The town of Valparaiso, Indiana is a vibrant college town located in the northwestern part of the state, around fifty miles from bustling Chicago. It’s also only around fifteen miles from the Indiana Dunes National Seashore. With a name that means “Vale of Paradise,” the town is home to historic theaters, scenic and beautiful gardens, arts, delicious food, and the Valparaiso University. No matter which season it is, Valparaiso offers a wide variety of things to do for all ages, including several festivals and events throughout the year.

We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Taltree Arboretum and Gardens

Taltree Arboretum and Gardens

The Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, also known as the Gabis Arboretum, is a non-profit with a dedication to the preservation of the environment, conservation of natural spaces for visitors to enjoy, and education of the general public. Set on 330 acres of oak preserve, the arboretum includes formal gardens, prairie, wetlands, and restored woodlands. Open on the weekends, the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens also host a variety of events, exhibits, and public classes throughout the year. The grounds feature around six miles of trails for hiking, diverse landscapes, an intricate Railway Garden, and even animals within the Children’s Garden.

450 W 100 N, Valparaiso, IN 46385, Phone: 219-462-0025

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2.Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, IN

Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, IN
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The Memorial Opera House is a historic and beautiful opera house in Valparaiso originally built by the Grand Army of the Republic’s local chapter back in the year 1893. This gorgeous hall was constructed as a tribute to the Union sailors and soldiers who fought during the Civil War, as well as a community resource. Visitors can tour the Memorial Opera House from 10:00am until 2:00pm, Monday to Friday. The red brick, two-story historic building puts on numerous theatrical productions and events, and has played host to many notable people like Teddy Roosevelt, the Marx brothers, and John Phillips Sousa.

104 Indiana Ave, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-548-9137

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3.Chicago Street Theatre, Valparaiso, Indiana

Chicago Street Theatre, Valparaiso, Indiana
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The Chicago Street Theatre has celebrated more than sixty seasons of live theatre productions for the Valparaiso community and the surrounding northwest Indiana region. Originally performing at the Memorial Opera House, the award-winning theater company started its new chapter when they bought the Chicago Street Theatre in 1997, named for the street on which it is located. The theater bathrooms, auditorium, and lobby all underwent extensive renovations that were finished in 2008. Today, the theatre company puts on a variety of different shows every season, such as classics, new works, comedies, musicals, dramas, and family-oriented productions.

154 W Chicago St, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-464-1636

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4.Porter County Museum, Valparaiso, Indiana

Porter County Museum, Valparaiso, Indiana
© Porter County Museum

Formerly the local jail and sheriff’s residence of Valparaiso, the Porter County Museum showcases the most extensive collection of the area’s treasure and history in northern Indiana. The exhibits on display throughout the museum change on a regular basis, offering something new for visitors to explore and learn. The award-winning museum was founded in 1916 and is open year-round to the public, free of charge. It’s also the oldest institution devoted to Porter County’s culture and history. The Porter County Museum offers something for visitors of all ages, even exhibits for children with its interactive, hands-on displays.

153 Franklin St, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-465-3595

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5.Ricochet Tacos, Valparaiso, Indiana

Ricochet Tacos, Valparaiso, Indiana
© Ricochet Tacos

Ricochet Tacos in the vibrant town of Valparaiso, Indiana aims to switch things up and make customers forget everything they knew about tacos. A result of a vision of creating the best in taste and quality, the local eatery is a New American casual restaurant that specializes in gourmet tacos featuring high quality and fresh ingredients. Ricochet Tacos serves unassuming tacos boasting complex flavor profiles from a thoughtfully delivered and creative limited menu.

55 Franklin St, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-531-8888

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6.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Tony's Place

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Tony's Place
© Tony's Place

The origins of Tony’s Place can be traced back to the city of Naples, Italy more than one hundred years ago. In Naples, a family tradition of using wood burning bakery ovens began. After coming to New York City, a family shop was opened, followed by a second. Tony’s eventually made it to Valparaiso, Indiana in 1955, where the restaurant was the first pizza place to open in town and remains today as one of the finest pizza restaurants in the region. The menu at Tony’s Place today consists of Tony’s Original Pizza,Tony’s Delicious Deep Dish Pizza and many fine Italian dishes.

218 E Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-464-1018

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7.Things to Do Near Me: Lincoln Flats, Valparaiso, Indiana

Things to Do Near Me: Lincoln Flats, Valparaiso, Indiana
© Lincoln Flats

Lincoln Flats brings innovative cuisine; top-notch spirits, beers, and wines; and excellent service to the community of Valparaiso, all offered within a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. The locally owned and operated restaurant invites everyone in town to “eat, drink, and gather.” Lincoln Flats is known throughout the area for offering excellent quality food with a nice presentation and plenty of flavor. The restaurant is open for dinner starting at 4:00pm and for lunch and dinner on Saturdays starting around noon. Since Lincoln Flats is a bit on the small side, it’s recommended to make a reservation.

1 Napoleon St, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-510-5046

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8.Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso, Indiana

Chapel of the Resurrection, Valparaiso, Indiana
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The Chapel of the Resurrection in the college town of Valparaiso, Indiana is a mid-century chapel featuring bold architectural elements. The church has become a symbol of the Lutheran heritage of Indiana. Built in 1959, the Chapel of the Resurrection is a towering focal point of the suburban campus of Valparaiso University and is the country’s largest collegiate chapel, becoming a symbol of the university and the northwestern Indiana region recognized nationwide. The chapel features high ceilings and three floor-to-ceiling stained glass walls, offering a light-filled, dazzling, and colorful view upon entering the Chapel of the Resurrection.

