Why You Should Visit Michigan City This Summer

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Michigan City

Photo by Michael Tedesco

In the northernmost reaches of Indiana – smack dab between Chicago and South Bend – the cozy community of Michigan City in LaPorte County snuggles up to the shores of Lake Michigan.

That enviable location makes Michigan City a clear choice for anyone seeking a summer escape. Sure to satisfy sun worshippers and sports enthusiasts, Michigan City’s appeal goes far beyond its beaches.

Michigan City

Washington Park is home to Indiana’s only operational lighthouse. Photo by Michael Tedesco

Washington Park Awaits

For the beach-bound, Washington Park is a great place to start. There, you can dive into the clear, cool waters of Lake Michigan, climb a sand dune and sink your toes into white-sand beaches. For more fun in the sun, visit the splash pad waterpark or boat, fish, hike, picnic, canoe and golf – all in one place.

“Families will have so much fun in Washington Park all year,” says Jane Daley, community relations manager for Visit Michigan City LaPorte. “There are beautiful beaches for strolling and playing in the ‘singing sands’ and, of course, swimming.”

You can get your groove on, too, at Arts in the Park. Held Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Dennis Smith Amphitheater, the popular event offers live music under the stars all summer long.

Michigan City

Washington Park Zoo has a wide array of animals for family fun. Photo by Michael Tedesco

For a walk on the wild side, visit Washington Park Zoo. Celebrating its 90th year in 2018, the lakeside zoo is home to more than 90 species from around the world – from American alligators to Bengal tigers. You’ll even find manmade treasures such as a 70-foot-tall observation tower, built during the 1930s Works Progress Administration-era. Climb to the top of the art deco-style lookout for a memorable view of Lake Michigan.

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Summertime Events in Michigan City

Washington Park is also home to Indiana’s only operational lighthouse, a beacon for sailors on the Great Lakes since 1858. Explore the Old Lighthouse Museum to learn about the structure, local maritime history and view a collection of model ships.

“The Old Lighthouse Museum is the oldest remaining lighthouse in Indiana,” Daley says. “You can tour the historic structure and climb the tower into the lantern room.”

Michigan City

Hesston Steam Museum; photo by Michael Tedesco

More history is on display at the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum, home to the world’s third-largest antique firearms collection. And you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the Hesston Steam Museum. There, you can climb aboard small-scale steam locomotives for a unique journey through 155 acres of ponds, forests and farmland – and a trip back in time.

Culture, Cuisine and More

Summer is prime time for art aficionados, as Michigan City’s First Friday Art Walks are in full swing. Held in the Uptown Arts District, local businesses and art galleries highlight works by an array of artists. Enjoy live music, too, at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. The center features world-class exhibitions, performances and an outdoor art collection on far more than Fridays.

Michigan City

Hesston Supper Club; photo by Michael Tedesco

Once you’ve savored the art scene, tempt your taste buds at unforgettable restaurants such as Heston Supper Club. This family-owned destination restaurant is known for its slow-cooked (and award-winning) prime rib, casual atmosphere and belt-bursting portions.

The brew comes with a view at Shoreline Brewery, a local favorite offering globally inspired cuisine and an on-site brewery. With 12 beers on tap, there’s something to satisfy every taste. Try customer-favorite Curse the Goat, or try Stellar Blue blueberry ale for a seasonal favorite.

Michigan City

LaPorte County Historical Society Museum; Photo by Michael Tedesco

U-Pick, U-Shop

For a more hands-on experience with your food, the Michigan City area offers more than 20 orchards, farms and gardens that offer U-pick produce and family-friendly fun. At Garwood Orchards, you’ll pick apples from trees planted six generations ago. The 350-acre family farm also features peaches, raspberries, pumpkins, strawberries, cherries, sweet corn, peppers, cucumbers and a variety of other vegetables.

Not far away, Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets attracts those who make a sport of shopping. It features 120 different retailers offering brand names and bargains on fashion, housewares, gifts and more.

If you prefer games of chance, the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa is open 24 hours a day and offers 65,000 square feet of gaming, from poker to slot machines and table games.

One sure bet? Michigan City itself.

In fact, don’t be surprised if the charms of this lakeside city bring you back in summers to come. After a visit to Michigan City, you just may share author Colleen Hoover’s sentiment: “…you keep your ocean, I’ll take the lake.”

Learn more about Michigan City and the fun things to do there at michigancitylaporte.com.

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