Next only to Indianapolis, Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana, and it makes up 16% of the sizeable Allen County. From visiting picturesque nature preserves to trying out its lively nightlife, the City of Churches is no doubt a great stop when exploring this side of the United States. With a wide array of activities to do and places to explore, a day or two will not be enough to experience Fort Wayne to the fullest. Update your itinerary and check out these things to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana for a more authentic travel experience on your next holiday break.
1. Be entertained at the Embassy Theatre
Witness a world-class performance in one of the oldest theatres in Indiana that features national productions from concerts, musicals, and cinema. Recently renovated and improved while still maintaining its historic integrity, spectators can enjoy watching some of their favorite acts by American and international artists, including a live orchestra concert by Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Be impressed by its high-end sound system and professional floor layout offering great visibility of the center stage even from the back row. Complementing the top-notch architecture and detailing of the building are comfortable seats, fully functional amenities, and attentive staff for a guaranteed one-of-a-kind concert experience.
The Embassy Theatre
Address: 125 W Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-3012
Website: The Embassy Theatre
2. Enjoy bird watching at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
Be close to wildlife and have fun hiking the trails of this 756-acre (306-hectare) nature preserve that is home to over 235 kinds of birds and other creatures. Pack your bags and explore the great outdoors and experience stepping on marshy swamps. Enjoy numerous wildlife sightings and have unlimited picture takings. Surround yourself by lush greens and expansive prairies, complete with the chirping of the birds and insects on the background. Don’t forget to bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the tour, especially during the summer months when the sun is scorching hot.
Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
Address: 6801 Engle Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Website: Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
3. See Monkey Island at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Beat the lazy day and set off on an exhilarating journey with your kids in this 38-acre (15-hectare) zoo that is home to over 1,000 animals. Allow all the members of the family to have a close encounter with wildlife as you explore four attractions, including the African Journey, Australian Adventure, Central Zoo, and the Indonesian Rainforest. Chat with zookeepers who promote awareness and gain some knowledge about each species while enjoying experiences like giraffe feeding, a train ride through the Amazon, and a boat ride in Crocodile Creek Adventure. After a day of exploring the entire zoo, grab a scrumptious meal in any of the restaurants inside the property, or bring your food and have a picnic.
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Address: 3411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46808
Website: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Price: 12 - 15 USD
4. Catch a performance at Foellinger Theatre
The official Foellinger Theatre Concert Season will be announced on March 20. Tickets will go on sale March 23 at 10 am--not 8 am. 10 am. Looking forward to a great season and hopefully great weather!Posted by Foellinger Theatre on Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Catch a delightful and fascinating performance of local and international artists in this outdoor theater showcasing musical concerts, movie series, and even circus troupe performances. Whether you’re into ballad, rock, or RNB, you will enjoy jamming with your favorite band, complemented with a state-of-the-art sound system. Relax on the comfy chairs available for all spectators with a guaranteed view of the stage. Before sitting, don’t forget to grab a quick bite and a drink available from the stores surrounding the venue so you don’t miss anything during the show.
Address: 3411 Sherman Blvd in Franke Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
Website: Foellinger Theatre
5. Have fun with science at Science Central
Don’t let the bad weather rain on your parade and spend time with your kids in this science center filled with hands-on education ranging from technology, innovation, and earth science. Engage your little ones with different sets of activities such as learning about outer space, zooming down a two-story slide, and taking part in a live science demonstration about the weather, matter, the human body, and other topics. You will never fall short of places for photo ops that can be found inside the center, starting from the entrance up to the colorful rooms. This is a fun-filled, three-floor adventure packed with interesting science facts perfect for all ages.
Address: 1950 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Science Central
Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Tue)
Price: 10 USD
6. Be with nature at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Go green and visit this enclosed botanical garden located in downtown Fort Wayne. It is composed of three greenhouses filled with tropical, desert, and seasonal plants. Surround yourself with lush nature and partake in a journey of discovery and learning as you know more about each species from the friendly and accommodating staff. Visit the colorful butterfly exhibit and other special parts of the conservatory. Take note that the displays are changed often depending on the season, especially during Christmas. Have a quick bite before entering and don’t forget to dress in layers since the temperature varies depending on what part of the conservatory you’re in.
