents per 100,000 people make it the homicide capital of the U.S. In recent years, fed up residents have been putting pressure on Missouri lawmakers to change the state’s firearm laws. But with no solutions in sight, it may be some time before St. Louis residents see any relief.

Source: Shutterstock

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,833
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,495

Baltimore, Maryland is a city obsessed with preservation. Nearly one-third of the city’s buildings are designated as historic, more than any other U.S. city. Unfortunately, recent history is something the city’s residents likely want to forget, as Baltimore continues to rank as one of the country’s most dangerous places.

With 309 recorded homicides in 2018, Baltimore is easily one of the most violent and dangerous major cities in America. The city’s homicide rate of 51 per 100,000 only trails St. Louis while the robbery rate of 837 incidents per 100,000 people is the highest in the country. According to the New York Times, violent crime has spiked since the infamous passing of Freddie Gray in 2015 and it’s showing no signs of getting better anytime soon.

Source: Shutterstock

3. Birmingham, Alabama

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,911
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,313

Once known as “The Magic City”, today Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Yet for all its economic successes, Birmingham has an alarming crime rate that sits 112% higher than the national average. Aggravated assaults are the primary concern, as they accounted for nearly 70% of all violent crimes reported in 2018.

The homicide rate is also shockingly high. Although the 88 homicides the city saw in 2018 is much lower than other cities on this list, the homicide rate is actually third highest in the country once the population is taken into account.

Source: Shutterstock

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,943
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,405

With a violent crime rate of 1,943 incidents per 100,000 people, Memphis, Tennessee ranks as the most dangerous city in America’s south. One could argue that violence is just as much a part of Memphis’s identity as blues music and barbeque. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 and since the Civil Rights Movement, the city has become ground zero for some of the worst firearm violence in the country.

In fact, the majority of the city’s 186 homicides last year were firearm-related. Recently, U.S. Attorney General William Barr unveiled a new plan to reduce firearm violence in Memphis, Project Guardian, so hopefully, Memphis will start to see some relief in the coming years.

Source: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

1. Detroit, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,007
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,304

The Motor City just can’t seem to catch a break. While most major U.S. cities continue to grow, Detroit has seen one of the steepest population declines over the last half-century. At its peak, the city was home to 1.8 million people in the 1950s. But the decline in manufacturing jobs has driven the population down to less than 700,000 today. The city’s massive unemployment and poverty rates (9% and 37.9%, respectively) amount to a city with the highest violent crime rate in the country.

Today, large swaths of Detroit lie abandoned; a living reminder of the city’s decline. Unfortunately, until Detroit’s public administration gets its act together and starts attracting business and economic growth, its status as America’s most dangerous city will only continue.

Source: Shutterstock

25 Most Dangerous Cities In The US In 2019

When it comes to travel, one of the most important things to consider is safety. Most people would assume safety is something they have to worry about when traveling to other countries where they don’t speak the same language or are unfamiliar with the culture, and while that is true, there is also a risk of danger even closer to home. You might be surprised to learn there are many cities within the United States that aren’t exactly all peaches and cream. You wouldn’t want to walk around alone at night or wander aimlessly as a tourist in any of the following cities on this list because they’re considered to be the most dangerous in America.

This list was created based off information from the FBI’s crime statistics which were gathered from US cities with a population over 100,000 between January 2017 and June 2017. The data looks specifically at the amount of violent crimes in a city which includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. It’s important to note that the data used to create this Uniform Crime Report is collected voluntarily by police forces in cities across the country and not every city or state chooses to participate, so this list doesn’t necessarily give the full picture. However, it does give a big picture look at some of the more dangerous cities which can be helpful for people who are planning their next big city vacation in 2019.

Here’s a look at some of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. in 2019…

25. Lansing, Michigan

First up on this list is the capital of Michigan, Lansing. Business Insider reported that this city experienced 52.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents which converts to about 14 homicides in the year 2017. Unfortunately, unlike most cities where crime rates are going down, this was the highest it had been in the previous five years.

In 2017 the poverty rate was 29.5-percent and the unemployment rate sat at about 6.3-percent. Police Chief Mike Yankowski told the Lansing State Journal that their high crime rates were due to domestic violence and mental illness.

24. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is best known for being a very diverse and artsy city, but now it’s also known as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. When considering a trip to this city in 2019, just remember that it didn’t fare so well in 2017. Only two years ago the violent crime rates were pretty high in Minneapolis with a rate of about 53.7 per 10,000 residents, according to Business Insider.

USA Today translates this violent crime rate to 1,101 per 100,000 residents with a grand total of 42 homicides in 2017. The poverty rate was 21.3-percent and the unemployment rate was 3.1-percent.

23. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is actually a pretty popular tourist hotspot, mainly because if its vibrant music scene, rich history, and round the clock party atmosphere. However what many people don’t often talk about is the fact that it’s actually quite dangerous, statistically. Business Insider writes that this city had 56.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017 and 24/7 Wall St. notes that the city has some of the highest murder rates.

USA Today writes that in 2017 this touristy city had a violent crime rate of 1,121 per 100,000 residents and 157 homicides. The poverty rate here was 26.2-percent with an unemployment rate of 5.1-percent. Luckily mayor LaToya Cantrell has vowed to do something about it with a new program called Cure Violence.

Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr

22. Newark, New Jersey

You’d think we’d see New York City on here ahead of one in New Jersey, but surprisingly, Newark is more prone to violence than the big apple (at least when population is factored in). In fact New York City is actually one of the safest big cities in the country. Not too far away is the city of Newark, New Jersey, one of the most dangerous cities in America. Business Insider writes that Newark had 42.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017.

In 2016 there were 36 murders per 100,000 Newark residents which was about three times higher than any other city in New Jersey and the fifth highest in the country, at the time. One of the biggest factors in this city is unemployment. Cities with high unemployment rates tend to have more crime and Newark had an unemployment rate of about 8-percent which is about 5-percent higher than the national average. The poverty rate in 2016 was 29.7-percent which is also 15.5-percent higher than the national average. Not surprisingly, most of the crime takes place in the cities poorest areas, writes 24/7 Wall St. A report by the Safer Newark Council found that most of the violent crime occurred in only about 20-percent of the city streets, primarily in the West and South Wards. The report also said most of the homicide in the city is drug and gang related.

21. San Bernardino, California

In addition to being known as the site for the world’s first McDonald’s and the largest outdoor amphitheater in the United States, San Bernardino also has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the country (according to 2017 statistics) and the largest city to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code. This bankruptcy plays a huge role in the crime rate of this city because there have been major cutbacks to the police force.

In 2017 there were 1,291 violent crimes reported which includes murder, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults. This is the 15th highest in the entire country. USA Today reports that in 2017 San Bernardino had a violent crime rate of 1,291 per 100,000 residents, there were 34 homicides, and the city experienced a poverty rate of 32.3-percent with an unemployment rate of 6.3-percent.

20. Indianapolis, Indiana

When planning a trip in 2019, keep in mind that Indianapolis had a violent crime rate of 1,334 per 100,000 residents in 2017 which was one of the worst years this city has ever seen. As Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis, sometimes referred to as ‘Indy’ is densely populated with an estimated population of about 863,002. On Dec. 28, 2017 Fox 59 reported there were 156 homicides in this city. This goes alongside a poverty rate of 20.9-percent and an unemployment rate of 3.6-percent. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the violent crime rate in Indianapolis in 2017 was about 1,334 crimes per 100,000 residents.

19. Stockton, California

California is an extremely popular vacation spot, but it’s also an extremely big state with lots of cities, some nicer than others. We’re sure Stockton would be a lovely place to visit in 2019, but we think tourists should be wary about the unusually high crime rate here, especially in 2019 considering it wasn’t that long ago that the country claimed bankruptcy and landed on many lists as one of the U.S. cities with the highest crime rates. According to 2017 reports, this city had 68.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

The city claimed bankruptcy back in 2012 making it one of the most populous cities to do so. The lack of funding could possibly affecting their ability to fight crime by limiting the amount of resources available. The violent crime rate in 2017 was 1,415 per 100,000 residents with a total of 55 homicides. The unemployment rate was 8-percent, which is among the highest in the country, and the poverty rate was 23.7-percent.

18. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful city that has a stunning waterfront along Lake Michigan. To a lot of tourists, this city is known for its cultural events and festivals and for those who live here, it’s a great city that has tons of stuff to do and a booming economy with several universities and Fortune 500 companies, but there is one major thing to be wary about when traveling to this city. It’s has high crime rates. In fact, according to crime reports presented by the FBI for the year 2017,  Milwaukee had a violent crime rate of 1,597 per 100,000. This ranks as the seventh highest in the entire country and means that for every 10,000 residents in Milwaukee there were 75.6 violent crimes in 2017.

USA Today takes a deeper look and reports that there were 118 homicides in this city in 2017, along with a poverty rate of 28.4-percent and an unemployment rate of 4.6-percent. Luckily, the amount of homicides is actually going down. In 2016 it was 141 which is slightly higher than 2017. It seems the Milwaukee Police Department are working hard to lower these numbers by focusing their attention on a two-mile section, where most of these crimes occur.

17. Kansas City, Missouri

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto! Okay, so it’s not the same Kansas as Wizard of Oz, but close enough. Turns out the state of Missouri is much more dangerous than the state of Kansas, specifically Kansas City (and St. Louis, but more on that later on). You might be wondering what this city is doing on this list considering it was just praised for doing such a good job bringing their homicide rate down. Unfortunately, it was short lived and it’s once again on the rise again. Be wary of this when planning a trip in 2019.

USA Today crunched the numbers from 2017 and found that Kansas City had a violent crime rate of 1,724 per 100,000 residents. There were 150 homicides which is up from the 129 in 2016. In addition to that, the unemployment rate was 4.3-percent and the poverty rate sat at about 18.3-percent.

