Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Essential Events: Things to do in the Shore region
Essential Events

Essential Events: Things to do in the Shore region

  • Updated



Through Sept Shining Sculptures—Lighting up St. Joseph Downtown St. Joseph. This art and fundraising event celebrates the lighthouses of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The public art exhibit will showcase 30 art pieces of St. Joseph's inner and outer lights. The city chose lighthouses for next year's theme after the federal government deeded the lighthouses to the city in October.

Aug 1-10 Lake County Fair, Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S Court St, Crown Point. 219.663.3617. This family-oriented annual county fair boasts more than 30 rides, hundreds of concessions, horse shows, contests, live entertainment and motorsports, as well as thousands of exhibits and all types of food.

Aug 2-3 Chesterton Art Fair, Hawthorne Park, Porter. 219.926.4711. Set in the tree-lined Hawthorne Park, this juried art fair draws artists from across fifteen states. Attendees can view mini galleries—showcasing paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, clothing and more—and contribute to a public art project. The event also features a children’s art area, music and more.

Aug 7-10 Michigan City In-Water Boat Show, noon-8pm Thu-Fri, 11am-8pm Sat, 11am-6pm Sun, Washington Park, 200 Heisman Harbor Rd, Michigan City. Boating enthusiasts can view the newest powerboats, sailboats and personal watercrafts; try their hands at joystick boat maneuvering inside the new Brunswick Experience Truck and take a load off on the fun-filled party barge.

Aug 16-17 Lakefront Arts Festival, 10am-6pm Sat, 10am-5pm Sun, Washington Park, 115 Lakeshore Dr, Michigan City. 219.874.4900. Lubeznik Center for the Arts celebrates 33 years of fine art in Michigan City's Lakefront Washington Park with works of art from more than 100 fine artists and crafts people. The event also features artist demonstrations, a beachfront food court and a free children's activity tent.

Aug 23-24 Fine Art on the Farm, The Homestead 1835, 33771 Chicago Trail, New Carlisle. 269.625.1638. Cost: $5, children 12 and under free. Art lovers and families will find something for everyone at Fine Art on the Farm, with 30 artists displaying their wares for sale. Barbecue and other fine foods will be available, as well as amazing musical entertainment including the Elwood Splinters blues band and the Goldmine Pickers.

Sept 7 Bartlett's Brew Fest, 1pm, Bartlett's Gourmet Grill & Tavern, 131 E Dunes Hwy, Beverly Shores. 219.879.3081. This sixth annual brewfest brings together dune- and beer-lovers for a night of mingling, drinks, appetizers and a buffet. A portion of the proceeds will support Save the Dunes.

Sept 7 Valparaiso Popcorn Festival, Central Park Plaza, downtown Valparaiso. 219.464.8332. Now in its 36th year, this annual festival offers fun activities for all ages with more than 250 arts and crafts booths, 30 food booths, kids’ games, the five-mile Popcorn Panic, two life music stages, the nation’s first Popcorn Parade and more.

Sept 20 Bizarre Bazaar, 10am-4pm, Harrison Park & Hohman Ave, Hammond. 219.512.4298. This wacky, outrageous day of family fun offers something for everyone—arts and crafts, the Stuff-a-palooza Garage Sale, food vendors, a car and motorcycle show, a 5K run/walk, a chess tournament, a pie baking contest, kids' games and art activities, pony rides, a bean bag tournament, live music and more.

Sept 20 Hobart Brews & Blues, 2-9pm, Festival Park, 111 E Old Ridge Rd, Hobart. 219.942.4511. Attendees can sample brews from the best craft brewers in the region and beyond—including Brooklyn, Unibroue,Woodchuck, Drewrys, Rogue, Sun King, Oskar Blues Chapman's, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and PBR. The Kinsey Report and Duke Tomato perform.

Sept 27 Hooked on Art—Live Street Art Festival, 9am-4pm, Thomas Centennial Park, 109 Broadway, Chesterton. 219.728.1638. This community-wide family event celebrates live street art in progress and features interactive family activities and live music.


Aug 2 Summer Jam, Shadowland Pavilion, Silver Beach, 101 Broad St, St. Joseph. 269.925.1111. Country band Paramalee headlines this annual summer concert event, which features a family fun zone with activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Aug 7-10 Blueberry Festival, South Haven. Each year nearly 40,000 people join together in celebration of all things blueberry. Festival highlights include blueberry pancake breakfasts, a parade, an arts and crafts fair, the annual pageant, a 5k/10k run, kids’ activities, free concerts and more.

