Things to Do in Northwest Indiana: 30 Unique Attractions to Discover!

Want an adventure? Go to Northwest Indiana! It’s a pretty place in the north of Indiana with beaches, nature, and prairies. You can do lots of things outside like hiking, fishing, camping, and biking. It’s great for families too!

Northwest Indiana has museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks that show its history and culture. There are also national parks and natural areas for outdoor activities. Michigan City has beaches and hiking trails. This region has free and indoor activities for everyone.

So what are you waiting for? Discover the best outdoor recreation, beaches, and natural areas in Michigan City and Northwest Indiana, and start planning your next adventure today!

South Shore Brewery Trail: A Unique Experience

things to do in northwest indiana - South Shore Brewery Trail

Beer Enthusiasts Rejoice!

If you’re a beer enthusiast looking for unique things to do within 50 miles of Northwest Indiana, look no further than the South Shore Brewery Trail. This trail offers an experience unlike any other, with tours of local breweries and wineries like Shady Creek Winery.

Delicious Food Along the Way

But the South Shore Brewery Trail isn’t just about beer, wine, and delicious food at the Farmhouse Restaurant along the way. Visitors can also enjoy other things to do within a few miles of the trail. From hiking trails to scenic drives, there’s something for everyone to explore and experience in this charming area.

Any Season is Perfect for Exploring

The South Shore Brewery Trail, spanning miles of the Harbor Country region, offers a variety of things to enjoy any season. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll through picturesque vineyards in the summer or cozy up by a fireplace with a hearty meal during winter, there’s always something to see and taste on this trail.

Learn About Local History and Culture

In addition to sampling some of the best brews and wines in Northwest Indiana, visitors can also learn about local history and culture while on the South Shore Brewery Trail. Things to do include taking a cruise along Lake Michigan’s shoreline or exploring historic landmarks like the Barker Mansion, located just a few miles away.

Plan Your Visit Today!

Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or simply looking for a fun day out with friends or family, the South Shore Brewery Trail has things for everyone within miles. So why wait? Plan your visit today and discover all the exciting things that this unique trail has to offer!

Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center: A Must-Visit Attraction

things to do in northwest indiana - Fair Oaks Farms

Overview

Northwest Indiana is a hidden gem that’s often overlooked by travelers, but those who take the time to explore the area will discover a wealth of attractions and activities. One must-visit destination in this region is the Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center, which offers visitors a unique dairy adventure and living history farm experience within miles of other things to do.

Dairy Adventure

At the heart of the Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center, located just a few miles from the city, is its Dairy Adventure exhibit. Here, visitors can learn about modern farming practices and witness the birthing process of calves and piglets at the Birthing Barn. The exhibit also features interactive displays that teach visitors about milking cows, making cheese, and other things related to dairy farming.

Living History Farm

In addition to its Dairy Adventure exhibit, the Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center also offers many things to do. Visitors can explore the Living History Farm located just a few miles away from the main attraction. This area provides visitors with an opportunity to step back in time and experience what life was like on an early 20th-century farm.

Visitors can explore historic buildings such as a one-room schoolhouse and a blacksmith shop, and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts such as spinning wool into yarn.

Outdoor Recreation

Beyond its indoor exhibits, the Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center also offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities within a few miles.

The center sits on 80 acres of land that includes hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds for children among other things. Visitors can also visit County Line Orchard to pick apples or enjoy fresh cider donuts.

Fresh Food Options

No trip to Fair Oaks Farms would be complete without trying out some of the delicious things it has to offer. The Cowfé inside the Adventure Center, located just a few miles away, serves up fresh sandwiches made with meat from local farms as well as homemade ice cream featuring milk from cows raised on-site.

Visitors can also purchase locally-sourced products such as cheese curds and honey at the Cowfé Market.

Fun Activities for All Ages

The Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center, located just a few miles away, is truly a destination that offers something for everyone.

Lake County Fair and Old Sheriffs House and the Lake County Jail

things to do in northwest indiana - Lake County Fair

Annual Event and Historic Landmarks

Northwest Indiana, located just a few miles from Chicago, is a great place to visit, with plenty of things to do and see. One of the top attractions in the area is the Lake County Fair, which is held annually in Crown Point. This event has been going on for over 165 years, making it one of the oldest fairs in the state.

The fair features carnival rides, live music, food vendors, and much more. Visitors can enjoy games, exhibits, and shows throughout the week-long event. The fairgrounds are also home to a variety of animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, llamas, and more.

Another must-visit attraction in Northwest Indiana is the Old Sheriffs House and the Lake County Jail. These historic landmarks offer guided tours to visitors who want to learn more about local history.

The Lake County Jail was built in 1882 and served as a working jail until 1974. During that time, many notorious criminals were housed there before being sent off to prison or executed. Visitors can tour the cells where these prisoners were kept and see artifacts from that time period.

The Old Sheriffs House was built in 1884 and served as the residence for the sheriff and his family. It’s now a museum that showcases what life was like for law enforcement officers during that era. Visitors can see original furnishings from that time period as well as exhibits on crime-fighting techniques used back then.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and State Park, Indiana Dunes National Park

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Northwest Indiana, there’s no better place to start than the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and State Park. This beautiful area along Lake Michigan offers something for everyone, from beach lovers to hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Beaches Galore

Indiana Dunes National Park is a must-visit destination for beach lovers, with 15 miles of sandy shoreline along Lake Michigan. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim or build sandcastles with your family, this park has it all. The beaches are clean and well-maintained, making them perfect for a day out with friends or family.

Ecological Diversity

Visitors can explore the diverse ecosystems of Indiana Dunes State Park, including wetlands, forests and dunes. The park is home to more than 350 species of birds and over 1,100 native plant species. You can take a hike through the woods or climb up one of the towering sand dunes for a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan.

Water Fun

If you’re looking for some aquatic fun on your trip to Northwest Indiana, look no further than Deep River Water Park. This water park offers water slides, a lazy river and other aquatic fun for all ages. It’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day.

Entertainment Options

Lakefront casinos and resorts provide entertainment and relaxation options for those looking to try their luck or unwind. Casinos like Majestic Star Casino offer gaming tables as well as live music performances by local artists while spas like Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa offer luxurious treatments that will leave you feeling pampered.

Wolf Lake

Wolf Lake is another popular destination in Northwest Indiana that offers plenty of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating or hiking around its scenic trails.

Sandhill Crane Migration and Kankakee Sands Bison: A Natural Wonder

Witness a Spectacular Natural Phenomenon at Kankakee Sands

Every year, thousands of sandhill cranes migrate to the wetlands of Kankakee Sands in Northwest Indiana. The migration typically begins in late October and continues through December. During this time, visitors can witness one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena as the birds gather in large numbers to roost for the night.

The best time to see the cranes is at sunset when they return from feeding during the day. Visitors can watch them fly in flocks overhead, hear their distinctive calls, and witness their graceful landing on the wetlands. It’s truly a sight to behold and an experience that should not be missed.

Witness Majestic Beasts Roaming Freely at Kankakee Sands Bison

Kankakee Sands is also home to a herd of American bison that roam freely across its vast prairies. These majestic beasts were once nearly extinct but have made a comeback thanks to conservation efforts across the country.

Visitors can take a guided tour or drive their own vehicle along designated routes to view these magnificent creatures up close. Watching them graze peacefully in their natural habitat is a humbling experience that reminds us of our connection to nature.

Explore Vast Prairies, Wetlands, and Oak Savannas of Kankakee Sands

Kankakee Sands boasts over 7,000 acres of natural areas including prairies, wetlands, and oak savannas. Visitors can explore miles of hiking trails that wind through these diverse habitats while observing wildlife such as deer, foxes, and various bird species.

In addition to hiking trails, visitors can also enjoy biking routes or take a scenic drive through the property while taking in stunning views of sand dunes and farmland.

Things to Do in Northwest Indiana: Explore Taltree Arboretum & Gardens and Friendship Botanic Gardens

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Taltree Arboretum & Gardens: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy nature, look no further than the Taltree Arboretum & Gardens. This 360-acre nature reserve boasts over 4 miles of hiking trails that wind through woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. The park also features a stunning railway garden that is sure to delight visitors of all ages.

