Gary, population 102,746, and Hammond, population 83,048, are the two largest cities in the metropolitan area bordering the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The area is a short drive from downtown Chicago, Illinois. Both towns feature attractions along Lake Michigan.
Four casinos provide gaming, dining, entertainment and lodging lakeside. In Gary, the Trump Casino and Hotel and the Majestic Star Casino sit side-by-side at Buffington Harbor. East Chicago's Resorts Casino and Hammond's Horseshoe Casino are just a short drive northwest.
Marinas and boat launches provide slips and boat rentals for adventures on Lake Michigan. Charter fishing cruises, sail boating and windsurfing are popular. Beaches and dunes along the lake provide access to Lake Michigan for swimming, picnicking and views of the Chicago skyline. In Gary, the Miller Beach shops have a resort feel.
A short drive east of Gary, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore provides trails, camping and birdwatching on more than 15,000 acres bordering Lake Michigan.
The metropolitan area is approximately 20 miles from downtown Chicago, Illinois and is accessible via Interstate Highways 65, 80, 90 and 94. Lodging options include casino hotels along the coast and national chain hotels and motels in Hammond and Merrillville.