5 Rust Belt Cities to Explore

The Rust Belt region of the United States is mainly comprised of the states within the Great Lakes and the Midwest. It was once the industrial heartland of the entire country. Today these cities are regaining their economic status and becoming vacation destinations for many across the US and beyond.

DEFINITION of ‘Rust Belt’

“Rust Belt is the colloquial term used to describe the geographic region stretching from New York through the Midwest that was once dominated by steel production and manufacturing. The Rust Belt became an industrial hub due to its proximity to the Great Lakes, canals, and rivers, which allowed companies to gain access to raw materials and ship out finished products. This region received the name, Rust Belt, in the late 1970s after a sharp decline in industrial work left many factories abandoned and desolate, causing increased rust from exposure to the elements. It is also referred to as the manufacturing belt as well as the factory belt.” -via investopedia.com

Here are five Rust Belt cities that everyone must explore:


One of the many reasons people may want to visit Pittsburgh would be the fact that there are more bars per capita than anywhere else in the country.  Some of these bars can be found hidden within basements, mills, and old workshops.  Everyone must visit the Penn Brewery, the oldest and largest of the microbrews in the city, which is full of German cuisine that pairs beautifully with the ales. Food enthusiast will want to entertain their taste buds at Smallman Galley. Museum goes head to Carnegie Museum Art, Andy Warhol Museum, or the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to explore the city’s rich history.


Art, culture, and rock and roll can now be found within Cleveland which now brings thousands of people to the city every year.  Contemporary art can be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art, while performances can be watched at any of the nine theaters at the Playhouse Square Center.  The best museum in the city is the Museum of Natural History, but the most famous attraction is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


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Buffalo is a major sports town, so anyone who visit will want to catch a baseball game at Coca-Cola Field, a hockey game at the KeyBank Center, or a football game at the New Era Field.  The observation deck at City Hall is the best place to capture spectacular views of Lake Erie. The Buffalo River and Forest Lawn is the perfect destination for long walks and picnic lunches.


Milwaukee has changed quite a bit since 1846, but it is still full of adventures as well as secrets. Visitors will want to begin with the numerous museums, including the infamous Harley Davidson Museum. The Milwaukee Public Market is a must visit destination for everyone, as it is a truly iconic experience. It is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat for lunch.  The oldest buildings in the city can be found on Old World 3rd Street. Every Happy Days fan will want to have their photo taken with the Bronze Fonz on Wells Street in front of the River.


People spend a lot of time outside in Gary, Indiana and visitors will want to join them at the beautiful Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  This shoreline covers fifteen miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shore and is filled with wetlands, beaches, rivers, and dunes.  People can spend their days hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and camping.  During the winter, skiing and snowshoeing are the sports of choice.  Marquette Park is another outdoor option and Patterson Island is one of the most beautiful places within the park.

While cities may not be filled with industrial jobs any longer, they still very much filled with numerous activities and adventures for people to enjoy. Plan a visit and see exactly how interesting and exciting these destinations are.

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