[Top 5] Most Fun Holiday Events in Northwest Indiana 2022

Nobody celebrates the holidays quite like us here in the Midwest! If you are trying to find some great family fun to fill your calendar with, look no further. Here are the most fun holiday events in Northwest Indiana! Just be sure to bring your camera for some great photo opportunities.

Christmas Dinner Show

northwest indiana christmas event charles dickens christmas dinner show
Photo Credit: Theatre at the Center
  • December 1st – 11th
  • Theatre at the Center, Munster, IN

A fast, paced 70-minute dinner show that tells the story of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. With a menu of broccoli cheese soup, roasted herb chicken, sage & onion dressing, and home-made mashed potatoes, this show is a great option for anyone looking for a great meal and a good laugh. Visit their website to find out more and purchase tickets to the Dickens Christmas Carol Show.

Winter Lights Drive-Thru

holidays northwest indiana drive through lights
Photo Credit: Harvest Tyme
  • Dates & times vary by location
  • Multiple Locations

Winter lights drive-through shows have become all the rage in the past few years. If you haven’t been to one yet, definitely be sure to check one out this holiday season! There are tons to choose from locally, but here are a few:

Christmas Tyme Lights – Lowell, IN (They offer piping hot cocoa to sip during your drive!)

Winter WonderLights – Merrillville, IN

Winter Lights Drive-Through – Valparaiso, IN (Concessions & plenty of other activities are offered!)

Holiday Gift Gallery

holidays northwest indiana
Photo Credit: South Shore Indiana
  • November 12, 2022 – January 5th, 2023
  • Art Barn School of Art, Valparaiso, IN

Take a stroll through this unique art gallery full of items created by local artisans. All items on display are available for purchase, and would make for very thoughtful gifts this holiday season. The gallery features a variety of crafts including ceramics, textiles, and hand-made jewelry.

Self-Guided Lights Tour

christmas tree with decorations during nighttime
Photo by Sebi Pintilie on

Taking a self-guided lights tour in your local area has never been easier! With many easy-to-use online resources you can find a list of decorated homes to drive by with family and friends. Here are a couple of great sites to find decorated homes near you:

The Original Christmas Lights Finder

Christmas Light Guide

“A Christmas Story” Comes Home

Photo Credit: ScreenRant
  • November 12th – December 30th
  • Indiana Welcome Center, Hammond, IN

Each year the Hammond, IN Welcome Center puts together a fantastic display of animatronic scenes from the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story. There are plenty of activities for kids, including a visit with Santa, as well as photo ops for families. This is a must-see for anyone in The Region.

What are your favorite holiday events in Northwest Indiana? Let me know below!


7 Best Photo Spots in Northwest Indiana [2022]

Photos in Northwest Indiana

While at first glace Northwest Indiana may appear void of beautiful photo ops, that could not be further from the truth. Due to the wide variety of geography in the Northwest region of the Hoosier State, there are actually many beautiful spots that are perfect for photography.

Below is a list of the 7 best places for photos in Northwest Indiana.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Entry Fee – $25/family-sized vehicle

Hours – 6:00am – 11:00pm daily all year round

Highlights – Rolling sand dunes, endless waterfront, beach

Starting off our list with the most obvious location, the Indiana Dunes National Park located in Porter is a classic Indiana landmark for photos.

From the rolling sand dunes to the rich green foliage, you really cannot go wrong here. Because it is a national park, there is a fee to enter, but don’t let that deter you from going.

The price is well worth it, and the funds raised from entry go straight back into the maintenance and infrastructure of the park.

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – Dawn to Dusk daily all year round

Highlights – Pond & fountain, boardwalk trails, masonry pavilions

Located in Chesterton, Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve, often referred to as simply Coffee Creek, is 157 acres of wetlands, woodlands, prairies, and walking trails.

Any place in Coffee Creek is a perfect spot to snap a few photos. Wooden walking trails sprinkled with stone pavilions blanket the park, making it easy to navigate and make your way around.

