Best Cities/Towns to Visit on the Great Lakes

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The Great Lakes are so large that they act almost like oceans. This means that living or visiting a city near the Great Lakes is like heading to the beach, without having to deal with saltwater! Next time, take the time to explore lake cities, you’ll be surprised at what they have to offer.

Chicago, IL

Chicago is known as the windy city thanks to its politicians and Lake Michigan. There, you can enjoy a bustling urban environment, but it’s a quick bus ride to lake activities on the outskirts of the city. You can also participate in community activities, such as Taste of Chicago. This is an opportunity for you to try samples from restaurants all over the city while enjoying a beautiful view of the lake in the background. The best time to visit is during the summer months since Chicago tends to be blistering cold in the wintertime.

Rochester, NY

Rochester is a city on the shores of Lake Ontario. This upstate city is home to the University of Rochester, Dinosaur BBQ, and the Lilac Festival. If you go in the summer, you’ll want to visit the farmer’s markets and as many street festivals as you can find online. In the fall, you can drive around the lake and take pictures of the leaves as they change colors. Winter and spring in Rochester are known for heavy snowfall and rain. This is because the water evaporating over the lake gets dumped on cities on its shore. If winter sports are your thing, you’ll love Rochester, NY!

Toledo, OH

Toledo is a city in Ohio that sits on the west end of Lake Erie. This city is known for two things – Katie Holmes and glassmaking. While you probably won’t get a Katie Holmes citing, you can visit the glass museum to learn about the process and the industry. Like with other lake cities, it’s always nice to spend a day by the water in the summertime. On sunny days, don’t forget to bring a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy water sports!

Milwaukee, WI

If you love beer, then you need to visit Milwaukee! It’s north of Chicago, but also on the shore of Lake Michigan. And it has some of the best breweries in the country. After a day by the lake, you can bar hop and taste all the local beers this city has to offer. If you have a Harley Davidson motorcycle, make sure to ride along the lake for spectacular sunrise views. And don’t forget to visit the Harley Davidson museum!

Duluth, MN

Duluth sits on the west side of Lake Superior. It’s a port city, so of course, you’ll want to visit the aquarium to check out all their animals. There are trails to hike along Canal Park and state parks for camping. And there are ski mountains to visit in the wintertime. Duluth is a great destination for people looking to escape the big cities and to enjoy one of the great lakes in peace and quiet.