365 Things To Do In Northwest Indiana

365 Things To Do In Northwest Indiana
By: Ideas in Motion Media Last Updated: March 16, 2010

With PortageLife, ValpoLife, LaPorteCountyLife, NWIndianaLife, we are working to communicate everything good with your help Northwest Indiana. We are adding and updating a list of activities to do in Northwest Indiana, sights to see, places to visit. So what are 365 fun things to do in Northwest Indiana? Send your ideas to share@ideasinmotionmedia.com and we’ll add them to this list!

  1. Go sledding on Rogers Lakewood Park Hills in Valparaiso.
  2. Take part in First Thursdays in downtown Valparaiso. 
  3. Take a nature hike at Taltree Arboretum.
  4. Try hanging out at the Dunes.
  5. Go to the Popcorn Festival in Valparaiso. 
  6. Don't miss the Pork Festival in Kouts. 
  7. Check out some fine art at White Ripple Art Gallery.  
  8. Check out the Dillinger Museum at the Crown Point Court Hesston Steam Museum in La Porte. 
  9. Take a tour of the Barker Mansion in Michigan City. 
  10. Try taking the South Shore to Chicago for the day. 
  11. Go on an Archaeological dig site in Kouts. 
  12. Dunn’s Bridge in Kouts
  13. Drazer Park in Kouts
  14. Albanese Candy Factory 
  15. Deep River Water Park
  16. Local Coffee Shops: Blackbird Café and Uptown Café 
  17. Eat Valpo Velvet Ice Cream coffee
  18. Go to the Southlake Mall or Michigan City Outlets
  19. VU Library
  20. Shop in Toto
  21. Gary Railcats
  22. Visit Michael Jackson’s childhood home  
  23. Shop at Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson. 
  24. Nothings better than VU Basketball games.
  25. Go see A Christmas Story display at the Hammond Visitor’s Center.
  26. Have a picnic at Ogden Gardens.
  27. See a movie at the 49er Drive-in.
  28. Fireworks at the close of the Michigan City Summer Festival.
  29. Take in a show at the Star Plaza Theatre.
  30. See a play at the Memorial Opera House.
  31. See a play at the Chicago Street Theatre.
  32. Have fun at the Pierogi Festival in Whiting. 
  33. Go to the Blueberry Festival in Plymouth.
  34. Disc Golf at Rogers Lakewood Park or Lemon Lake County Park in Cedar Lake.
  35. Hiking the Dunes.
  36. Take the kids to ValPLAYso Park
  37. Butterfly Meadows & Caterpiller Crossing 
  38. Bowling at Inman’s.bowling
  39. Mini-golf at Zao Island.
  40. Eat at El Salto.
  41. Shop at antique stores in Crown Point.
  42. Take your dog to Butterfield Park and play catch. 
  43. Catch a family movie at Movies in the Park in Valparaiso. 
  44. Ice skate at Deep River Water Park.
  45. Volunteer at day at Day of Caring or Rebuilding Together.
  46. Maple Syrup Days at Deep River County Park.
  47. See a historic baseball game - Deep River Grinders.
  48. The Porter County Garden Walk.
  49. Look at some art at Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City.
  50. International Friendship Gardens - Michigan City
  51. Washington Park Zoo - Michgian City
  52. Try your luck at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.
  53. Sign up for Scuba Lessons in Valparaiso.
  54. Take lessons or attend Open Stage Night at Front Porch Music.
  55. Attend a concert - Northwest Indiana Symphony.
  56. Wine Tasting at Anderson Winery, Shady Creek Winery, or Running Vines Winery
  57. Volunteer at a Special Olympics event.
  58. VU's Kissing Bridge.
  59. Fish the Kankakee River.
  60. Watch the Gary Air Show from the beach.
  61. Folks on Spokes individual and family bicycling club.
  62. Visit "The Healing Rooms of Valparaiso".
  63. Visit the five Porter County Library branches: Valparaiso, Portage, South Haven, Hebron, and Kouts
  64. Sunset Hill Farm's Festival of Lights around the Holidays
  65. County Line Orchards (lots of fall activities) pumpkins
