Lining the southern shores of magnificent Lake Michigan is Portage, the largest city in Porter County and the third largest in Northwest Indiana. Despite its larger size, living in Portage is much like living in a smaller, vacation destination. The city is known for its laid-back beach community vibe, but the area’s strong emphasis on industry and economic development make it an ideal place to earn a living while enjoying some of the finer points of life.
Earning a living in Portage
In 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau reported there is a population of about 36,812 in Portage. Many residents work in the manufacturing, retail trade and construction fields. Some major employers in the area include Portage Township Schools, US Steel Corporation, ILA Local 1969 and 2038, Solid Platforms and Wal-Mart according to the Portage Economic Development Corporation.
Location is a crucial part of Portage’s success in economic development. The city’s close proximity to Chicago also offers opportunity for those who don’t mind a commute. The distance from Portage to the City of Big Shoulders is just under 40 miles and with the South Shore Rail Line, I-80, I-94 and Port of Indiana all accessible within city limits, commuting options are available via car, rail or water transport.
Portage is also in an ideal location for air travel. The nearest airport is the Gary/Chicago International Airport located in Gary, Indiana. Just over the border in Illinois there are two more airports, O’hare International and Chicago Midway International, that provide residents with the means to get where they want to go in the world.
The state of Indiana has deemed the Portage Township School system an Indiana Exemplary District and is made up of eight elementary schools, two middle school and one high school, Portage High School. There are also two private schools, Portage Christian School and Nativity of Our Savior School.
Recreation in Portage
It’s definitely not all work and no play in Portage. This city has a number of natural and man-made attractions that keep residents happily occupied all year round.
One of the biggest attractions is the Indiana Dunes State Park, which attracts millions of visitors each year. The park features three massive sand dunes for climbing, pristine beaches for relaxing and even an eclectic dining and nightlife scene.
Visitors can also enjoy the natural wonders along Lake Michigan at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk. This is a newer attraction that opened in 2008 and allows access and recreation along the lakefront with trails, a fishing pier, a 3,500-square-foot public pavilion and a glass walled classroom/meeting place.