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Posing in front of mural art in Detroit, Michigan

A Week-long Adventure Across the Great Lakes

Get ready for the car culture, lake life, and big city fun that makes this region truly great.

The Great Lakes region of the United States isn’t named lightly. These truly great lakes - the largest freshwater lakes on earth - bring major fun in the sun, including sailing, surfing, kayaking and fishing. But beyond the water lay cities rich in culture and history, vibrant art communities and major culinary destinations, all as great as their surrounding lakes.

Antique car at Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit

Detroit, Michigan

This trip begins at the birthplace of modern transportation: Detroit. You don’t need to be a car fanatic to enjoy the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. There, you’ll soak in the rich history of American innovation, feel the global impact that started right below your feet, and even drive in an authentic Model T car. After, enjoy a stroll through the historic Detroit Riverwalk, named the #1 riverwalk in the country by USA Today. When you’re ready for an authentic Detroit experience outside of the city, head over to Belle Isle. This idyllic island conservatory and aquarium is the perfect place to relax, unwind, and soak in the beauty of the Great Lakes region.

Where to Stay:

  • Experience old-world charm and the finest in hospitality at The Grand Hotel, the world’s largest summer hotel. This retreat features amenities and experiences of a bygone era in Mackinac Island, Michigan.
  • Stay close to the city but just outside the hustle and bustle at DoubleTree Detroit - Dearborn, located just 19 kilometers outside of Detroit.

What to Eat:

  • A mainstay of Detroit, Motz’s history dates back to 1929 on Fort and Green in Southwest Detroit. Though there have been changes throughout the years, one constant is the famous original sliders that put Motz on the map.
  • Grab culture and great food at the Eastern Market, located in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Detroit.
  • Invented right here in Detroit, try a “Superman” ice cream cone to feel like a kid again.

What to See:

  • Perhaps the most iconic thing Detroit is known for is its automobile history. Drive a real Model T Ford and learn about the ingenuity of American innovation at the Henry Ford Museum.
  • Shop, eat, and explore at the historic Detroit Riverfront. Walk along this riverfront and you’ll enjoy several parks, restaurants, splash parks and natural areas.
  • Contrasting the concrete jungle of Detroit is the 982-acre island park Belle Isle, home to the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, and more.
Aerial view of the Chicago, Illinois, skyline on the shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago, Illinois

Keep the fun going in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois. Kick it off downtown with a stroll through Millennium Park, where you’ll experience the local art, exhibitions and history of Chicago. Don’t miss a photo opportunity at one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art installations, Cloud Gate (colloquially nicknamed, “The Bean”). And after a long afternoon in downtown Chicago, fill up with a hearty helping of deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. While every Chicago native has their own opinion on where to get the best slice in town, Lou Malnati’s is considered the oldest family name in Chicago style pizza.

Where to Stay:

  • With views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, stay right in the middle of the action on the Magnificent Mile at Embassy Suites Chicago.

What to Eat:

  • Nothing screams Chicago like Deep Dish Pizza and where better to have it than a Chicago staple like Lou Malnati’s.
  • Travel back in time to yesteryear with a visit to the Superdawg Drive-In and grab a classic Chicago hotdog from one of the most charming and delicious places around.
  • Try a staple of Chicago’s vibrant Puerto Rican community: the Jibarito, a sandwich made with shredded beef, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and served in between two slices of fried plantain.

What to Do:

  • The world-renowned Millennium Park is the perfect place to catch a show, view local art and walk around Chicago’s downtown.
  • Take in Chicago’s famous skyline by a river boat tour with Wendella Boats. The 90-minute tour highlights the city’s legendary architecture.
  • Enjoy the natural wonders at The Field Museum, which is home to nearly 40 million artifacts and specimens. The museum collection grew from displays at the 1893 World’s
Taking a selfie in front of a lighthouse in Duluth, Michigan

Duluth, Minnesota

Ready for a more peaceful side of the Great Lakes? Head to Duluth, Minnesota, home to stunning Lake Superior views and picturesque landscapes. Book your stay at the South Pier Inn, just paces away from the world’s longest freshwater sandbar. Soak in all of the incredible lakeside views with a hike through Jay Cooke State Park. Or, get off your feet and enjoy a scenic ride on the historic North Shore Scenic Railroad. You won’t want to miss a photo opportunity at the Split Rock Lighthouse. It’s one of the most photographed places in Minnesota, and for good reason! While you’re here, don’t miss the local flavors of this newly exploding food scene. Fill up with a homestyle, midwestern breakfast at Uncle Loui’s Cafe, where they believe “everything has to be fresh, homemade to order, and plenty of it – just like mom used to serve.” For an Italian dinner you’ll never forget, dine lakeside in Va Bene’s stunning solarium. Reserve your table during sunset for the most scenic meal in all of Minnesota.

Where to Stay:

  • Scenic beauty surrounds the South Pier Inn in Duluth. The award-winning Canal Park hotel sits near the sandy beaches of Park Point, the world’s longest freshwater sandbar.

What to Eat:

  • Brunch to your heart’s content at Duluth Grill, a Minnesotan favorite.
  • Enjoy deliciously prepared Italian food with a view at Va Bene. The enclosed solarium provides sweeping views of Lake Superior. Right off the lake, this indoor dining experience gives you an outdoor feel.
  • Experience authentic home cooking and big mid-western breakfasts at Uncle Loui’s Cafe in Duluth.

What to Do: