Gary stands as a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty in the northwest corner of Indiana. Known for its ties to the steel industry and its rich heritage, Gary offers a range of experiences that cater to both the urban explorer and the nature enthusiast.
Gary is a city steeped in industrial history, beckons visitors with a unique blend of heritage and natural allure. The city receives over 75,000 annual visitors. It is a popular tourist destination, offering a rich tapestry of experiences throughout the year.
Gary’s roots are deeply entwined with the steel industry, and it played a pivotal role in America’s industrial landscape during the 20th century. The city was founded in 1906 and named after Elbert Henry Gary, the chairman of U.S. Steel.
Its history is intertwined with the labor movements of the early 20th century. The city also cherishes the cultural significance of being the hometown of the legendary Jackson family, including Michael Jackson.
The Michael Jackson Family Home, a pilgrimage site for fans, offers insight into the King of Pop’s early life. The city’s proximity to Indiana Dunes National Park, with its sandy shores and scenic landscapes, attracts nature enthusiasts.
Summers are warm and humid, making them ideal for outdoor activities and festivals. Autumn’s pleasant weather and vibrant foliage provide an attractive backdrop for exploration.
Winters, while cold, are perfect for indoor cultural experiences. Spring welcomes milder temperatures and blossoming landscapes, making it a great time for a visit.
Gary, with its industrial legacy, cultural icons, and natural beauty, offers a dynamic destination that caters to diverse interests. Whether you’re drawn to history, nature, or the arts, Gary invites you to discover its unique charm throughout the seasons.
Let’s look into the exciting 12 things to do in Gary, Indiana and learn about the attractions around the city.
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1) Visit the Michael Jackson Family Home
Visiting the Michael Jackson Family Home in Gary is like stepping into the early life of the King of Pop. This house is where Michael Jackson and his famous siblings grew up.
Michael’s family moved to this house when he was just a kid. This is where he and his brothers practiced their music and dance moves, which later made them global superstars.
The house is a small, modest home where the Jackson family lived during their early years. Fans from around the world visit this place to pay their respects and see where it all began. You can even see the bedroom where Michael and his brothers slept and the piano they used for their music.
The Michael Jackson Family Home is a must-visit for fans of the pop legend. It’s a place where history and music come together, offering a glimpse into the humble beginnings of one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
2300 Jackson St, Gary, Indiana, United States
2) Explore Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park, situated along Lake Michigan’s shores, is a beautiful natural gem. It offers a captivating blend of landscapes encompassing sandy shores, lush forests, and towering sand dunes.
This park has a fascinating history. It was authorized as a national lakeshore in 1966 and then re-designated as a national park in 2019. Native Americans have lived in this area for thousands of years, leaving traces of their culture behind. European explorers, like French traders, also visited these dunes centuries ago.
The park spans over 15,000 acres and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It features an array of recreational activities like hiking, bird-watching, swimming, and picnicking.
The diverse ecosystem within the park supports an impressive range of plant and animal species, providing a unique opportunity for nature exploration and education.
Indiana Dunes is famous for its diverse ecosystems, from sandy beaches to lush forests. It’s home to more than 350 species of birds, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. The park’s highest dune, Mount Baldy, is a popular attraction, and it’s always shifting due to the wind.
Visitors can explore various trails, swim, or even relax on the beach. Indiana Dunes National Park is a wonderful place to discover the great outdoors and the stories of the past.
Porter, IN 46304, United States
3) Gary Aquatorium
The Gary Aquatorium, a unique and historic structure, is perched along the shores of Lake Michigan in Gary, Indiana. This remarkable building has a rich history.
It was built in the 1920s and served as both an aquarium and a natatorium. The Aquatorium was a place where people could swim, watch aquatic life, and enjoy the beautiful lake views.
The Aquatorium is not just a historical site but also an architectural marvel. It features grand columns and intricate details that harken back to a bygone era. The renowned architect George W. Maher designed the building, known for his Prairie School style.
Today, the Gary Aquatorium offers a glimpse into the city’s past while providing a stunning backdrop for visitors. It hosts various events and serves as a symbol of Gary’s resilience and architectural heritage.
Whether you’re interested in history or enjoy beautiful lakeside views, visiting the Gary Aquatorium is a must when exploring the city.