Aug 8-10 Ship & Shore Festival, downtown New Buffalo. For three days, this beachtown festival closes down the main street with live music, food, beer, wine, kids’ activities and more.

Aug 16-17 GRandJazzFest, Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids. Now in its third year, GRandJazzFest features two days of free live jazz featuring stage notable jazz performers as well as up-and-coming artists. Headliner Rick Braun is joined by Alexander Zonjic, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde, Cooper Hay Van Lente Group and more.

Aug 23-24 22nd Annual Harvest Party, Round Barn Winery, 10983 Hills Rd, Baroda. 800.716.963. In celebration of Round Barn's anniversary and upcoming grape harvest, this party features live music, hand-crafted wine, micro-brews, DiVine drinks and food. Families can enjoy hayrides, a bounce house, cornhole and grape stomping. Guests can bring lawn chairs and sun umbrellas, but coolers and outside drinks are not allowed.

Aug 30 Tri-State Regatta Party, St. Joseph River Yacht Club, 1 Lighthouse Ln, St. Joseph. 269.983.6393. Each year this annual sailboat race draws around one hundred teams of sailing enthusiasts together to compete. For the entire day, the clubhouse pool and facilities will be open to the racers and the public. The day features a pancake breakfast in the morning and riverside dinner and entertainment in the evening.

Sept 6 Art & All That Jazz/Douglas Wine Stroll, 6-8pm, downtown Douglas. 269.857.1438. Douglas galleries, shops and restaurants open their doors for an evening of shopping, browsing, wine tasting, dancing, live music and delicious food.

Sept 27 Weko Beach Brewers Festival, 1-7pm, Weko Beach, Bridgeman. 269.925.6301. Brew lovers can savor award-wining Michigan beers on the picturesque Weko Beach while enjoying an afternoon filled with sun, sand, tasty cuisine from local restaurants and live music.


Through Aug 28 Made in Chicago—World Class Jazz, 6:30pm Thu, Millennium Park Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E Randolph, Chicago. Everyone can enjoy world class jazz at beautiful Millennium park during this free weekly event.

Aug 2-3 Wrigleyville Summerfest, noon-10pm Sat, 12-9pm Sun, Wrigleyville, Chicago. This grand-slam event features live music, a kid zone with interactive games, family-friendly activities and food Chicagoans know and love.

Aug 8 Glamorama—Fashion Rocks, 8pm, Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph, Chicago. 312.704.8414. With a high-energy fashion show, a performance by Jason DeRulo and an over-the-top, roof-top after-party, this is a can’t-miss event featuring the hottest styles for fall. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.

Aug 16-17 Chicago Air and Water Show, 10am-3pm, North Ave Beach, Chicago. This annual show is the largest free show of its kind in the country and features a variety of ships and aircrafts from the U.S. Navy and Army, as well as parachuters and aerobatics teams. The show can be viewed best along the lakefront.

Aug 17-18 Chicago Fashion Fest, noon-10pm, 1725 W Division St, Chicago. 773.772.2772. Fashion, music and shopping unite at this two-day fest featuring the most electric summer trends on the runway and in the streets, plus live music, family entertainment and food from nearby restaurants.

Aug 27, Sept 24 Twilight Safari, 6-7:30pm, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago. 312.742.2000. Visitors to this evening event have the unique opportunity of exploring the zoo after-hours with a zoo horticulturist and animal expert. Each monthly walk focuses on a different area of the zoo.

Aug 28-31 Chicago Jazz Festival, noon-4:30pm Thu, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Chicago; 4-6pm Thu, Roosevelt University Gantz Hall, 430 S Michigan Ave, Chicago; 6:30pm Thu, noon-9:30pm Fri, noon-9:30pm Sat-Sun, Millennium Park, 201 E Randolph St, Chicago. A favorite Labor Day tradition, this festival showcases Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists.

Sept 5-6 Windy City Wine Festival, 4-10pm Fri, 2-8pm Sat, Buckingham Fountain, 500 S Columbus Dr, Chicago. 847.382.3270. Wine lovers can sample more than 300 wines from around the world at this two-day event. Activities include wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and live music, plus some of the area’s best restaurants and caterers offer their signature dishes.

Sept 11-14 Chicago World Music Festival, various locations, Chicago. This city-wide, multi-venue festival spans 11 days and attracts more than 30,000 concert goers to its numerous performances, radio broadcasts and interviews; outdoor concerts and cultural hubs.

