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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

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.

3. Parks

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

4. Skateboarding

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

Kayaking Northwest Indiana

5. Kayaking

Launch your kayak on the waters of Wolf Lake in Hammond, along the Kankakee River or Lake Michigan.

6. Hiking

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

 

Arts & Culture

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

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. Community 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.

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.

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. 

14. Cabela’s

Check out the lifelike taxidermy, waterfall and local fish swimming in the aquarium at Cabela’s.

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

16. Beaches

Relax on the beaches from Whiting to Michigan City, Ind. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

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. Find safe locations to view here.

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

22. Indiana Dunes Events

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.

24. Vintage Baseball

Step back in time with a Deep River Grinders or Munster Centennials vintage baseball game.

Farmers Market produce

25. Farmers’ Markets

Wander the local farmers’ markets and enjoy the live entertainment that some markets include.

26. First Friday Art Walk

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

Pierogi Fest Parade

27. Parades

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.

28. Festivals with Free Admission

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

29. Car Cruises

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

Valparaiso Summer Rhapsody Music Festival

30. Summer Symphonies

Sit back and relax during the summer symphony performances.

  • Summer Rhapsody Music Festival, Central Park Plaza, Valparaiso
  • South Shore Summer Music Festival, throughout Northwest Indiana
  • Summer with the Symphony, Lakefront Park, Whiting
Check out our events calendar for these and more free events!
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