Summertime in Northern Indiana conjures up dreamy scenarios of fresh air, blue-sky days, and plenty of time outdoors. Downtown neighborhoods in both Michigan City, located along Lake Michigan, and the community of LaPorte, just 13 miles to the south, draw visitors for parades, farmers markets, special events, arts, and theater. Browsing trendy shops, splurging on a delicious meal, or sipping a brew, glass of wine, or cooling lemonade round out a fabulous day in these inviting and intriguing LaPorte County locales.
Sensational Downtown Events
First Friday Art Walk Summer Series, Michigan City – 5-9pm the first Friday of each month through September – Franklin Street in the Uptown Arts District is THE place to be for enjoying live entertainment and other happenings, plus browsing unique shops that host artists and their works.
Downtown Activities during the XINSURANCE Great Lakes Grand Prix – Aug. 2-6, Washington Park, Michigan City – Visitors gather along the Lake Michigan shore as some of the world’s most powerful offshore boats zoom across the waters at incredible speeds during the annual Grand Prix. But there’s loads of fun onshore too. Here’s a breakdown of downtown activities that are part of the festivities:
Shop ∙ Sip ∙ Support Local – 5-8pm, Aug. 4, on Franklin between 11th and 4th streets – This special event in conjunction with the Grand Prix and First Friday, features sidewalk sales, entertainment, and local food and beverages.
Block Party – noon-10pm, Aug. 5 – Food, music, and vendors create a party atmosphere downtown.
Boat Parade – 6-8pm, Aug. 5 – See those amazing powerboats up close and meet the drivers after the parade.
Friday Night Live, LaPorte – Friday nights are made for fun in LaPorte! Don’t miss these upcoming special events to celebrate the end of your work week.
Taco Fest – 6-10pm, July 7, Downtown – Love those tacos! Fill up on everyone’s favorite Mexican treat, accompanied by music and local restauranteurs battling for Best Taco honors.
Cheeseburger in Paradise – 6-10pm, Aug. 11, Monroe Street in downtown LaPorte – Hawaiian shirts or other tourist garb are encouraged at this lively event for all ages, complete with dancing, shopping, and scarfing down cheeseburgers and more. Local food and beer vendors will be there, along with a 21+ Margarita garden.
LaPorte LakeFest, July 28-30, LaPorte – LaPorte residents love to celebrate the pride of their unique community – Stone, Pine, and Clear lakes – with this annual festival. Multiple family-friendly events take place throughout town, including P1 Aqua X Jet Ski races, live music, comedy shows, kid activities, an artisan market, fireworks, and lots of fun in and on the lakes.
Patriotism on Parade
Michigan City Patriotic Parade, Michigan City – 11am, July 1, on Franklin Street – More than 100 entries in this annual celebration of freedom show their civic and American pride in a salute to this year’s theme “You’re a Grand Old Flag” as paradegoers line Franklin Street. For more celebrating: the Michigan City Fireworks will begin at 8:30pm July 4 at Washington Park.
Kiwanis Parade, LaPorte, 10am, July 4, LaPorte – “Made in America with Hometown Pride” sets the tone for LaPorte’s annual Independence Day parade as bands, floats, firefighters, police units, dancers, and so many more head down Lincolnway.
Bountiful Farmers Markets
Michigan City Farmers Market, 8am-noon, Saturdays, through Oct. 20, 8th and Washington streets, Michigan City – Spend your Saturday morning in the heart of the Uptown Arts District, where the best of the earth’s bounty is sold by local farmers. You’ll also find the stunning works of local artisans, loads of baked goods, and beautiful plants and flowers. Grab a beverage and listen to local musicians.
Farmed & Forged Market, 11am-3pm, Sundays, through Sept. 24, Corner of Lincolnway and Monroe, LaPorte – From fresh veggies to fragrant flowers, coffee roasters to candle makers, and an amazing array of one-of-a-kind goods from artisans, brewers, and more, this new farmers market, sponsored by The Collective, is off to a booming start! Enjoy locally made food and drinks and live music too.
