Day Trips From Chicago, IL – Visiting Whiting, IN



Nature & Active




Where is Whiting, IN

The city is located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. It is roughly 17 miles from the Chicago Loop and just short drive from Chicago’s South Side. It can be found between Hammond, IN to the west and Gary, IN on the west.

Whiting, IN

History of Whiting, IN

Established in 1889 as a railroad hub, this lakeside town has a population of approximately 4,500 residents. Originally the majority of the people were immigrants from Poland, Croatia and Slovakia who came to work in the nearby refineries including Standard Oil. Today many of the residents are Hispanic. It is a pleasant small town that is perfect for a day trip from Chicago.

It has a very quaint, walkable downtown along 119th Street, which is lined with ice cream shops, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Several of these features Mexican food. There is also the historic Hoosier Theatre, built in 1924, where you can still see newly released movies.

Hoosier Theatre

During my visit there, I was impressed by the friendliness of the people I talked to on the street and in every place that we visited from the owners, servers and patrons. 

Whiting, IN Restaurants

Grindhouse Cafe: At 1600 119th St., Grindhouse Cafe is a small coffee shop in the heart of downtown. Here you can order coffee drinks as well as pastries and breakfast items. This is a great spot to start your visit in town.

Grindhouse Cafe

Bulldog Brewing Co. is a rustic brewery and restaurant featuring their fresh brewed beers, other regional beers, burgers, sandwiches, soups, flatbreads, paninis, entrees and salads. Their beers include lagers, ales, IPAs, sours and porters. 1409 119th St.

Bulldog Brewing Co.

Center Lounge & Restaurant: This is a rustic, full service bar and restaurant offering daily food and drink specials. 1312 119th St. 

Center Lounge & Restaurant


Center Lounge & Restaurant

Buzzin BBQ: This is a casual, local BBQ spot at 1423 119th St. After checking out two other places, I chose this spot for lunch. I really enjoyed meeting the owner, Antonio “Buzz” Cisneros, who smokes all of his meat in-house. He was first introduced to BBQ when he was fifteen years old. I really loved the pulled pork sandwich with the sweet BBQ sauce along with coleslaw. They have a number of sandwiches, sides, tacos and platters on the menu. 

Buzzin BBQ


Buzzin BBQ

After lunch we went to Dos Sabores, Spanish for “Two Flavors”, for dessert. This is a colorful, local diner serving Mexican and American favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I enjoyed the carrot cake made by the owner. The staff could not have been nicer! 1510 119th St.

Dos Sabores


Dos Sabores

Sunrise Restaurant: Sunrise Restaurant is a popular, casual breakfast and lunch restaurant at 1342 119th St. They offer daily specials. You will see many families there. 

Sunrise Restaurant

La Michoacana: This is a colorful, Mexican style ice cream shop offering ice cream and paletas or ice cream bars. 1419 119th St.

One of my top recommendations is Whihala Ice Cream at 1709 119th St. Located at the end of the shopping district near the lakefront beach, this is a colorful shop that features a number of Mexican style ice cream and paletas. I loved the cajeta ice cream which is a Mexican dulce de leche made with goat milk. 

Whihala Ice Cream


Whihala Ice Cream

Whiting, IN Things To Do 

Make sure to visit the Whiting Lakefront Park and Whihala Beach. Here you can see beautiful views of downtown Chicago in the distance. The park has 15 acres of play areas, walking paths, biking trails, a boat launch, four tennis courts, one baseball diamond, picnic facilities, a concession area, a fishing pier, two sand volleyball courts, and a relaxing fish pond with waterfall. The Beach also has a floating water park, the WhoaZone, to enjoy in the summer. 

Whiting Lakefront Park


Whiting Lakefront Park

Across from the park is the 25,000 sq. ft. Mascot Hall of Fame. This is an interactive children’s museum which is a hall of fame for North American sports mascots. In addition to the exhibits there is a food court, gift shop, and an indoor play area for children to play basketball, soccer and even try for a field goal.

Mascot Hall of Fame

Whiting IN, Events

Throughout the year there are a number of activities in downtown including Holiday parades, Pierogi Fest at the end of July, Empanada Fest in September, and the Saturday Farmers Market, from May through October in front of City Hall, Garage Mahal, a city-wide garage sale in May, summer concerts and Summer with the Symphony by the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.

Whiting, IN – Garage Mahal

Several people suggested that we come back for the three day Pierogi Fest in July. This is a celebration of the Polish dumplings and all things Polish. “The fest kicks off each year with a lively “Polka Parade,” featuring the dancing Buscias, who sweep their way (literally) along the parade route to the sounds of polka music. After the parade, the fun continues with a Pierogi Toss, live entertainment, a beer garden and numerous food tents set up, serving not just pierogies, but pizza, kraut, burgers, corn dogs and virtually anything else you can imagine. The fest typically draws in visitors from not just the Region, but around the world and typically boasts 300,000 visitors each year.” 

Saturday Farmers Market


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