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Address: 1100 S Calhoun St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Opening hours: Tue - Wed, Sat: 10am - 5pm; Thu - Fri: 10am - 8pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Mon)
7. Visit the African/African-American Historical Museum
Look back at the events of African American history in this museum that houses Northeast Indiana’s largest collection of original African art. Visit and gain a deeper understanding of the lives and struggles of the people who contributed to make not just Fort Wayne but the whole United States into what it is today. Discover interesting facts from the American slave era while viewing several artifacts, pictures, and selected items from Africa. Make sure to call for an appointment since they only cater to guided tours inside the museum.
African/African-American Historical Museum
Address: 436 E Douglas Ave., Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sat - Sun)
8. Watch a performance by Fort Wayne Philharmonic
Let Fort Wayne Philharmonic serenade you with their symphony orchestra during your stay in the city. Fill your night with timeless and classical music complemented by an elegant atmosphere while rejuvenating your soul with pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach among other composers. Performing in several venues in Fort Wayne, including Embassy Theater, Parkview Field, and Arts United Center, you will easily find a convenient time and place to witness a pool of talents from this group of musicians.
Fort Wayne Philharmonic
Address: 4901 Fuller Dr, Fort Wayne, IN 46835
Website: Fort Wayne Philharmonic
9. Relax at Lakeside Park and Rose Garden
Enjoy the beauty of this charming lakeside park complete with a sunken garden that is filled with colorful flowers, well-designed pavilions, and fountains. Smell the sweet scent of a thousand roses in full bloom and enjoy the fresh air from the surrounding lush greenery. Prepare your camera and get ready to strike a pose as the park offers several spots for those Instagram-worthy shots - a reason why it is a famous venue for wedding events and pictorials. After exploring the area, enjoy sharing your packed lunch with family or friends on a seat under the shade of a tree.
Lakeside Park and Rose Garden
Address: 1401 Lake Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)
10. Check out the artifacts at History Center
Learn the history of Fort Wayne and other parts of Indiana in this museum that showcases a wide array of artifacts and documents. Discover the city’s earliest inhabitants, the Miami Indian history, and the founding of the city as you explore the whole building. Even the hallways are filled with informative displays. Check out the stairs going down to the old jail in the basement, where separate cells for men and women are preserved together with original wall graffiti from prisoners. Aside from the permanent displays, special events for topics that influenced Fort Wayne and Allen County history are held now and then, so make sure to check their official page.
Address: 302 E Berry St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: History Center
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Sun)
Price: 4 - 6 USD
11. Explore the remarkable Fort Wayne Museum of Art
See an awesome collection of American art ranging from the 19th century to contemporary time at Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Complete with displays ranging from glass art, classic toys, and wood and stone sculptures, everyone will find something of interest in one of their changing exhibitions. Take advantage of the free general admission every Thursday night and don’t forget to check the exhibition page to make sure you know the exhibit you wish to see. Remember that flash photography is not permitted inside the museum, so refrain from taking selfies and just take your time admiring the treasures here.
Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Address: 311 E Main St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm; Thu: 10am - 8pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 6 - 20 USD
12. Discover the stunning Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
Spend a day watching a musical concert or a sports event in this coliseum that was built in memory of war veterans. From entertainment, educational, and business-related events and activities, this site is the best place to visit with family and friends to enjoy a night out in Fort Wayne. Offering great views of the entire arena - regardless of your seat - you will have fun cheering for your team or enjoy watching a performance by your favorite artist. Visit their official page to see all the upcoming events and buy your tickets in advance for a hassle-free experience.
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
Address: 4000 Parnell Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
13. Walk around Parkview Field
Home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a minor league baseball team, this stadium located in the central business district of Fort Wayne offers a wide array of events that all visitors will surely love. Aside from the usual baseball game, Parkview Field also hosts special events such as conferences, parties, and wedding receptions. Walk around the stadium during a Farmers Market day and shop for organic produce and other handcrafted goods. Have a great family experience by watching a game while munching on snacks. Be sure to wait for the beautiful fireworks display after the game.
