Best Things to Do in Gary, Indiana

By nmwgroup | Updated July 7th, 2022

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When you’re planning your next vacation and are looking for somewhere off the beaten path to spend your time, Gary Indiana might be just the place! As Indiana’s fourth largest city, this town has been going through a lot of changes in recent years, but it retains its charming small-town feel despite rapid urban growth. And even though many don’t realize it, there are actually a ton of great things to do in Gary Indiana.

Gary Aquatorium

Blurred children and their parents enjoy swimming and water activities at community outdoor swimming pool. Healthy lifestyle, active parent, swim lesson activity, family vacation at aquatic center

The Gary Aquatorium is a 10,000-square-foot aquatic center that is open year-round. It has two 25-yard pools, one competitive pool, and a diving well with one 1-meter and three 3-meter boards. The facility also has an outdoor pool for kids. 

Located at 701 W. 5th Ave., near downtown Gary Indiana, it’s situated between several tourist attractions that are great places to visit. These include Downtown Gary, Indiana: Located on 7th Avenue between Broadway and Grant Street, downtown Gary has some of Lake County’s most historically significant buildings and several new business developments.

The Michael Jackson Family Home

GARY, INDIANA – JUNE 24, 2018: Exterior view of childhood home of pop star Michael Jackson in his hometown of Gary Indiana

The Michael Jackson Family Home (6235 Jackson Blvd) is a beautiful home built by Joe Jackson in 1961. Michael lived here with his mother and brothers when he was growing up. It’s still an active residence, but you can drive by and check it out! It’s located off Broadway Street, near King Avenue. This house is painted yellow with white trimming and has a brick foundation.

Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education

The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is an educational organization based in southeastern Lake County, Indiana, United States that promotes environmental education and sustainability within communities.

The center’s programs include outdoor experiences through outdoor adventure, hands-on science education, land conservation efforts and year-round professional development opportunities for teachers. Its activities and events are designed to build appreciation for natural resources through increased knowledge about biological systems, earth history and human impacts on ecosystems.

Marquette Park

Boardwalk Wild Nephin National Park

Located at 2601 W. Miller St., Marquette Park is known for its sand volleyball courts, playground and multiple baseball fields. During warm weather months, residents of Northwest Indiana often flock to Marquette Park where they can take advantage of facilities like public restrooms, a softball field and even picnic areas. Local schools also use park grounds as their extracurricular activity locations.

Majestic Star Casino

Slot Machine One Handed Bandit Game. Rolling Drums. Casinos and Gambling Industry.

Located on Gary’s riverfront, Majestic Star is located at 7400 Broadway. Opened in 2002, it is Indiana’s only riverboat and a larger complex than its neighbors such as Grand Victoria Casino. The 60,000 square foot casino offers 2,100 slots and video poker machines, 36 table games including poker, craps and blackjack. 

A 200-room hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center is also part of Majestic Star. In addition to gambling, visitors can enjoy performances by country music artists, comedians, or even a magician from time to time. Onsite restaurants include Diamond Jo’s Steakhouse and Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse (there are two locations for these restaurants: one in Michigan City, Indiana, and one here).

Cathedral of the Holy Angels

The Cathedral of Holy Angels is located at 100 West 5th Avenue, Gary, Indiana 46403. It was founded as Holy Angels Catholic Church by Fr. John Wisely and dedicated on November 1, 1913. At that time, it had seating for 500 people and was staffed by two priests from St. Mary’s Cathedral of Gary. The grounds were blessed by Bishop Caspar Borgess on May 20, 1914. It became a parish under the Archdiocese of Chicago on June 4, 1925.

U.S. Steel Yard

Gary is known for its large role in U.S. Steel production, which resulted in a number of industrial sites throughout Gary. The U.S. Steel Yard baseball stadium hosts Gary’s minor league baseball team and was once home to Michael Jackson and Madonna while they were filming their respective music videos Thriller and Like a Virgin. In addition to hosting sporting events, concerts are also held at U.S. Steel Yard on occasion.

Dune Succession Trail

Cycling woman and man riding on bikes at sunset mountains forest landscape. Couple cycling MTB enduro flow trail track. Outdoor sport activity.

Gary is famous for its large collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, but there are a few less-known attractions worth exploring. Check out The Dune Succession Trail at Mill Creek Park: This 2-mile path takes you through different ecosystems and topography, from tall grass prairie and oak savannah to dunes and sand prairie.


Gary, Indiana, is a city steeped in history with a long list of architectural landmarks that date back decades. However, every once and a while, something opens up that stands out even among these urban beauties. Foody’s, located right along Fifth Avenue on Gary’s near the west side, is one such newcomer. It offers patrons a seemingly endless list of delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options at an extremely affordable price point.

Lake Street Beach

In Gary Indiana, one of my favorite things to do is spend time at Lake Street Beach. It’s a great place for swimming and you have a chance to cool off under a nice Lake breeze. I love spending time with friends there during my free time. If you are ever visiting, you have to make sure you stop by.

West Beach

Located on Lake Michigan and home to Gary’s only public beach, West Beach draws a number of visitors every year. The beach is also close to Gary’s downtown area. Visitors can park their car at one of many free parking lots and make their way over by foot.

Hard Rock Cafe Northern Indiana

If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly destination spot, look no further than Northern Indiana. The city of Gary is home to one of northern Illinois’ most exciting destinations: Hard Rock Casino! This year-round gaming and entertainment complex features more than 2,200 slots and video poker machines as well as a wide variety of table games. There are also plenty of dining options, with restaurants on-site offering everything from premium steaks and fresh seafood to authentic Chinese cuisine.

Nelson Algren Museum

This museum is named after Nelson Algren, an American author who was born and raised in Gary. The museum offers a great art exhibit hall that features modern artwork from local and international artists, as well as programs designed to help children learn more about art. The Nelson Algren Museum also houses some of his original belongings; if you’re a fan of classic literature, it’s worth checking out.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Gary’s oldest church, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, was built in 1897 by German immigrants and served as a thriving center of Gary’s German American community until it closed in 1973. The building stood abandoned for many years, but volunteers renovated it and turned it into a house of worship once again – thanks to generous donations from locals like you! Today, the church serves several different congregations that meet on different days of each week.

Gary Indiana has many fun things to do. Whether you are an out-of-towner and looking for something to do with your family, or if you’re a local looking for some great night life activities Gary is filled with more things than meets the eye. Whether you like nature and sight seeing or nightclubs and bars we have what you are looking for! With amazing architecture and historic sites along with beautiful beaches, it’s no wonder Gary is considered one of best places in America by several magazine articles.