Midwestern Stereotypes That People in “Flyover States” are Sick of Hearing

6 Midwestern Stereotypes That People in "Flyover States" are Sick of Hearing

It’s flat. It’s boring. There’s nothing to do. Six travel bloggers debunk the Midwestern stereotypes they’re sick of hearing.

I call it coastal arrogance. It’s real, and it can be quite ugly. As someone who has lived on both coasts, I usually just ignore derogatory comments about the Midwest. After all, the statements are usually so uninformed that it’s no surprise when the New Yorker, Floridian, or Californian making them ultimately admits that they’ve never even been to the place they’re bashing.

No one is expected to love every destination in the country. Or the world. And, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of where you’re from and having a deep sense of hometown pride. But, I personally disagree with trash-talking a large swath of a nation based exclusively on stereotypes.

I recently experienced such an egregious example of coastal arrogance. It landed the monologue spot of this blog post, and it was the inspiration to debunk several other Midwestern stereotypes we’re sick and tired of hearing.

coastal arrogance
coast·al ar·ro·gance
/kōstəl/ /erəɡəns/
A special type of arrogant behavior directed toward people living in the Midwest by those living on either coast

It was during a conference call at work. A group of us on a conference call with a vendor in California were wrapping up the implementation and training details for a new software tool. After selecting the dates that the young woman would join us in Kansas City, the vendor asked, “Since I’m from California, I like to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Will there be anything for me to eat in Kansas City?”

I looked around the table at stunned expressions and dropped jaws while my colleagues tried to process what they’d just heard.  The vegetarian and vegan came to their senses first, assuring her she’d be fine. As soon as the call disconnected, a flurry of chatter erupted.

“Did she seriously just suggest that we don’t have fruits and vegetables here in Kansas City?  Are you kidding me?”

“Yeah, I like to keep a cow in my pocket, just in case I get hungry and need a snack!”

Have You Visited the Midwest?

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Here are six Midwestern stereotypes that people in "flyover states" are sick of hearing.

1. It's Flat

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Kylie Neuhaus of Between England and Iowa

One of the things that shocked me the most when I moved from England to Iowa was that there are actually ski resorts in the Midwest! When I think of skiing, I automatically think of places like Europe, Canada or the Rocky Mountain states like Colorado.  In eastern Iowa, I’m within a 40-minute drive from TWO ski resorts…proper ones too, they actually have 20+ runs!

The Midwest has more than ski runs. Parts of the Midwest have huge towering bluffs. Dubuque, Iowa has the world’s shortest, steepest funicular railway and Michigan has the amazing Silver Lake Sand Dunes that are steep enough for sand boarding!

2. The Weather is Awful

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Jenn Singer of Day Tripper

Midwestern stereotypes debunked - the weather is awful
One of several gorgeous waterfalls in the Minneapolis area. Photo courtesy of Day Tripper.

If you believe this Midwestern stereotype, you just haven’t found the right activity for the weather. The Midwest offers four seasons, and that means four different times of year to find the perfect outdoor experiences.  Spring is the best time to go on a waterfall hunt. When the weather heats up, cool off at a Midwestern beach. Fall is the perfect time for corn mazes and vineyard hopping. You can even participate in a grape stomp, or two! In the winter, head outdoors to enjoy the beauty of the new-fallen snow.

Wait! Did you suggest going to the beach in the summertime? That can’t be right. There aren’t any beaches in the Midwest! Which brings us to stereotype number three…

3. There Aren't Any Beaches

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Bisa Myles of Myles to Travel

Debunking Midwestern Stereotypes - There ARE beaches!
When I tell my friends who live on the east coast that we went to the beach, they insist that I don’t know what I’m talking about. They tell me it can’t be a real beach because it is not by an ocean.  But did you know that Chicago has 26 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan? There are 27 beaches where you can swim, surf, or just stretch out on the sand and get a tan. There are also more than 15 beaches in the neighboring state of Indiana. So, when someone tries to argue with me that the Midwest doesn’t have beaches, I show them pictures and say sure we do!

Fun Fact:  Did you know that Minnesota has more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined?
Sage Advice:  Check out these fabulous outdoor activities in Chicago this summer (including the beaches). And here are more things to do and see in Chicago after you’ve enjoyed the beaches.

4. There's Nothing to Do

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Susan Gleissner of This Big Wild World

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For years I moved around the US, Australia and England. I loved it, for a while. Now I prefer to have a place to call home. Somewhere that I can always come back to. For me, #minneapolis offers me tons of outdoor adventures and a major airport to get me where I’m going. I don’t believe you have to choose travel or home. You can have both, without compromise. Where do you call home? . . . . . . #onlyinmn #capturemn #getoutside #outdoortherapy #travelblog #mplslove #home #lifechoices #worldnomads #lensculture #exploremore #travelwithintention #travelstoke #adventuretravel #offthebeatenpath #iamatraveler #athomeintheworld #travelphotography #neverstopexploring #letsgosomewhere #liveauthentic #lonelyplanet #bbctravel #livetravelchannel #mywherever #worldnarrative

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After living in Los Angeles and England for eight years, I am proud to call the Midwest home. From kayaking to rock-climbing, skiing to surfing, you are only bored in the Midwest if you choose to be. The best part about the Midwest is that you get to take advantage of all four, beautiful seasons. Each season offers new adventures and a completely different landscape. So stop calling the Midwest the “flyover states” and come check out all that the Midwest has to offer. I’m glad I did!