Sharon Day / Shutterstock.com

16. Rockford, Illinois

You might not have ever heard of Rockford Illinois, but it’s actually the third largest city in Illinois and surprisingly, one of the most violent. While it’s not nearly as bad as Chicago and the number of homicides was actually quite low in 2017. There were only 18 murders reported that year. Rockford is still no walk in the park in terms of safety because homicide is not their biggest problem. According to data collected from 2017, Rockford had 78 violent crimes per 10,000 residents. There were 1,773 aggravated assault cases reported in 2017 which is a lot more than many other cities with the same population. For example, Naperville, Illinois has an even bigger population than Rockford and it’s reported cases of aggravated assault were only 80.

USA Today reports there was a violent crime rate of 1,588 per 100,000 residents and lists an unemployment rate of 7.5-percent and a poverty rate of 22.7-percent. Luckily, this city isn’t exactly a hot tourist spot, especially considering it’s in the same state of Chicago which is one of the most visited cities in the country, so Rockford often gets overlooked.

15. Birmingham, Alabama

Located in the South, Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and is often associated as being part of the “deep south.” Sadly, in addition to its southern roots, this city lands in the top 5 on Business Insider’s list of the most violent cities in the U.S., as well as Forbes top 5. Business Insider writes that Birmingham, Alabama had 86.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017 and Forbes writes that there were 1,483 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

If we wanted to look on the bright side of all this, Birmingham is actually making progress despite the fact that it’s still quite dangerous. The crime here is down 40-percent from what it was in the mid-1990s. Forbes writes that according to the U.S. Census Department, much of the crime in this city is due to the high drug trade and the high poverty rate. The poverty rate in Birmingham is 26-percent. This is quite a lot considering the state average is 17-percent.

14. Nashville, Tennessee

There’s no denying that Nashville is having a bit of a moment in terms of tourism. In the past few years this city has been crawling with tourists between the months of May and September. What most people probably don’t realize is that this city is actually statistically one of the more dangerous cities in the country.

In the year 2017 there were 110 homicides in the Nashville metropolitan area. Also, the crime rate was 1,138 per 100,000 residents and the poverty rate sat at about 18-percent. The murder rate in this city is so bad that the Oasis Center of Nashville which works to help at risk youth in the area called it an epidemic, according to 24/7 Wall St. Outsiders traveling in probably didn’t hear about the high homicide rate in this city because Metro Police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford told Nashville News4 that most of these homicides were between people who knew each other and were engaged in “risky behavior.”

13. Cleveland, Ohio

For the past several years, Cleveland has been considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. based on national crime rankings. Cleveland is the second largest city in Ohio which means it also has a large population. Unfortunately, a good chunk of this population lives in poverty and is unemployed. The city has some of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. In 2017 the unemployment rate sat at 7.4-percent and the poverty rate was 36-percent.

Not surprisingly, these numbers contribute to the higher violent crime rates. In 2017, Cleveland experienced 107 homicides and nearly 6,000 violent crimes were reported. The violent crime rate was calculated to be 69.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents or 1,557 per 100,000 residents. While it’s still considered to be a great city to visit (I mean, it is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), but travellers should just be wary of the high crime rate in this city when traveling here in 2019, and practice common sense.

12. Detroit, Michigan

It might not be too surprising to see this city on the list. Detroit has a reputation for being a bit of an urban graveyard with thousands of empty buildings, a massive population decline, and a high poverty rate. In 2017 the city’s poverty rate sat at a whopping 39-percent with an unemployment rate of 9.3-percent. Not surprisingly, these traits all contribute to a high crime rate.

A closer look at Detroit’s violent crime rate in 2017 showed that there were 2,057 per 100,000 residents and 267 homicides.

11. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago has a notorious reputation when it comes to crime, but it’s actually not as bad as some smaller cities on this list like New Orleans, Newark, and Detroit. Chicago is the third largest city in the country and while it does have a higher murder rate than the two larger cities, Los Angeles and New York City, it’s still not the most dangerous city in the country. The latest data from 2017 shows that the murder rate in Chicago was 24 per 100,000 residents. That same year 650 people were murdered in this city, down from 771 in 2016, which isn’t hard considering it was the deadliest year the city had seen in decades.

Despite the higher risk of danger in this city, it doesn’t seem to deter tourists at all. In 2017 it was the second most visited city in the United States with 55 million visitors, right behind New York City which had 65 million visitors.

10. Anchorage, Alaska

Tourism is actually a big part of Alaska’s economy, so it does get a lot of visitors throughout the year, but it also has a pretty high crime rate. This is mainly due to the fact that it is such a large state. It is the largest state, the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated state in America. This probably plays a big role in why Alaska has higher crime rates because the police are unable to get to a crime scene as quickly as they would in a more densely populated city. This also affects their ability to solve a lot of crimes. In 2017, Anchorage had 57.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

Road Snacks writes that Anchorage ranked as the 16th most dangerous city in terms of violent crimes in 2017 with 1,203 per 100,000 residents and the 25th most dangerous for property crimes with a rate of 5,415 per 100,000 residents. 24/7 Wall St. writes that many experts blame drug and gang violence for these high crime rates and that more drug addiction and mental health treatment centers are needed in the city.

9. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore is no joke when it comes to violent crime. In fact, there’s a reason HBO chose Baltimore, Maryland as the set for the American crime drama series The Wire. This show was supposed to depict a fictionalized version of the real crime issues in this city. So what are the real crime issues in Baltimore? Well for starters, this city has the third highest rate of violent crimes per 100,000 people. In 2017 there were 8,879 robberies reported which means the rate per 100,000 is 959 or 2,027 to 100,000 residents. To give a little perspective, this is nearly 10 times higher than the national robbery rate and the highest in any other major U.S. city. There were also 342 homicides in 2017 and a poverty rate of 23.1-percent. On a smaller scale, Business Insider found that Baltimore had 98.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017.

USA Today reiterates this with a look at the violent crime rate per 100,000 residents which is 2,027. It also lists 2017 as having 342 homicides – that is pretty darn close to one every single day. This city also held a poverty rate of 23.1-percent and an unemployment rate of 6.1-percent.

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

8. Pueblo, Colorado

When we think of Colorado we usually think of Rocky Mountains and a ski vacation getaway, but that’s not what Pueblo is known for. This city saw 48.9 violent crimes per 10,000 residents in 2017. What’s impressive is that this city is actually the smallest city on this list, but yet it still ranks pretty high up. It only just clocks over 100,000 people. While it may be smaller than some of the other cities on this list, it ranks in the eight spot for worst property crime rate with the majority of them being burglaries. Road Snacks reports there being 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 6,167 property crimes per 100,000 people.

mese.berg / Shutterstock.com

7. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tennessee is a popular tourist destination because of Nashville, also known as ‘Music City,’ which also landed on this list. In addition to Nashville, the lesser known city of Chattanooga is another dangerous city to visit. It has the same kind of feel as Memphis and Nashville, but just not as touristy, and for good reason. It is one of the worst cities in America for property crime. It lands in the number 10 spot for property crime with 5,985 per 100,000 residents and is the 23rd most dangerous for violent crimes with 1,065 per 100,000 residents.

In 2017, there were 31 homicides. In most American cities the number of crime goes down each year, but for Chattanooga, the number of homicides in 2017 was at a record high. Local police said the major thing that did go down in 2017 was gang violence, writes 24/7 Wall St. In 2016 there were 132 shooting incidents, most of which were a result of a bloody gang war. While gang violence in this city is on the decline, the violent crime rate is on the rise. It was 1,023 per 100,000 in 2016, and in 2017 it rose to 1,066 per 100,000.

6. Oakland, California

Despite the high crime rates in this city, it’s actually become a desirable place to live and that’s because it’s so much cheaper than San Fransisco. Even though Oakland’s property prices are cheaper, there may be a price for safety. San Francisco ranks over 30 spots higher on the list of safe cities over Oakland. Now it’s not all doom and gloom for this city. To be fair their crime rates have actually been improving the past few years. It wasn’t that long ago that Oakland was known for having high rates of homicides, rapes, and aggravated assaults. According to 24.7 Wall St., the crime in this area skyrocketed after the recession, then went down, only to go back up again in 2012. Luckily it’s now on the decline again, but it’s still higher than most would like.

According to Road Snacks, “Oakland has the 10th highest violent crime rank in the country and the fifteenth highest property crime rate.” Yikes! In 2017 the violent crime rate was 1,299 per 100,000 residents and 69 homicides. The city had an unemployment rate of 4.2-percent and a poverty rate of 20-percent.

5. Albuquerque, New Mexico

For those who are surprised to see Albuquerque on this list, it’s more due to property crimes than violent crimes, but don’t be fooled by that. This is still one of the most dangerous cities in America. In 2016, Albuquerque had one of the worst crime rates in the country with 1,112 reported incidents of rape, assault, homicide, and robbery per 100,000 residents. Unfortuantely, 2017 didn’t fair much better for this city. In fact, the rates rose by a whopping 23-percent. In 2017 it became the 11th most dangerous city in America with 1,369 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, 70 of these incidents were homicides.

The poverty rate in Albuquerque is 18.9-percent with an unemployment rate of 5.5-percent. What’s even worse than being ranked as the 11th most violent city in the country? It’s ranked as the third most dangerous city for property crimes with 7, 365 per 100,000 residents in 2017. Many of these property crimes are a result of robberies. In 2016 the city reported 2,000 robberies which then rose to 2,930 in 2017.

 

4. Springfield, Missouri

As the first Springfield in America, this city made history. It’s making history once again, but this time as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Business Insider looked at FBI data from 2017 and found that Springfield had 40.3 violent crimes per 10,000 residents. According to 24/7 Wall St., this number is on the rise. The homicide rate nearly doubled between 2016 and 2017 going from 4.8 to 8.3 per 100,000. The same source writes, “Murder and non-negligent manslaughter represent a relatively small share of overall violent crime, and Springfield’s violent crime rate remained effectively unchanged between 2016 and 2017.”

Road Snacks lists it as the number one most dangerous city in terms of property crimes with 8,853 per 100,000 people and the 12th most dangerous for violent crimes with 1,338 per 100,000 residents. There were 14 homicides in 2017, a poverty rate of 25.9-percent and an unemployment rate of 3.2-percent. Yet another reason to be wary of traveling to this city in 2019, this city sadly has the highest rate of reported incidents of rape in the country with an average of 209 per 100,000 residents. To give some perspective on this, the national average is 42 per 100,000.

3. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock’s crime rate ain’t so little! This city is the capital of Arkansas and the largest city in the state. Not only did it have the highest crime rate in the state, but is also one of the highest in the country! Little Rock had 87.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents, says Business Insider and according to Road Snacks, it ranks in the top 10 in the country for both property and violent crimes per capita. The same source lists it as the sixth most dangerous in terms of violent crimes with 1,633 per 100,000 people and the fifth most dangerous in terms of property crimes with 6,932 per 100,000 people.

There were 55 homicides in this city in 2017, a poverty rate of 18.5-percent, and an employment rate of 3.3-percent, according to USA Today. The rate of criminal offenses in 2017 rose 1.1-percent from 2016, and 24/7 Wall St. says the police blame it on rival gang activity.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Violence and crime probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Memphis, Tennessee. It’s more commonly known for it’s blues on Beale Street, being the home of Elvis, and of course, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. But according to crime data from 2017, it’s currently one of the most dangerous cities in America with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. In fact, Road Snacks lists it as being the third highest in America.

According to 24/7 Wall St., there were 653,000 violent crimes and 181 homicides committed in this city in 2017 which gives residents about a one in 50 chance at being a victim. We’re guessing the high rate of poverty has something to do with these statistics because Memphis has a poverty rate of about 27.6-percent which is much higher than the national 15.1-percent.

Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com

1. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is typically known for it’s range of barbecue restaurants and blues music, but it’s also got another trick up it’s sleeve…one that probably isn’t advertised as much to tourists. It lands in the number one spot on several different lists as being the most dangerous city in America. Since this city ranks as the most dangerous city in America, at least based on crime data from 2017, we also consider it to be the most dangerous U.S. city to travel to in 2019.

Business Insider writes that St. Louis, Missouri had 91.5 violent crimes per 10,000 people in 2017. There were 205 homicides reported in St. Louis that same year which isn’t actually the highest number for a U.S. city in 2017, but once it’s adjusted to it’s population, it ends up being the highest murder rate in the country. According to 24/7 Wall St., St. Louis has a murder rate of 67 per 100,000 people which is extremely high, especially when it’s compared to the national average of 5 per 100,000. On top of all the violent crimes, the murder count for St. Louis in 2017 was 6,461 or 2,082 per 100,000 residents. This is the highest violent crime rate of any major U.S. city.

7 Castles You Don’t Know Are in America

People often think that in order to see castles they have to travel across the pond, but in fact the very opposite is true. In America alone there are hundreds of castles, just waiting to be explored through guided or self-guided tours. From the hilltops of California to a heart-shaped isle to a university campus, these castles are scattered across the United States. Discover these seven castles that you may not have known are literally in your backyard, from ancient to new, these beautiful buildings and grounds will have your jaw dropping in no time.

7. Hearst Castle -San Simeon, California

This castle attracts millions of visitors every year who flock here to discover the numerous styles of architecture, the 61 bathrooms, 127 acres of gardens and pool and world’s largest private zoo. Designed for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, this castle features museum quality artwork and incredible antiques. There are a number of tours that visitors can choose from including the grand room tour, upstairs suite tour, evening tour and cottage and kitchen tour. Each one is designed to show visitors a different part of the castle, and all promising to be incredible. One of the features of this castle is the Neptune Pool, located on the edge of the cliff and offering an incredible view of the mountains. Although the pool is under renovation visitors now have the chance to see the stunning white marble floor of the pool and ancient Roman Temple front.

Hearst Castle -San Simeon, California

6. Hammond Castle -Gloucester, Massachusetts

This castle was constructed between 1926 and 1929 and sits high atop a rocky cliff overlooking Gloucester Harbor. The castle was home to John Hays Hammond Jr, an inventor who was a pioneer in the study of remote control and built the castle as a gift for his wife. Nowadays the castle is a museum that houses his collection of Roman, medieval and Renaissance artifacts. Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, two guest bedrooms, the inventions exhibit room, the library, the War room, the kitchens and several passage ways including a secret passageway. Visitors are welcome to explore the gardens, beautiful castle grounds and gaze out at the Atlantic Ocean from one of the benches. If you really want a special experience make sure you visit during October when the castle is turned into a Halloween haunted house.

Hammond Castle -Gloucester, Massachusetts

5. Oheka Castle -Huntington, New York

This gold coast castle is located on the highest point of Long Island and is one of the most prestigious wedding and event venues in America. Currently this castle is a historical hotel with 32 guest rooms and suites on the upper floors. This castle was built from 1914-1919 as a country home for investment financier and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn and his family. The castle is set on an impressive 443 acres featuring a sunken French garden including beautiful flowers and water terraces, a golf course and of course the beautiful castle. Daily tours can be booked in advance and feature the interior of the estate and the formal gardens with a guide. Sitting at 115,000 square feet and featuring 117 rooms, this castle is not only a breathtaking place to tour but an unforgettable wedding location.

Oheka Castle

4. Castello di Amorosa -Calistoga, California

In the heart of Napa Valley’s wine country sits this impressive 13th century inspired Tuscan castle that opened in 2007. The castle features 107 rooms both above and below ground and features such things as a moat, torture chamber, drawbridge and great hall with coffered ceilings. The best part about this castle may just be the fact that it is actually a winery as well and touring the castle means having access to some incredible tastings. It would be the perfect place to hold a wedding but alas Napa County has put restrictions on that. For now, visitors can explore multiple levels of the castle, slide up to one of the tasting bars, and visit the Front Ramparts, Chapel, Great Hall, Courtyard, Stables, and Knight’s Hall.

Castello di Amorosa -Calistoga, California

3. Boldt Castle -Alexandria Bay, New York

When industrialist George Boldt came across a heart-shaped isle in the Thousand Islands the only thing he could think of doing was building an epic castle for the love of his live. Boldt hired over 300 stonemasons, artisans and carpenters to build a six story castle complete with 120 rooms. In 1904 when Boldt’s wife tragically paced away, construction was halted on the castle, for a whopping 73 years. Luckily for visitors the castle was restored in 1977 and now guests can enjoy self-guided tours throughout this beautiful masterpiece. Expect to be blown away by the hand carved doors, decorative windows and a first flow that replicates what it may have looked like if Boldt had ever finished it. Many people choose to get hitched in the stone gazebo here and it’s easy to forget you are actually still in America.

Boldt Castle -Alexandria Bay, New York

2. Grey Towers Castle, Philadelphia

This castle is a registered historic national landmark and actually sits on the Arcadia University campus in Glenside, Pennsylvania. This 40-roomed castle was started in 1893 and modeled after the famed Alnwick Castle in England. There is a lot of speculation behind this castle and staff and students of the University love to tell them. According to them in one of the third-floor bedrooms a mirror above the fireplace mantle had to be replaced because of a large crack. Yet, every time it is replaced it cracks soon after. The castle is also rumored to have been built entirely without the use of nails and is home to many secret passages that were used by the first owner of the estate William Welsh Harrison. Visitors will delight in the gilded ceilings, tapestries and hand carved woodwork throughout. Now the castle is used for administration and dorm rooms so visitors will have to take a self-guided tour when classes are in session.

By Shuvaev - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
By ShuvaevOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

1. Château Laroche, Ohio

Also known as Loveland Castle, this incredible palace was built by Sir Harry Andrews brick by brick, and all on his own. It took Andrews over fifty years to build this incredible castle, pulling stones out of the Little Miami River and when that supply was gone, molded bricks with cement and quart milk cartons. Andrews was a Boy Scout troop leader and when he passed away in 1981 left the castle to his Boy Scout troop the Knights of the Golden Trail (KOGT) who have extensively renovated and upgraded the castle. Today is sits as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the men who were part of the Knighthood. Visitors are welcome here throughout the year and can discover the stories of hauntings, four different types of towers and an impressive collection of swords and weapons on display.

Photo by: Chateau Laroche
Photo by: Chateau Laroche

North America’s Coolest Indoor Waterparks

Indoor water parks promise endless summer, a perfect getaway as the winter months are quickly coming. These water parks are only getting bigger and better, featuring huge wave pools, wild water slides, ziplines, arcades and even spas inside. From Niagara Falls, Canada all the way to Galveston, Texas we have rounded up 15 incredible indoor water parks across North America.

15. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park -Erie, PA

This park is loaded with a ton of water slides and rides, along with a tropical colorful atmosphere that sets the stage for the perfect getaway during the long cold winter months. At just over 100,000 square feet, Splash Lagoon is full of exciting thrill rides for the adventurer. Among the unique features here are two bowl rides, The Cyclone which accommodates one and two rider tubes and Hurricane Hole, which sends you flying down at over 40 mph. Watch out for the tipping bucket on top of Tiki Tree House which dumps on unsuspecting riders on the The Cyclone. If you are looking for something a little more relaxing head on over to the Frog Pond Whirlpool where giant lily pads, tall amphibians and splashing fountains set the stage. A large arcade, mini-free fall ride and onsite restaurant compliment this awesome water park.

Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort
Photo by: Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort

14. Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park -Galveston, TX

Although this water park is an outdoor park most of the year, it actually transforms into an indoor park during the colder months and with over 70,000 feet of indoor play, it is one of the best in North America. With four tube slides, three speed slides, a heated pool, a man-made wave and a tidal wave river, there is no shortage of things to do here. The Torrent River is a favorite among visitors as it sends inner tubers along a quarter mile long, 20 foot wide wave filled river, twisting and turning riders throughout. Kids will love their own beach section that is full of tipping buckets, a beached boat, smaller slides and spraying jets. Although this indoor water park is one of the smaller on the list, it deserves recognition for the ability to change from an outdoor park to indoor park, and still offer amazing fun.

Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston
Photo by: Schlitterbahn Galveston

13. Palmetto and Palm Water Parks at Dunes Village Resort -Myrtle Beach, SC

There are actually two water parks located at the Dunes Village Resort in Myrtle Beach and guests to this resort get access to both. Palmetto caters to the younger guests with a 250-foot lazy river, a Kiddie Adventure pool with tons of spray features and a lagoon pool with basketball nets. Adults will also enjoy this park with two water slides and two hot tubs. Over at Palm Water Park there is something for everyone to enjoy including a lap pool, teen pool, three hot tubs and more. The Wild Winding Slide and Speed Slide are there for the more adventurous riders. Little ones will love the Silly Submarine, a water play structure that is loaded with spraying water features. The parks are open from 9am-11pm and while there are no lifeguards on duty, there are attendants at the top of each slide to ensure each rider descends safely.

Photo by: Dunes Village Resort
Photo by: Dunes Village Resort

12. Fallsview Indoor Waterpark -Niagara Falls, Canada

It boasts itself as the largest indoor water park in Niagara Falls and visitors will delight in the sheer number of thrilling water slides here. A total of 16 water slides make up this water park, along with a massive wave pool, adult-only whirlpools and a massive beach house play area. From extreme racing slides where riders will shoot down on mats to four different tube slides and one gigantic super bowl; there are enough slides to keep any adrenaline junkie happy. Planet Hollywood Beach Club is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and is located on the main floor of the water park. Little ones can head to the Tiny Tots Splash Park where they can swim, splash and slide down kid-sized water slides. Don’t forget about the year-round outdoor sun deck which is heated in the winter and operates an outdoor pool in the warm months.

Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Fallsview Indoor Waterpark

11. Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark -Boyne Falls, MI

Michigan’s largest indoor water park resort offers plenty of thrills and excitement for the whole family. Always at 84 degrees and open all year around it is easy to make your way here any time of the year, especially in the cold winter months when you are looking to escape the cold. One of the latest additions to this park is The Big Couloir, a water slide which begins in a capsule and shoots riders down a narrow tunnel into a super loop, with powerful g-forces keeping them glued to the sides the entire time. The lazy river on the other hand will lead riders throughout the park, while flowing water features hide around corners. The amazing 800-gallon water avalanche though is perhaps the highlight of this park and when the horn blows you will want to look out below! This climbing structure with its bridges, buckets, slides and climbing wall provides hours of endless fun.

Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark
Photo by: Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

10. Klondike Kavern at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

This indoor waterpark offers over 65,000 square feet of water fun for all ages. Guests to this water park rave about the famous Hurricane, a ride that sees riders whip down a 45-degree angle in a four person raft, scoot across a funnel at 20 mph, experience weightlessness and then drop into a splash pool. This ride is made even better with sound effects, fog and strobe lights. For those wanting a little less excitement, head over to the lazy river or the indoor hot spa. Little ones will love Bonanza Bluff, a huge structure that features over 50 squirt features and smaller slides, all situated in a shallow pool. A new ride is currently under construction here and promises to combine exciting water sliding with video game technology.

Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort

9. Chula Vista Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wisconsin Dells is known as the water park capital of the world and Chula Vista is among one of the best indoor water parks in all of North America, and perhaps even the world. The most loved attraction at this park is the Fly’n Mayan; an uphill water coaster that is designed to take riders throughout the park on an exhilarating ride. It prides itself on being on the longest and fastest uphill water coasters in the world! The Jungle Adventure complete with lights and sounds is also one of the famous rides here, a bowl ride that will leave you breathless. The never-ending tropical lazy river is great for relaxing while the oversize wading pool is perfect for little ones to splash around in.

Photo by: Chula Vista Resort
Photo by: Chula Vista Resort

8. Kahuna Laguna at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort -North Conway, NH

It is New Hampshire’s largest indoor water park and features over 40,000 square feet of fun and excitement. This water park has gone all out to bring the tropics indoor and comes off more like a large tiki hut with its colorful decorations and faux palm leaves. There are only four water slides here, two tube slides and two body slides, totaling 900 feet in length, which means you will want to try them all out. The 67,000 gallon wave pool is one of the highlights of this water park, with three patterns of powerful three foot waves, perfect for those who want to body surf. The pool also features two waterfalls and is no more than five feet in depth. The Adventure Tower teems with slides, sprayers, rope bridges and one huge tipping bucket, which anyone of any age can enjoy. At the end of the day make sure to head over to the adult and kid 25-person hot tub that overlooks the entire water park.

Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park
Photo by: Kahuna Laguna Water Park

7. Big Splash Adventure Indoor Waterpark -French Lick, IN

A retractable roof covers this awesome 40,000 square foot indoor water park, which means whether it is hot or cold outdoors, visitors here can enjoy this space any time of the year. With an abundance of pools, tube slides, body slides and over 50 interactive features; there won’t be any time to be bored. Favorite activities here include the Treasure Lagoon Vortex, a round pool with fun whirling water, as well as the Jolly Roger Jetty, a tube ride that takes riders through seven curves and can accommodate both single and double inner tubes. The Splish Splash Pool has been designed for the youngest of visitors, and they can choose to sit in the swings and bounce until their feet hit the water, or slide down the mini slide.

Photo by: Big Splash Adventure
Photo by: Big Splash Adventure

6. Wings & Waves at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum -McMinnville, OR

This ultra-cool water park is both a water park and an educational experience, but don’t fear, kids won’t even know that they are actually learning because they will be having so much fun. The water park includes 10 water slides, 91,000 gallon wave pool and a Boeing 747 plane on the roof. Kids are encouraged to learn about water by building tsunami-proof models in the classrooms and then test them in the wave pool. A favorite of visitors here is climbing the 111 stairs up to the plane and then sliding down one of the four water slides, one of which drops a total of six stories. Aquaplay is a favorite among young visitors as the structure is loaded with smaller slides, water guns, spouts, valves and a 300 gallon firefighter bucket that drops on you. Trained and certified lifeguards are on duty at all times at this incredible and educational water park.

Photo by: Hydro Logic
Photo by: Hydro Logic

5. Water Park of America -Bloomington, MN

It is one of the biggest and the best water parks in all of North America, hence the name and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of activities. It houses the tallest indoor water slide in all of America, stretching 100 feet into the air, along with a scenic and relaxing lazy river, indoor arcade and the Lake Superior Wave Pool. The 7th Floor Body Slides are among the favorites here as riders can race each other as they travel down twin body slides that actually go outside the building before a final splash. Friends and families should check out the Family Raft Ride, at over a mile long and 10 stories high, this ride offers tight turns, big splashes and lot of laughs. Learn how to body board, shoot a game of hoops in the pool or take the little ones to the zero depth activity pool where they can safely splash and slide.

Photo by: Water Park of America
Photo by: Water Park of America

4. World Waterpark, -West Edmonton Mall, Alberta

It is home to the world’s largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique water slides and play features. World Water park is also home to two high water slides, both 83 feet high, and favorites of all visitors. The Cyclone is perhaps the most well known water slide here as it is one of the most extreme slides in all of Canada, where riders enter into a capsule and fall straight down, into a gravity defying loop and ending up in a splashdown chute. The world’s largest permanent indoor zipline is also found here and riders will zip across the water park, over the wave pool and end up near the children’s play area. Speaking of the little ones, World Water park is home to an awesome kid’s area with plenty of water cannons, buckets, rope bridges, slides and pipes to play with.

Photo by: Pinterest
Photo by: Pinterest

3. Great Wolf Lodge -Niagara Falls, Canada

The fun never stops at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, especially at the indoor water park that offers thousands of square feet of non-stop fun. From tube rides that can fit the whole family to body slides to an uphill water coaster; the whole family will enjoy this park. The Rapids Run tows tube riders up and sends you plunging down a 15.8 meter vertical drop, along with zipping you through enclosed tunnels and around thrilling curves. An indoor wave pool, lazy river, a multitude of slides and specially designed play areas for the little ones makes this one awesome indoor water park.

Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge
Photo by: Great Wolf Lodge

2. Wild West at Wilderness Resort -Wisconsin Dells, WI

It is the largest indoor water park of four that is located at Wilderness Resort, spanning over 70,000 square feet. Thrill rides are the highlight of this water park, with The Black Hole being at the forefront. This thrilling slide has a huge descent followed by spins and turns, before dumping riders into the unknown. A 4-person raging raft ride provides plenty of laughs and thrills. The four-storey interactive play feature is loaded with body slides, water blasters, cannons and one gigantic tipping bucket! The indoor bumper boats are fun for the whole family where you can battle it out against both family members and other visitors. For a more relaxing activity, make sure to visit the indoor and outdoor hot springs.

Photo by: Wilderness Resort
Photo by: Wilderness Resort

1. Kalahari Water Park at Kalahari Resort -Sandusky, OH

It hails itself as being the largest indoor water park in all of America and at 173,000 square feet, we don’t doubt it is. Kalahari Resort is an African themed resort and throughout the water park this theme stays true with ride names such as Zig Zag Zebra, Cheetah Race and Crocodile Cove. A 920 feet lazy river runs throughout the park crossing through waterfalls and rapids while thrill seekers can head over to Zimbabwe Zipper where they can reach 40mph. A 12,000 square foot wave pool, kids only play area, tons of exhilarating water slides and indoor whirlpools all make up this awesome water park. An uphill water coaster ride and the two FlowRiders are among the most loved activities here. No matter what the weather outside is like; you can certainly play all day here.

Photo by: Kalahari Resorts
Photo by: Kalahari Resorts

Best Winter Adventure Parks in America

While not all of America sees winter in terms of cold, snow and ice; many states do and instead of hibernating inside, they are choosing to embrace when winter. Resorts and parks are creating awesome winter playgrounds that include snow tubing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, mountain coasters and more. Instead of sitting inside complaining about the cold weather, we are urging you to bundle up and discover the 6 best winter adventure parks in America.

6. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Colorado

This adventure park is open all year round and sure knows how to draw in a winter crowd, offering 500,000 twinkling lights, a giant Christmas tree that plays a musical light show, winter rides and caves, a 4-D winter movie and fire pits! Ride to the park aboard a scenic tram with views of the lights and valley below. Once in the park take a ride on the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and the Alpine Coaster, both lit for night riding. Tour King’s Row Cave which is lighted with colorful lights throughout. Follow two jolly snowmen on their adventures when you have the winter ride of your life in the $-D theater which plays Winter Wipeout. Warm up around the fire and roast smores or in one of the warming huts that also offer hot cocoa and other warm winter beverages. Experience a different side to this awesome adventure park when the snow falls.

Photo by: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park via Facebook
Photo by: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park via Facebook

5. Keystone Resort, Colorado

Day or night is the time to head to Adventure Point at Keystone Resort in Colorado to get your tube on. A massive tubing hill has been designed to be fun for all ages here. Boasting a unique enclosed state-of-the-art conveyor system, you can ride as many times as you want on this hill. The hill is multi-lane, ensuring that it is never overcrowded and you won’t wait around for your turn. Beside the massive hill is a smaller free children’s tubing area for those under 36 inches tall. The tubing sessions run an hour long and reservations are required. Although there are no multi-rider tubes, you can ensure that this will be one of the most fun hours of your winter life.

Photo by: Keystone Resort via Facebook
Photo by: Keystone Resort via Facebook

4. Avalanche Tubing Park, Ohio

This tubing park is Ohio’s largest and features 10 lanes that stretch 1000 ft. long. This is one of the only tubing parks where there is no minimum height for riders and parents with young children will love it here. Each rider must be able to ride in their own tube though, although linking tubes together is allowed. Getting down is the most fun but getting up the hill is just as easy thanks to the two magic carpet conveyor belts. There is also no time limit here, allowing tubers to slide as long as they want. With a base lodge that includes a snack bar and an outdoor fireplace to warm up, it’s easy to spend the day or night here. Just be aware that this tube hill is only open from Thursdays through Sundays and holidays.

Photo by: Mad River Mountain via Facebook
Photo by: Mad River Mountain via Facebook

3. Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, New York

This winter fun park offers awesome activities for people of all ages and plan on indulging in them all at the Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in New York. With an upgraded snow making machine, winter is here all season long with plenty of the fluffy white stuff. Snow tubers will love the 500 ft long Timber Chutes where single riders will blast down the hill. Luckily you won’t have to walk back up as the magic carpet conveyor lift will give all riders a way back up. If you are after a more relaxing winter activity here, join one of the horse drawn sleigh rides through the magical 500-acre woods. Or take that one step further and hop on the horse yourself for an incredible trail ride. Skaters will love the brand new ice rink available and skates are available at the Sports Shack to rent. And when you are too cold to handle being outdoors anymore, just head inside to the year-round indoor waterpark, where it is summer all year round.

Photo by: Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
Photo by: Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

2. Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania

It is known as boasting some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Pennsylvania, but in addition Camelback Mountain is home some pretty epic winter activities. It is here where you will find Pennsylvania’s only mountain coaster, one that traverses through the trees and down steel slopes of the mountain, running over 4000 ft long. The snow tubing is the favorite winter activity here though, other than skiing or snowboarding of course. Featuring up to 42 lanes of sliding and two surface lifts, it calls itself the biggest snow tubing park in America. Offering both single and double tubes, it is easy to challenge friends to a race to the bottom. Magic carpets carry riders back up time and time again. Depending on when you visit, snow tubing is limited to 3-hour sessions, or visit during the week for unlimited riding. How many times can you race down these exhilarating slopes?

Photo by: Camelback Mountain Resort via Facebook
Photo by: Camelback Mountain Resort via Facebook

1. Wintergreen Resort, Virginia

The Plunge is Virginia’s largest tubing park and is often referred to as the “scream machine.” That is because the hill is 10 storeys high and as long as three football fields. Speeds can reach up to 30 mph and although only single tubes are offered, riders are welcome to hook onto each other for an even faster, twister ride. The resort is also home to a 45X90 rink that can accommodate up to 60 skaters at one time. For the younger kids that are too small to visit The Plunge, this resort has an awesome adventure park for just them. Ridgely’s Fun Park boasts a mini-tubing carousel, bear paw snow shoes, tunnels, visits from the mascot and even a small hill for tubing. Great for ages 3 and up, this is the perfect way to spend an hour before warming up with some much needed hot chocolate.

Photo by: Wintergreen Resort
Photo by: Wintergreen Resort

6 Christmas Attractions You Can Visit Year Round

For most of us, Christmas only comes once a year and although festivities may start as early as November, most are over by January. For those looking to extend the holiday season just a little bit longer, you are in luck. Cities, towns and attractions all over North America have taken the Christmas spirit and started celebrating it all year round. From towering Santa Claus statues to the largest Christmas store in the world, to roller coasters and even breakfast with the big guy, here are six attractions and towns where Christmas is celebrated all year round.

6. Santa Claus, Indiana

The southern Indiana town was originally called Santa Fe when it was established in 1854 but quickly had to change its name as there was already another Santa Fe in the state. The town meeting was held on Christmas Eve to determine the town name and thus in the Christmas spirit, it was named Santa Claus. The town boasts street names such as Jingle Bells Drive and Candy Cane Lane as well as themed attractions such as Santa’s Candy Castle, Santa Claus Museum and Santa’s Lodge. Visitors pack the Holiday World theme park which is loader with wooden roller coasters and waterslides. The most visited attraction here may just be the post office where residents make it a habit to stop in and read and respond to the letters addressed to the town’s namesake.

Photo by: Napkin Dreams
Photo by: Napkin Dreams

5. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Today the city is known as “Christmas City, USA” and indeed it was born on Christmas eve in 1741, founded by missionaries who set up a commune on the banks of the Lehigh River. This city attracts visitors all year round with its impressive 91 foot tall star that is lit from 4:30 pm until midnight every night of the year. Along with the star are many displays where visitors can learn about three centuries of Christmas history. Although accessible year round, the holiday season is really when this city shines offering one of the country’s most impressive Christmas markets. Stock up on presents while you enjoy traditional German cuisine and the sounds of holiday tunes. Horse drawn carriage rides and walking tours are also offered throughout the city.

Photo by: CN Traveler
Photo by: CN Traveler

4. Castle Noel, Ohio

It calls itself America’s largest indoor year-round Christmas entertainment attraction and Castle Noel is sure to get visitors into the holiday spirit no matter what time of year it is. It is here where you can find the largest collection of Hollywood Christmas movie props and costumes from movies such as “the Grinch” and “Elf”. Castle Noel also boasts an incredible array of animated New York City Christmas windows featuring thousands of toys from stores such as Sak’s and Bloomingdale’s. Make sure to take a ride inside the 25-foot-tall animated Christmas tree where it is snowing inside and you will earn a place on the “Wall of Fame”. The gift shop is the perfect place to pick up any Christmas themed presents as well as check out the world famous Mark Klaus sculptures.

Photo by: Castle Noel
Photo by: Castle Noel

3. North Pole, Alaska

Situated 1,700 miles south of the actual North Pole, visitors to this suburb of Fairbanks can celebrate Christmas all year round. The town was named North Pole when a development company bought the area in 1952 and named it that in hopes of attracting a toy manufacturer or theme-park developer to the area. That didn’t happen and instead the town turned itself into a Christmas destination all year round complete with candy colored street signs for St. Nicholas Drive and Snowman Lane. Santa Claus House is where visitors will find live reindeer, Santa photo ops, ornaments and gifts to purchase. If you really want to experience the Christmas Spirit head here during the annual Winter Festival where fireworks and an ice festival brings in sculptors from around the world. Completing the town is a 42-foot tall, 900-pound Santa statue.

Photo by: Alaska.org
Photo by: Alaska.org

2. Santa’s Village, Ontario

Although you cannot visit this attraction year round (as it closes during the winter for a few months) it is one of the only outdoor Christmas attractions you can visit during the summertime, and thus deserves a spot on this list. The unique 60-acre attraction features Santa Claus and his elves along with his deer in various forms and activities. Have breakfast with Santa in the morning to start your day or take a ride on the Ferris wheel or paddle boats. Cruise the river on Santa’s Summer Sleigh Jet Boat or tour the village by miniature train. Daily live shows featuring magicians, entertainers and musicians.

Photo by: Santa’s Village
Photo by: Santa’s Village

1. Frankenmuth, Michigan

This whole city just screams Christmas and regardless of the time of year, visitors will leave feeling in the holiday spirit. Founded in 1845 as a Bavarian mission colony for Lutherans, this tiny village is now known as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria”. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is at the forefront of things to experience here. It is considered one of the world’s largest Christmas stores with a half-mile walk lined with thousands of lights. Vivid outdoor displays wow visitors along with a life-size replica nativity scene. The Silent Night Chapel is also a big draw, a replica of a church in Austria where the song “Silent Night” was written and sung for the first time. Other than Bronner’s, visitors here can explore the Old Christmas Station, a German museum that features incredible old-fashioned pastries.

Bronner's Christmas Frankenmuth, Michigan

7 Pieces of US Topography Worth Checking Out

There’s no denying that the U S of A is an incredibly large country. It’s not the largest (falling behind Russia and Canada, then slightly ahead of China), but it’s still pretty darn huge. Ranging an entire section of a continent, and even reaching into boarders that aren’t connected to its majority. (Shout out to Hawaii and Alaska, as well as the Virgin Islands.) It’s not necessarily the space that makes it so impressive, however, but the ability to inhabit virtually every portion of the land. Countries like Australia, Canada, and Russia host citizens only in specific areas, while others are too harsh for sustainable living. Leaving them with areas that are thickly populated, and others that are completely free of life. Within the US, however, there are houses and cities in virtually every corner. Of course, there are areas left free for farming and wildlife, but a house is never too far away. The land simply allows for it. Throughout each burst of mountains, desert, intense forests, etc., there are those who call the space home. What that means for travelers, however, is great news. Rather than land that’s untraveled and unsafe, virtually everywhere is up for exploration.

