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Home > Things to Do in Northern Indiana: Cool Downtowns

Things to Do in Northern Indiana: Cool Downtowns

The downtowns of Northern Indiana beckon travelers with treasure galore.

Unlike downtowns in larger, more urban communities, Northern Indiana’s have survived largely intact, offering visitors a cavalcade of classic architecture, specialty retailers, year-round festivals, down-home as well as fine dining, and bargains ranging from pizza and beer to vintage clothing and antiques.

Northern Indiana downtowns offer pleasant surprises.  They know the resources that they have in their courthouses and Victorian storefronts. There’s a lot of civic pride in these places.

A partial list of the businesses visitors will find in Northern Indiana downtowns includes coffee shops and diners, fine restaurants, record shops, ice cream parlors, antique and secondhand stores, vintage clothiers and more. A growing number of microbreweries also are cropping up across the area.

No matter when you go, you’ll find plenty going on every day in Northern Indiana downtowns.


Downtown GoshenGoshen is a magnet for creative young entrepreneurs where innovation meets craftsmanship, and results in hand manufactured motorcycles, handmade soaps and candy, pottery, and even pizza.  Visit the Old Bag Factory, Olympia Candy Kitchen or Venturi Pizza.

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Channel Marker syracuseNestled on the shores of Indiana’s largest natural lake, Syracuse’s lively downtown has been known to vie with boating, swimming and other lakeside recreation for visitors’ attentions. Bustling with quaint but exceptional shops and restaurants, which offer food, gifts and clothing you won’t find anywhere else, Syracuse is nothing if not unique.

And don’t miss the Artisans and Farmers Market – open on Saturdays Mid-May to Mid-October.

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Shipshewana Flea MarketThe Midwest’s Largest Flea Market takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday through September from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. With vendors spread out over acreage the size of 30 Football Fields, you’ll be able to spend the day searching for treasures like fresh produce, furniture, hand-made items and more. And of course, there’s always plenty of food and drink on hand to help you keep your energy up as you browse the multitude of items on sale.

There is also shopping downtown Monday-Saturday, and weekly auctions all year.

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LaPorte Arts in the parkArts in the Park brings the community together for free concerts and more on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Fox Park.  It is more than just music….there will be food; concession stands and food trucks.  The LaPorte City Band plays on Wednesday nights, and there will be a featured performer on Thursday nights, along with a pre-concert hour. Check the schedule for times and come gather with friends.

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Marshall Culver Lake Dog on shoreNestled along the shore of Lake Maxinkuckee, Culver boasts an impressive range of lake-related recreational activities devoted to boating and fishing. On shore, specialty shops and fine restaurants cater to visitors.  Don’t miss the annual Lake Fest.

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Valparaiso Popcorn FestivalThe Valparaiso Popcorn Festival will offer family-fun activities for all ages with arts and crafts booths, food booths, kids’ games, the five-mile Popcorn Panic 5K walk/5-mile run, and the nation’s First Popcorn Parade are only the beginning of the excitement of this incredible festival.


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New Carlisle

New Carlisle’s town website points with pride to the fact the community has kept its historic downtown core intact, placed a keen emphasis on historic preservation efforts and maintained the cultural amenities that provide for its endearing small-town charm and appeal. Its town center boasts independent restaurants, a vibrant new public library, and a host of gift and antique shops.

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Main Street Roaster nappaneeIt’s all about the Amish way of life in Nappanee.  Visit Coppes Commons, a former cabinet factory, now home to small businesses and eateries offering authentic local goods and fresh food.  Enjoy coffee and more at Main Street Roasters, a coffee house where even the little ones have a special section to serve their pretend customers. At the Barns at Nappanee (Home of Amish Acres) you can take a traditional horse and buggy ride, eat a farm feast and take in a show at the Round Barn Theatre.

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