As you move further from the bright lights of big cities, like Chicago, you’ll be able to enjoy the celestial sky and bright stars by stargazing along the South Shore of Lake Michigan. If you’re from a smaller, rural town, you may be familiar with the vast night sky and bright stars. If you’re a city dweller, you’ll take solace in the quiet and wonder you will find here.

Stargazing at Kemil Beach, Indiana Dunes National Park Stargazing at Kemil Beach. Photo by Indiana Dunes National Park's Rafi Wilkinson

On a clear night, both avid and amateur stargazers can find a number of star clusters, galaxies, meteoroid showers and constellations.

One of the darkest spots along the lakeshore is Kemil Beach at the Indiana Dunes National Park. Park rangers host stargazing events throughout the year at this location. Members from local and surrounding Astronomical Societies will share their telescopes and knowledge of astronomy. You are also welcome to bring your own binoculars.

Observe the night sky and meteorology events with the Calumet Astronomical Society at the Calumet Astronomy Center located at Buckley Homestead County Park. The Center includes the Northwest Indiana Robotic Telescope and the Thomas Conway Observatory. Astronomers host events throughout the year where you can learn more about our planets, moons, stars and galaxies (weather permitting).

Telescope at the Conway Observatory Telescope at the Conway Observatory

Young or old, you can take part in simulated missions in space or a planetarium show at the Challenger Learning Center and Robert H. Rivers Planetarium. Explore space from the comfort of the 40-seat full-dome theater where you don’t need to be an astronaut to learn about Galileo’s first explorations of the heavens, modern-day explorations, black holes and more.

Look up! Explore the night sky on your own. Under the right conditions, you can see the hazy outlines of the Milky Way in the South Shore. There are a variety of apps available on your smartphone to help you navigate the stars.

Stargazing Locations Kemil Beach at the Indiana Dunes National Park East State Park Road, Beverly Shores Stargazing programs begin shortly after sunset on the second Saturday of the month.

Calumet Astronomy Center Thomas Conway Observatory 19100 Chase Street, Lowell Visit on the second Saturday of the month; confirm programs online.

Challenger Learning Center 2300 173rd Street, Hammond Organize a simulated space mission, enjoy adult date nights or take in a Planetarium show.

Tips for Binocular Stargazing Get acquainted with the night sky with an easy-to-use size pair of binoculars.

+View the moon first. You’ll see more details when it is in twilight. +Move on to the wandering planets, the occasional comet and asteroids. +Explore inside our Milky Way galaxy and find star clusters close to Earth.