The railway garden at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens is a must-see attraction. It features miniature trains that run through a beautifully landscaped garden filled with waterfalls, bridges, and other charming details. Visitors can watch the trains chug along the tracks or even take a ride on one themselves.

Friendship Botanic Gardens: A Peaceful Oasis

For another beautiful outdoor experience, head over to Friendship Botanic Gardens. This 105-acre park features an impressive collection of gardens, including a Japanese garden and a tree canopy walk. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and admire the wide variety of plants on display.

One highlight of Friendship Botanic Gardens is its tree canopy walk. This elevated boardwalk takes visitors high above the treetops for stunning views of the surrounding area. It’s a peaceful oasis where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest: A Hidden Gem

While not as well-known as some other attractions in the area, Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest is definitely worth a visit. This expansive park boasts over 300 acres of gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. There are plenty of walking trails to explore here as well as several unique gardens.

One highlight of Gabis Arboretum is its sensory garden.

Community Veterans Memorial and South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail: A Reminder of Sacrifice

Significant Memorials in Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana is home to two significant memorials that honor the sacrifices made by veterans and serve as a reminder of the impact of war on our community. The Community Veterans Memorial and the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail are both worth visiting for their historical significance.

Honoring All Branches of Service

The Community Veterans Memorial, located in Griffith Historical Park, is a beautiful tribute to veterans from all branches of service. The memorial features an impressive 100-foot-long wall inscribed with the names of over 3,000 veterans who served our country. Visitors can also see life-size bronze statues depicting soldiers from different eras, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm.

Tracing History Along the Trail

The South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail is a 15-mile trail that connects Shady Creek and Cedar Lake. It passes through County Line Cemetery and features several historical markers and monuments along the way. One notable feature is the Civil War Monument in Crown Point, which stands tall at 15 feet high.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour along the trail to learn about the history of Northwest Indiana during the Civil War era. The trail’s markers tell stories about local soldiers who fought in battles such as Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

Paying Tribute to Our Heroes

Both memorials offer visitors a chance to pay tribute to our heroes in a peaceful setting. They provide an opportunity for reflection on those who have given so much for our country’s freedom.

Things to Do in Northwest Indiana: Exploring the Carmelite Shrine and Shrine of Christ’s Passion

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Religious Sites in Munster, Indiana

Looking for a peaceful place to reflect and pray? The Carmelite Shrine and Shrine of Christ’s Passion are two religious sites located in Munster, Indiana. These two shrines offer visitors a chance to connect with their faith while enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

The Carmelite Shrine is a serene and quiet place that offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on their spiritual life. This shrine is situated on an acre of land that features beautiful gardens, a chapel, and outdoor stations of the cross. Visitors can take a peaceful walk around the grounds or spend time in quiet meditation.

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion is a museum that features life-size bronze statues depicting the Stations of the Cross. Visitors can take a self-guided tour through this museum to learn more about Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion. The museum also has gift shops where visitors can purchase souvenirs and religious items.

Other Attractions in the Area

While visiting these shrines, make sure you explore other attractions nearby:

  • Albanese Candy Factory: Located in nearby Valparaiso, this candy factory offers tours and has a gift shop filled with delicious treats.
  • Christmas Story House Museum: Located about 30 minutes away from Munster in Hammond, this museum showcases memorabilia from the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story.”
  • Downtown Munster: This charming city center has plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops for visitors to explore.

Whether you’re spending just one day or several days exploring Northwest Indiana, be sure to add these religious sites and attractions to your list!

Historic Buildings to Visit in Northwest Indiana

The Jackson Home

The Jackson Home is a historic house located in Valparaiso, Indiana. It belonged to the prominent Jackson family in the early 20th century and is now open for public tours. Visitors can learn about the history of the family and the architecture of the home, which features elements of both Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. The Jackson Home is a must-visit for anyone interested in local history.

