1. Cincinnati, Ohio. The Queen City has gotten quite a makeover in the last few years and is definitely worth a stop. The downtown riverfront area has been revitalized with a lovely park overlooking the Ohio River, and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is teeming with new restaurants, quirky shops, and local breweries.
2. From here, head west on I-74 to Indianapolis, Indiana, about 2 hours away. You might be surprised to find such a center of culture here, but you'll be pleased with the stately downtown. Visit White River State Park and stroll the Canal Walk or take the Cultural Trail down Mass Ave for shopping and dining.
3. Leave Indy via I-69 and head through the scenic college town of Bloomington while skirting Hoosier National Forest. Go west on I-64 for just about 2 and half hours until you reach St. Louis, Missouri. Make sure to see the Gateway Arch and visit the Missouri Botanical Garden for an experience filled with flowers and trees. Also worth a stop is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for some awe-inspiring photos.
4. Continue west on I-70 and consider a stop at the Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City for a tour. About 4 hours' drive time from St. Louis, you'll arrive in Kansas City, Missouri. Take a tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company, stock your fridge at the City Market, and visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum for a bit of history.
5. Now head north on I-35 for about 200 miles until you reach Des Moines, Iowa. Here, stretch your legs on the Clive Greenbelt Trail, explore the nightlife on Court Avenue, and take in some culture at the Des Moines Symphony before heading back East.
6. Chicago, Illinois, is approximately 5 and a half hours from Des Moines, so sit back and enjoy the ride. Once you arrive at the largest city in the Midwest, meander the Riverwalk and Millennium Park (take a photo of your reflection in The Bean), grab some deep dish pizza, and visit the Art Institute.
Of course this guide is just the minimum of what you can see and do on a Midwest road trip, so be sure to do additional research to make sure you don't miss something you'd love to see!