7. The Coast

No matter which direction you head, The states are sure to offer up some beautiful ocean views. The West Coast is more calm and comes with warmer weather, South is ideal for fishing and taking in tropical views, while the East will show you just how incredible Mother Nature’s force can be. Not to mention the natural sight of cut rocks and Oceanside cliffs. In order to get the full effect, make plans to visit all over throughout a lifetime. Not only is it a good excuse for travel, it will provide you with a more cultured idea as to what the US coasts have to offer. In both experience and views.

west coast california

6. Northwestern Rivers

Often thought of as chilly or hosting inclement weather throughout much of the year, the Northwest is actually home to some incredible topography. Raging rivers cut through colorful rocks – which run straight through towns and city centers. Visitors can walk bridges, or check out power plants that are entirely run by moving water. With steep hills, there’s plenty of gravity to keep everything moving, and all the different types of rocks, it’s a sight that’s worth driving hours upon hours to see in person. Photos and posters simply can’t do it justice.

Multnomah Falls Columbia River Gorge Oregon

5. The Mountains

Whether you head to Colorado or Tennessee, even California, you’re in for a beautiful, mountainous sight. Better yet, each range has is own set of sights. They might be rocky, forest-filled, or full of steam from an incoming rain. Whatever its unique features, you’re sure to be in for breathtaking photo opps. Sure be sure to check your brakes when driving through – these roads are rough on vehicles and call for frequent stops and slow driving. But considering all you get to see for less-than-ideal driving conditions, virtually all who stop by see it as more than a welcome trade.

Smokey Mountains Tennessee

4. Niagara Falls

Located in New York (and in Canada), this jaw-dropping landmark is a must-see for anyone in the area. It’s force is so loud, so tremendous, that it can be heard and seen for miles around. Each second, the falls drop more than 750,000 gallons of water. Which drop for an incredible 167 feet before hitting its watery bottom. (An incredible stat that lands it as the country’s biggest waterfall.) Visitors can admire this giant from afar, or take a boat tour that encompasses both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls. Just don’t forget to wear a poncho – with a drop that forceful, visitors are sure to get soaked even without venturing too close.

Massimiliano Pieraccini / Shutterstock.com
Massimiliano Pieraccini / Shutterstock.com

3. The Great Lakes

Just how great are the Great Lakes? They’re, individually, the four largest lakes in the entire United States. Yet they’re packed in right next to one another. In fact, three make it into the list of top-five biggest lakes in the entire world. Accompanied by lake Victoria in Africa, and the Caspian Sea in Europe. (The latter is controversial, as it hosts a large salt water section, leaving some to classify it as more ocean than lake.) Superior is also the largest lake in the world, aside from Caspian, and holds more water than all other three great lakes combined. And then some. Still not convinced these lakes will make for a great view? Come winter they’ll be coated in a beautiful layer of icy frost, while summer leaves them blue and watering plenty of green plants. It’s a combination that simply can’t be beat, no matter what time of year you visit.

Lake Superior Michigan

2. The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is huge, vast, and deep. And unlike most landmarks, you can explore it right to the very depths – that is, if you dare. When proper planning is done, visitors can hike straight into the canyon’s center. Though it’s dangerous, those who’ve traveled say there’s nothing quite like walking that deep into the earth. (Or that hot.) However, for the rest of the population, there are also plenty of walking paths that provide a great view, but without the dangers of hiking treacherous terrain. Besides, up high provide the best views and layout of the land.

Grand Canyon National Park

1. The Giant Forest

In many cases, if you’ve seen one forest, you pretty much have an idea as to what the rest will look like. But that simply isn’t true of the Sequoia forest inrn in California. These are some of the largest trees in the entire world – in height and width, and there’s an entire forest of them to be explored. In fact, the General Sherman Tree is listed as the biggest in existence, and its neighbors are no slackers. Most are about 26 stories tall, and are wider than two streets. Impressive? Yes. It turns out trees can grow pretty huge when they’re more than 1,000-2,000 years old. Visitors can hike through to get up-close views, check out the trees from afar, or even stand right next to some of the biggest among them. Just to see how small they are in comparison. Either path will offer some seriously unforgettable views.

 

General Sherman Tree

8 Great Microbreweries in the Midwest

The heartland of the U.S. has brought us world-famous beers like Budweiser and Miller High Life and in recent years, it’s become home to an increasing number of outstanding microbreweries. These shrines to foamy goodness in a glass are bringing back the art of hand-crafted lagers and ales that was the norm for so long. Many of them are housed in cool, historic buildings and offer behind-the-scenes brewery tours as well as tap rooms where you can get a great meal and taste some of their finest, small-batch creations not available anywhere else. Here’s my “Great Eight” Midwest microbreweries.

1. Great Lakes Brewing -Cleveland, OH

Cleveland, like other cities, has seen the craft beer craze catch on in a big way recently. The one that got it all started is Great Lakes Brewing, Ohio’s first and most celebrated microbrewery. Many of Great Lakes’ brews like Burning River Pale Ale are among Ohio’s most popular craft beers, while others are only available at its brewpub. The brewpub and brewery are located in Ohio City, one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods located across the Cuyahoga River from downtown. The brewpub, housed in an historic brick complex, serves excellent pub-style food in several quaint spaces including a tree-lined beer garden along a cobblestone street. Its beautiful tiger mahogany bar once hosted Eliot Ness, the leader of the ‘Untouchables’ law enforcement team that battled infamous gangster Al Capone. Brewery tours cost $5, last an hour and include four five-ounce samples. A gift shop sells Great Lakes and Cleveland memorabilia.

Photo by: Great Lakes Brewing
Photo by: Great Lakes Brewing

2. Bell’s Brewery Inc -Kalamazoo, MI

Bell’s Brewery was the first brewery in Michigan to open an onsite brewpub (1993) and since then, the downtown Kalamazoo landmark has become as an entertainment center with an expansive outdoor beer garden and indoor events center that holds up to 375 people. The two-story brick complex was expanded in 2011. Large and airy with lots of wood tables and an impressive collection of art and memorabilia, the centerpiece of the complex is the Eccentric Café and its creative menu featuring everything from deviled eggs and falafel to beef brisket and green curried tofu. Up to 20 Bell’s brews are poured at any given time at the brewpub including small batch, pub-exclusive options. The events center hosts popular bands on national tours and even square dancing and trivia nights. Free brewery tours are offered on weekends and take 30-45 minutes.

Photo by: Bell’s Brewery Inc
Photo by: Bell’s Brewery Inc

3. Barley’s Brewing Co. -Columbus, OH

Walking into Barley’s Brewing on bustling High St. in downtown Columbus is like stepping back in time. The delightful brewpub, located near the Ohio State University campus, has been serving hand-crafted beer since 1991. The brewpub is chock-full of charm, with authentic wood booths, underground brewery and rathskeller-like events area with century-old stone walls and brick arches. These guys take their ales seriously, keeping them unpasteurized and brewing only 10 barrels per batch. Every Friday, they tap a different cask-conditioned ale that complement a dozen other Barley’s 12 brews that rotate weekly. The large menu features burgers and gourmet dogs as well as upscale pub grub like white truffle mac and cheese. The quality of Barley’s food and beer has built quite a following over the years. Patrons have included best-selling author Stephen King, actor James Doohan (Scotty on “Star Trek”) and rock band Cheap Trick.

Photo by: Barley’s Brewing Company
Photo by: Barley’s Brewing Company

4. Schlafly -St. Louis, MO

The town that introduced Budweiser to the world has some great microbreweries, too, as evidenced by Schlafly, debuted in 1991 in two adjoining brick and timber buildings that opened in 1902 and 1904. The massive complex had steel-reinforced beams to hold printing presses that operated for the Swift Printing Co. for 65 years. After Swift moved out in 1969, the buildings vacant for 22 years and were almost destroyed by a fire. The thriving taproom, located between St. Louis University and downtown’s riverfront, serves 16 small-batch draft beers and a menu featuring brew and food pairings like mussels and pale ale. Taproom and original brewery tours on Sundays are free and end with a pint (also free). Schlafly’s nearby Bottleworks brewery and restaurant complex also offers free weekend tours and Friday afternoon ‘beer school’ seminars that focus on the brewing process and end with, you guessed it, beer tastings.

Photo by: Schlafly
Photo by: Schlafly

5. 3 Floyds Brewing Co. -Munster, IN

Some of the rich, aromatic ales brewed by 3 Floyds have reached cult status, like its Zombie Dust Pale Ale that people (including me) sometimes stand in long lines simply to buy a single 12-ounce bottle. If you want to find out where the legend was born, you’ve got to travel to Munster, IN to visit the 3 Floyds brewpub. There, you’ll find a rotating menu of fine brews including its popular Alpha King Pale Ale and, if you’re lucky, Zombie Dust. They also offer pub-only selections and a creative food menu which changes seasonally to stay focused on the availability of locally sourced ingredients. Brewery tours are conducted on Saturdays from 12:30-5:30 and last about an hour. The brewpub also sells collectible-quality merchandise featuring the colorful comic book-like artwork that graces the 3 Floyds bottle labels sold in five Midwest states.

Photo by: 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Photo by: 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

6. Rhinegeist -Cincinnati, OH

Rhinegeist translates to “Ghost of the Rhine” and for good reason. The brewery is located in downtown Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine (OTR) district where thousands of German immigrants—and 38 breweries—called home at the turn of the 20th Century. The microbrewery, which opened in 2013, is housed in the circa 1895 Christian Morlein Brewing Co. plant that sat empty for decades after Prohibition shuttered Morlein and other OTR breweries. Today, Rhinegeist offers up to 13 different ales, lagers, pilsners and hard ciders in its classic, beer hall-style taproom. The 25,000-square-foot space with high ceilings is massive, with rows of community tables and enough room to include indoor games like ping pong and foosball. TVs broadcast sports daily and guests are welcome to bring their own food. Private tours cost $10 and include a pint of beer. Free yoga sessions are offered on Sunday mornings in the beer hall.

