Local Area

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Local Area


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3 College Sophomore

Local Area: Downtown is cute and there is good food and shopping. Chicago is not too far away for a more urban evening

3 College Freshman

Local Area: My school is located in a small town about an hour away from Chicago. Valparaiso is a charming little town that attracts people from big cities who look for a calm atmosphere away from all the chaos. There are plenty of small cafes and shopping centers where students can spend time. I would describe this town as a perfect place to have a family and settle down.

4 College Junior

Local Area: There are a good number of restaurants in Valpo and cutesy shops, but the best attraction is the proximity to the Dunes and Lake Michigan. There is a state park with lots of things to do. The locals are friendly to the students, especially during basketball season. There are also annual festivals, such as the Popcorn Festival that the school and locals partake in.

3 College Sophomore

Local Area: It's a nice small city, and it's really easy to get to the movie theater, a bowling alley, and minigolf. Target, Kohls, Menards, etc. and quite a variety of restaurants are within a 10 minute walk from campus.

4 College Junior

Local Area: The area is locating among country living, even though Valparaiso maybe considered big by some it still has the small town charm and safety, all shopping and restaurants are within walking distance. The university is highly respected and the students have very good manners so the town interacts well with the college students. There are many parks and local activities, such as a food tasting in the middle of town at the court house.


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Valparaiso is not a big city, and it never will be. It is very much like the kind of midwestern town you see in the movies. There is a nice downtown area that has a lot of small coffee shops and specialty stores, however the shopping mall that most students go to is in Merrillville, 20 minutes down the road. Valpo's downtown may only keep you busy for a little while, but visiting some of those shops just once doesn’t do them justice as they beg to have you wander through them again and again. Also, Valpo has quite a few restaurants that are fun to eat at every once in awhile.

In the beginning of the year, the city celebrates the Popcorn Festival in which the streets are closed off so vendors can set up tents everywhere. There is a variety of food and gifts that can be bought, and it is a great way to get to know new people since it is within the first few weeks of school. If there is anything you do not find in Valpo, Merrillville is the next best bet up the road. A little further away is the big city life of Chicago.

Whether by car or by train, it takes a little over an hour to get into the Windy City. Chicago has everything you could possibly think of with sports teams, concerts, theaters, museums, and shopping. Visiting the city never gets old, and many students will go for the day or indulge in a weekend in the city. Union Board offers many events and trips into the city as well. Valpo is the perfect place to have a small town feel while going to school, but the bigger city with more exciting nightlife is not terribly far down the road.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. It's the birthplace of Orville Redenbacher.
  2. Author Don DeLillo wrote a play about a man's trip to the town titled Valparaiso.
  3. It was named after Valparaiso, Chile, by sailors who had served with Captain David Porter, an area native, in the War of 1812.
  4. It is nicknamed "Indiana's Valley of Paradise."
  5. In 1859, what is now Valparaiso University was founded as the Valparaiso Male and Female College, one of the first coed colleges in the country.
Local Slang
  • The Beach: Indiana Dunes
  • The Bypass: Highway 49
  • The City/Downtown: Chicago
  • The Lake: Lake Michigan
  • Pop: Carbonated beverages
  • The Shot: Bryce Drew's game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer of the 1998 NCAA basketball tournament that took the Crusaders to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. Truly the stuff legends are made of-catch it on ESPN during any NCAA basketball tournamen
  • The Train: South Shore Line commuter train into Chicago
  • Valpo: Slang for Valparaiso
Points of Interest
  • Chicago Street Theater
  • Hoosier Bat Factory
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Memorial Opera House
  • Popcorn Festival
  • Porter County Fair
  • Wizard of Oz Fest
Shopping Centers
  • Downtown Valparaiso
  • Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets
  • Southlake Mall
  • Valparaiso Marketplace
Movie Theaters
49'er Drive-In
675 N. Calumet Ave.
(219) 462-6122
Movie Theaters
AMC Theaters Southlake Mall
2475 Southlake Mall
(219) 738-2652
Movie Theaters
Loews Cineplex
2350 E 79th Ave.
(219) 947-4072
Movie Theaters
Valparaiso County Seat 6
2849 Calumet Bell Park
(219) 548-8788
Major Sports Teams
  • Chicago Bears: NFL
  • Chicago Blackhawks: NHL
  • Chicago Bulls: NBA
  • Chicago Cubs: MLB
  • Chicago Fire: Soccer
  • Chicago Rush: Arena football
  • Chicago Storm: Indoor soccer
  • Chicago White Sox: MLB
  • Chicago Wolves: Hockey
  • Gary Railcats: Baseball
  • Gary Steelheads: Basketball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Chicago: IL: 1 hour
  • Indianapolis: IN: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 59 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 56 responses

  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 27% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 54% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 14% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 5% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 56 responses

  • 14% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 30% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 55% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 56 responses

  • 7% Totally.
  • 54% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 39% No way.


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