Century of Progress Homes

The Century of Progress Homes are unique buildings from the 1933 World’s Fair that showcase innovative architecture and design. These homes were built to demonstrate what houses might look like in the future, with features such as built-in radios, dishwashers, and air conditioning. Today, five of these homes have been preserved and are available for tours at Indiana Dunes National Park.

Buckley Homestead

Buckley Homestead is a living history farm located in Lowell, Indiana. It offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like on a 19th-century farm. Visitors can tour historic buildings such as a log cabin, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and more. They can also participate in hands-on activities such as candle making or butter churning. Buckley Homestead is perfect for families looking for an educational experience that’s both fun and interactive.

Barker Mansion

Barker Mansion is an opulent home built by wealthy industrialist John H. Barker in Michigan City, Indiana during the late 1800s. The mansion features intricate woodwork, stained glass windows, and marble fireplaces throughout its thirty-eight rooms. Visitors can tour this historic building to learn about its fascinating history and see how one of Northwest Indiana’s wealthiest families lived during the Gilded Age.

These historic buildings offer something for everyone – from those interested in local history to families looking for an educational day trip. Each building provides insight into a different aspect of life in Northwest Indiana during the 20th century.

Mascot Hall of Fame

things to do in northwest indiana - Mascot Hall o Fame

Celebrating Sports Mascots in Northwest Indiana

If you’re looking for a unique and entertaining experience in Northwest Indiana, then look no further than the Mascot Hall of Fame. Opened less than two years ago, this public museum celebrates sports mascots from around the world.

Interactive Exhibits and Displays

One of the main draws of the Mascot Hall of Fame is its interactive exhibits and displays. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including a giant baseball bat slide that will make you feel like you’re sliding into home plate. There are also plenty of photo opportunities throughout the museum, including with Reggy the Purple Party Dude, the official mascot of the Mascot Hall of Fame.

Meet Hambone!

Perhaps one of the most popular exhibits at the Mascot Hall of Fame is Hambone, a life-size animatronic pig who loves to dance and entertain visitors. Kids (and adults!) can’t get enough of this lovable character.

Miles Away

Despite being open for less than two years, the Mascot Hall of Fame has already welcomed visitors from miles away. It’s not hard to see why – there’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or just looking for a fun day out with family or friends.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Northwest Indiana, be sure to add the Mascot Hall of Fame to your list!

Inexpensive Ways to Spend Time with Kids in Northwest Indiana

Free Outdoor Activities for Kids in Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana is home to many free outdoor activities that your kids will surely enjoy. Take them on a hike at the Indiana Dunes National Park, where they can explore trails and see wildlife up close. You can also visit the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, where admission is free on Tuesdays. Here, your children can learn about different plants and animals while enjoying the great outdoors.

Family Fun at Local Parks and Playgrounds

Another way to keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank is by visiting local parks and playgrounds. Check out Lemon Lake County Park, which has multiple playgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails. The park also has a beach area where you can swim or rent kayaks for a small fee. Another option is Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso, which hosts free concerts during the summer months.

Inexpensive Ways to Keep Children Entertained in Northwest Indiana

If you’re looking for indoor activities that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, consider visiting one of the many museums in Northwest Indiana. The Porter County Museum of History offers free admission on Sundays and has exhibits that showcase the history of Porter County. You can also check out the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana, which offers hands-on science activities for kids at an affordable price.

In addition to these options, there are also plenty of low-cost ways to keep your kids entertained throughout Northwest Indiana. Consider taking them bowling at Stardust Bowl III or catching a movie at one of the many theaters in the area.

Arts & Culture: RenArtWalk in Northwest Indiana

An Annual Celebration of Artistic Talent

RenArtWalk is an annual event that celebrates the artistic talent of Northwest Indiana. The event features a variety of art galleries, studios, and museums that showcase the works of local artists. This celebration provides a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the vibrant arts and culture scene in Northwest Indiana.