Sept 18-21 Expo Chicago, 6-9pm Thu opening preview, 11am-7pm Fri-Sat, 11am-6pm Sun, Navy Pier Festival Hall, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago. This four-day art event features more than 125 of the leading galleries from around the world and offers a curated blend of contemporary and modern art and design.



Through Aug 10 Parallel Pursuits--Tom Brand's Finding Form and Carole Stodder's Shaping Space, Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, 1709 Chapel Dr, Valparaiso. 219.464.5365. This exhibit offers an opportunity to compare and contrast the abstract works of two Michigan City, Ind. artists. Brand’s art features carefully composed shapes with an expressive or painterly surface, while Stodder’s paintings feature geometrical patterns with hard edges. Also, through Aug 10: Drawings by Fred Frey, New Acquisitions and Paintings by Eleanor Lewis; Aug 26-Dec 14: From 2/11 to Today—Recent Work by Ted Halkin, Orange Meditations—Recent Sculpture by Herbert George, Selections from the Andy Nunemaker Collection, and Uniforms, Outfits & Accessories—Photographs by Joel DeGrand.

Through Aug 31 Baby Boom or Bust! Center for Visual and Performing Arts Atrium Gallery, 1040 Ridge Rd, Munster. 219.836.1839. This exhibit takes a fond look back at the iconic, often innocent, images of life in the nuclear age with iconic imagery by artist Brian J. Sullivan and memorabilia—including Hanna Barbera characters, Barbie and Ken, Howdy Doody, space toys and robots, lunch boxes, presidential memorabilia and vintage paint-by-numbers from an atomic childhood.

Aug 2-Oct 18 Invasive Species... The Art of Upcycling, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W Second St, Michigan City. 219.874.4900. A resurgence in the “ready-made” art practice made popular by Dada artists Duchamp and Man Ray, upcycling makes use of discarded materials and transforms them into beautiful objects without breaking down the material. This exhibit features upcycle inspired artwork that crosses boundaries between environmentalism and art. Also, Aug 2-Oct 18: Aquatic Kaleidoscope and Transformation.


Through Sept 14 Waves, Krasl Art Center, 707 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph. 269.983.0271. This exhibit showcases the work of contemporary artists who have been influenced by the movement, patterns and life within water--including photographer Sandra Gottlieb’s lovely black and white images that focus on the rippling surfaces of the ocean and Jason De Caires Taylor's underwater sculptures that purposefully help repopulate coral reefs. Also, Sept 19-Nov 2: Krasl Art Center Members Show—Local Icons and It's Your Turn.

Aug 1-Sept 14 50th Anniversary Exhibit, Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 13988 Range Line Rd, Niles. 269.695.6491. In celebration of 50 years of history, Fernwood reveals timeless treasures, artifacts and photos from its archives.

Aug 23-Jan 4 Double Take—Artists Respond to the Collection, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S Park St, Kalamazoo. 269.349.7775. Thirty of the finest artists in the Kalamazoo area have each selected a work from the museum’s collection that inspires them and then created a work in response, illuminating the visual connections between the works. Also, through Aug 16: West Michigan Area Show; through Aug 24: Louis Comfort Tiffany; Sept 6-Dec 7: Lasting Legacy—A Collection for Kalamazoo.

Sept 12-Oct 26 5th Annual Regional Juried Show, South Haven Center for the Arts, 600 Phoenix St, South Haven. 269.637.1041. This annual juried show features works from arts across five Great Lake states. Also, through Sept 9: Forever Young—Photographs of Bob Dylan by Douglas R. Gilbert.

Sept 19-Oct 26 Chrysanthemums and More! Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave, NE, Grand Rapids. 888.957.1580. An annual celebration of autumn, this exhibit is the largest of its kind in Michigan, featuring expansive chrysanthemum displays, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. Also, through Aug 17: David Nash—From Kew Gardens to Meijer Gardens; through Oct 31: Bernar Venet at Meijer Gardens.


Through Sept 1 National Geographic Presents—Earth Explorers, Museum of Science and Industry, 57th St and Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 773.947.3133. This exhibit journeys to the wildest places on the globe, highlighting the Earth's spectacular eco-zones—polar regions, oceans, rain forests, mountains, caves, and savannas. Also, through Aug 23: Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives; through Sept 1: 80 at 80; through Oct 31: THINK.

