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Things to Do in Valparaiso, Indiana

Updated on December 17, 2014

Maybe you're heading to Valparaiso to visit a loved one at the university,or perhaps to take advantage of the proximity to the Lake Michigan beaches. No matter what brings you to town, you'll find a variety of activities to keep you busy during your stay.

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The Beach at Indiana Dunes State Park

I am a great lover of Lake Michigan's many beautiful beaches, and the beach at Indiana Dunes State Park is no exception. A 25 minute drive will take you to the beach's sandy shore (perfect for constructing castles), the cool lake water, a lifeguard, a concession stand when you get the munchies and grilling facilities.

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49er Drive-In Theater

Take a step back in time and watch a film on the big screen from the comfort of your car at Valparaiso's 1950s era drive-in movie theater. Not only is the 49er the only drive-in theater in Northern Indiana, but it was named one of the top ten drive-ins by USA Today. Visitors can grab some eats at the concession stand, then turn to station 88.5 on their radio to hear the movie through their own speakers, or use the theater's speakers.

Brauer Museum of Art

Spend an afternoon browsing the halls of of Valparaiso University's art museum, boasting a permanent collection of over 200 works of art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including works by artists like Georgia O'Keeffe and Childe Hassam. The museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions each year.

Anderson's Vineyard & Winery

You don't need to travel to Napa Valley to enjoy a wine tasting and vineyard tour. Anderson's Vineyard & Winery specializes not only in classic whites and reds, but fruity wines like blackberry and blueberry. There is also a gift shop and a bakery featuring tasty treats and fudge. There is a fee for the vineyard tour, but the wine tasting is free.

Valparaiso Neighborhood Tours

Architecture buffs can take a walking tour from theValparaiso Historic Preservation Commission or download a map from the city website and explore on their own. See examples of homes designed in the 1800s and early 1900s in the towns historic downtown area.

Taltree Arboretum

Commune with nature and hike the trails of Valparaiso's Taltree Arboretum & Gardens. Dogs are welcome (on a leash)! Up your nature knowledge with a course at the arboretum like How to Grow “Knock-Out” Roses or Rocks, Minerals and Fossils. In winter there's cross country skiing and sledding, while in summer visitors can enjoy woodlands, wetlands, prairie, a rose garden, a children's adventure garden, a native plant garden and a whimsical railway garden, featuring a model train passing over bridges, through tunnels and past scenes of America of the past.

Festivals & Events

Valparaiso hosts festivals throughout the year like June's Summer Jam, for food and music lovers to October's Fall Harvest festival with downtown trick-or-treating and free hayrides.

For more info: http://www.valparaisoevents.com/home/

Lodging

Valparaiso is home to a number of national chain hotels like the Hampton Inn & Suites or the Best Western University Inn. For a more homey stay, try a bed and breakfast like the Songbird Prairie or the Inn at Aberdeen.

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