Discover Gary, Indiana!
Hidden Treasures in Gary!
A blue-collar city on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, built on the hard work done in its once prosperous steel mills, Gary’s main claim to fame now is as the birthplace of the Jackson 5. Though the city isn’t what it was in its prime, you can still find plenty of gems that should definitely not be missed.
TOP THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN GARY
Visit the Jackson home
Hike West Beach – Indiana Dunes National Park
Explore for acres in Marquette Park
Catch some sun at Lake Street Beach
Take in the view and some history at Gary Aquatorium
Cheer for the Gary Southshore Railcats
Roll the dice at the Majestic Star Casino
Drink up at 18th Street Brewery
Be humbled by Gary’s abandoned architecture
WILD IN THE HEART OF GARY
Marquette Park is something that has to be seen to be believed. Around 200 acres of dunes, wetlands, and oak savannah surround a large manmade lagoon. Lake Street Beach spans over a mile of Lake Michigan’s shore. If it weren’t for the giant steel mills to the West, you could almost forget that all of this natural beauty lies within the city’s limits. And there’s more beauty to be had here. Connected to Marquette park is the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, and nearby, spanning just outside the city is West Beach-Indiana dunes National Park, giving you a massive stretch of great-outdoors to admire without the long drive to get there. What other city can boast that?
The park isn’t all wilderness, either. Each park is studded with many carefully planned facilities to make your stay more enjoyable, from picnic areas to fishing overlooks. On the grounds of Marquette Park is the stunning Aquatorium, which is an admittedly made up word meaning “a place to view water,” according to its caretakers. This pavilion and viewing station boasts a number of large murals which line the walls of this beautiful building and detail the history of Octave Chanute, who played a large role in aviation’s early days. If you call ahead, you can also get in to see the building’s museum dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen, curated by one of its living members.
With miles of wilderness trails, diverse ecosystems and beautifully maintained pavilion and grounds, you’ll definitely want to step into this wild land, just off of the city’s Miller Beach neighborhood, and explore.
FROM “GO TEAM GO” TO “LUCK BE A LADY”
If you’re the type to appreciate wilderness more from a distance, don’t worry, Gary has something for you as well. How about some peanuts and Cracker Jacks? You’ll root root root for Gary’s home team baseball league, the Railcats in the Steel Yard, a stadium built by the founder of Gary, United States Steel. Have a hotdog and catch a homerun ball while enjoying America’s greatest pastime.
In the evening, you might want to play a hand of cards or perhaps head to the lounge and relax with a dry martini. Either distraction and more besides can be had at the Majestic Star Casino, a gambling ship complete with a hotel, a number of restaurants and of course a whole lot of fun. Roll the dice and come up a winner here.
DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT…
This list of Gary’s attractions wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the most famous family to come out of Gary, the Jacksons. Visit the Jackson’s family home, where they lived before the fame. For fans, a visit here is a must. Snap a picture and leave with a memory.
Another memory you might want to collect can be found at the 18th street brewery, a food and drink location voted best brewpub in 2019 by USA Today, which features the beer that has made 18th street the second largest brewery in Northwest Indiana.
Of course, beer or no beer, there’s the elephant in the room to discuss when it comes to Gary. All those abandoned buildings. As the site where the History channel’s series Life After People was filmed, Gary has its fair share of them, to be sure. Its fate was tied to the Steel business, and when that dried up, Gary began to as well, losing nearly half its population. They may be a bit scary, but some of the architecture of these building is still grand, even in disrepair, and a tour of these sites can be beautiful, if a bit sad. Taking a look around here is definitely a unique experience.
The bottom line? Keep an open mind when it comes to Gary. See for yourself what it has to offer. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
For more travel information about Gary, Indiana, please contact this tourism resource:
City of Gary
401 Broadway, Suite 102
Gary, IN 46402
Southshore Convention & Visitors Authority
7770 Corinne Drive
Hammond, IN 46323