Curtain, Lights, Action!
Downtown theaters bring a host of live performances to the stage in outstanding musicals and plays.
Canterbury Summer Theatre, Michigan City – A talented Resident Company presents an enticing slate of productions in the heart of the Uptown Arts District during its 55th anniversary season. Here’s what’s ahead:
The Pin-Up Girls, July 5-17 – A female singing group belts out tunes inspired by letters from soldiers through the decades in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking, and sexy musical.
LaPorte Little Theatre Club, LaPorte – It’s been almost 100 years since performers first appeared on stage at this community theater. You can still catch a great summer show and another in the fall. Don’t miss:
Schoolhouse Rock Live!, July 21-23 and 28-30 – A nervous teacher wins his students over with song in this ode to a Saturday morning cartoon series.
Something Rotten!, Oct. 6-8 and 13-15> – This musical farce, set in the 1500s, brings outrageous fun and a tender story to the stage.
Art on Display
Outdoor art makes strolling in downtown Michigan City and LaPorte a pleasure, while indoor galleries invite a stop.
SculptFusion, Michigan City – Outdoor sculptures created by talented artists from across the country grace the sidewalks in the Uptown Arts District and other spots throughout Michigan City. While you’re in the Uptown Arts District, make sure to stop by one of the galleries, including SFC Gallery, The Nest, and Artspace Uptown Artists Loft.
Plaza 618, LaPorte – A popular stopping and meeting place, this lovely downtown plaza features a 108-foot-long mural that depicts LaPorte’s colorful past, plenty of seating, and a water feature for the kids. The Plaza is also home to some of the giant “Make a Joyful Noise” outdoor instruments found around town. Everyone is invited to try out chimes, a huge xylophone, and drum creations, some standing six feet tall.
Don’t miss a stop at the Thaddeus C. Gallery, voted one of the top fine art galleries in Northwest Indiana.
Downtown stores offer a unique experience with one-of-a-kind finds. Here’s just a sampling of some must-stops:
Michigan City – Uptown Arts District
Darling Boutique – A women’s boutique offering fun, specialized and pressure free shopping.
Good News Vintage – Antiques of all kinds, including clothing, jewelry, and vinyl.
Hoity Toity – New and upcycled furnishings and décor.
Static Age – A gem record store when searching for your favorite vinyl.
Unsalted No Sharks – Clothing that’s an ode to the unsalted waters of the Great Lakes.
Coachman Antique Mall – Pottery, furniture, jewelry, toys, and more.
Freckle Farm Primitives and Antiques – Antiques, farmhouse goods, soaps, candles, and other unique finds.
LR Men’s Clothier – Premier styles for the guys.
Sweet P’s Fashions – Boho chic boutique for the ladies offering unique, elegant, and comfortable fashion.
The Pink Sheep – Sweet kids’ clothing. Adjoining is Pink Sheep Plaaaytique, a new play area for children.
Fuel up at popular downtown restaurants, brewpubs, etc. Try these plus many more local favorites:
Michigan City – Uptown Arts District
Cabo’s Ice Cream – Flavorful ice cream and popsicles plus award-winning tacos.
Café Farina – Casual vintage vibe serving up authentic Italian-American Specialties.
Fiddlehead Restaurant – Grass-fed burgers, meatloaf, and pierogies served in a hip setting with outdoor seats.
Leeds Public House – Laid-back gastropub with upscale food, brews, cocktails, and both indoor and patio dining.
Royale with Cheese – Local burger restaurant with specials features each week.
Bare Bones Gastropub – Imaginative food menu with unique beer and wine selections, many from local microbreweries.
Bon Viet – Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine featured in the heart of historic downtown LaPort.
Downtown Delights – Family-friendly self-serve frozen yogurt shop.
Mucho Mas! – California-style Mexican dishes in an airy setting.
Trattoria Enzo – Primo Italian food in a cozy restaurant.
A double-track rail construction project for the South Shore Line is underway in Michigan City, causing detours in some areas of the community. Easy-to-follow signage directs drivers around the work.