6918 Oak Ave, Gary, IN 46403, United States
4) Douglas Center for Environmental Education
The Douglas Center for Environmental Education is nestled within Indiana Dunes National Park. It offers a captivating learning experience in a beautiful natural setting.
The center has a rich history, dating back to the 1930s when it was first established. It was named after Paul H. Douglas, a U.S. Senator who championed conservation efforts. Over the years, it has evolved into an educational hub for environmental enthusiasts.
Inside the center, you’ll find interactive exhibits that explore the rich biodiversity of Indiana Dunes. It’s a fantastic place to learn about the region’s unique ecosystems, including its diverse plant and animal life.
The center also hosts educational programs, guided hikes, and workshops focused on ecology and conservation. These activities are designed to inspire visitors of all ages to appreciate and protect the natural world.
The Douglas Center for Environmental Education is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the beauty and conservation of the Indiana Dunes ecosystem.
100 N Lake St, Gary, IN 46403, United States
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5) Marquette Park and Pavilion
Marquette Park and Pavilion offer a blend of natural beauty and historical significance. The park dates back to 1921 and is named after the French explorer Jacques Marquette.
Its historic pavilion was designed by architect George W. Maher. It was built in the Prairie School architectural style, adding a touch of elegance to the park’s landscape.
Marquette Park boasts a stunning beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. Its strategic location makes it a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing during the summer months. The park’s expansive green spaces and picnic areas make it a favorite for families and outdoor enthusiasts.
The historic pavilion is a focal point for events, offering a picturesque backdrop for weddings and gatherings. Its architectural beauty and lakeside location make it a beloved feature of the park.
Marquette Park and Pavilion provide a serene escape in the heart of Gary. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or simply enjoy the area’s natural beauty and historic charm, this is the place you are looking for.
1 N Grand Blvd, Gary, IN 46403, United States
6) Lake Street Beach
Lake Street Beach, a serene coastal escape in Gary, Indiana, offers a perfect blend of history and natural beauty. The beach has a rich history, dating back to the early 20th century. It has been a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.
The area around Lake Street Beach played a role in the steel industry’s development in the region. The beach features soft sands and crystal-clear waters along the shores of Lake Michigan. It makes the lake a favorite spot for sunbathing and swimming in summer.
Lake Street Beach also has a playground and picnic areas, making it a family-friendly destination. The beach provides stunning views of the lake and serves as an ideal backdrop for relaxing moments.
Throughout the years, Lake Street Beach has remained a cherished part of Gary’s community, offering a place for both recreation and relaxation. It continues to be a place where people come to enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan and the simple pleasures of a day at the beach.
Lake Street Beach, Gary, IN 46403, United States
7) Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana
The Hard Rock Casino in Northern Indiana is a vibrant entertainment destination known for its thrilling gaming and rock ‘n’ roll ambiance. The casino opened its doors in 1997 under the name “Majestic Star Casino”.
It underwent a rebranding as the Hard Rock Casino in 2021. It has a long history of providing exciting gaming experiences to visitors.
This casino boasts various slot machines, table games, and poker rooms, offering something for every gaming enthusiast. The Hard Rock brand brings a unique rock-inspired atmosphere to the casino, with iconic music memorabilia and energetic décor.
In addition to gaming, the casino hosts live entertainment events, featuring both local and national artists. Dining options range from casual to upscale, with something to satisfy every palate.
The Hard Rock Casino in Northern Indiana is an entertainment hub where visitors can immerse themselves in the excitement of music, gaming, and vibrant culture.
5400 W 29th Ave, Gary, IN 46406, United States
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8) Gary SouthShore RailCats Baseball Game
Attending a SouthShore RailCats baseball game in Gary, Indiana, promises a thrilling and family-friendly experience. It helps capture the essence of America’s favorite pastime.
The RailCats, a minor league baseball team, play their home games at the U.S. Steel Yard, a modern stadium that offers a comfortable and engaging environment for fans of all ages.
From the crack of the bat to the cheers of the crowd, the atmosphere at a RailCats game is electric. The stadium’s intimate design ensures that every seat offers a great view of the action, making it easy to feel a part of the game. The passionate fan base adds to the excitement, creating a contagious energy.
Whether you are a die-hard baseball aficionado or just looking for a fun outing with friends and family, a SouthShore RailCats game delivers. From ballpark snacks to between-inning entertainment, the entire experience is designed to keep you entertained from the first pitch to the last inning.
