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Vibrant and Visionary
When it comes to arts, cuisine, entertainment and shopping, Valparaiso is the hottest spot in Porter County. After all, it’s home to a world-renowned university that attracts students from all over the world, bringing a youthfulness and diversity to its 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.
And the arts! Whether it’s music from local musicians swelling from the downtown area’s Central Park Plaza amphitheater, the jeweled glints of handcrafted glassware gleaming from behind storefront windows, or a local production on the stage of a hundred-year-old hall, the arts have been and continue to be the lifeblood of the town.
And Valparaiso University, which earns high marks for quality and which has made its mark in athletics, also is home to the renowned Chapel of the Resurrection. The university also welcomes the community and visitors to enjoy its renowned Brauer Museum of Art and a full schedule of events like the annual Jazz Fest, dance performances, plays and concerts like the annual Christmas shows in the chapel.
Do it in Valparaiso
- See baseball bats — destined for use by major league baseball players — made right in front of you at Hoosier Bat Company, and you can even purchase a bat or other baseball gifts at their gift shop
- Cut loose and have fun at Zao Island, the home of two miniature golf courses, go-carts, 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 Taltree 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, 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, Bon Femme Café, Don Quijote Restaurant, Main and Lincoln, Meditrina Market Cafe, Parea or Valley Kitchen & Bar. Don’t forget to save room for a creamy scoop of locally made ice cream from Valpo Velvet ice cream shop or a creation from Designer Desserts. Still more great restaurants are outside the downtown, like dish Restaurant, Industrial Revolution Eatery & Grille, Kelsey’s Steak House and Tomato Bar Pizza Bakery
- 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 Lifestyles, Piper Children’s Boutiques, Seasons on the Square, The Flower Cart, Ivy Boutique, Bangles, Sheep’s Clothing Knitting Supply and She’s Crafty
- Find Indiana Dunes Country artists’ work at great places like Air One Aerial Photography, Lifestyles and White Key Gallery