Photo by: Rhinegeist
Photo by: Rhinegeist

7. Lakefront Brewery -Milwaukee, WI

The city that brought us beer icons like Miller High Life and Pabst Blue Ribbon has a lively microbrewery community. Its most popular micro operation is Lakefront Brewery, located in the former Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company building downtown that opened in 1908. Lakefront’s own history began in 1987 when brothers Russ and Jim Klisch took their love of brewing to the next level. Today, Lakefront has surpassed the 40,000-barrel milestone. Weekday tours are limited due to production but weekend tours give you the run of the place. Tours cost $8 and include four six-ounce samples and a souvenir pint glass. In-depth, technical tours are offered on Sundays for brew aficionados. They end with special beer and food pairings. Lakefront’ s beer hall is open daily and features a menu focused on locally sourced products. Fridays feature fish frys and live polka music (it is Milwaukee, after all).

Photo by: Lakefront Brewery
Photo by: Lakefront Brewery

8. Goose Island -Chicago, IL

Some people might not view Goose Island as a microbrewery anymore, given that its brews are sold in all 50 U.S. states and the U.K. But, the brewery on Chicago’s Near West Side certainly started out that way in 1988, and its lineup of ales, stouts and other delicious brews continue to taste hand-crafted. Interestingly, Goose Island recently opened its brewery to tours for the first time. Thursday through Sunday, the 45-minute, $12 tours include a tasting and take-home pint glass. Reservations are required. Its beautiful taproom overlooking brewery operations features several favorites as well as a changing menu of limited releases that are exclusive to the taproom. It doesn’t serve food but you’re welcome to bring your own.

Photo by: Goose Island
Photo by: Goose Island

America’s 12 Most Beautiful College Campuses

America is loaded with beautiful college and university campuses that not only drive students to attend these schools but visitors from all over the world. From a University that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to campuses that look more like resorts than schools to breathtaking surrounding landscapes, it’s hard to believe the students here can actually concentrate on their studies. Between the stunning architecture, elaborate fountains, mountain landscapes and amazing students; here are our choices for the 12 most beautiful campuses across America.

12. Kenyon College -Gambier, Ohio

Whether you are a student here, visitor to the campus or happen to be a resident in the tiny town of Gambier; you have one thing in common, you are surrounded by the stunning Kenyon College campus. Placed on the hilltop in the tiny town, the campus features one of the most incredible walkways in America, the famous 10 foot wide Middle Path. The Middle Path spans the entire length of the campus and right into town, surrounded by humungous overhanging trees on both sides. Fall is absolutely the most beautiful time as the leave change to brilliant shades of red and orange, and it is truly like something out of a painting. The rest of the campus isn’t so shabby either, think castle-like halls, stunning columns, surrounding rock walls and beautiful churches. This campus is so pretty and serene; you will have a hard time leaving once you are here.

Photo by: PHS Grads at College
Photo by: PHS Grads at College

11. University of Virginia -Charlottesville, Virginia

This university is the only university in the USA to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was designed by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. Since that time the university’s layout has been copied but none have come close to this incredible campus. Jefferson not only planned the layout of the property but also hired the initial faculty and created the curriculum, a feat he was so proud of it ended up as one of his three proudest moments on his gravestone. The shining star of this campus is the neoclassical domed Rotunda which was created to replicate the Pantheon in Rome. An interesting fact about this building is that it actually burnt down in 1895 so what you see today is a replica. The Small Special Collections Library hosts early printing of the Declaration of Independence and for any history buff, this campus is truly breathtaking.

Photo by: Neighborhood Nomads
Photo by: Neighborhood Nomads

10. Stanford University -Palo Alto, California

Sunny blue skies and warm temperatures help push this campus onto the list of the most beautiful campuses across America, but there are many other factors to consider as well. Even though this university continually goes through expansive growth, they have managed to maintain their cohesiveness and safeguard their beauty. Entering the university through its dramatic entrance via Palm Drive is a one of a kind experience, with its romantic Spanish red-tile roofs and myriad patches of green. Throughout the campus students and visitors will find timeless buildings from the early California Mission Revival architecture combined with tasteful and modern new additions such as the Science and Engineering Quad. While the academics may be rigorous, the campus sends out a feeling of tranquility and with students and staff interacting all over the grounds, you certainly will feel welcome here.

Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com
Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com

9. Furman University -Greenville, South Carolina

The lush South Carolina landscape at this campus includes Asia-inspired gardens, a sparkling blue lake and a collection of diverse buildings. The campus is spread over 750 acres of wooded grounds and circles the beautiful lake and the landmark Bell Tower, offering miles of walking trails and even an 18-hole golf course. From a former Buddhist Temple to an environmentally sustainable show home to the beautiful Georgian architecture; the landscape here certainly isn’t mediocre. The Bell Tower that stretches out into the lake looks best during fall when the trees leading up to it turns into splashes of red and orange as the leave change with the season. The fountains strategically placed throughout, the rose gardens and the breathtaking sunsets help make this one of the most beautiful campuses across the country.

Furman University

8. University of Washington -Seattle, Washington

If you are looking for a campus with a view, go no further than the University of Washington, which boasts views of both the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Rainer and the shimmering waters of Lake Washington. Spring time is the best time of year here though as the Quad features 31 Yoshino Cherry trees that bloom beautiful, delicate pink pedals, which enthrall visitors in both March and April. One of the favorite buildings on campus here is the Suzzallo Library, featuring 35-foot high stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings that soar up to 65 feet in the air. The glass fronted Paccar Hall puts a modern twist on the campus with its unique levels and abundance of light it lets in and out. Students can be found here at the newly renovated Neptune Theatre taking in some musical acts or hanging out by the Drumheller Fountain.

cpaulfell / Shutterstock.com
cpaulfell / Shutterstock.com

7. Lewis & Clark College -Portland, Oregon

First things first, although the spelling is different, who wouldn’t want to attend a school that is called “Lewis and Clark”? Secondly this college campus is downright breathtaking, partly because of the surrounding scenery and partly because of its pristine location. Located on top of Palatine Hill in the Collins View neighborhood of Portland, Oregon this campus offers students towering trees and trillium lined creeks. The architecture here has won numerous awards for its environmentally sustainable buildings while others buildings have significant history attached to them. 600 acres of wooded trails, an outdoor swimming pool and a reflection pool with views of Mt. Hood only add to the prettiness of this campus. This college is also known for having really attractive students, just adding to the prettiness of the campus.

"L&C Flanagan Chapel" by M.O. Stevens - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
L&C Flanagan Chapel” by M.O. StevensOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

6. Dartmouth College -Hanover, New Hampshire

Not only is the campus here beautiful but the people as well, as this university boasts some of the happiest students across the country. This could be due to the magnificent surroundings that they live in, the fresh mountain air and the sense of community that is felt here. It also happens to be the ninth oldest college in the country. There are huge elms trees here that provide the perfect shady study spots for students as well as beautiful red brick buildings that tower high into the sky. The surrounding pastel mountains and picturesque Connecticut River on the west side of the campus only makes this University even more inviting. Placid forests, the smell of fresh air and students who are always smiling; it doesn’t get much better than this.

Edward Fielding / Shutterstock.com
Edward Fielding / Shutterstock.com

5. Elon University -Elon, North Carolina

It is often described as the campus with the best grass, and as strange as it may sound it truly looks like each blade of grass has been individually cut with a sharp pair of scissors. In fact everywhere you look on this campus is a picture perfect moment. From the classic collegiate architecture of the South to the wide variety of trees to the picture perfect blue skies that always seem to hang overhead, this campus is the epitome of beauty. The fountains throughout the campus must not be forgotten though, the famous KOBC fountain sparkles and sprays in the sunlight, the fountains in the lake shine and everywhere you turn, keep an eye out for these awesome features. The new admissions building stands strong and proud, a beautiful architectural piece of work that provides the perfect entrance to the perfect campus.

Bryan Pollard / Shutterstock.com
Bryan Pollard / Shutterstock.com

4. Berry College -Mount Berry, Georgia

It holds the title of being one of the largest campuses in the world, spread out over 27,000 acres. Each acre is teeming with fields, forests, mountains and/or lakes that provide an absolutely breathtaking setting. This school was founded in 1902, specifically for enterprising rural boys and it wasn’t long before a girls school was added in 1909. Some of the best features about this campus include the numerous fountains and reflection pools located around the buildings which offer a serene and relaxing environment. Breathtaking gardens can be found throughout the entire campus, as are trails for bikers, hikers and even horseback riders. The English Gothic inspired buildings only add more beauty and character to this campus. Make sure to check out the Ford Dining Hall and Ford Auditorium to see some of the prettiest buildings here.

Berry College Georgia

3. University of Hawai’i at Mānoa -Honolulu, Hawaii

It is unsure how any students can possibly concentrate on studying at this beautiful campus located in Honolulu Hawaii. Surrounded by lush green tropical foliage, bright beautiful flowers and wide walking paths throughout the campus, it is easy to understand why most students study outdoors. Dramatic hills and cliffs frame the background as this campus is located in the Manoa Valley. Graduate students especially enjoy it here as they are encouraged to study coral reef at the marine biology lab, built on a coral reef. This campus combines natural beauty with world class research facilities along with a highly competitive sports program, which draws students from all over the world. In addition, and one of the favorite natural occurrences here are the abundance of rainbows that are always filling the skies.

Photo by: University of Hawai’i
Photo by: University of Hawai’i 

2. Cornell University -Ithaca, New York

Set in the Finger Lakes region, the planners that built this campus were both ambitious and geniuses. With beauty in mind they placed the campus on twenty three hundred acres of land which includes lakes, gardens, waterfalls and more. The main quad was placed over the dramatic Cayuga Lake, the longest in the region and was done so to invoke the thoughts of putting education on a high platform and the views are simply stunning. The mix of buildings from historic to modern and dramatic creates the perfect landscape of learning. One of the most impressive features of this campus though is Cascadilla Gorge, where eight waterfalls drop 400 feet from the campus into downtown, along with an array of beautiful gardens and 150-acre arboretum. Students here love to head off the campus as well to the vibrant city of Ithaca, recently voted as one of the top 100 places to live in the world.

