I spent four days in the city of Gary, Indiana during the summer of 2009 when pop star Michael Jackson died. Michael was born in Gary, so I visited the 2300 Jackson St. bungalow home where he grew up, and Roosevelt High School where his brothers attended. My friends and I also drove to the steel mills where Joe Jackson once worked.
The residents were nice. The Miller Beach area which borders the Dunes National Park and Lake Michigan was beautiful -- a great place to relax. However there was no concessions area to cater to beach-goers.
The main commercial strip in the Miller area of Gary, Indiana was paved with red brick and had eclectic restaurants. We particularly enjoyed Miller Pizza and Miller Bakery Cafe.
Downtown Gary, however, was not a tourist attraction. There was a nice baseball stadium contrasted by a slew of aging, boarded-up buildings. There were few eateries and way too many vagrants.
The city of Gary did not seem ready for tourists. There's no welcome center, directories or guides at City Hall to provide maps of the best attractions or other interesting things to do. There were no shopping areas aside from discount stores. There are few hotels, requiring visitors to stay in the suburbs. The only real reason I could see visiting the city of Gary would be because Michael Jackson once lived there.