  66. Pumpkin Time at Coulter's Farm
  67. Westville Pumpkin Festival 
  68. Porter County Fair
  69. Porter County History Museum
  70. Michigan City Old Lighthouse Museum
  71. Indiana Aviation Museum at Porter County Airport
  72. Learn to play golf at Creekside or Forest Park
  73. Brauer Museum of Art at VU
  74. See an IMAX movie in Portage
  75. Paint your own ceramics at Ceramix 101
  76. "Buckley Homestead" in Lowell
  77. Attend an Indiana Ghost Trackers Meeting
  78. Find hidden treasures while geocaching
  79. Attend the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club Hot Air BalloonFest (2nd weekend in September)
  80. Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, March 13, 6 am to 1 pm
  81. Kiwanis Veterans Day celebration
  82. Have a martini at Pikk's along with a side of Pikk's fries
  83. Annual Rooftop Luau put on by the Valpo Chamber of Commerce
  84. Chesterton European Market, every Saturday May through October
  85. Chapel of the Resurrection
  86. Watch sandhill crane migration at Jasper-Pulaski
  87. Portage Lakefront Park
  88. Task Force Tips fire equipment museum
  89. VU Visualization Lab
  90. College of Engineering
  91. VU Weather Center Department of Geography and Meteorology
  92. Northwest Indiana Paddling Association activities
  93. Canoe or kayak on Long Lake, Flint Lake, etc
  94. OE Marathon
  95. Valpo YMCA, Portage Township YMCA
  96. Studebaker Mansion restaurant in South Bend
  97. Take classes at VU, Ivy Tech, Purdue NC, Purdue Cal, IUN
  98. Be a mentor through a program such as Nexus (contact first Methodist Church) or Discoveries Unlimited
  99. Old Jail Museum, downtown Valparaiso
  100. Bellaboo's Play & Discovery Center
  101. Joyful Noise at Sunset Hill Farms
  102. Passion Play at Family Christian Center
  103. Walk or bike the Link (pathways around the "island" along Vale Park and up to Rogers Lakewood)
  104. Sunflower Festival at the Art Barn
  105. Three Floyds Brew Pub in Munster
  106. Go Ice Skating, workout or participate in gymnastics for all ages at Midwest Training & Ice Center in Dyer
  107. Lake-Front Arts Festival, Michigan City
  108. Tri-state Regatta, Michigan City
  109. Samaritan Skedaddle usually in April, Michigan City
  110. 2 Big Hearts 5k- Memorial day week-end, Michigan City adler
  111. Holiday Festival of lights-Washington Park, Michigan City
  112. Heart shaped pizza at Duneland Pizza in Chesterton
  113. Breakfast at Suzie's Cafe, Valparaiso
  114. Chellberg Farm and Bailey Homestead
  115. Nativity's Rummage Sale
  116. Northwest Indiana Meetup
  117. Holly Days on the Square, Valparaiso 
  118. Twilight Christmas Parade, Chesterton 
  119. Fresh produce at Camacho's Tent on Calumet
  120. Afternoon tea at Songbird Prairie
  121. Attend a church service - temporary site here
  122. Shop at Bass Pro Shop and eat at their World Famous Islamorada Fish Company restaurant
  123. Eat at Egg on Your Face
  124. Adler Planetarium in Chicago- there's a free day March 23!
  125. Visit Conner Prairie
  126. Get a spray tan at Endless Tan One or Planet Beach
  127. Go to Veteran's Park in Munster- the only Veteran's Park in the country that recognizes all the wars/conflicts we have been involved in
  128. Spend the day at Centennial Park in Munster
  129. Play Golf at Centennial Park's 9 hole challenging course
  130. Attend a play at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster
  131. Attend the Annual Grape Escape wine festival,at Centennial Park in Munster  
  132. Check out some books, movies or music from the Lake County Public Library 
  133. Attend a meeting of a major service organization in the area, Kiwanis, Rotary or Lions club- They are a terrific asset to every community they are in!!