Through Oct 5 Onchi Koshiro—The Abstract Prints, The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago. 312.629.6635. This is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the breakthrough years of René Magritte, creator of some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary images. Also, through Jul 13: Utamaro—Aspects of Beauty; through Jul 27: When the Greeks Ruled Egypt; through Sept 1: Around the World in Travel Sketches; through Sept 14: Architecture to Scale—Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture; though Sept 14: Josef Koudelka—Nationality Doubtful; through Sept 28: Sharp, Clear Pictures—Edward Steichen's World War I and Condé Nast Years; through Oct 4: Saul Steinberg—Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of His Birth; through Oct 5: Nairy Baghramiam—French Curve/Slip of the Tongue; through Oct 12: What May Come—The Taller de Gráfica Popular and the Mexican Political Print; through Oct 13: Magritte—The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938; through Nov 9: Ethel Stein, Master Weaver; through Nov 13: What Did Printmakers Make of Antiquity?; through Jan 4: Chicagoisms; Sept 27-Feb 15: Heaven and Earth—Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections.

Through Nov 30 Earthly Delights, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago. 312.280.2660. This exhibit brings together the work of eight artists who share a belief in the critical power of beauty. Drawn primarily from the museum’s permanent collection, the paintings, sculptures, and installations in this exhibition embrace the decorative in defiance of prevailing artistic trends and challenge the primacy of rationality and logic in modernism. Also, through Aug 3: Isa Genzken—Retrospective; through Sept 28: Zachary Cahill; through Oct 5: Unbound—Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo; through Oct 31: MCA Chicago Plaza Project Yinka Shonibare; through Nov 2: Simon Starling—Metamorphology; through May 10: Alexander Calder; Sept 23-Jan 4: David Bowie Is.

Through Jan 4 The Machine Inside—Biomechanics, The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 312.922.9410. The marvels of natural engineering are on display during this exhibit, which explores how living things—including humans—are machines built to survive, move and discover. Also, through Sept 7: Opening the Vaults—Wonders of the 1983 World’s Fair; through Feb 1: Before the Dinosaurs—Tracking the Reptiles of Pangaea; through Jun 7: Bunky Echo-Hawk—Modern Warrior.



Chicago Street Theater, 154 W Chicago St, Valparaiso. 219.464.1636. Now in its 58th season of bringing live theatrical entertainment to the greater Northwest Indiana region, the CST presents a variety of plays and musicals each season, in addition to regularly scheduled theater classes for both adults and children. Aug 30-Sept 14: The World's Worst Fairy Godmother.

Festival Players Guild, Mainstreet Theatre, 807 Franklin St, Michigan City. 219.874.4269. Since 1969, Festival Players Guild has been dedicated to nurturing and producing performing arts of the highest order in Northern Indiana. Home of the guild, Mainstreet Theatre offers an intimate setting with 130 seats, which assures every patron a seat no further than 12 rows from the front. Through Aug 9: The 39 Steps; Aug 14-16: Greater Tuna.

Footlight Players, 1705 Franklin St, Michigan City. 219.874.4035. This community theater group has been entertaining audiences in Michigan City for more than 50 years with its productions of dramas, comedies and musicals. Aug 1-3, 7-10: God of Carnage.

The Memorial Opera House, 104 E Indiana Ave, Valparaiso. 219.548.9137. This renovated, 364-seat building—with red, white and blue stained-glass windows—was built as a living memorial to the Civil War veterans of Porter County. Built in 1893, the theater has a rich history as a venue for musical and dramatic performances. Aug 1-3, 8-10: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Sept 12-14, 19-21, 26-28: The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue.

Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, various venues. 219.836.0525. Conducted by the charismatic Kirk Muspratt, this professional orchestra performs concerts that range in atmosphere from the whimsical pops series to the edifying and inspirational maestro series, many of which offer pre-concert discussions with the conductor an hour before the concert. Sept 12: Music of Motown (Star Plaza Theatre, I-65 & US 30, Merrillville).

The Theatre at the Center, Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Rd, Munster. 219.836.3255. This theater, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago, has the distinction of being the only professional equity theater in Northwest Indiana, and showcases the artistry of professional actors, musicians and designers from throughout the Midwest. Through Aug 10: The Beverly Hillbillies; Sept 11-Oct 19: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Towle Community Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave, Hammond. 219.937.8780. To honor its mission of nurturing and celebrating local talent in the arts, the Towle Community Theater presents exhibitions, theatrical productions and musical performances in the heart of downtown Hammond. Sept 5-7, 12-14, 18-21: Play Dates.


The Acorn Theater, 6 N Elm St, Three Oaks. 269.756.3879. The 250-seat Acorn is home to a carefully reconstructed, rare Barton Theater Pipe Organ and boasts bistro tables and occasionally offbeat entertainment options. Aug 1: Cracker; Aug 10: The Signal—A Doo Wop Musical; Aug 15: Andrew Salgado Band; Aug 27: A Night of Art & Music; Sept 5: Robbie Fulks; Sept 6: Girls Like Us—Featuring Music of Carole King, Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell; Sept 18: Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer.

Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St, St. Joseph. 269.983.3688. The Berrien Artist Guild has converted an old box factory into a multidisciplinary arts resource, housing galleries, studios, an art shop and a café. Visitors also can take advantage of the Box Factory as an entertainment venue, attending stage performances by singers, musicians, poets and actors. Aug 2: Gary Brandt and Jackie Davidson; Aug 9: Jenna Mammina and David Lahm; Aug 16: Mark Dvorak; Aug 23: Eric Lugosch.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave, NE, Grand Rapids. 888.957.1580. The garden and sculpture park’s annual concert series features beautiful terraced lawn seating, food and beverage concessions, and major artists like Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis & the News and Lyle Lovett. Jul 30: Pat Metheny United Group and Bruce Hornsby; Jul 31: Conor Oberst with Dawes; Aug 1: John Butler Trio; Aug 6: Lyle Lovette and his Large Band; Aug 7: Five for Fighting with Twilight Symphony Orchestra; Aug 13: Rorigo y Gabriela; Aug 20: G. Love and Special Sauce & Keb' Mo' Band; Aug 21: The Moody Blues; Aug 28: Lake Street Drive; Sept 4: The Beach Boys; Sept 7: Sheryl Crow.

Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, various venues. 269.982.4030. This versatile orchestra offers a traditional Mendel Mainstage Series, small ensemble works in the Around Town Series, and the Performing Artists series, which showcases a wide range of styles with guest artists. Aug 2: Heart; Aug 29: The Doobie Brothers.


Broadway in Chicago, various venues, Chicago. 800.775.2000. A joint venture between the two largest commercial theater producers and owner/operators in the U.S., Broadway in Chicago offers the finest of professional stage productions in multiple theaters, all residing in Chicago’s lively Loop. Broadway Playhouse, 175 E Chestnut. Through Aug 17: Charlotte's Web. Oriental Theatre, 24 W Randolph St. Through Aug 9: Motown The Musical.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E Grand Ave, Chicago. 312.595.5600. Prominently located on Navy Pier in Chicago, this venue mounts renowned productions of the plays of William Shakespeare, as well as works from distinguished American and international playwrights and directors. The theater’s mission to reach out to younger audiences is well accomplished with its offerings of children’s productions and student matinees. The architecturally dynamic structure houses both an engaging, 500-seat courtyard theater and a 200-seat black box theater. Through Aug 17: Chicago Shakespeare in the Park—A Midsummer Night's Dream (various locations) and Seussical; Aug 28-Sept 21: Since I Suppose; Sept 9-Nov 9: King Lear; Sept 25-28: Mozart's the Magic Flute.

The Chicago Theatre, 175 N State St, Chicago. 312.462.6300. The Chicago Theatre has been a prototype for area theaters since 1921. With its lavish architecture and an elegant stage, the Chicago Theatre seats 3,600 and stands seven stories high. Aug 5: Tori Amos; Aug 9: Chaka Khan; Sept 16: Spoon; Sept 20: Mike Birbiglia; Sept 21: Bryan Ferry.

The Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn St, Chicago. 312.443.3800. Since 1925, the Goodman Theatre has provided entertainment to the Chicago area; however, a new, state-of-the-art two-theater complex was completed in 2000—75 years to the day after the dedication of the original—and resides in the vibrant North Loop Theater District within walking distance of fine hotels and restaurants. Through Aug 3: Brigadoon.

Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted, Chicago. 312.335.1650. The Chicago-based cast is an internationally renowned group of 43 artists, committed to the art of ensemble collaboration. Now in its 35th season, Steppenwolf continues to fulfill its mission by offering intriguing performances and taking artistic risks. Through Aug 24: Hushabye, Ironbound and Okay, Bye; through Aug 31: The Qualms.

Victory Gardens Theater, various venues. 773.871.3000. As one of the country’s most respected midsized professional theater companies, this Tony Award-winning theater is dedicated to serving playwrights and producing world premiere plays. Programs include five mainstage productions with emphasis placed on the development of an ethnically and culturally diverse community of arts. Through Aug 9: WOZ; Aug 1-2: WOZ—A Rock Cabaret; Sept 12-Oct 12: Rest.


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News


Entertainment & Dining

Latest News

Local Sports

NWI Prep Sport News

Weather Alerts