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Indiana Dunes National Park, Mascot Hall of Fame & Popcorn Festival in Gary, Indiana

Best things to do in Gary Indiana - Joseph S Pete - Indiana Dunes lakefront

Hike the Indiana Dunes to enjoy the lakefront.

I’m really excited to interview author Joseph S. Pete about Gary, Indiana. Joseph’s tips for the best things to do in Gary are excellent because he is a Northwest Indiana native that loves the region’s melting pot of cultures and the rich biodiversity that’s found in the Indiana dunes.

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Best things to do in Gary Indiana - Joseph S Pete - Florida Tropical House

The Florida Tropical House is a beach house built for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago that was relocated to a beach on Lake Michigan.

Gary, Indiana

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out the City of Gary website. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Gary Indiana - Joseph S Pete - Michael Jackson's boyhood home - DepositPhotos

Fans often visit Michael Jackson’s boyhood home when they’re in Gary.

Getting around Gary

Most visitors fly through Chicago to get to Gary, Indiana. While Chicago has two airports, the closest option is Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), which is about an hour’s drive to Gary.  Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

The Northwest Indiana region is spread out, so Joseph says it’s a good idea to rent a car. For the best offers, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

While Uber and Lyft are available, you could spend a lot more money using rideshare services over renting a car. For a quick visit, you could use the South Shore Line, which is a suburban commuter train. It is the nation’s last remaining interurban train and runs between downtown Chicago and the South Bend International Airport in South Bend, Indiana.

When you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Gary Indiana - Joseph S Pete - historic architecture

Example of historic architecture of Gary, Indiana

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Joseph Pete about Gary, Indiana. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Gary, Indiana
  • Green dots = best things to do in Gary, Indiana
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Gary, Indiana

Who is Joseph Pete?

Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, the author of three local interest books, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished.

His literary work and photography have appeared in more than 100 journals, including Dogzplot, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Bull Men’s Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat’s Ass Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, and Vending Machine Press.

Best things to do in Gary Indiana - Joseph S Pete headshot

Here are a few articles about the book he has written:

You can connect with Joseph on his website and social media on Twitter and Instagram. Support Joseph and this podcast by using our affiliate links to buy his books – Secret Northwest Indiana and Lost Hammond, Indiana.

We Travel There - Gary Indiana - Joseph Pete - podcast one sheet

Click here to download our one-page guide of Joseph’s tips for Gary.

Big thanks to today’s podcast partner – Bluffworks

This episode is brought to you, in part, by Bluffworks. Whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure, it’s essential to have clothes that make me look good AND feel great. I wear Bluffworks jeans, slacks, dress shirts, and blazers because they’re wrinkle-free and are designed for the modern traveler. And if they get dirty, a quick spin in the washing machine and they’re good as new.

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Save 10% with promo code “LEE”

Go to and use the promo code from the image below to save 10% off your order. There are many styles to fit your needs so you can stay wrinkle-free when you travel.


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Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Gulfport Mississippi - Lisa Evans headshotListen to the next episode when author Lisa Evans shares the best things to do in Gulfport, MS. In this episode, Lisa and I talk about exploring Coastal Mississippi’s incredible attractions, including visiting Ship Island, exploring the Crawfish Festival, and gambling at the Coastal Casinos. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Gary? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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To see which cities we’ve interviewed and scheduled, please visit If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please submit your information at

Related episodes

To learn more about Indiana and other destinations near the Great Lakes, listen to our other episodes:


  1. Erick

    As a native of southern Indiana, an IU grad (go Hoosiers!), and a current/longtime resident of Chicago, I truly appreciate this post. NWI, especially Gary, gets a bad rap and I know that there are a lot of great things to see/do there. Thanks for sharing!

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