Address: 1301 Ewing St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Parkview Field
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed from Sat - Sun)
14. Savor sweet treats at DeBrand Fine Chocolates
Make your ordinary day sweet and special with delectable chocolates in this high-end store producing fine chocolates, piping hot coffee, and delightful hot chocolate drinks. Treat your sweet tooth and savor every bite of truffle, caramel apple, and caramel pecan patty. The candies are delicately handcrafted and made from scratch using the finest ingredients. Visit the headquarters located in Auburn Park Drive and join a tour that typically lasts for 45 minutes to see the chocolatiers in action. Don’t forget to buy some to take home.
DeBrand Fine Chocolates
Address: 10105 Auburn Park Dr, Fort Wayne, IN 46825, United States
Website: DeBrand Fine Chocolates
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 7am - 9pm; Fri: 7am - 10:30pm; Sat: 10am - 10:30pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm
15. Explore The Old Fort and its history
Whether you’re a history buff or not, spending time in this expansive public park surrounded by original and restored buildings is a great way to learn the history of Fort Wayne. Know the significance of the Old Fort through the knowledgeable volunteers who will tour you around the grounds. If there is no volunteer to guide you, you can still enjoy your time reading information about the place’s history and how each building was used. To witness an event depicting the lives of earlier inhabitants of Fort Wayne, see the official page for their schedule, or stay tuned to Old Fort Radio 1640 AM when you’re in the city.
The Old Fort
Address: 1201 Spy Run Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Old Fort Wayne
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
16. Admire the beautiful Castle Gallery
"The May Show" On NOW at Castle Gallery Fine Art! Show runs through the month of May.Posted by Castle Gallery Fine Art on Saturday, 4 May 2019
Put some color on your Instagram feed when you visit this beautiful Victorian home featuring an extensive collection of art. Wander inside and admire quality masterpieces complementing the great floors and ceilings, as well as the stained glass that gives a warm vibe to the entire castle. Know the colorful history of the house from the friendly owners and enjoy looking at the paintings lined on the walls up to the third floor. If you have the means, know that these artworks are for sale and make for perfect for souvenirs or gifts for a friend back home.
Address: 1202 W Wayne St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Castle Gallery
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 6pm (closed on Sun - Mon)
17. Tour the Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum
Wander around this museum located across the Grand Wayne Convention Center complex. It is dedicated to preserving the history of firefighting in the city. Get to see some well-preserved artifacts that were once used by the Fort Wayne Fire Department, like an 1848 button hand pumper, hose tower, and some older fire engines. Listen to the knowledgeable curator who has lots to say about the history of engineering, public safety, and the integration of technology in safety. Make sure to drop by the theater area where you can watch an informative fire safety video to complete your tour.
Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum
Address: 226 W Washington Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Fort Wayne Firefighters’ Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Tue, Thu - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm (closed on Sun & Wed)
Price: 3 - 4 USD
18. Check out Native Trees of Indiana River Walk
Breathe in the fresh air while leisurely walking on the grounds of Purdue University Fort Wayne that is filled with over 100 native trees. Traipse under an umbrella of maple trees that change from yellow to orange and red during the autumn season, or snap a picture of a flowering dogwood during spring to update your Instagram feed. Aside from native trees, you’ll also find a variety of flowering plants, shrubs, and vines living harmoniously with several animals. Fret not if you wish to bring a person with special needs since the 1.25-mile (2-kilometer) paved trail is partially wheelchair accessible.
Native Trees of Indiana River Walk
Address: 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Native Trees of Indiana River Walk
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
19. Visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Say a little prayer and ask for a safe trip before exploring or leaving the city in this cathedral that is considered the oldest church in Fort Wayne. Attend a traditional service on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or just visit to take in the peaceful atmosphere. After praying, wander around to view the elaborate stained glass, the extraordinarily detailed Station of the Cross, and other religious adornments. Leisurely walk to Cathedral Square to admire the exterior or visit the museum next to it that houses relics from past priests and other interesting displays.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Address: 1122 S Clinton St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:45am - 4:30pm; Sat: 1pm - 6pm; Sun: 7:30am - 6pm
20. Try cocktails at Chop’s Wine Bar
Enjoy great company and great food in this restaurant that serves gourmet meals, amazing cocktails, martinis, and craft beers. Dazzle your taste buds with a serving of their featured steak, garden fresh salad, and blue crab cakes while delighting in the ambiance that creates a nice place for conversation over dinner. Advise the friendly staff about any allergies or food preferences since the chef is willing to go the extra mile to accommodate your needs. Finish off your meal with a sweet dessert before checking out the wine bar located right next door to the restaurant. It offers a wide variety of drinks to enjoy.
