As with most things in 2020, Thanksgiving week happenings are different this year. But just because the usual events have been canceled doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of fun things to do with your household in Northwest Indiana!

Cowles Bog Trail in Fall

Outdoor Activities

The great outdoors in Northwest Indiana is open and ready to see you this fall week in November! If you're looking for an easy trail or walk to get out of the house for awhile, we've recently put together a blog for the lazy hiker. Enjoy the autumn landscapes at Friendship Botanic Gardens and the Indiana Dunes Great Marsh Trail, or spend some time strolling the streets of Rensselaer to check out art by muralists from around the world.

Bison viewing at Kankakee Sands

Another location to hike mentioned in the blog is Kankakee Sands, where you'll also find a herd of roaming bison! The bison were introduced to the area in 2016 and the herd has grown since then. A viewing area is set up just off of US Highway 41. The staff suggest planning to stay for a few hours. Start at the viewing area and you might get a good sighting. If not, drive around the pasture. If you still aren’t able to see the bison, maybe take that hike along a trail for an hour or two, and then return to the viewing area to try again.

Speaking of wildlife viewing, the number of Sandhill Cranes migrating to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area is almost at its annual peak (more than 15,000 sighted recently!). Grab your binoculars and head out to the elevated platform to watch the cranes enjoy spending the holiday week with each other.


Deep River Waterpark is scheduled to open their plaza for its annual ice skating season starting November 27, 2020, weather permitting. In the evenings, the plaza brightens up with festive seasonal lighting.

Fair Oaks Holiday Lights

Celebrate the Holidays

Starting November 27, 2020 Fair Oaks Farms is putting together a number of fun ways to enjoy the holidays while social distancing. Take a stroll through their Holiday Lights set up along their nature path with all the trees and tractors lit up. They have warming stations where you can enjoy bonfires, s'mores and hot chocolate. You can purchase your tickets at their Holiday Market where you can also pick up some fresh baked goods and festive décor. Admission to Holiday Lights is $10/person.

Plan a lunch or dinner with your household in their private, heated igloos right in The Farmhouse Restaurant's backyard. Reservations are for two-hour increments at $100 and sit up to 6 people.

Make a mini-vacation out of it with a stay at the on-site Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott.

Santa Parade in Crown Point

Crown Point's Santa Parade will work a little different this year. Santa will be flying in by helicopter (weather permitting) to Pointe Plaza on N. Main St. He'll then jump on Molley the Trolley and he and Mrs. Clause will parade through the city. If you plan to attend the landing, the city asks that you remain in your vehicle. See the parade route here.

Christmas Tyme Lights

Harvest Tyme Pumpkin Patch in Lowell is trying something new this year - a drive-thru, half-mile long Christmas Tyme Lights display starting on November 27, 2020. Make your reservation on their website for $20 per car or the cost is $25 at the gate. Gourmet hot chocolate and specialty cookies are also available for purchase to enjoy.

eMber dining domes

Outdoor Dining Options

There are a number of other region restaurants getting their patios ready for heated, outdoor dining as an alternative to their indoor spaces.

eMbers Station in Rensselaer has heated, private domes similar to Fair Oaks available for reservation on their pavilion. Reservations may be for 2-6 people. The $25 reservation fee goes towards the final bill. If the bill does not exceed $100, the final bill will be rounded to that. They have special food and drink packages available for your evening out, too.

Byway Brewing in Hammond has set up outdoor heaters and added clear vinyl panels to their patio pergolas for their customers who prefer to eat and drink outdoors.

Bartlett's Cocktail Kits

Cocktail Kits To-Go

Add some signature drinks from Bartlett's Fish Camp in Michigan City to your holiday meal with their cocktails to-go! You can choose between their famous bloody mary, pineapple jalapeño mojito, margarita or blackberry smash. Each kit makes 2-3 cocktails. Reserve your drinks by calling them at 219-879-9544.

However you decide to fill your Thanksgiving Week along the south shore of Lake Michigan, stay safe and we hope you enjoy it!