10 Things to Do in Gary, Indiana

Situated along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, Gary is one of the largest cities in Indiana. From its iconic steel mills to its thriving arts scene, Gary embodies the essence of a dynamic industrial city with a story to tell.

With a population of approximately 70,000 residents, Gary is a testament to the strength and perseverance of its community. Founded in 1906, the city quickly became known for its steel industry, attracting workers from all over the country.

The highlight of Gary is its rich industrial heritage. Take a journey back in time with a visit to the Gary Works, once the largest steel mill in the world. Marvel at the colossal structures that served as the backbone of the city’s economy for decades.

Today, Gary stands as a symbol of urban revitalization and the pursuit of cultural and economic growth.

Let’s have a look together at the best 10 things you can do in Gary, IN if you hop for a visit here.

Things to Do in Gary, Indiana

1. Visit the Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

Just a short drive from Gary, the Indiana Dunes National Park is a natural oasis of sandy beaches, hiking trails, and diverse wildlife. The park is renowned for its magnificent sand dunes, which tower over the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

The park encompasses over 15,000 acres of diverse landscapes, including sand dunes, forests, wetlands, prairies, rivers, and over 50 miles of hiking trails.

The park is renowned for its towering sand dunes that rise up to nearly 200 feet above Lake Michigan. The dunes were formed by winds carrying sand off the lake and depositing it along the shore.

These dunes, formed over thousands of years by wind and water, create a unique and breathtaking landscape.

2. Explore Marquette Park


Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Marquette Park offers a picturesque setting for picnicking, fishing, and enjoying the beach.

Marvel at the beautiful Marquette Park Pavilion, a historic structure that dates back to the early 1900s. The pavilion showcases stunning architecture and serves as a popular venue for events and weddings.

Adjacent to the pavilion, you’ll find well-maintained gardens featuring colorful flowers and manicured landscapes.

3. Discover the Gary SouthShore RailCats

Gary SouthShore RailCats
Image source: laportecounty.life

The RailCats were founded in 2002 and have since become a beloved sports institution in the region. The team plays its home games at the U.S. Steel Yard, a state-of-the-art baseball stadium located in downtown Gary.

Catch a baseball game at the U.S. Steel Yard, home to the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Cheer on the local team and enjoy the lively atmosphere of minor league baseball.

4. Tour the Michael Jackson Family Home

Michael Jackson Family Home
Image source: tripadvisor.com

Maybe one of the main attractions of the city for some is the Michael Jackson home. Gary is the birthplace of the legendary musician Michael Jackson.

The humble home served as the residence for the Jackson family during their formative years. Michael Jackson, along with his siblings, lived in the house with their parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson.

You can take a free tour and learn about the early life of this iconic figure. There is also a gift shop you can bring home a souvenir from.

5. Visit the Gary Aquatorium

Fish in aquarium

The Gary Aquatorium is a unique combination of an aquarium and a natatorium, showcasing marine life and providing a swimming pool for visitors.

The aquarium holds a special place in history as the site of an important speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on September 20, 1964.

The speech, known as the “The American Dream” speech, emphasized the need for racial equality and justice in America.

6. Experience the Gary RailCats Baseball Museum

Attend a Harrisonburg Turks baseball game

Baseball enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the history of the sport at the Gary RailCats Baseball Museum. Learn about the team’s achievements and explore memorabilia from past seasons.

Check their website for more details and game information.

7. Discover the West Side Theatre Guild

The West Side Theatre Guild has a rich history in the Gary community, with deep roots and connections to the city. It may have been established many years ago, contributing to the cultural fabric and artistic heritage of the area.

Enjoy live performances at the West Side Theatre Guild, a community theater that showcases local talent and offers a diverse range of productions, from musicals to dramas.

8. Explore the Gary Public Art Collection

Gary Public Art Collection
Image source: nwitimes.com

Gary is home to an impressive collection of public art, including murals and sculptures that adorn the city’s streets. You can find them while visiting different streets around the city.

Gary’s public art programs are one example of how cities can use art and design to create visually rich public spaces. Take a self-guided tour and appreciate the creativity and cultural expression on display.

9. Visit the Gary Historical & Cultural Society

The society focuses on the preservation and interpretation of Gary’s history. It collects and maintains historical documents, photographs, artifacts, and other materials that provide insights into the city’s past.

Explore exhibits that highlight the city’s industrial heritage, civil rights movement, and contributions to music and culture.

10. Engage with the Community

Gary Historical & Cultural Society

One of the best ways to experience Gary is to connect with the local community. Attend local events, festivals, and concerts to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of the city.

So, while you explore the attractions and activities in Gary, take the opportunity to engage with the local community, support local businesses, and appreciate the unique history and culture that make this city special.


In conclusion, let’s talk about Gary, Indiana – a city that’s as unique and resilient as they come. From its rich history to its vibrant community, Gary has a story to tell that’s worth listening to.

Sure, Gary has faced its fair share of challenges, but it’s those challenges that have shaped its identity and made it the city it is today. It’s a place that has seen both triumphs and tribulations and through it all, the spirit of its residents has remained unbreakable.

While Gary has faced economic challenges and experienced population decline, it is not a ghost city. The city is actively working towards revitalization and attracting investment to improve its economic prospects and quality of life for residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Gary Indiana so famous?

Gary, Indiana gained fame due to its industrial history, being the birthplace of Michael Jackson, and its significance as an urban center in the Midwest.

What is Gary Indiana known for?

Gary, Indiana is known for its industrial heritage, being the hometown of Michael Jackson, and its association with the steel industry.

What are some fun facts about Gary Indiana?

Gary was founded by the United States Steel Corporation, has a “House of Tomorrow” from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, and boasts Michael Jackson’s early influences.

Why was Gary Indiana abandoned?

Gary faced challenges such as deindustrialization and population decline, leading to the abandonment of some areas, though efforts to revitalize continue.

How many abandoned buildings are in Gary Indiana?

The number of abandoned buildings can vary, but the city has been dealing with a significant number due to economic shifts.

Is Michael Jackson from Gary Indiana?

Yes, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was born in Gary, Indiana.

Where is Michael Jackson’s childhood home?

Michael Jackson’s childhood home, often referred to as the “Jackson Family Home,” is located at 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana.

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