LaPorte County Shops Make
Holiday Gift Buying a Blast
The countdown to Christmas is on, and the to-do list is long! Decorating, dinner planning, and, most important of all, finding the ideal presents for each person on your list. Here’s a solution for scoring some unique gifts in local shops and studios, getting those top-name-brand must-haves all in one place at bargain prices, and giving yourself a relaxing escape at the same time.
Consider an easy shopping getaway to a remarkable corner of Northern Indiana, where the communities of Michigan City and LaPorte are home to a surprising array of unique boutiques and shops. Shoppers find everything from designer clothing and jewelry to artworks and antiques and so much more. Add in an upscale outlet mall and some annual holiday shopping events, and you’re set to go.
LaPorte County is filled with great places to stay, dine, and sip a brew or vino, so consider planning an overnight or a weekend, pampering yourself with a bit of holiday fun. If you live here already, discover some great new places to shop and celebrate right in your own town.
Colorful lights set downtowns aglow, and decorated boutique and shop windows invite visitors to step in from the cold and peruse to their heart’s content. The best news: The communities of Michigan City and LaPorte are only 13 miles apart, so it’s easy to shop both in a day.
Michigan City – New, old, quaint, and even outlandish! The Uptown Arts District is THE place for one-of-a-kind gifts, with a host of nifty stores nearly all located within three blocks along Franklin Street. Antique lovers head for Good News Vintage with items that may recall your childhood, The Closet for vintage men and women’s clothing and jewelry, and Hoity Toity, overflowing with both new and upcycled home goods.
Boutiques abound along Franklin, including Unsalted No Sharks with clothing that’s an ode to the Great Lakes and other “unsalted” bodies of water, Nest Number 4 known for handmade wall hangings and other works of local artisans, Darling Boutique with trendy women’s clothing and jewelry in a lighthearted atmosphere, and Chef Bizzaro Millinery, where handmade hats and headwear range from funky to fancy.
You’ll find the perfect gift for music lovers on your list at Static Age Record Shop, offering new and reissued releases, plus used LPs. A few blocks up the street, stop at Tom Lounges’ Record Bin for new and pre-loved vinyl, CDs, t-shirts, and more.
LaPorte – Downtown LaPorte has always been known as a haven for antique lovers, but the historic brick storefronts house loads of clothing finds and gifts too! You can spend hours and find something for every vintage fanatic on your list at Coachman Antique Mall where you won’t want to miss the jewelry case and toys, or Freckle Farm Primitives for cool cupboards and farmhouse goods, plus soaps and candles.
Everyone loves to get some new duds for Christmas, and you’ll find them for women at Younique Boutique for modern clothes with a vintage flair or Judee’s Boutique with beautiful dressy wear. The Pink Sheep is filled with oh-so-adorable kids’ clothing, and LR Men’s Clothier offers unique styles for the guys.
Still have a few socks to fill? Finish up at A Whole World of Good, where clothing, toys, home décor, and just about any gift you can imagine come from around the world.
Love that Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets Mall
Holiday deals and steals will bring you up to 65 percent off at this shopper-friendly outlet mall in Michigan City. There’s so much to love at Lighthouse Place, with nearly 100 top-brand stores in a Christmassy village setting this time of year. Plus, it’s easy to get to, just off I-80/90 and only an hour from downtown Chicago.
Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find, guaranteed to make crossing everything off your list easy! There are plenty of places to pick up stocking stuffers too.
Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories – Banana Republic, Calvin Kline, Carter’s, Loft, Levi’s, Sketchers, Coach, Crocs, Guess, Jockey, Kate Spade New York, Old Navy, Brooks Brothers.
Home Goods, Beauty, and Gifts – Le Creuset, Sleeping Tiger Imports, Amazing Images, Bath & Body Works.
Specialty Stores and Foods – Candy Junction, Beef Jerky, Book Warehouse, Chocolate Café, Off the Wall, Popcorn World, Pepper Palace.
Super Shopping Events
Don’t miss out on some unique holiday extravaganzas, some that include food and fun along with loads of one-of-a-kind gift finds.
A Very Merry Christmas, LaPorte (10am-4pm, Nov. 20) – Local artisans display their creations, including affordable ornaments, clothing, jewelry, and artwork at this huge shopping event at the LaPorte County Visitors Center. Many of the artists will be on hand, available in some cases to personalize items just for that special someone on your list. Sip apple cider or cinnamon tea while you shop at this event, sponsored by the Michigan City Art League and Land of Lakes Art Alliance.
The Collective Small Business Saturday Holiday Market at The Civic, LaPorte (10am-4pm, Nov. 27) – Make a day of it at this special event, where you can shop for individually handcrafted, and up-cycled goods. Enjoy craft beer, local food, a coffee bar, and live music, all for a $5 admission for ages 13 through adult. You’ll be helping local businesses as well as local nonprofits, which receive a portion of the proceeds.
Lubeznik Center Holiday Artisan Market, Michigan City (Nov. 20, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022) – The world-class Lubeznik Center for the Arts, is known for its outstanding collections of works from around the globe. But there’s plenty to take home too! Don’t miss shopping at their annual holiday market, which features pottery, glassware, jewelry, artworks, and other one-of-a-kind treasures handcrafted by dozens of regional artists.
Superior Sipping (and Shopping!)
Whew! After all that shopping, give yourself a break at one of Michigan City’s craft breweries or a relaxing winery for great libations and food. They are great places to pick up some handcrafted beer or wine to wrap and put under the tree.
Shady Creek Winery – Sample at the tasting bar and then shop for award-winning wines and other presents in the gift area of this expansive facility located on 20 acres near Lake Michigan. Share a plate of fresh flatbread, sandwiches, or pizza, paired with a glass of wine under a soaring ceiling near a cozy fireplace. Many of the wines carry names reminiscent of Lake Michigan, such as Beach Glass White and Sweet Sunrise Red.
Burn’Em Brewing – To-go beer with those crazy labels, sweatshirts with the Burn’Em logo, and other paraphernalia might be just the ticket as presents for the beer lovers in your life. What could be more perfect for a winter holiday than a brew called Long John’s On? While you ponder, enjoy one of those in-house specialties, from pale ales to Irish stout and a changing array of seasonal brews. Take time to relax, sip and savor food from a rotating snack food menu.
Zorn Brew Works – Tired from all that shopping? Stop in for a delicious meal and a handcrafted beer or hard seltzer in this beautiful brick-walled space that pays tribute to an 1871 neighborhood Brewmeister named Philip Zorn. Today, Zorn is known for an array of brews from pale ales to the popular Elston Grove Oatmeal Stout, plus some higher ABV beers perfect for the winter season. Take some home to enjoy with your guests during the holidays.
Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant – Award-winning brews pair with inventive entrees and upscale pub food in a classy brewpub setting, featuring great beers with fun names such as the IPA Shoddy Dock or hearty Singing Sands that reflect the location near Lake Michigan. It’s a perfect place to end your day of shopping and pick up a gift certificate for someone special on your Christmas list.
Make it a Weekend!
With so many options for gift buying, plan an overnight or weekend. LaPorte County is filled with all kinds of options for a stay, including boutique hotels, bed-and-breakfast inns, vacation home rentals, and national chain hotels. Check them out at www.michigancitylaporte.com/lodging-page/ and www.michigancitylaporte.com/lodging_category/online-vacation-homes/.