Thanksgiving week is full of activities between cooking, eating and starting your holiday shopping. But if you’re looking for more to do this week – either for grown up fun, entertaining visiting friends and family or just something to keep the kids busy during the long weekend – we got you covered!

Thanksgiving Day Brunches and Buffets

Center for Visual & Performing Arts Brunch


If your family would prefer for someone else to do the cooking on Thanksgiving, the Region is happy to oblige! Below you’ll find some of the places serving brunches or buffets on Thanksgiving:

Work off that Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey Walk at Friendship Botanic Gardens

If you want to burn off the calories from your meal, we have a couple of options for you:

  • Friendship Botanic Gardens in Michigan City has a Native American Celebration and Thanksgiving Day Turkey Walk where you can embark on a turkey count scavenger hunt and view their Native American Heritage Garden where demonstrations will be taking place.
  • Thanksgiving morning, join in the Pumpkin Plod 10k/5k in the town of Highland.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park is offering a Turkey Trot Hike on Saturday to look for wild turkey and other wildlife.
  • Opt Outside Black Friday Evening Hike – Skip the shopping and #OptOutside at the Gibson Woods Nature Preserve with a naturalist-led hike. This hike starts at 4:30 and is great for ages 5+. Must pre-register here.

Get Started Holiday Shopping

If you prefer to walk while starting some of your Christmas shopping, here are a few suggestions:

  • Head out to Art Barn School of Art in Valparaiso to check out their Holiday Gift Gallery Friday or Saturday.
  • The town of Chesterton’s European Market has a special Hometown Holiday Market on Saturday. Enjoy the market, carriage rides, retail and restaurant open houses, tree lighting and Christmas parade.
  • In Michigan City, Lubeznik Center for the Arts has their Holiday Artisan Market all weekend and you can grab more gifts nearby at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets.
  • City of Crown Point's Bulldog Park will be filled with vendors throughout for their annual Winter Market on Saturday.
  • Find some other unique shopping spots here on our blog.

Thanksgiving Weekend Events

Little Ones with Santa - Indiana Welcome Center

Over the weekend there are plenty of other events for you and your family to enjoy. Below are just a few of those!

  • Spend some time with Santa at the annual “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit in Hammond. There is also a gift shop with a large selection of unique gifts and "A Christmas Story" merchandise.
  • Visit the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting this weekend for all kinds of events. Take advantage of 1/2 Off Friday and learn all about becoming a mascot. It will also be Black Friday at the Mascot Mart from 6-10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday enjoy $44 Holiday Passports for 4 with admission, hot chocolate bar and more. Sunday small shoppers can shop the Secret Santa Shop for family and friends.
  • A Model Train Show is at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point featuring more than 180 dealer tables Saturday and Sunday.

More Things to Do with the Family

Ice Skating at Deep River Waterpark

Still need more to do? Alright, here are some other ideas to keep the family busy this weekend:

  • Ice Skating – Sharpen your skills at Midwest Training and Ice in Dyer, Deep River Waterpark in Crown Point or at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso.
  • The "Miracle" of Theater – Choose between "White Christmas" at Theatre at the Center, "Meredith Willson's A Miracle on 34th Street the Musical" at Memorial Opera House, "A Christmas Carol" at 4th Street Theatre, or either "The Santaland Diaries" or "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at Chicago Street Theatre.
  • Day at the Farm – If you have a whole day to entertain family, head down to Fair Oaks Farms to one or more of their adventures and delicious meal options.
  • Farmhouse Restaurant is hosting Friendsgiving Harvest Dinners November 21 and 27, 2019. Enjoy a special menu presented by Executive Chef Jorge.

For the 21 and Over Crowd - Black Wednesdays and Fridays


The local breweries and wineries are prepared to start your holiday off right with specials and entertainment the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on Black Friday.

Click here to read our blog on Black Wednesday and Black Friday Beer and Wine Releases and Events.


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