Attending a RailCats game isn’t just about baseball but camaraderie, community, and a shared love for the sport. So, grab your cap and mitt and head to the U.S. Steel Yard for a memorable day of baseball.
Gary SouthShore RailCats, Gary, IN 46406, United States
9) Gary Public Art Tour
The Gary Public Art Tour is a self-guided journey through the city of Gary, Indiana. It unveils a captivating world of artistic expression amidst the urban landscape.
The tour reflects the city’s commitment to embracing art as an integral part of its identity. It has evolved over the years, showcasing local talent and fostering a sense of cultural pride.
Gary’s public art scene features an array of murals, sculptures, and installations. These artworks celebrate local heroes, tell stories of resilience, and infuse vibrant colors into the city’s streets.
One of the most iconic murals, “The Mighty Peace Makers,” honors prominent civil rights activists who made significant contributions to the community. Gary’s public art isn’t just confined to murals; it includes sculptures like “Eclipsing the Carousel” and “The Dancer.”
The Gary Public Art Tour invites visitors and residents to explore the city through the lens of art, fostering a deeper connection with its history and culture. It’s a testament to the power of art to transform urban spaces into vibrant, meaningful canvases that resonate with the community.
455 Massachusetts St, Gary, IN 46402-1314, United States
10) Tolleston Park
Tolleston Park, located in Gary, Indiana, is a serene oasis of greenery and recreation. This park has a rich history, dating back to the early 20th century when it was first established. Over the years, it has grown into a cherished green space for the community.
Tolleston Park offers a range of recreational activities, including playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas. It’s a popular spot for families looking to enjoy outdoor fun.
One of the park’s highlights is its picturesque pond, perfect for peaceful contemplation and bird-watching. The park also features walking paths, making it ideal for a leisurely stroll.
Throughout its history, Tolleston Park has provided a place for the community to unite, play, and connect with nature. It’s a testament to Gary’s commitment to offering accessible green spaces that promote health and well-being for its residents.
Whether you’re seeking an afternoon of relaxation or an outdoor adventure, Tolleston Park has something to offer everyone.
1709 Ellsworth Pl, Gary, IN 46404, United States
11) Miller Beach
Miller Beach, a picturesque lakeside community in Gary, Indiana, offers a tranquil escape with a rich history and natural beauty. It was originally developed as a resort community in the early 20th century.
Miller Beach has a storied past. Its charming streets reflect a mix of architectural styles, showcasing its growth and evolution over the years.
With its sandy shores along Lake Michigan, Miller Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. It’s a serene destination known for its relaxed vibe and natural beauty.
The neighborhood’s eclectic atmosphere includes local boutiques, galleries, and eateries, making it a haven for those seeking unique experiences. Its diverse architecture, from beachfront bungalows to modern homes, adds to its charm.
Miller Beach’s thriving arts community and commitment to conservation create a distinctive identity that celebrates its natural surroundings and cultural heritage. Miller Beach invites visitors to discover the allure of lakeside living in the heart of the Midwest.
401 Broadway Gary, IN 46402, United States
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12) County Line Orchard
County Line Orchard is a delightful agritourism destination that offers visitors a taste of the countryside, rich history, and seasonal delights. The orchard was founded in 1984 and has since become a beloved destination.
It has a history of providing seasonal activities and delicious produce to the local community. During apple-picking season, visitors can roam the orchard’s rows and pick from various apple types, from Honeycrisps to Granny Smiths. The experience is not just about picking apples but connecting with the land.
County Line Orchard is an entire experience. Beyond apple-picking, visitors can enjoy hayrides, navigate corn mazes, and select the perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch during fall.
The on-site bakery is a must-visit, offering freshly baked goods like apple pies and cider donuts. And of course, the orchard’s signature apple cider is a refreshing treat that encapsulates the essence of autumn.
County Line Orchard captures the spirit of the harvest season, inviting families and friends to create cherished memories. They can also relish the tastes and traditions of this bountiful land.
200 S County Line Rd, Hobart, IN 46342, United States
From exploring the city’s rich history to embracing its natural beauty, Gary, Indiana, offers a diverse range of activities that cater to different interests and preferences.
Whether you are a local resident or a visitor passing through, these 12 fun-filled attractions are sure to make your time in Gary memorable and enjoyable.