5. There's Only Country Music

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Lindsay Hindman of The Siouxland Families Blog

When I moved from San Diego to Kansas City as a teen, I believed this Midwestern stereotype myself. But the truth is, while you can find plenty of great country music if you’re a fan, there is also a ton of music from a wide variety of musical genres if you’re not. I’ve personally seen acts as varied as:
  • Pop rock classics Goo Goo Dolls and Cyndi Lauper in St Louis, Missouri,
  • Christian rockers like Newsboys and Lincoln Brewster in Kansas City, Missouri, and
  • Legendary queen of soul Aretha Franklin in Sioux City, Iowa
Midwestern stereotype debunked - there is more than Country music
Saturday in the Park musical festival featuring funk, blues, rock, and yes, a little country. Photo by Lindsay Hindman.

To find great live music in the Midwest, I recommend you check the lineups of state fairs and big concert venues for the hottest acts, and county fairs and music festivals for up-and-coming and edgier bands and musicians. Whatever music you love, you can probably find it in the Midwest, and you sure won’t find a friendlier crowd to enjoy it with you anywhere else!

6. All There is to Eat is Meat and Potatoes

Midwestern stereotype debunked by Francesca Mazurkiewicz of The Working Mom’s Travels

Midwestern stereotype debunked - you can only eat meat and potatoes
The house-smoked trout fillet, served warm with potato salad, boiled egg, greens, and Blis wild char roe on a wooden plank at The Søvengård. Photo by

Nothing more than meat and potatoes in the Midwest? Really? The Midwestern city of Chicago has a vibrant dining scene. There are restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores that feature just about every cuisine and culture. Even smaller cities like Grand Rapids, Michigan, offer outstanding meals like the Scandinavian dinner I had at The Søvengård. One of the most delicious Cuban sandwiches I’ve ever had was at Red River Kitchen at City House in St. Paul, Minnesota.  And you can’t miss the mouthwatering avocado toast at Rosie’s Place in Noblesville, Indiana. So think twice before you dismiss the Midwest as having nothing more than meat and potatoes!

Related Article:  Midwest Restaurants with Memorable Breakfasts

What Midwestern Stereotypes Have You Heard?

Are there other Midwestern stereotypes you’d add to this list? Do you still believe in one of the Midwestern stereotypes debunked here?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More Information and Inspiration for a Visit to the American Midwest

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Thank you for sharing!

19 thoughts on “Midwestern Stereotypes That People in “Flyover States” are Sick of Hearing”

  1. I’ve heard them all! I think blogs like yours are important to shine light on this beautiful, too-often overlooked part of the country.

    1. I’ve lived on both coasts. I spent half my childhood in Europe. All of those places are amazing, but the Midwest is a special kind of wonderful that I’m so happy to now call home.

  2. These are so relatable! The ‘Midwest Coast’ is a hidden gem… you think it wouldn’t be given that the Great Lakes are the largest freshwater lakes in the world, but the correlation between the word ‘Midwest’ and coastal living still appears to be very much in the developing stages.

    1. The good news for those of us lucky enough to call the Midwest home is that our beaches aren’t so crowded. Shhhhhhh! Don’t let the secret out! 🙂

  3. I love your article! People can be so closed minded and the variety in geography is what makes America great! I choose to appreciate it all!

  4. Like Susan, I’m happy to call Minneapolis home. Like many other midwestern cities, we have vibrant food, music, theater and art scenes. Within a 5-mile radius of my house I can eat just about any type of food, visit 3 amazing art museums, a couple nationally-renowed theaters, and have a lot of options for great live music. Then there’s the Minnesota State Fair! What’s not to love? Thanks for a great article!

  5. I made Chicago and the Midwest my home for many years before moving back to Europe. And I know that it’s much more than flyover states! Bysa and Francesca (whom I know IRL) mention two of my faorite places: Chicago’s Montrose Beach and Grand Rapids, MI – a cool mid-sized city that wasnamed Beer City USA by Lonely Planet a few years ago. If I could add wnything to this article, it would be wineries in SW Michigan and Traverse City. #midwestisthebest

  6. I love how this post turned out! Thanks for including me! My other half went to see Avenged Sevenfold in Cedar Rapids IA on Friday…they definitely aren’t country music…about as far away as you can get from country!

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