  134. See the fireworks at Thomas Jefferson Middle School on the 4th of July
  135. Attend the Independence Day Parade in Portage
  136. Enjoy some fudge at the Chocolate Cafe
  137. Go for a drive in the country side
  138. Music in the Park at Woodland Park in Portage
  139. See a play at one of the theaters that are part of the Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation or audition for a show
  140. Cruise Night in Rensselaer
  141. Taste of Rensselaer
  142. Little Cousin Jasper Festival in Rensselaer
  143. Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana
  144. Enjoy a picnic lunch with the family while watching an Iron Diamonds baseball game! All games are free!
  145. Utilizing the National Lake Shore
  146. Movies in the Park in Downtown Chesterton every Friday
  147. Walk/Hike/Bike/Run at Coffee Creek
  148. Spring Out to Sunset at Sunset Hill Farm County Park
  149. Buy fudge and other good things at the Simply Amazing MarketSimply-Amazing-Fudge
  150. Get some art supplies at Glenn L Firme & Associates on U.S. 12 and try your hand at art at the dunes
  151. Take a walk along the shores of our natural treasure Lake Michigan
  152. Visit The Artist's Den on Jefferson in Valpo
  153. Learn to knit at Sheep's Clothing in Valpo
  154. Take an art class at the Art Barn, or Chesterton Art Center
  155. Take a cooking class at Regal Rabbit in Chesterton
  156. Midwest Corvette and Chevy Show
  157. Harley Cruise-In Nights at Harley Davidson of Valparaiso
  158. Tri Kappa Taste of Valpo
  159. Perch Fest in Portage
  160. Lake County Fair
  161. Festival of the Lakes
  162. Northwest Indiana Earth Day at Sunset Hill Farm
  163. Michigan City Boat Show
  164. Pumpkin Fest in Crown Point
  165. Come out to Cedar Lake Summerfest for fun for all ages: live entertainment, fireworks, games, rides, food and more!
  166. Get the famous fried perch at Teibel’s restaurant in Schererville.
  167. Experience the Stations of the Cross on a moving and inspirational journey at The Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John.
  168. Catch one of the amazing performances by Indiana Ballet Theatre.Indiana-Ballet-Theatre
  169. Feel the music at a LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra concert.
  170. Be inspired by visiting the South Shore Arts galleries throughout Northwest Indiana.
  171. Go to a show at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond and stay to try your luck at the tables.
  172. Stay at Ameristar Casino’s full-service luxury hotel in East Chicago and play the slots.
  173. Enjoy a casino that has action, great dining and comfortable hotel accommodations with Majestic Star in Gary.
  174. Celebrate National Park Week and Earth Day with the annual Green Gary event.
  175. See some great local talent in the wide range of performances at Theatre at the Center in Munster.
  176. Retreat, relax and renew at DunesWalk Inn at Furness Mansion in Chesterton.
  177. Rock out to the bands in the Summer Concert Series at Wicker Memorial Park in Highland.
  178. Take in a show at Towle Theater in Hammond.
  179. Head to downtown Crown Point for the weekly Car Cruise.
  180. Bring your family out to “Explore the South Shore” to discover all kinds of family fun there is along the South Shore.
  181. Learn about the encampments of French Voyageurs, Native American and military units at Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park.
  182. Enjoy artisan breads and sweets from the bread booth in downtown Lowell on Wednesdays in the summer.
  183. Celebrate Crown Beer Fest at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point.
  184. Paddle, bike or walk the Little Cal at the Little Cal Fest in May.
  185. Join in on the Cobe Cup Car Cruise as it “re-races” the 1909 Cobe Cup Race from Crown Point to Lowell.
  186. NWI Natural Family Living Expo at the Lake County Fairgrounds Industrial Building
  187. Midwest Zest Fest in Highland
  188. Healthy Mom and Baby Event
  189. Browse the selection of tunes at Orbit Music in Mishawaka.
  190. Order double crust pizza at Captain's Pizza in Edwardsburg.
  191. Eat at Hilltop Restaurant in Lakeville.
  192. Enjoy a year-round water park at Splash Universe in Shipshewana.
  193. Relieve history at the Niles-Brandywine Civil War Re-enactment that takes place in the spring at Brandywine High School in Niles.