County Line Orchard

county line orchard photography
County Line Orchard – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – $2/person (Includes access to general property & orchard)

Hours 8:00am – 6:00pm daily during the Fall (Barn is open for reserved events year-round)

Highlights – Apple orchard, corn maze, fall decorations

No mention of Northwest Indiana would be complete without County Line Orchard (or their world famous apple cinnamon donuts). Located in Hobart, County Line Orchard is a sprawling property complete with a huge apple orchard, pumpkin patch, flower gardens, and early-century barns.

They are a seasonal establishment and have an entry fee, but the photos taken here will be well worth it. They offer special event packages as well for birthdays, weddings, and anything else you can host in a barn.

Don’t forget to grab a donut and some hot apple cider on your way out.

Crown Point Courthouse Square

Crown Point – Owen Cooper Photography
Crown Point – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – N/A (Courthouse hours 10:00am – 5:00pm Mon-Sat)

Highlights – Historic buildings, night-life ambiance

At the heart of historic downtown Crown Point stands tall the Old Lake County Courthouse. The courthouse and surrounding area offers an unlimited number of angles, lighting situations, and colors to choose from for next shoot.

The courthouse square is one of my personal favorite places to shoot. If you plan to go in the summer, try to be there on a Thursday afternoon.

Each Thursday the local classic car gurus park their rides on the square which make for excellent photographs. If you chat up some of the guys, they’d be honored to let you pose with their wheels.

Hamstra Gardens

Photo Credit: Hamstra Gardens

Entry Fee – None

Hours – Reservation required, and closed during winter months

Highlights – Beautiful garden, water features, pavilion, stonework

Nestled comfortably between DeMotte and Wheatfield, Hamstra Gardens is the first choice for local photographers. The unique architecture takes inspiration from all around the world, with a focus on Bali, Indonesia, and Dubai.

The gardens themselves are perfectly maintained by the owners to ensure a magical experience each and every visit. Whether for engagement, wedding, or senior photos, Hamstra Gardens will deliver.

The gardens are a very unique location, as it is private property. It is free to visit and take photos, but they do require you to schedule an appointment on their website.

Deep River County Park

deep river county park
Deep River County Park – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – 7:00am – Dusk daily all year round

Highlights – Historic buildings, wedding gazebo, nature trails

Another spot on the list for Hobart, Deep River County Park is my favorite choice for senior photoshoots. Over 1,000 acres, the park is host to a gazebo, historic grist mill, general store, walking trails, bridges, and a creek.

Deep River County Park is open year round, but I will warn you if you plan to visit in the spring: it will be muddy. As long as you pack your rain boots, I think you will be more than pleased taking photos here.

Buckley Homestead County Park

family photography demotte indiana
Buckley Homestead County Park – Owen Cooper Photography

Entry Fee – None

Hours – 7:00am – Dusk daily all year round (Historic building open seasonally)

Highlights – Multiple historic buildings, nature trails, pastures

Down the backroads of the Southeast end of Lowell lies 500+ acre Buckley Homestead County Park. I have personally done more photoshoots at this spot more than anywhere else on the list. It is definitely a fan favorite.

Of all of the spots for photos in Northwest Indiana, this is the first I will recommend. It is free to enter and open year-round, and boasts sprawling pastures, hiking trails, a bridge. Additionally, Buckley has many historic buildings on property including several barns, a log cabin, and an old school-house.

Being a county park, they do periodically host events. Make sure to check their calendar before planning a shoot!

This is a beautiful park that makes beautiful photos.

Go Explore

There are definitely too many great spots for photos in Northwest Indiana to include on just one list. Other than those listed above, the best way to find great photo spots is to get out an explore. Drive down backroads. Use Google Maps to find unique places.

Remember, you don’t always have to drive somewhere to take great photos. Got a few trees in your yard? Work with the angle of shooting to get the best possible backdrop for your photos.

It is not impossible to DIY a great location, just think outside of the box!

Did you favorite spot not make this list? Let me know what your favorite spot is, and I will include it in the next one.