Exploring Various Art Galleries, Studios, and Museums

During RenArtWalk, visitors can explore various art galleries, studios, and museums located throughout the region. These venues offer opportunities to view paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other forms of artwork created by talented local artists. Some popular galleries include:

  • South Shore Arts
  • Lubeznik Center for the Arts
  • Chesterton Art Center
  • Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts
  • Art Barn School of Art

Live Music and Food Vendors

In addition to showcasing artwork from local artists, RenArtWalk also features live music performances by talented musicians from the area. Visitors can enjoy a variety of music genres including jazz, blues, rock and roll, country music among others.

The event also has food vendors that offer delicious treats such as popcorns, ice cream cones or sandwiches which are perfect for snacking while exploring different venues.

Interactive Art Activities for All Ages

RenArtWalk is not just about viewing artworks but also interacting with them! The event offers interactive art activities suitable for all ages ranging from painting classes to pottery workshops where you can create your masterpiece under expert guidance.

Children can participate in face painting activities or enjoy balloon twisting while learning about different types of art styles like impressionism or cubism.

Explore the Best of Northwest Indiana

Northwest Indiana is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From natural wonders to unique experiences, there’s something for everyone in this region. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or looking for inexpensive ways to spend time with your kids, Northwest Indiana has it all.

Take a sip on the South Shore Brewery Trail and experience the local craft beer scene. Or visit Fair Oaks Farms Adventure Center for an educational and entertaining day out with the family. For nature lovers, don’t miss out on witnessing the Sandhill Crane Migration and Kankakee Sands Bison.

If you’re interested in history, visit Lake County Fair and Old Sheriffs House and the Lake County Jail or explore The Jackson Home, Century of Progress Homes, Buckley Homestead. And if you’re looking for some cultural experiences, check out RenArtWalk in Northwest Indiana or visit Mascot Hall of Fame.

There are also plenty of options for those on a budget who want to spend quality time with their kids. Taltree Arboretum & Gardens and Friendship Botanic Gardens offer beautiful scenery and outdoor activities that won’t break the bank.

No matter what your interests are, Northwest Indiana has something to offer. Plan your trip today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some fun events happening in Northwest Indiana?

There are many events happening throughout the year in Northwest Indiana such as Mayfest, Pierogi Fest, Popcorn Festival, Wizarding World Weekend at Deep River Waterpark.

Is there any place where I can enjoy art and culture?

Yes! RenArtWalk is an annual event held in Munster that showcases local artists’ work while providing live music entertainment.

Are there any good hiking trails around?

Absolutely! You can visit The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which features over 40 miles of trails through forests, wetlands, prairies, and dunes.

What are some popular attractions in Northwest Indiana?

Northwest Indiana offers a variety of attractions for visitors. Some of the popular attractions include the Indiana Dunes National Park, Lake Michigan, South Shore, Fair Oaks Farms, and Gabis Arboretum. These attractions provide opportunities for outdoor activities, family fun, and exploration.

Are there any beautiful beaches in Northwest Indiana?

Absolutely! Northwest Indiana is home to several beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan. Some of the notable beaches are located at the Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Park. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, picnicking, and taking leisurely walks along the sandy shoreline.

Are there any wineries or breweries in Northwest Indiana?

Yes, Northwest Indiana has a thriving wine and beer scene. Visitors can explore local wineries such as County Line Orchard and enjoy tastings of various wines. Additionally, Valparaiso is known for its breweries, where you can sample a wide range of craft beers.

What are some family-friendly activities in Northwest Indiana?

There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Northwest Indiana. You can visit attractions like Fair Oaks Farms and Mascot Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Deep River Waterpark offers water slides, pools, and other fun water-based attractions for the whole family.

Are there any casinos in Northwest Indiana?

Yes, if you enjoy gambling and entertainment, Northwest Indiana is home to several casinos. Some popular choices include the Horseshoe Hammond Casino and the Ameristar Casino Hotel in East Chicago. These casinos offer a variety of gaming options, restaurants, and live entertainment.

Can you recommend any outdoor recreational areas in Northwest Indiana?

Absolutely! Northwest Indiana is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational areas. Some notable places to visit include the Kankakee Sands, Friendship Botanic Gardens, and the Indiana Dunes State Park. These areas provide miles of trails for hiking,

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