Chop’s Wine Bar
Address: 6417 W Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Website: Chop’s Wine Bar
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 4pm - 11pm; Sat: 4pm - 12pm (closed from Sun - Mon)
21. Enjoy a show while dining at Arena Dinner Theatre
Have a sumptuous meal served by courteous waitstaff and watch a phenomenal production from local artists in northeast Indiana. Nestled right in the heart of West Central, just off Rockhill, this small theater has a limited seating capacity yet it oozes charm. Complete with an annual line-up of full-length theatrical plays, you’re bound to enjoy a show whether you love comedy, suspense, or romance. Buy your tickets in advance since performances are usually sold out early.
Arena Dinner Theatre
Address: 719 Rockhill Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Arena Dinner Theatre
22. Go shopping at Glenbrook Square
Our Fan of the Week was added to the electronic billboard this morning! Be sure to stop in the mall's management office...Posted by Glenbrook Square on Monday, 26 November 2012
Shop till you drop in this indoor shopping complex. From apparel and home decor to health and beauty, Glenbrook Square is the place to be if you want to spend your hard-earned cash while in Fort Wayne. Let your kids enjoy the merry-go-round located on the lower level of the mall, or make a wish in the fountain if you have a coin to spare. After a day of walking around and shopping, choose from over a dozen restaurants in the food court area to satisfy those hunger pangs.
Address: 4201 Coldwater Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Glenbrook Square
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm
Explore Fort Wayne with a twist by joining a two-hour walking adventure mixed with a scavenger hunt. Start your game clock and take out your smartphone since it will be your guide while you discover the hidden gems of the city and its history. Answer a question or solve a brainteaser to move on to the next location after feasting your eyes on the attraction. Don’t worry too much about the time and focus on enjoying the tour and seeing the sights.
Fort Wayne Puzzling Adventure
Duration: 1 to 3 hours
24. Tour the exceptional Fort Wayne Aviation Museum
Grab the chance to have a unique aviation experience while touring this museum located at Fort Wayne International Airport. Admire the display of Fort Wayne aeronautical memorabilia featuring military, commercial, and general aviation facts. Know the lives of Art Smith and WWI Ace, Lt. Paul Baer and their contributions to the field as you discover some well-preserved artifacts from the 40s up to the present time. This is the perfect activity while waiting for your flight out of Fort Wayne since the museum is only available for passengers who have cleared the airport’s security checkpoint.
Fort Wayne Aviation Museum
Address: 3801 W Ferguson Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46809
Website: Fort Wayne Aviation Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 4pm (closed on Fri - Sun)
25. Grab a pint at Mad Anthony Brewing Company
Enjoy a pint or two in this full-service bar offering a variety of craft cocktails and beverages. Taste their freshly made non-alcoholic root beer that’s brewed to perfection and goes well with a serving of crispy chicken wings. Relax in the cool, laidback atmosphere of the dining area where you can have a full meal of salad, pasta, and the famous Mad Mad Mad Burger while enjoying some live music. If you wish to enjoy a private get-together with your friends, make sure to book the Mad Room located in the back.
Mad Anthony Brewing Company
Address: 2002 Broadway, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Website: Mad Anthony Brewing Company
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 11am - 10pm
26. Hop on the trampoline at Sky Zone Fort Wayne
Bond with the whole family or with your travel buddies by having fun at Sky Zone. This place offers an excellent flying adventure with the use of trampolines. Let your kids defy gravity and play in a giant sea of foam in a kid-friendly setting that is perfectly safe for your little ones. Take advantage of the fun activities combined with workouts like the Ninja Warrior Course, Battle Beam, and Skyladder. Remember to hydrate and grab something to eat at Fuel Zone, an on-site eatery that serves a variety of snacks and drinks to replenish your energy.
