Located in the southeastern part of the Chicago metro area, Gary is best known for both its large steel mills and as the birthplace of The Jackson 5. Gary event venues include historic sites and lively casinos.
Gary is 31 miles from Chicago Midway International and 48 miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Boeing bases its corporate fleet at the Gary/Chicago International Airport, a facility accepts private and corporate plane landings through Gary Jet Center. The airport is undergoing a runway expansion that will open up the airport for additional flight services.
Largest among convention venues in Gary, Genesis Convention Center in downtown provides 55,000 square feet of function space that includes a 6,000-seat arena, 9,676-square-foot Indiana Hall that can seat 1,200 theater-style or 700 for a banquet and a dozen smaller meeting rooms. A variety of function rooms are also available at both Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech College. Among the hotel venues in Gary is the 300-room Majestic Star Hotel & Casino, which has a ballroom that can seat 120 for a meeting, four smaller meeting rooms and The Pavilion, a function room next to the two casino boats floating on Lake Michigan that can handle up to 260 people for a banquet.
Along with the Majestic Star, Gary event venues include the West Side Theater Guild’s 2,000-seat theater. When it is time to party, Gary Southshore RailCats welcome groups to their US Steel Yard stadium, one of the top minor league ballparks in the country. Groups can take over one or more of 18 lavish suites or a party deck, with ballpark-style seating and tables and chairs on top of a wooden deck, such as the one for 30 people that is directly behind the center field fence. Across from the stadium, Steel City Buffet & Grill specializes in home-cooked soul food and barbecue and has the ability to stage special events for up to 300 people.
Gary offers meeting attendees a number of restaurants that feature good local and regional cuisine. Top on the list with locals are Big Daddy’s BBQ and the Beach Cafe, a landmark in Gary’s Miller neighborhood since the 1940s, serving steaks and seafood, such as lake perch, walleye and shrimp. For an international flair, Wing Wah Chinese Restaurant is said to have the best Chinese food in Northwest Indiana and Cafe 444 is a quaint bistro with an elegant outdoor patio that serves Caribbean favorites like jerk wings, goat curry and ginger lemonade.
Gary borders Lake Michigan and 12,000-acre Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park, which offers miles of sandy beach for swimming, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and picnicking and has been recognized as a national treasure by the U.S. Congress. Right on the lake in that park, a $28-million restoration project has just been completed on the circa 1924 Marguette Park Pavilion. The gracious building is now available to host special events of up to 300 in its ballroom, 150 for a reception on a lower level, and when epxanding onto the outdoor patio the venue can host a gathering of up to 500 people.