Gary is located just 40 minutes south-each of Chicago on the south shore of beautiful Lake Michigan. If you are looking for a great place to enjoy miles of beach and see some wonderful sand dunes, this is a great place to add to your wish-list. Marquette Park and Miller beach are wonderful for all ages, offering a variety of activities besides simply enjoying the beach. While you are in the area you can stop by the aviation museum at the Gary Aquatorium. Historic attractions include the Michael Jackson Family Home and the Cathedral of the Holy Angels. The Indiana Dunes National Park is an ecological gem where you can enjoy hiking, birding and much more. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Gary Aquatorium, Gary, IN

Gary Aquatorium, Gary, IN
© Gary Aquatorium

Designed and constructed in 1921, the Gary Aquatorium in Marquette Park is significant in that it is one of the earliest examples of the use of precast concrete modular construction. The building started out as a bathhouse/shower room called the Lakefront Park Bathhouse but now houses an aviation museum honoring the French engineer and aviation pioneer, Octave Chanute. Here you can learn about the very earliest discoveries of the wonders of flight and also learn about the Tuskagee Airmen, a group of military pilots who played a vital part in WWII. The aquatorium is also a unique venue for weddings and other special events.

Gary Aquatorium, 6918 Oak Avenue, Gary, IN 46403, Phone: 219-938-1986

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2.Marquette Park, Gary, Indiana

Marquette Park, Gary, Indiana
© Marquette Park

Beautifully nestled along the south shore of Lake Michigan, Marquette Park includes a wonderful 1.4 mile white sand beach, several inland ponds, wetlands, an inland lagoon and remnants of an oak savanna. The park is entirely surrounded by the Indiana Dunes National Park and the entire area is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. You can go hiking through the oak forests or enjoy canoeing and kayaking, as well as fishing in the lagoon. There are plenty of birds to observe and children will love the soft sandy beach and the children’s playground. On a clear day the beach offers great views of the Chicago skyline.

Marquette Park, 598 N. Grand Boulevard, Gary, IN 46403, Phone: 219-938-7362

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3.The Cathedral of the Holy Angels

The Cathedral of the Holy Angels
© The Cathedral of the Holy Angels

An excellent attraction for anyone interested in architecture and history, the Cathedral of the Holy Angels has an interesting history. The Holy Angel Parish was originally established in Gary in 1906 and held services in a local tavern for many years. The first church was built on the site in 1909, together with a school. However, a larger church was soon required and the impressive structure you see today was built in the Gothic Revival style in the late 1940’s. The interior of the cathedral is impressive, featuring a travertine marble baptismal pool and an elaborate square marble altar in the transept.

The Cathedral of the Holy Angels, 640 Tyler Street, Gary, IN 46402, Phone: 219-882-6079

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4.Things to Do in Gary, Indiana: Big Daddy’s BBQ

Things to Do in Gary, Indiana: Big Daddy’s BBQ
© Big Daddy’s BBQ

Big Daddy’s BBQ started out about 12 years ago with a single BBQ in the Market City Flea Market. People loved it. In fact, people loved it so much that in a few years the market stall had evolved into a successful BBQ restaurant which now boasts three branches. On the BBQ you will find a delicious selection of your favorite meats including ribs and tips, sausages, chicken, turkey and mouth-watering combos. These are served in various sizes to suit all appetites and come with your choice of sides. Sandwiches filled with melt-in-the-mouth BBQ meats are also popular and there are a few sweet treats to round off the deal.

Big Daddy’s BBQ, 4213 Cleveland St, Gary, IN 46408, Phone: 219-888-9592

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5.Things to Do in Gary, Indiana: The Beach Cafe

Things to Do in Gary, Indiana: The Beach Cafe
© The Beach Café

Gary locals are excited to have the Beach Café up and running again after a lengthy closure. The new version of the Café is family friendly and family owned - Mama Aga Nikolaj takes care of all the cooking. The interior of the restaurant is warm and welcoming featuring Tuscan ochre-colored walls and lots of wood, stone and brick. There is also a charming outdoor patio for balmy summer beach days. You can choose from a large selection of appetizers including both delicious vegetable and seafood starters. These are followed by soups and salads and a very large selection of entrees including steaks, seafood, pasta, burgers and their signature Boned and Buttered Lake Perch.

The Beach Café, 903 N. Shelby Street, Gary, IN 46403, Phone: 219-938-1100

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5 Best Things to Do in Gary, Indiana

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