Pawnee, Indiana (Parks and Recreation)
When Parks and Rec came into my life, it provided me with countless hours of feel-good fun and laughter—as well as even more proof of how awesome Indiana is. While Pawnee doesn’t appear to be hiding any supernatural monsters, it does have the requisite forests, lakes, and wooden cabins that make Indiana so perfect for outdoors adventures, or for serenely soaking up the grandeur of nature. Ron’s cabin in the woods features in several episodes, Donna’s family has a gorgeous lake house, and the characters often take advantage of their surroundings to go camping, hunting, and fishing in and around Pawnee.
Leslie and Ron often bond over their love of breakfast food, and Pawnee is home to several culinary treats. From the best waffles in the world (available at JJ’s Diner) to the Meat Tornado, if you’re craving something delicious, odds are you can find it in Pawnee—and let’s not forget “The Swanson,” a turkey leg wrapped in bacon that’s named after Ron.
Beyond the stunning scenery and tasty food, Pawnee’s place as an iconic fictional town is secured by its quirky spirit and ridiculous residents. The townspeople don’t know how to correctly drink from water fountains, regularly consume child size sodas (so called because it’s the size of a small child), and hero-worship a small horse named Li’l Sebastian. Overall, despite its often annoying citizens, Pawnee is an endearing, optimistic, and silly place that many Parks and Rec viewers would love to escape to.
Incidentally, I worked with a guy from Indiana for a while. I told him about my Indiana obsession and enthusiastically asked him questions about his home state. He thought I was crazy, and he tried to tell me that Indiana is sh*tty, boring, and full of Trump supporters. Maybe so, but it still has forests and lakes, right? And attractive, mustachioed men like Jim Hopper and Ron Swanson? I may not have been there yet, but one day I swear I’ll go on a pilgrimage and have my own Indiana adventure.