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Indiana’s Cool North is calling.

Experience the state’s best kept secret. Come explore our nine eclectic counties filled with all sorts of gems—hidden and otherwise—that you might be surprised to find side by side.

Where else you can visit the Indiana Dunes, ride in a real Amish buggy, hit a Vegas-style casino, and walk the grounds of the University of Notre Dame in the same day? Yeah, it’s eclectic mix—but we’d suggest that’s part of what makes it so cool. Plan your visit to Indiana’s Cool North.

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Holiday Events

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Weekend Getaways

Pack the Car

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Girls Getaways

Let's Go

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Pet Friendly Adventures

Woof Woof

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Outdoor Dining Places

Let's Eat!

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Waterfront Spots

Bring the sunscreen

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Summer Events

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Must See Gardens

Bring Your Camera

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Big Events for 2022

Plan Ahead

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Instagram Places for 2021

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Food War Winners

Eat Local!

#INDIANASCOOLNORTH
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Share your photo and video memories using the #IndianasCoolNorth hashtag and you could be featured in our gallery!
Let’s show everyone why Indiana’s Cool North is Calling.

 

                                            

Places to Explore in the Cool North.

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Indiana Dunes

Chesterton, Portage, Valparaiso, Porter, Hebron, Kouts

Rolling sand dunes. A national park. Relaxing beach vibes. Endless aquatic adventures. And that’s just what you’ll find along the shore. Explore a little more in Indiana Dunes and you’ll discover world-class dining, unique shopping experiences, and fantastic accommodations. A mecca for lovers of the great outdoors, you might need to add another day to your stay with all there is to see and do!

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Michigan City LaPorte 12

Michigan City Laporte

Michigan City, LaPorte, Westville, Wanatah

Looking for a laid-back vacation, or is it time to let loose and live it up? You’ll find the perfect blend of both in Michigan City LaPorte. Roll the dice or shop till you drop. Explore the area’s unique history or carve out your own outdoor adventure. Whatever you decide, one thing is for sure—authentic Midwestern spirit comes standard.

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The Most Instagrammable Places in Indiana’s Cool North

South Bend Mishawaka

Notre Dame, South Bend, Mishawaka, New Carlisle, North Liberty

Big city attractions and small town charm. You’ll find the best of both worlds when you visit this vibrant Northern Indiana county. The iconic campus of the University of Notre Dame is a must-see, and each community holds its own hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Kid-friendly fun? Definitely. Outdoor activities? Absolutely. The ideal getaway to suit your travel style is waiting in South Bend Mishawaka.

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Elkhart County

Elkhart, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, Bristol, Wakarusa, Shipshewana

Amish life and culture play a big part in daily life here in Indiana’s Cool North, and Elkhart County is no exception. Whether by car, by bike, or by buggy, tour the Heritage Trail and discover the communities that Northern Indiana is famous for. Winding nature trails, quilt gardens and historic downtowns all add to an experience that is original, authentic, and a little outside of the ordinary.

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Kosciusko

Warsaw, Syracuse, Winona Lake, North Webster, Pierceton

It doesn’t get any better than life on the lakes. And with over 100 of them, you’re sure to find a unique experience around every turn. Dine on the water’s edge at The Village at Winona, explore eclectic artisan’s shops, or take an old-school ride on a sternwheeler boat. The name might be a little tricky, but there’s definitely nothing complicated about life in Kosciusko County.

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Marshall Culver Lake Dog on shore

Marshall County

Culver, Plymouth, Bremen

Thanks to its history as a crossroads in Northern Indiana, Marshall County offers an eclectic array of things to do, places to stay, and authentic Cool North attractions. The Quilt Barn Trail paints a charming picture of rural life in Northern Indiana, and the Blueberry Festival is one of the state’s most popular events.  Culver, “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” is home to Lake Max, the second largest natural lake in Indiana.  It takes time to unwind, and there’s no better place to spend it that in Marshall County.

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Shipshewana LaGrange County

Shipshewana, LaGrange, Topeka

You won’t hear phrases like “daily grind” or “rush hour commute” in these parts. Life in Shipshewana LaGrange County is unhurried, uncomplicated, and definitely unlike anywhere else. Amish culture thrives here, and combined with a focus on the great outdoors, this truly is the place to get away from it all.

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The Coolest Museums in Northern Indiana

South Shore

Whiting, Gary, Saint John, Merrillville, Hammond

Discover the City of Whiting, nestled between Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan, with their World of Mascots at the Mascot Hall of Fame, interactive children’s museum. You won’t want to miss the Hard Rock Casino or Miller Beach in Gary, and the Albanese Candy Factory in Merrillville, Stop at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond to view exhibits, purchase your gifts, or get information about the area.

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Festivals & Events

Theatre Shows & Concerts in Indiana's Cool North 3
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre Shows & Concerts in Indiana’s Cool North

See individual theatres for schedule of shows and concerts.

Indiana's Cool North has a number of theatres. See the individual theatres for their show and concert schedules.

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Top 15 Local Favorites in Northern Indiana 7
Shopping

Shipshewana Antique & Miscellaneous Auction

Auctions are held every Wednesday, year-round

Six to ten auctioneers simultaneously sell antiques, collectibles, estate items, and more.

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A Shipshewana Christmas
Community

A Shipshewana Christmas

November 05 - December 31, 2022

Experience the magic of Shipshewana during Christmas time. Shipshewana will put you in the Christmas spirit with holiday lights, musicals, and much more.

