How to create a memorable vacation in 24 hours – central U.S. edition

memorable vacation

Previously, our round-the-clock adventures took us from the east coast to the west coast. From the Big Apple to sunny Hollywood, we discovered ways for you to devour the finest cuisines and visit your favorite tourist destinations all in a day’s time.

With Labor Day weekend on the horizon, we can’t let any stone be left unturned on the pursuit of overnight memory-making opportunities. Here are some trips within the central U.S. to accomplish your 24-hour vacation.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Chicago, Illinois

Fly to: Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Arrive by 7 p.m. CT

Activity: Dinner and night out at the Milwaukee RiverWalk

Next day

Wake up and leave by 9 a.m. CT

Drive to: Chicago, Illinois (1 hour, 50 minute drive from Milwaukee)

Activity: Hike the 606 urban trail

Fly out at 7 p.m. CT

The best of past and present lines the three-mile pedestrian stroll that is the Milwaukee RiverWalk. Spanning both sides of the Milwaukee River, the RiverWalk, “winds more than 20 blocks from its’ northernmost to southernmost points and is unified by permanent and changing art exhibitions that create a unique, urban, outdoor gallery,” according to

Among the artistry is “RiverSculpture!” which includes both permanent and temporary installations that change throughout the year. After you take in the eclectic exhibits and art studios, stroll down to the Downtown RiverWalk where the largest theater district in town stands, as well as multiple stops for dinner with authentic German dishes.

The following morning, drive over the border into Illinois for a nice hike through the heart of Chicago on the 606 urban trail. Once an abandoned rail line, the family-friendly trail cuts through multiple neighborhoods, giving you a genuine taste of the culture in the Windy City. Of course, each stop along the trail brings plenty of eats, including your classic Chicago deep dish pizza.

Once you make your flight back home, you’ll have seen the heart of two major cities.

Mobile, Alabama, to New Orleans, Louisiana

Fly to: Mobile, Alabama – Arrive by 7 p.m. CT

Activity: Dinner and a stroll down Dauphin Street

Next day

Wake up and leave by 8 a.m. CT

Drive to: New Orleans, Louisiana (2 hour, 10 minute drive from Mobile)

Activity: Engorge yourself on New Orleans cuisine

Fly out at 7 p.m. CT

What better way to kick off your 24-hour extravaganza than visiting the birthplace of Mardi Gras?

And we haven’t even made it to New Orleans yet!

Yep, down in Mobile, Alabama, you can make a stop at Dauphin Street, also known as “Mini Bourbon Street,” and experience the beginnings of one of the country’s most festive times of the year. Stores, restaurants and live music line the streets, giving you a lively first night out.

You can follow it up the next morning by driving just a couple of hours over to where Mardi Gras has taken over, New Orleans.

While known for its wild nightlife, the home of the National Football League’s Saints is also one of the most vibrant food cities in the world. Throughout the city you’ll find some of the most flavorful Cajun cuisine you’ve ever tasted. On top of that, you can treat yourself to a traditional beignet at the famous Café Du Monde.

As you step onto your plane for the flight home, you’ll have a lifetime’s worth of Mardi Gras in only a day’s time.