Cornell University Ithaca

1. Rollins College -Winter Park, Florida

It is Florida’s oldest post-secondary institution and the most beautiful campus in America, as ranked by the Princeton Review for 2015. The location itself is enough to warrant some attention as it is directly located on Lake Virginia, which leads to some pretty incredible views. Add in lush gardens, the greenhouse oasis, overhanging trees, rose gardens and pedestrian pathways that run through the scenery and you have a pretty incredible place to study. Students love the outdoor classroom spaces, the three-story atrium in the Bush Science Center and Olin Library that offers view of both the lake and the campus. The green grass, the palm trees and the modern buildings make this campus look more like a resort you want to spend a week at rather than a campus. At night when the moon rises and shimmers off the lake it turns the colors into deep blues and combined with the twinkling lights of the buildings, it is a perfect setting.

Photo by: Rollins College
Photo by: Rollins College

10 Amazing Historic Hotels in the Midwest

With a long history as an industrial manufacturing hub, the U.S. Midwest also is home to some of the nation’s finest hotels. But just as the fortunes of the region’s business barons have risen and fallen over the decades, so have many of its longest-standing hotels. Some of the Midwest’s most revered, historic hotels narrowly escaped fires, the Great Depression and the wrecking ball, but today, they are better than ever thanks to a new generation of forward-thinking preservationists. Here are 10 amazing historic hotels in the Midwest that are still open for business, and the stories behind them.

10. Palmer House Hilton -Chicago, IL

The iconic Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago got off to a most inauspicious start when the elegant hotel feel victim to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 only 13 days after its grand opening. But, business magnate and owner Potter Palmer quickly rebuilt the 1,641-room hotel which opened in late 1873 and has been a landmark ever since. Palmer’s wife Bertha decorated the hotel with opulent chandeliers, paintings and other art inspired by her French heritage including a majestic ceiling fresco by painter Louis Pierre Rigal. The decadent hotel has hosted everyone from Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde to U.S. presidents, and top entertainers such as Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald performed in its Golden Empire Room. A $170 million renovation has ensured the Palmer House’s place among the top hotels to be found anywhere. Afternoon tea in the lobby is not to be missed.

Photo by: Palmer House Hilton
Photo by: Palmer House Hilton

9. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza -Cincinnati, OH

Some hotels stand the test of time as a stunning architectural design achievement, like the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, an Art Deco masterpiece that’s a registered National Historic Landmark. Elaborately decorated with rare Brazilian rosewood paneling, two-story ceiling murals and original German silver-nickel sconces, the circa 1931 hotel in downtown Cincinnati is one of the world’s finest examples of French Art Deco style. Its Orchids at Palm Court is among the most beautiful restaurants in America, made even more memorable by Chef Todd Kelly, named the America Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year (2011-12). The opulent Hall of Mirrors ballroom has been at the heart of Cincinnati’s business and social scene for over 80 with its two-story ceilings, mezzanine and original light fixtures. The Netherland Plaza is connected to the 49-story Carew Tower which opened in 1931 and has an observation deck with sweeping views of the Ohio River Valley.

Photo by: Carlos Muela
Photo by: Carlos Muela

8. French Lick Resort -French Lick, IN

The mineral spring waters that abound in French Lick were once thought to be the elusive Fountain of Youth due to their reported restorative and healing qualities. This attraction gave birth to the luxurious French Lick Resort that opened in 1845 and continues to be a destination for travelers seeking memorable accommodations. The 443-rrom hotel was restored to its original grandeur via a $382 million restoration and expansion project that added a 42,000-square-foot casino and restored and reopened the historic “Hill” golf course that originally opened in 1917. Prior to the restoration, the hotel had declined under several different owners. Over the years, it has hosted numerous dignitaries and historic events including the 1931 Democratic Governors Conference where Franklin D. Roosevelt secured support for his party’s presidential nomination. Today, the opulent resort has an array of amenities including a 27,000-square-foot, world-class spa with 24 treatment rooms.

Photo by: Sceindy
Photo by: Sceindy

7. Westin Book Cadillac -Detroit, MI

The story of most buildings that stand idle for a quarter-century rarely end well, especially a luxury hotel like the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit. Originally opened in 1924 as the tallest building in Detroit, the 33-story Hotel Book-Cadillac played host to eight U.S. presidents and the likes of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during its heyday. It boasted more than 1,200 rooms as well as three ballrooms and various restaurants and shops. Its Italian Garden and Venetian Ballroom incorporated architectural elements from Europe, and the hotel was featured in “State of the Union” in 1947, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Alas, it closed in 1984 as Detroit’s own fortunes began to wane, only to be reborn in 2008 after a $190 million project restored it. Today, it features 455 hotel rooms and 67 luxury condos.

Photo by: Kathryn W Armstrong
Photo by: Kathryn W Armstrong

6. Hilton President Kansas City -Kansas City, MO

Known as the Hotel President when it opened in Kansas City in 1926, the Hilton President Kansas City has lived up to its name. The 453-room hotel hosted the 1928 Republican National Convention where Herbert Hoover received the party’s nomination. Three other U.S. presidents—Eisenhower, Truman and Nixon—have either stayed or visited the opulent hotel. Its Drum Room lounge became equally famous after opening in 1941, hosting the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. The hotel closed in 1980 but soon was reborn as a smaller, 213-room luxury hotel following a $45 million restoration. Located in Kansas City’s vibrant Power and Light entertainment district, the Hilton’s immaculate lobby and mezzanine were meticulously restored, and its elegant Congress Ballroom features the original terrazzo floors installed in 1926. Its Walnut Room restaurant features original stained glass and majestic wood columns as well.

"Hotel President KC 01" by Nightryder84 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Hotel President KC 01” by Nightryder84Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

5. West Baden Springs Hotel -West Baden Springs, IN

Some hotels are famous for their history or their uniqueness and a few like the West Baden Springs Hotel are noted for both. The current West Baden Springs Hotel opened in 1902, but a hotel has occupied the site since 1855. In 1888, it was upgraded to a grand resort for the elite, complete with a casino and opera house. It burned to the ground in 1901 and was rebuilt just a year later with a spectacular circular design topped by an awe-inspiring 200-foot, free-span dome that was touted as the eighth wonder of the world. The Depression forced the closure of the hotel in 1932 and it later served as a seminary and private college. It reopened in 2007 as part of a special casino district in Indiana after a massive restoration.  The luxurious, 246-room hotel now features a formal garden, an 8,000-square-foot spa and 12,000-square-foot indoor pool.

Photo by: Bloomington Chamber
Photo by: Bloomington Chamber

4. The Pfister Hotel -Milwaukee, WI

When the Pfister Hotel opened in downtown Milwaukee in 1893 at a cost of nearly $1 million, it created a quite a stir with unheard of features like individual thermostat controls in each guestroom and electricity throughout the hotel (imagine that). Sporting a Romanesque Revival style, the Pfister also had two billiard rooms (one for both sexes) and a private bar for men only. Owner Charles Pfister utilized the hotel bearing his name to showcase his extensive art collection. Today, the Pfister’s priceless Victorian art is among the world’s top hotel art collections. In 1962, theater operator Ben Marcus purchased the aging hotel at auction. He restored the grand dame of Milwaukee hotels and added a 23-story guestroom tower. The 307-room hotel is now better than ever, with a top-notch spa and a 23rd floor martini and wine bar with great views of Lake Michigan.

Photo by: The Pfister Hotel
Photo by: The Pfister Hotel

3. Omni William Penn -Pittsburgh, PA

The Omni William Penn Pittsburgh was once the largest hotel between Pittsburgh and Chicago, with 1,600 guestrooms, when its 600-room, Grant Street Annex addition opened in 1929. The original hotel, opened in 1916 at a cost of $6 million, was industrialist Henry Clay Frick’s dream to build a Pittsburgh landmark to rival the Old World elegance he saw in European hotels. He hired noted architects Franklin Abbott and Benno Janssen to design the hotel, and he spared no expense. The Grand Ballroom on the 17th floor of the original hotel has been lavishly restored. With huge crystal chandeliers and opulent gold and white décor on two levels, the large ballroom looks like a scene from “The Great Gatsby.” Traditional afternoon tea is served at the William Penn, which recently received a multi-million-dollar renovation. It now has 597 guestrooms, 52,000 square feet of function space and multiple restaurants.

Omni William Penn Hotel
Photo by: Omni Hotels

2. Renaissance Cleveland Hotel -Cleveland, OH

Hotels have occupied the corner of Superior and Public Square in the heart of downtown Cleveland since 1812. Its current occupant, the Renaissance Cleveland, opened in 1918 as a 1,000-room luxury hotel with vaulted ceilings, high arched windows and an impressive marble fountain in the lobby. It is connected to the Terminal Tower building that opened in 1930 as the city’s rapid transit center. Today, the 52-story Terminal Tower is known as Tower City Center and features shops, restaurants, cinema and casino. After going through several names and owners over the years, the original Hotel Cleveland remains a luxury hotel with 441 guestrooms with marble bathrooms, 50 suites and three ballrooms among 64,000 square feet of function space. Its aptly-named Grand Ballroom can seat 2,900 people. Its San Souci restaurant features fine dining in elegant surroundings including pastoral murals and wood columns.

Photo by: Raw News
Photo by: Raw News

1. Omni Severin Hotel -Indianapolis, IN

The Omni Severin Hotel is one of the last original buildings standing in the Indianapolis Union Station Wholesale District. Built by Henry Severin, Jr. with help from the founders of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the hotel originally opened in 1913 as the Grand Hotel of Indianapolis. It thrived as a daily stream of train passengers arriving at adjacent Union Station needed a place to stay, and it continues today as the city’s longest-running luxury hotel. The Severin’s history is on display throughout the hotel. The original marble staircase remains, as does the crystal chandelier hanging outside the Severin Ballroom. The original 1913 mailbox serves as a working mailbox today, and original furniture from the hotel rests outside the elevator on each floor of the 424-room hotel. Completely modernized while retaining its historic charm, the Severin is connected via skywalks to the downtown Circle Center Mall and Indianapolis Convention Center.

Photo by: Omni Severin Hotel
Photo by: Omni Severin Hotel