10 Things We Love About Michigan City
Michigan City, Indiana has it all. From pristine beaches and dunes to world-class art and local breweries, the lakefront community attracts vacationers and full-time residents alike.
Whether you’re headed out for a weekend trip or looking for a new place to call home, there are plenty of ways to experience all this beach town offers just an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago.
Retreat to a Charming Getaway
For over 85 years, Duneland Beach Inn has provided a private reprieve within Michigan City. With comfortable rooms and delicious food, it’s the perfect place to explore, relax, and connect with family or friends. The cozy wine and martini bar is the best spot to enjoy a casual dinner or cocktails, and the restaurant offers an eclectic menu of seafood, steaks, chops, poultry, and comfort foods like fried chicken and ribs.
If you’re seeking an even more remote retreat and dining experience, head to the Brewery Lodge & Supper Club. The boutique resort hotel boasts a warm atmosphere and 40 acres of streams, ponds, and wildlife. The Brewery Lodge has 12 rooms and serves a lodge-style menu every night, as well as a selection of craft beers and wines.
Go On An Adventure
A trip to Michigan City is not complete without a visit to Indiana Dunes National Park. Located in Porter, Indiana, the park sits along 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and spans 15,000 acres. Visitors can fly kites on the beach, scout for rare species of birds (there are 350!), and explore 50 miles of hiking trails. The park also features rivers, peaceful forests, wetlands, and prairies.
Have a Brew
Michigan City is home to a number of breweries serving up unique and creative beverages and delicious grub. Looking for a hip and casual scene? Burn Em’ Brewing serves up a rotating cast of delectable beers among eclectic art and a laidback vibe.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for something a bit more traditional. Inspired by the historic Michigan City microbrewery, Zorn Brew Works Co. offers bold stouts, mellow pale ales, and updated flavors that will beckon a second visit.
Those craving a brew with a view should pay a visit to local favorite Shoreline Brewery. The brewery offers 12 handcrafted beers on tap along the edge of Lake Michigan.
Experience the Arts
Lubeznik Center for the Arts showcases world-class contemporary art exhibitions that are open to the public at no charge. The art center also hosts after school programs, visual arts classes for adults, as well as various special events such as the Lubeznik Art Festival. The coveted event has brought dozens of fine artists and crafters to the community for almost four decades.
Between the months of May and September, the Michigan City Mainstreet Association puts on the First Friday Art Walk Summer Series, a monthly event that features live performances and other happenings in the Urban Arts District. Uptown businesses participate in the event by opening their doors to the public and hosting artists and their work.
Exercise Your Need for Speed
Summer brings the sounds of high-powered boats and cheering to Michigan City. The award-winning Great Lakes Grand Prix features some of the world’s fastest and most powerful boats. The free four-day event is held at Washington Park, where over 100,000 attendees can enjoy live entertainment, a boat parade, block party, food and drinks, and more fun.
Get a Taste of Northwest Indiana
Dozens of local restaurants descend upon the Uptown Arts District for the Taste of Michigan, where attendees can sample mouth-watering cuisines from Michigan City and the surrounding area. In addition to delicious food, the event features musical acts as well as a beer garden that serves beer and wine from local establishments. The event coincides with the Great Lakes Grand Prix, giving everyone the chance to dine, imbibe, and catch some exciting races. While this year’s event was canceled, the event is set to return in 2021.
Enter a Flower Oasis
Michigan City has been home to the Friendship Botanic Gardens since 1936. The 105-acre oasis includes forested woodlands, open spaces, and cultivated gardens. The grounds have 3 miles of trails and pathways, where visitors can explore wildlife and natural habitats. Garden members are able to fish at Trail Creek, and anyone touting binoculars and telescopes can watch the many birds flying around the woods. The Gardens also offer several educational activities, concerts, programming, and more.
Visit the Donkeys, Tigers, and Bears
The Washington Park Zoo sits on 15 acres of sand dunes near the southeastern tip of Lake Michigan and showcases over 90 species from around the world. Catch a glimpse of animals including Bengal Tigers, Grey Wolves, Grizzley Bears, American Alligators, Bald Eagles, and Cotton Top Tamarins. The petting zoo also has its own collection of animals such as goats, pigs, horses, and donkeys.
Take In Some History
Experience railroads of the past first-hand when you visit the Hesston Steam Museum. The outdoor museum features three operating trains that visitors can ride, and the Hesston Sawmill, which they can see in use. A day at Hesston Steam Museum is best ended with an ice cream treat at Doc’s Soda Fountain. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year such as a Civil War Train Raid weekend and Ghost Train rides at Halloween.
Operated by the Michigan City Historical Society, the Old Lighthouse Museum at Washington Park is one of the last remaining and oldest lighthouses in Indiana. The decommissioned lighthouse was built in 1858 and later remodeled 1904, and today features eight display rooms, Great Lakes history, local history, and more.
Hit the Shore
Michigan City is known for its pristine beaches. Grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and towel, and head to one of the area’s favorite sandy spots like Washington Park Beach, which boasts a marina, boat launch, and ample spots to fish. Home to the Great Lakes Grand Prix, the beach is situated near the Washington Park Zoo and features a restaurant, concessions, public art, amphitheater, and picnic shelters.