  194. Shop for fresh produce and plants at Shelton's Farm Market in Niles.
  195. View the world's largest collection of Hudson Cars at Hostetler's Hudson Auto Museum in Shipshewana.
  196. Eat a Whoopie Pie at the Baker's Nook in Elkhart.
  197. Show your Notre Dame pride at the Legends of Notre Dame.
  198. Attend the Maple Syrup Festival in Wakarusa.
  199. Watch locally made films at the River Bend Film Festival in South Bend.
  200. See a show at the Morris Civic Auditorium in South Bend.
  201. Walk through the galleries at the South Bend Museum of Art.
  202. Browse Vinyl LP's, used books and movies, and vintage clothing while sipping coffee at Rumor Has It in Niles.
  203. Shop for discounts in your pajamas on the first Saturday of February at the Shipshewana Pajama Sale.
  204. Savor a dessert from Designer Desserts in Valparaiso, IN.
  205. Annual Lake George Duck Race in downtown Hobart.
  206. Mud Volley Ball Tournament held for charity by the Jaycees.
  207. Try the 3 Dunes Challange at Indiana Dunes State Park.
  208. Pinhook Bog at the National Lakeshore.
  209. Fly or watch remote control airplanes in Wheeler.
  210. Take a tour at Fair Oaks Farms.
  211. Attend a concert by the NWI Symphony Orchestra.
  212. Star gaze at the Lowell observatory field or attend a meeting of the Calumet Astronomical Society.
  213. Come hear a concert of Valparaiso's own South Shore Orchestra.
  214. Watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday at midnightat the Art Theater in downtown Hobart.
  215. Dine al fresco at Lucrezia in Chesterton under the tallest Japanese Maple Tree in Porter County.
  216. 2015 NWI Comic-Con in Schereville at the Halls of Saint George.
