If you’re looking for things to do in Michigan City, Indiana, you’ve come to the right place! This charming city has plenty of attractions and activities to keep visitors busy. From museums and parks to restaurants and shopping, there’s something for everyone in Michigan City.
You’ll find fishing trips, cruises, nature trails, great museums, delicious restaurants, wineries, family friendly activities, art and culture, gardens, and so much more in this Indiana town. There is something for every type of traveler here.
Ready to learn more? Here are 9 things to do in Michigan City, IN that we know you and your crew will love!
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COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN MICHIGAN CITY
- Free Breakfast. The Hampton Inn and Suites Michigan City is off I-94 and US-421, five miles from downtown attractions like Blue Chip Casino, shopping at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, and scenic Washington Park Beach. Enjoy free hot breakfast, free WiFi, and the indoor pool.
- Best New Hotel. Welcome to the brand new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Michigan City. They are less than 5 miles away from the Blue Chip Casino. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate their short distance from Indiana Dunes National Park and the beach fronts of Lake Michigan.
- Best Tried and True. Access to Lake Michigan is just 5 miles away from this Country Inn & Suites in Michigan City. An indoor pool and hot tub are available on site, and each guest room is equipped with free Wi-Fi. Free hot breakfast included.
TAKE IN THE LOCAL LIBATIONS
For any Hoosier, cold craft beer is the closest thing to nirvana after a hard day, unless you prefer the grape. You might not think of a small city on the water as being an epicenter for wine, but Michigan City has some fantastic options.
Shady Creek Winery is an excellent choice for a unique wine-tasting experience. Situated on 20 acres of picturesque grounds, the winery offers expansive views of the Southern Lake Michigan shore.
In addition to its selection of custom-crafted wines, Shady Creek also boasts a first-class facility with comfortable patios, covered porches, fireplaces, and a tasting room.
Suppose you are looking for something a little closer to home. Burn’Em Brewing is a locally sourced brewery that prides itself on its use of unique ingredients. In addition to their great beer, Burn’Em also offers good vibes and in-house service for 21+ only.
Shoreline Brewery is another excellent choice for craft beer lovers, and specializes in brewing specialty craft beers using only the finest ingredients. They have 12 beers on tap, including their World Beer Cup Silver Award-winning Beltaine Scottish Ale.
Shoreline Brewery also provides a wide range of menu options, from sandwiches and main entrées to salads and snacks, in addition to an excellent beer selection.
EXPLORE INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL PARK
There is always plenty to do at Indiana Dunes National Park, from swimming and tanning in the summer to snowshoeing in the winter.
With over 50 miles of trails, you can explore the diverse landscapes of the dunes, including intricate dune systems, oak savannahs, wetlands, prairies, and river systems.
The diverse wildlife is also a major draw for nature lovers. In addition, you can enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking, camping, fishing, or even horseback riding. The park’s ecological variety is best explored in the spring when wildflowers are in bloom throughout.
Don’t forget to watch out for birds! Washington Park is an excellent place for birdwatching all year round.
Read More: INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL PARK – EPIC GUIDE
STROLL THE LUBEZNIK CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Since it opened in 1978, this art center has become a top destination for art enthusiasts. The center is within walking distance of the shores of Lake Michigan, and features four galleries with works by both local and international talents.
In addition to its art galleries, the Lubeznik Center for the Arts also hosts a variety of special events and programs throughout the year. These include concerts, films, lectures, and workshops. The Lubeznik Center also offers two classrooms and a gallery shop.
The Lubeznik Center also hosts 10 or more exhibitions each year, including the famous Lubeznik Art & Artisan Festival in late summer and the Holiday Artisan Market in November and December.
Whether you’re a die-hard art lover or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, the Lubeznik Center for the Arts is a great stop, and a visit here is one of the best things to do in Michigan City.
WANDER FRIENDSHIP BOTANIC GARDEN
While there are many things to do in Michigan City, exploring the Friendship Botanic Garden is one of the most extraordinary places to visit. This incredible horticultural attraction features local flora and fauna just a mile from Lake Michigan’s beaches.
The Stauffer Brothers, who had previously worked on the Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago from 1933–1934, designed these amazing gardens.
The preserve has plenty of attractions, including hand-carved sculptures, displays of lilies, and a rose garden. The King of Persia shipped roses for the Rose Garden, and the Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands donated 200,000 tulips.
There’s also a dedicated children’s garden called the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden, perfect for nature-based play.
The Friendship Botanic Garden is open to the public from May through October.
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EXPLORE WASHINGTON PARK
The 15-acre zoo and animal sanctuary is home to 90 species of animals worldwide, making it perfect for families and animal lovers. You’ll see everything from wallabies and wolves to lions and tigers. The zoo’s otter enclosure, and a walk-through aviary with over 250 colorful parakeets are highlights.
There’s also a petting barn and a Safari Train ride for kids. Washington Park Zoo is open daily, so you can come and explore anytime!
One of the highlights of Washington Park is the Old Lighthouse Museum, located at the end of the pier in the harbor, next to Trail Creek. Here, you can view the Michigan City East Light and even climb to the top of the tower for a great sunset view.
SOAK UP SOME HISTORY AT BARKER MANSION
Barker Mansion is one of the most incredible places to check out in Michigan City. It was built in 1857 by John H. Barker, the founding father of the railcar industry.
This incredible Gothic Revival mansion is now a museum that offers tours of the lavish main floor, as well as the servants’ quarters and wine cellar.
The mansion is an English Manor-style house with a massive 38 rooms! It’s also beautiful, with Indiana limestone for the trim, mullioned windows, rounded gables, and patterned maroon brickwork. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can also take a guided tour of the mansion led by a docent, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can even rent it out for special occasions. The Barker Mansion is open for tours from May to October.
SEE THE DUNES FROM THE WATER
Harbor Country Adventures is the perfect place to see the Indiana Dunes from the water. They offer scheduled trips and private custom adventures aboard the Emita II for a Classic Lake Tour. You’ll see Washington Park, the lighthouse, and Lake Michigan, along with panoramic views of the dunes.
The Sea Rocket is perfect for thrill-seekers who want high-speed action. You won’t find a faster boat ride on Lake Michigan, and it is limited to a dozen people per ride.
Want a romantic sunset cruise or Saturday night party cruise? They have you covered there too! If you prefer renting a boat, they have kayaks and wave runners available.
SIT FOR A PLAY AT DUNES SUMMER THEATRE
Dunes Summer Theatre is a community theater that presents musicals, seasonal stage plays, and performances on their 20-acre wooded site in Michiana Shores.
In addition to performances, the Dunes Summer Theatre also offers workshops and acting classes for children and adults. They also host summer camps and classes that assist young performers in developing their creative talents, while teaching them many theatrical skills.
Whether you’re a Michigan City native or simply passing through, check out the Dunes Summer Theatre for an enjoyable and educational experience.
BIKE THE HERON ROOKERY TRAIL
Bike riding is a great way to explore nature, and the Heron Rookery Trail is perfect for the activity. The trail is located in Indiana Dunes National Park, and follows the Little Calumet River for 3.3 miles. It’s popular for family bike riding.
You can find the best views near the beginning of the trail, but the whole thing is smooth sailing. For 60 years, the trail was home to a great blue heron rookery, featuring over 100 nests.
Nowadays, you’ll still see dozens of birds, including migrating and nesting warblers, kingfishers, and woodpeckers. Additionally, spring is a terrific time to hike, since Dutchman breeches, trillium, and spring beauties would all be in bloom.
MICHIGAN CITY FAQ
Is Michigan City, Indiana worth visiting?
We absolutely think Michigan City, Indiana is worth a visit! You’ll find beaches, wineries, breweries, gardens, tours, and even a zoo!
What is Michigan City known for?
Michigan City is known for being a tourist hub for the Indiana Dunes territory. It also lies at the mouth of Trail Creek, which can be found on Lake Michigan’s southeastern shore.
How much does it cost to get into Michigan City Beach?
Access to Michigan City Beach is from Washington Park and it’s open from 5am to 10pm. Admission $15 per vehicle per day to the park. No lifeguards are on duty and no pets allowed.
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO INDIANA
- YOUR INDIANA VACATION
- FRENCH LICK: 17 Awesome Things To Do In French Lick Indiana
- FORT WAYNE: 18 Super Fun Things To Do In Fort Wayne, Indiana
- INDIANAPOLIS: 38 Phenomenal Things To Do In Indianapolis
- WATER PARKS: 15 Best Outdoor & Indoor Water Parks In Indiana
WHERE TO STAY IN MICHIGAN CITY
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