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Seasonal

“A CHRISTMAS STORY” COMES HOME

Nov 12-Dec 30, 2022

The Indiana Welcome Center features six animated displays depicting scenes from the holiday classic "A Christmas Story."

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SHIPSHEWANA’S LIGHTS OF JOY 1
Seasonal

SHIPSHEWANA’S LIGHTS OF JOY

November 18-20 (Friday-Sunday); Nov 25 – Dec 31 (seven days/week); (Closed 12/8, 12/25, & 12/26)

Features more than two million LED Christmas lights displayed in a mile and a half long symphony of colorful light scenes

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FOREST OF LIGHTS AT FAIR OAKS FARMS
Seasonal

FOREST OF LIGHTS AT FAIR OAKS FARMS

Nov 18, 2022 to Jan 1, 2023

Marvel at the abundance of color in the Forest of Lights at Fair Oaks Farms during the holiday season

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WINTER LIGHTS DRIVE THROUGH - SUNSET HILL FARM
Seasonal

WINTER LIGHTS DRIVE THROUGH – SUNSET HILL FARM

Every night, November 20, 2022 to January 1, 2023

Drive through Northwest Indiana's top holiday light display.

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WINTER WONDERLAND AT WELLFIELD BOTANIC GARDENS
Seasonal

WINTER WONDERLAND AT WELLFIELD BOTANIC GARDENS

Friday-Sunday nights, November 25-27, Dec 2-4, 9-11, and 16-23 (8 nights in a row)

Winter Wonderland Holiday Lights will transport you to a magical setting of lights, sound and beauty

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LaPorte Christkindlmarkt
Seasonal

LaPorte Christkindlmarkt

Friday-Sunday for two weekends after Thanksgiving

The magical sights and sounds of German style Christmas markets done with small town American style!

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LaPorte Santa Parade
Seasonal

LaPorte Santa Parade

November 26 - November 26, 2022

The Santa Parade welcomes Santa for the season; after the parade visit him in his chalet

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Winter Fest and Tree Lighting
Community

Winter Fest and Tree Lighting

November 26 - November 26, 2022

Caroling, figure skating performances, photos with Santa, and lighting of the Central Park Plaza Christmas tree.

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Top 10 Holiday Events in Indiana's Cool North
Seasonal

HOMETOWN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION & TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS PARADE

November 26 - November 26, 2022

Eat and shop at the outdoor holiday market, with a tree lighting ceremony, and the Twilight Christmas parade! 

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A COPPES COMMONS CHRISTMAS
Seasonal

A COPPES COMMONS CHRISTMAS

December 02 - December 03, 2022

Celebrate Christmas with an open house, and artisans and antique dealers offering their wares.

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Holly Days
Seasonal

Holly Days

December 02 - December 03, 2022

Valparaiso’s city sidewalks are the prefect place to welcome the holidays this year. Twinkling lights and festive flourishes set the stage for ice carvers, carolers, the Live Nativity and Santa’s arrival

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Michigan City Festival of Lights 1
Seasonal

Michigan City Festival of Lights

December 03 - January 08, 2023

A variety of holiday and traditional displays at Washington Park that are truly a sight to behold!

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Santa’s Candy Cane Express @ Hesston Steam Museum
Historical

Santa’s Candy Cane Express @ Hesston Steam Museum

First two Saturdays and Sundays in December (Dec 3, 4, 10, 11)

All aboard Santa’s Candy Cane Express…Don’t let the magic pass you by!

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Michigan City Festival of Lights Celebration
Seasonal

Michigan City Festival of Lights Celebration

December 03 - December 03, 2022

Kick off the Festival of Lights with a parade and lighting of the Christmas tree.

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Ship-Chic Craft & Vintage Show - Holiday Show
Seasonal

Shipshewana Ship-Chic Craft & Vintage Holiday Bazaar

December 03 - December 03, 2022

A show featuring gifts, vintage items, home decor, crafts, clothing, accessories, beauty products, jewelry, baked goods, signs and more!

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MISTLETOE MARKET 1
Seasonal

MISTLETOE MARKET

December 03 - December 03, 2022

Chesterton’s European Market dresses up for the holidays! This extraordinary shopping experience has become a beloved holiday tradition for the European Market community.

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Shipshewana's Majestic Noel; Equestrian Variety Show
Arts and Entertainment

Shipshewana’s Majestic Noel; Equestrian Variety Show

Dec 9-17 (no shows on Dec 11 or 12)

Two full hours of non-stop Christmas excitement filled with nonstop equestrian adventures, featuring beautiful horses with incredibly talented riders.

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U.S. Marines NIBC LaPorte Basketball Invitational
Sporting Events

U.S. Marines NIBC LaPorte Basketball Invitational

January 05 - January 07, 2023

Elite prep school teams from states across the country make up the NIBC, which partners with ESPN and several corporate sponsors to support the teams and stage the tournament.

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Events 1
Fairs and Festivals

Shipshewana Ice Festival and Chili Cookoff

January 20 - January 21, 2023

Come watch professional ice carvers create unimaginable pieces of art side by side at the Wolfe Building! Then, warm up with a chili cook-off.

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PAJAMA DAY SALE
Shopping

PAJAMA DAY SALE

February 04 - February 04, 2023

Make plans for the annual trip for overnight pajama parties, and early morning shopping in jammies to take advantage of the sales. giveaways, drawings and deep discounts.

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