Featured image courtesy of Paul Kemiel
There is always something fun to do in LaPorte County, and the team at Visit Michigan City LaPorte opens its door to all, welcoming locals and visitors to all upcoming events. Established in 2009 as the brand name of the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, the organization works to enhance economic growth through area attractions and activities.
Visit Michigan City LaPorte’s team, headed up by CEO Jack Arnett, gets the word out through the organization’s website events calendar, social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), regional website (Indiana’s CoolNorth.com), state website (VisitIndiana.com) and the Western Michigan Tourist Association (wmta.org) calendar. The official visitor information center is conveniently located in Marquette Mall and is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Professional and friendly staff at the visitor information center can assist with questions and provide print versions of their brochures and other publications related to destinations including LaPorte County.
Michigan City and LaPorte are top destinations in Northern Indiana, with everything visitors need for the perfect weekend couples’ or family getaway that is both convenient and affordable, according to team member Linda Simmons, Director of Marketing at Visit Michigan City LaPorte.
“We have something for everyone all year round,” said Simmons. “Our Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park offers four seasons of activities that are fun for everyone. Visitors can also enjoy the pleasures of small rural towns, marinas, agri-heritage attractions, performing arts events, historical museums and sporting competitions when they’re in the area as well.”
Shopping ranges from the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlet mall to quaint downtown areas in LaPorte and Michigan City, featuring specialty shops, boutiques and antique stores. There are plenty of art galleries for browsing and finding treasures.
Some of the many attractions include Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, Washington Park Zoo, Friendship Botanic Gardens, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, LaPorte County Historical Society and Old Lighthouse museums. Numerous orchards, breweries and wineries are waiting to be discovered year-round, and seasonal farmer’s markets are also an option for those visiting between May and October as well. The historic Barker Mansion is excited to re-open in December for tours and the unveiling of the new permanent exhibit, the Haskell and Barker Car Company and the Legacy of Freight. These exhibits will take you through Michigan City from the 1830s to the 1900s. The exhibit is a tribute to The Haskell and Barker factory and the workers through state-of-the-art visual displays. The Barker Mansion will officially open in the summer of 2023. For more information on the Barker Mansion, visit barkermansion.org.
Shady Creek Winery is another popular destination located in Michigan City. Sitting on over 20 acres of land, the winery recently expanded its footprint to include a redefined backyard seating area, wine shop, upstairs outdoor patio deck, event center , and a brand new wine production facility. The winery has continued to expand its offerings which now includes over 30 wines, frozen wine slushies, a full food menu, and Dry Hard Cider. Their goal is to combine first class wine and food in the heart of the Midwest to introduce or further enhance a love of wine to their guests. For more information on Shady Creek Winery, visit shadycreekwinery.com.
Visitors then have the option to choose between a wide variety of restaurants to create their own unique culinary experiences. There are fine dining steakhouses and charming bistros, cafes and coffeehouses, waterside bars and grills to sweet shops, pizzerias and burger spots.
A few of the upcoming fall/winter activities the Visit Michigan City LaPorte team recommendations include:
LaPorte’s Downtown Spooktacular: Sat, Oct 8
Franklinstein Horror Fest: Fri, Oct 14
Hesston Ghost Train: Sat/Sun, Oct 15 & 16, Oct 22 & 23, Oct 29 & 30
Haunted Trails & Family Fall Fest: Sun, Oct 16
Boo at the Zoo: Sat, Oct 22
LaPour Brew & Wine Fest: Sat, Nov 12
LaPorte Santa Parade: Sat, Nov 26
Michigan City Festival of Lights: Sat, Dec 3 thru Sun, Jan 8
Santa’s Candy Cane Express: Sat/Sun, Dec 3 & 4, Dec 10 & 11
Holiday at the Pops: Sat, Dec 10
Sparkle & Joy Holiday Light Show:Fri/Sat/Sun, Dec 16, 17, 18
Hoop fans can look to Visit Michigan City LaPorte for details on the upcoming U.S. Marines National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) Invitational from January 5-7, 2023 in LaPorte. The NIBC is a national high school league basketball tournament that will take place at the LaPorte Civic Auditorium.
To make it easy and more accessible to get to all these events and activities, Express Air Coach shuttle is now the hub for pick-up and drop-off passengers at O’Hare and Midway Airports from the visitors center location at Marquette Mall.
Express Air Coach is now starting pickups at the visitors center with shuttle service to both Midway and O’Hare airports. The transportation service also picks up visitors to the Northwest Indiana area from the Chicago airports and shuttles them to the visitor information center in Marquette Mall as its final stop.
“People do need to go online to book their tickets and prepay,” Simmons said. “So far, it has been very successful. I think once the holidays are here, it will be even more popular. Pickups are scheduled three times per day. We have a good partnership with Express Air Coach and people love it! I think it will just get bigger and better as more people know about it.”
On-line reservations can be made at expressaircoach.com prior to taking the bus and for more information.
For more information about upcoming events and activities in Michigan City and La Porte, contact the team at Visit Michigan City LaPorte, Marquette Mall, 4073 S. Franklin Street, Michigan City, IN 46360-7328, 219-872-5055 or online, michigancitylaporte.com.