Sky Zone Fort Wayne
Address: 401 Fernhill Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Website: Sky Zone Fort Wayne
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 4pm - 8pm; Fri: 12pm - 11pm; Sat: 10am - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 7pm (closed on Mon)
27. Trek through Rivergreenway Trail
Shed some vacation pounds and head to the National Recreation Trail of Fort Wayne. Enjoy biking, jogging, or walking around the park surrounded by lush grassland and trees. With a 20-mile (32-kilometer) trail running along the banks of St. Mary’s, St. Joseph, and the Maumee River, you will never run short of space to sweat and get a good workout. After vigorous exercise, cool down under a shade of trees and enjoy the natural vistas this trail has to offer. Remember to bring something to eat and drink if you’re with the kids since this place is perfect for a mini-picnic.
Address: Fort Wayne, IN 46805
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
28. Buy local produce at Barr Street Market
Adjacent to the History Center is Berry Street, where the historic Barr Street Market is held on Saturday mornings from May to September. Buy organic products, including fresh vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients so you can cook a decent meal back in your homestay. If you’re last-minute souvenir hunting, the market also sells hand-crafted jewelry, home decor, and other local goods. Remember to be an environment-friendly consumer and bring your eco-bag to reduce the waste of single-use plastic bags.
Barr Street Market
Address: 302 E Berry St., Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Opening hours: Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed from Sun - Fri)
29. Savor hot dogs at Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island
Take a short breather from the busy streets of Fort Wayne and head over to the oldest hot dog stand in America. Salivate as soon as you see the neatly lined rows of sausage grilling in the front window of the store and patiently wait for your order to be served. Have a bite of the steamed soft bun complete with hand-chopped onions, flavorful sauce, mustard, and sausage. Pair it with a heavenly slice of pie and freshly brewed coffee or hot chocolate for a totally old-school dining experience.
Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island
Address: 131 W Main St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Website: Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 8am - 11pm; Sun: 9am - 9pm
30. Have a picnic at Headwaters Park
Gather your travel buddies and carry a picnic basket to this 30-acre (12-hectare) park located in downtown Fort Wayne. This place is ideal for great family bonding. Take advantage of the surrounding trees that offer enough shade to let you feel the cool breeze while reading your favorite book or playing board games with your friends. Beat the heat during the summer months and let your kids play in the free splash pad area or show your skills in the ice-skating rink open from late November until February. Do your assignment and see if an event such as concerts and festivals will take place here during your stay so you can maximize your visit.
Address: 333 S. Clinton St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 1pm - 8pm; Fri: 12pm - 10pm; Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 8pm
Satisfy the curious wanderer in you
Reconnect with nature and witness the best performances of your life when you experience the best of what Fort Wayne has to offer. History buff or not, you will find interesting facts about the early years of the city and the areas surrounding Indiana - if not the whole of America - while visiting several museums all over the city. With so many things to do here, take some time to update your itinerary so you can fit everything on the list on your next visit to the City of Churches.
Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana
1. What are the top attractions to visit in Fort Wayne?
There are plenty of attractions to see when you visit Fort Wayne, including the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Parkview Field, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, and Allen County Public Library.
2. What are the best outdoor activities in Fort Wayne?
If you’re looking for the best outdoor activity you can do in Fort Wayne, then you should visit Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, where you can hike, bird-watch, and see different species of animals. Other outdoor activity options here are picnicking at Headwaters Park, trekking through Rivergreenway Trail, and walking around Parkview Field.
3. What are the best day trips from Fort Wayne?
Some of the best day trips you can do from Fort Wayne are Columbus and Massachusetts. And if you want to go outside the state, you can have a day trip to Chicago, Cincinnati, and Ann Arbor.
4. What are the most popular things to do in Fort Wayne with kids?
Boasting many kid-friendly activities, Fort Wayne will surely make your kids happy, especially when you let them explore the Monkey Island at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, see the exhibits at Science Central, and play at Sky Zone Fort Wayne.
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