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30 Free Things to Do

Save some cash while enjoying family and friends with our list of 30 free things to do in Northwest Indiana. 

Get Active

 

Northwest Indiana Bike Trails

1. Bike Trails

The South Shore has hundreds of miles of bike trails, traveling along the lakeshore and through nature as well as paved paths through woods and downtowns.

2. Sledding

Sled down the hills at Lost Marsh Golf Course or Lake County Fairgrounds.

play video Bark Side of the Dune - Gabis Arboretum

Bark Side of the Dune - Trails at Gabis Arboretum

3. Hiking

The South Shore is home to many hiking trails at the Indiana Dunes and throughout the many parks in the area.

Skate Park Munster

4. Skateboarding

Hone your skate boarding skills at the many skate parks in the area.

Kayaking Northwest Indiana

5. Kayaking

Launch your kayak on Wolf Lake, along the Kankakee River or Lake Michigan.

Oak Ridge Prairie County Park

6. Parks

Exhaust the kids at the many city and county parks throughout the South Shore.

Arts & Culture
 

Indiana Welcome Center Gallery

7. Art Galleries and Exhibits

View the works of national and local artists at the galleries and exhibit halls, ranging from photography to paintings to sculpture.

Shrine of Christ's Passion

8. The Shrine of Christ's Passion

Journey through The Shrine of Christ's Passion in St. John, a half-mile walking path featuring life-size bronze statues.

South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail

9. South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail

Follow Indiana’s role in the Civil War and honor those that made the sacrifice along northwest Indiana’s Civil War trail.

10. Veterans Memorial

Pay your respects to veterans at Community Veterans Memorial in Munster. The memorial sits on 6.5 acres and leads visitors on a historic journey.

Flick at Indiana Welcome Center

11. Rotblatt-Amrany Trail

Follow the Rotblatt-Amrany Trail to see the studio's amazing bronze creations including "The Spirit" of Michael Jordan in Chicago and "Flick" stuck to a flagpole in Hammond, a character from the "A Christmas Story" movie.

A Christmas Story Comes Home

12. "A Christmas Story" Comes Home

Get into the holiday spirit at the "A Christmas Story" Comes Home Exhibit, every November and December at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.

Indoor Activities
 

13. Albanese Candy

Entertain your sweet tooth with free tastings and a tour of the candy factory in Hobart

Cabela's Hammond

14. Cabela’s

Check out the lifelike taxidermy, waterfall and local fish swimming in the aquarium at Cabela’s. The store also offers free seminars and events throughout the year.

Carpenter Creek Cellars

15. Wine Tastings

Stop in at Carpenter Creek Cellars in Remington for a free wine tasting. When they're not too busy, they offer free tours as well!

Enjoy the Outdoors
 

Indiana Dunes State Park - Indiana DNR

16. Beaches

Relax on the beaches from Whiting to Michigan City. Many of the beaches do not charge entry fees, including most of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore beaches. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Fishing Oak Ridge Prairie

17. Fishing

Fish off the pier at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk or head out to LaSalle or Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Areas. See our top 10 fishing spots here.

18. Sandhill Cranes

Connect with nature watching the sandhill cranes fall migration every fall at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area.

Shelf Ice at Indiana Dunes

19. Shelf Ice

In the winter, discover the beautiful shelf ice on Lake Michigan, a natural occurrence that mimics the landscape of arctic regions. Find safe locations to view here.

Prairie-Warbler-bird-credit-Indiana-Dunes-State-Park1

20. Birding

Watch for an amazing variety of birds at places like the Grand Kankakee Marsh, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary.

Maple Sugar Time

21. Maple Syrup Time

Help tap the trees in early March during the maple syrup season at Deep River County Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Events
 

Indiana Dunes Symphony Concert

22. Events at the Indiana Dunes

Almost all of the events at the National Lakeshore and State Park are free. There is a small parking fee at the State Park.

Community Nights at RailCats

23. Community Nights at RailCats

View the RailCats website for Community Night baseball games, when you can pick up free tickets at local businesses.

Deep River Grinders baseball

24. Vintage Baseball

Step back in time with a Deep River Grinders or Munster Centennials vintage baseball game, playing according to rules written in 1858, when courtesy prevailed on and off the playing field.

Farmers Market produce

25. Farmers’ Markets

Wander the local farmers’ markets all over Northwest Indiana. Plus many of the markets have live entertainment to enjoy.

First Friday Art Walk

26. First Friday Art Walk

Discover the shops and artwork in downtown Michigan City with their monthly First Friday Art Walk.

Valparaiso Summer Rhapsody Music Festival

27. Summer Symphonies

Sit back and relax during the summer symphony performances.

Pierogi Fest Parade

28. Parades Throughout the Year

Parades are not just for the 4th of July. Find them on St. Patrick’s Day, Labor Day and at the annual Popcorn Festival and Pierogi Fest ®, too.

Cedar Lake Summerfest

29. Festivals with Free Admission

Many of the local festivals offer free admission to enjoy live entertainment, browsing the vendors, people watch and more.

Northwest Indiana Car Cruises

30. Car Cruises Around the Region

Find a variety of classic beauties at the car cruise nights in downtown Crown Point and Whiting.

Check out our events calendar for these and more free events!
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