1600 Chapel Dr, Valparaiso, IN 46383, Phone: 219-464-5093

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9.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Central Park Plaza

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Central Park Plaza
© Central Park Plaza

What was once a parking lot is now one of the most vibrant community spaces in Valparaiso, Indiana. Bringing vitality to the busy downtown area, Central Park Plaza is home to 2.5 acres of space with busy streets such as Lincolnway in the north and Indiana Avenue to the south. The park plays host to numerous events throughout the year such as concerts, public fitness classes, farmers’ markets, and more. Additionally, the park is great walking paths and a ton of space to stretch out and lounge around under the sun. During the winter months, Central Park Plaza sets up a huge skating rink that is open to the public.

68 Lafayette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 219-548-4888

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10.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Ogden Gardens Park

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Ogden Gardens Park
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Locals and visitors alike will find a gorgeous and relaxing getaway from the busyness of the city when they visit Ogden Gardens Park. Home to 4 beautiful acres of green space, Ogden Gardens features a stunning floral display and gardens which are home to rode gardens, shrub beds, perennials, annual displays, and a wide variety of trees. See magnificent native and ornamental trees as you stroll around the park’s pathways, rest at a picturesque gazebo in the center of the park, or visit the park’s popular Japanese Garden. Within the Japanese Garden, there is a teahouse to see as well as a 22,000-gallon koi pond.

451 Harrison Boulevard, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383

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11.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Sunset Hill Farm County Park

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Sunset Hill Farm County Park
© maciek prejzner EyeEm/

Looking for some of the best recreational activities and locations that Porter County has to offer/ Head to the Sunset Hill Farm County Park where visitors can enjoy a variety of trails, camps, fitness events, and festivals all year round. The Sunset Hill Farm County Park is great for all lovers of the outdoors. Birdwatchers can see beautiful species soaring through the skies, while runners and hikers can explore the many different kinds of trails that the park has to offer. With a whopping 238 acres of land to explore, the fun is guaranteed to be endless. For first-time visitors, the park’s Horton Family Children’s Education Center is a must-visit.

775 N. Meridian Road, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 219-465-3586

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12.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Moraine Nature Preserve

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Moraine Nature Preserve
© Hans/

At Moraine Nature Preserve, avid explorers and outdoor-loving individuals can explore a gorgeous preserve that is blessed with rolling and rugged landscapes. Designated a State Nature Preserve first in 1971 and then again in 1995, the Moraine Nature Preserve is phenomenal and memorable with its mix of sand, gravel, and soil deposits. Trek through terrain with deep-wooded gorges, climb steep rides and navigate trails along rolling hills for as far as your legs and endurance will take you. While there aren’t any amenities in the preserve, the ecosystem and its stunning oak-hickory forest remnants are more than enough to make it worthy of a visit. Be sure to stop by the beautiful ponds and wetlands, which are hotspots for the preserve’s local animal life.

Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 703-841-5300

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13.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Anderson’s Winery and Vineyard

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Anderson’s Winery and Vineyard
© Anderson’s Winery and Vineyard

Sample the best that Valparaiso’s wine industry has to offer at Anderson’s Winery and Vineyard. While the vineyard’s tasting room is relatively small with only 50 seats inside and 100 seats in its outdoor area, Anderson’s wine only gets bigger and better with each year. Anderson’s Winery and Vineyard currently offers 24 different kinds of wines, from dry to sweet wines, as well as red, rose, and white varieties. While tasting your choice of the winery’s selections, guests can also tuck into a great selection of lunches and snack foods like decadent cheese plates, fresh flatbreads, mouthwatering paninis, and more.

430 E. U.S. Highway 6, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 219-464-4936

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14.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Zao Island

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Zao Island
© Zao Island

Family fun and entertainment in Valparaiso have never been as fun and luxurious as it is at Zao Island. Inviting guests to come and play on the island, Zao has an unbeatable number of exciting and memorable activities to capitalize on. Speed down a racetrack in top-of-the-line F22 Go Karts, play on one of the most unique mini golf courses in the whole country, go head-to-head with other players in an exciting game of laser tag, or hit the batting cages to see how good of a swing you’ve got. No matter what you and your family choose to do at Zao Island, one thing is certain: it’s going to be fun.

1050 Horse Prairie Avenue, Valparaiso, Indiana 46385

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15.Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille

Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana: Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille
© Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille

Inviting hungry diners near and far to come and “taste the spirit” of the nation is the Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille. Promising the best of American fare, this restaurant is situated within a unique environment that the restaurant’s owners like to call “Upscale Industrial”. True to its name, the Industrial Revolution Eatery and Grille will bring together relevant pieces of history from the nation’s past and marry them perfectly with unbeatable high-quality dishes. Try crowd pleasers like the Buffalo Chicken Salad, or sink your teeth into mouthwatering offerings like the Freedom Pie, Risk Taker Burger, or the Pot Roast Burger.

1084 Linwood Avenue, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, Phone: 219-465-1801

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15 Best Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana

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