7 Best Places and Things To Do in Valparaiso, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana, is a charming city located in Porter County, just an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago. Known for its historic downtown, vibrant arts scene, and natural beauty, Valparaiso offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Valparaiso:

1. Taltree Arboretum and Gardens

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Nature lovers should make a stop at Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, a 360-acre preserve featuring woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and formal gardens. Explore the extensive trail system, which offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and photography. The arboretum hosts various events throughout the year, such as art exhibits, concerts, and educational programs.

2. Memorial Opera House

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Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene by attending a performance at the historic Memorial Opera House. This beautifully restored venue hosts a variety of theatrical productions, concerts, and community events throughout the year. Check the schedule in advance to see what shows are playing during your visit.

3. Zao Island

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If you’re looking for family-friendly entertainment, head to Zao Island. This amusement park features mini-golf, go-karts, batting cages, an arcade, and a climbing wall. It’s a great place to spend a fun-filled afternoon with children or friends.

4. Gabis Arboretum

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Just outside Valparaiso, you’ll find Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest. This 300-acre nature preserve and arboretum showcases beautifully landscaped gardens, woodlands, prairies, and a tranquil lake. Take a leisurely stroll along the trails, visit the sensory garden, and learn about native plant species. Gabis Arboretum also hosts educational programs, seasonal events, and guided hikes for visitors of all ages.

5. Porter County Museum

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Delve into the local history and heritage of Valparaiso and Porter County at the Porter County Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum features exhibits that showcase the region’s past, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. Learn about Valparaiso’s growth, the impact of the railroad, and notable individuals who shaped the area’s history.

6. Brauer Museum of Art

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Located on the campus of Valparaiso University, the Brauer Museum of Art is a cultural gem that art enthusiasts should not miss. The museum showcases an impressive collection of American art, including works by regional artists, as well as rotating exhibitions that highlight various art forms and styles. It provides a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of visual arts and appreciate the creativity and talent of American artists.

7. Chapel of the Resurrection

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The Chapel of the Resurrection is a notable landmark located on the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. This stunning architectural masterpiece is a focal point of the university and holds significant religious and cultural importance.

8. Central Park Plaza

Central Park Plaza

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Central Park Plaza is a vibrant public space located in downtown Valparaiso, Indiana. It serves as a hub for community events, outdoor activities, and social gatherings, making it a beloved gathering place for residents and visitors alike. This beautifully landscaped park offers a range of amenities and features that contribute to its appeal.

9. Rogers-Lakewood Park

Rogers-Lakewood Park

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Rogers-Lakewood Park is a picturesque park located in Valparaiso, Indiana, offering a serene and natural retreat for visitors. Situated on the outskirts of the city, the park encompasses over 200 acres of scenic landscapes, including a beautiful lake, wooded areas, and recreational facilities.

10. Meadowbrook Nature Preserve

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Meadowbrook Nature Preserve is a hidden gem located in Valparaiso, Indiana, offering a tranquil and immersive natural experience. This 155-acre preserve is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat in the midst of beautiful landscapes.

Valparaiso, Indiana, may be a small city, but it’s full of character and offers a range of experiences for visitors. From exploring the vibrant downtown area to immersing yourself in nature and enjoying local events, you’re sure to find plenty of things to do and see in this charming Midwestern gem.