Lake Michigan’s sparkling waters lap the shore of this vibrant community where non-stop activity abounds. A glorious expanse of prime beach invites swimming, boating and beachcombing right next to Washington Park, an ideal spot to retreat from the sand for a bit and enjoy a tree-shaded picnic. Yachts and other watercraft bob in the marinas and several restaurants provide expansive views along with menus that focus on the lake’s bounty.
Fishing charters head out on excursions that give visitors a chance to cast their lines for Coho salmon, trout and other lake prizes. The oldest remaining working lighthouse in Indiana stands guard along the shore, a reminder of Michigan City’s historic past. Its predecessor, the Old Michigan City Light, is now a museum where you can take a self-guided tour.
In the summer, the city plays host to the award-winning Great Lakes Grand Prix, where some of the world’s fastest and most colorful powerboats race across the lake, thrilling crowds gathered along the shore. It’s the city’s largest festival and includes numerous events throughout the weekend before the big race begins.
You don’t have to wander far from the beach to explore some of this city’s other treasures. Visit some 90 species of animals from all over the world at the Washington Park Zoo or view high-quality works of art both indoors and out at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts located next to the lake. A few blocks away, shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants fill the Uptown Arts District, where outdoor sculptures also are on display. The whole area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. History comes to life on a tour of the Barker Mansion, an 1857 beauty that was once the home of John H. Barker, a railroad industrialist and philanthropist. It’s filled with art and opulent décor.
Shopping is a pleasure at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, where more than 100 stores feature top- brands at phenomenal prices, all in a village-like setting. The Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa provides non-stop gaming, entertainment and pampering in a glistening facility that draws top marks from visitors.
Delicious food abounds in Michigan City, with everything from grass-fed steaks and chops and inventive fare at the hip Fiddlehead to upscale burgers, appetizers, and craft beer at Shoreline Brewery to hot dogs served by carhops at the old-fashioned Carlson’s Drive-in. Cool off with a sundae at longtime favorite Bubbles Ice Cream Parlor or at popular upstart Cabo’s Ice Cream for creamy handmade ice cream plus award-winning tacos.
Don’t miss out on Michigan City’s quieter side when you visit. Sip a glass of wine by the fireside at Shady Creek Winery or pick your own apples at Radke’s Orchard, both friendly, family-owned operations. Roam more than 100 acres of woods and trails at Friendship Botanic Gardens. Take in a show when the Footlight Players take the stage at the longtime Footlight Theatre. At the end of the day, you’ll find lodging options that range from top name hotels with pools and amenities to cozy inns and bed and breakfasts.