Aug 6, 2023 - Things to Do

A day tripper's guide to Whiting, Indiana

Black lightpost with green banner that reads "Welcome to Whiting"

A friendly greeting under a midsummer sky. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

As summer winds down, I'm itchin' for a vacation, but I don't really have the time (or budget) for a big trip right now.

  • So I recently took a quick day trip to Whiting, Indiana, to get out of the hustle and bustle.

Why it matters: Whiting offers beautiful lakefront views and quirky attractions like the annual Pierogi Fest and the Mascot Hall of Fame that befit a charming beach town.

What they're saying: When the Mascot Hall of Fame creators were looking to move from online-only to a brick-and-mortar museum, "they knew instantly that the energy and boldness of mascots would fit right into our quirky, fun-loving little city," executive director Karen Anaszewicz told me.

Getting there: The northwest Indy town is about 20 miles from the city.

🚙 By car: Take I 90/94 east to Skyway, or skip the tolls and take I 90/94 east to Stony Island Avenue to see far South Side neighborhoods like Hegewisch and East Side, as well as beautiful nature spots like Wolf Lake and Big Marsh Park.

  • Estimated time: About 30 minutes on a Saturday.

🚊 By train: Amtrak from Union Station to Hammond-Whiting station.

  • Estimated time: About a 25-minute train ride, plus a 20-minute walk to downtown.

🚴🏽‍♀️ By bike: This is a popular option, as you can ride right straight south on the lake shore path.

  • Estimated time: About 90 minutes.

History: Standard Oil started buying land around Whiting in 1889 because of its convenience to rail and water; later, steel mills were built in nearby East Chicago and Gary. Now, Whiting is home to BP's largest refinery in North America.

Yes, but: Residents have had to deal with pollution and toxic chemical leaks from the refinery.

Distant view of Chicago skyline behind Lake Michigan.
Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Zoom in: To really get the most authentic experience of Whiting, I asked a lifelong resident. My friend Araceli Gomez-Aldana told me the "best thing about Whiting is our Lakefront Park. It's beautiful."

Araceli's other recs:

Large plastic figures of mascots climbing on a red truck, with woman sitting on one of the mascot's laps.
Can you find Carrie? Photo courtesy of Matt Planer.

What's ahead: The 2023 Mascot Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Saturday, Aug. 12, at noon.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more