  217. Take the whole family to Family Day at the Douglas Center.
  218. Take the kids to the National Lakeshore Visitor's Center for a Sunday full of fun. 
  219. Spend a Saturday enjoying the Indoor Market at Good to Go by Lucrezia.
  220. Enjoy dinner at Jalapenos and then a night of music and dancing at Woodhollow After Dark
  221. Have a night of laughs at Wisecrackers Comedy Club
  222. Have a fun day full of waterslides and swimming pools at Seven Peaks Water Park.
  223. Have a picnic, learn to windsurf and have the kids splash around at Wolf Lake Aquatic Center.
  224. Bring the kids for some indoor fun at Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center.
  225. Go where the buffalo roam at Broken Wagon Bison.
  226. Go on an outer space adventure at the Challenger Learning Center.
  227. Enjoy a Hoosier wine experience at Carpenter Creek Cellars.
  228. Ditch the boring butter flavor and try something new at Chicagoland Popcorn.
  229. Spend a warm summer camping with friends and family at Caboose Lake Campground.
  230. Learn to sail at the Hammond Marina.
  231. Take a tour at the world famous Hoosier Bat Company (appointment only).
  232. Tour the JT Shrimp Company and see where all that tasty shrimp comes from. 
  233. Spend some time bowling at Olympia Lanes.
  234. Learn about the environment of Northwest Indiana at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education.
  235. See where the famous Dr. Scholl started his business at Lake of the Red Cedars Museum.
  236. Take an old fashioned train ride at Griffith Park Train Rides.
  237. Learn about all those who have served our country at The Community Veterans Memorial
  238. Enjoy some authentic Dutch cooking at the Touch of Dutch Fest.
  239. Go bird watching at one of many locations throughout Northwest Indiana. 
  240. Take a walk along the Rotblatt-Amrany Trail.
  241. Play your favorite sport, no matter what the weather is at The Courts of Northwest Indiana.
  242. Have a Mardi gras party for the whole family at the Crown Point Family Fun Center.
  243. Engage in some paint based combat at Blast Camp Paintball.
  244. Unwind and relax at The Great Escape Spa & Art Shop.
  245. Take a look at some amazing modern art at Blink Contemporary Gallery
  246. Buy furniture, vinyl or even candy at Captain Ed's Furniture Showroom.
  247. Visit the genealogy department of the Valparaiso Public Library
  248. Take the kids to open gym at Horizon Gymnastic and Cheer Academy (HGCA) Valparaiso
  249. Roller Skating at Ben Franklin Middle School (courtesy of the Valparaiso YMCA).
  250. Frozen Yogurt at YoAmazing Frozen Yogurt Shoppe.
  251. Take a cake decorating class or painting class at Michael's in Valparaiso
  252. Enjoy some delicious, homemade food at Fiddlehead Restaurant
  253. Go ice skating in the winter at Valpo's William E. Urschel Pavilion.
  254. Go apple picking at Garwood Orchard.
  255. Take a brew tour with the South Shore Brewery App.
  256. Hike the Calumet Dunes Trail
  257. Hike Cowles Bog Trail
  258. Have dinner at Sage Restaurant
  259. Get something sweet to eat at Butterfingers in Highland.
  260. There's fun for all ages at JAK's Warehouse in Schererville.
  261. Take a ride to the northside of Hammond and have a great time visiting one if the oldest Mexican restaurants, Taco Real.
  262. Stay in a suite at Songbird Prairie Inn and Spa enjoy afternoon tea, couples massage, or a facial or make reservations just for breakfast!

Thanks to the people who have contributed ideas so far:

  • Michelle Indigo Rush Clemons
  • Jeff Cagwin
  • Kathy Faurot Welter
  • Nikki Presta Roe
  • Derek Chirch
  • Carolyn Polewski Powell
  • Rebecca Wolfe Tomerlin
  • Larry Tumbleson
  • Michael L. Mick
  • Michele David
  • Tammy Canzoneri
  • Alyssa Weiler
  • Robyn Pollick Kelsey Walsworth
  • Stephanie Wallace
  • Anne Van Keppel
  • Dawn Noel Fitzer Brown
  • Lee Anne Bettenhausen
  • Stan Krysa
  • Eric Wignall
  • Cindy Byrns
  • Rebecca Wolfe Tomerlin
  • Barby Adkins Alfredson
  • Martha Ebling Sullens
  • Lisa Skripac
  • Jon Groth
  • Jackie Gray
  • Linda S Camp
  • J Michael Yohe
  • Tom B
  • RG Skadberg
  • Joe Porter
  • Anthony Gurtowski
  • Ellen Holloway
  • Lisa Seyser Starkey
  • Danielle Berg O Reilly
  • Amey VanBlaircom
  • Nancy Metzger Markovich
  • Kate Ross
  • Karol Wegrzyn Siwietz
  • Elicia Morales Follman
  • Elizabeth Coy
  • Kathy Legner Sipple
  • Betsy Greer
  • Kate Swartz Sorensen
  • Leeann Good
  • Sarah Andrews Johnston
  • Indiana Dunes
  • Barbara Rivera
  • Kevin Sparenberg
  • Jeff & Grace Safrin
  • Michael McIntyre
  • Nicholas Winder
  • Beth Franzen
  • Kristen Hasselgren
  • Stephen Miller
  • Julie Olthoff
  • Rich Gardner
  • Kristine Keesee
  • Porter County Parks & Recreation
  • Dawn Aleksinski Puszczewicz
  • Kathy Welter
  • Brenda Krause
  • Jennifer Rush
  • Janel Hyland
  • Barry Skalski
  • Donna Flanagin
  • Angel Rae
  • Troy Webdell
  • Sarah Denton
  • Nada Karas
  • Stephanie O'Brien