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Vibrant and Visionary
When it comes to arts, cuisine, entertainment, and shopping, Valparaiso is the hottest spot in the Indiana Dunes area. It’s home to the world-renowned Valparaiso University and its famous Chapel of the Resurrection. Both attract students from all over the world, bringing a youthful diversity to Valparaiso’s nearly 200-year-old streets.
Valparaiso, which is Porter County’s county seat, has a downtown district filled with historic architecture and blocks of unique, local shops and boutiques. You can take a culinary tour around the globe at its restaurants, ranging from relaxed atmospheres to five-star international experiences.
This is also the place to go for entertainment. Whether it’s music from local musicians swelling from the downtown’s Central Park Plaza, the jeweled glints of handcrafted glassware gleaming from behind storefront windows, or local productions on the stage of a hundred-year-old hall, the arts continue to be the lifeblood of the town.
Even the university embraces the arts, inviting community and visitors to enjoy its renowned Brauer Museum of Art and full schedule of events, including dance performances, plays, concerts, and its annual Jazz Fest.
Things to do in Valparaiso:
- See baseball bats—destined for use by major league baseball players—made right in front of you at Hoosier Bat Company, where you can also purchase a bat or other baseball gifts at their shop.
- Cut loose and have fun at Zao Island, the home of two miniature golf courses, go-karts, laser tag, a game room, batting cages, a giant slide, real alligators, and a pizzeria.
- Wander through seven galleries filled with more than 3,000 pieces of art at Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art, and, while you’re at the university, be sure to be inspired by the famed Chapel of the Resurrection, named one of the 30 most beautiful college cathedrals in the world.
- Get your fix of nature and railroad fun at Gabis Arboretum, which features hiking trails, formal gardens, and a huge, nationally-recognized model railway garden.
- Be entertained—whether you’re enjoying a movie experience straight out of the 1950s at the 49er Drive-In Theatre; catching a live play or listening to music at the Memorial Opera House; or enjoying a great production at Chicago Street Theatre.
- Dine at one of the city’s fine downtown restaurants, like Blackbird Cafe, Don Quijote Restaurant, Main and Lincoln, Meditrina Market Cafe, Parea, or Roots Organic Juice Cafe. Don’t forget to save room for a creamy scoop of locally made ice cream from Valpo Velvet Ice Cream Shoppe or a creation from Designer Desserts. Still more great restaurants await you outside the downtown, like Dish Restaurant, Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille, Kelsey’s Steak House and Tomato Bar Pizza Bakery.
- Try the best Tacos in Indiana Dunes Country at Woodfire Meat Market & Deli, according to Indiana’s Cool North Taco Wars.
- Pop into town during Popcorn Festival each September and celebrate the city’s link to popcorn legend Orville Redenbacher.
- Shop at one-of-a-kind downtown stores like Piper Children’s Boutiques, Ivy Boutique, Bangles, Sheep’s Clothing Knitting Supply, and Old World Market.
- Find Indiana Dunes Country artists’ work at great places like Air One Aerial Photography and Lifestyles.