Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Crawfordsville, IN

  • Published 2023/03/17

Find the splendid city of Crawfordsville along the west-central side of Indiana in Montgomery County.

Established in 1823, Crawfordsville gets its name from William H. Crawford, former US Secretary of War and Treasury.

It’s a destination for unique and historical museums, like the Rotary Jail Museum and General Lew Wallace Study & Museum.

But there are also many other destinations such as parks, local markets, and scenic natural environments.

Crawford is a relatively small city that harbors many educational destinations and a few thrilling activities in the sky and on the water.

Here are the best things to do in Crawfordsville, IN:

Explore the Rotary Jail Museum

Welcome sign of Rotary Jail Museum

karenfoleyphotography /

If you ever wanted to know what a jail’s inside looks like head to the Rotary Jail Museum in Crawfordsville.

You can even explore an unusual type of old jail—rotary jails.

The first rotary jail was built in 1882 and became relatively popular in Indiana.

Eventually, they were phased out.

The only one still standing today is the Rotary Jail Museum on Washington Street.

Exterior of the Rotary Jail Museum

Don O’Brien from Piketon, Ohio, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can join a guided tour and learn about the experiences of former inmates, the rotary jail’s functions, and the unfortunate results of the jail’s mechanisms.

Find several well-preserved items, furniture, and areas to maintain authenticity.

The staff is also entertaining and knowledgeable about the history of rotary jails.

Enter this museum to learn more about Crawfordville’s local history.

History marker of Rotary Jail Museum

karenfoleyphotography /

Visit Lane Place Antebellum Mansion

Along South Water Street, you’ll find the historic Lane Place Antebellum Mansion.

It’s a mansion-turned-mIt’sm with a vast collection of antiques and original artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries.

An estimated 95-98% of the furniture is authentic.

This place was the home of Henry and Joana Lane.

Their niece eventually passed it down in 1931 to the Montgomery County Historical Society.

This mansion is one of the closest remnants of the past, from wallpapers and chimneys to paintings and sculptures.

Most of its original items remain in decent condition.

It also houses special events in Crawfordsville like the Strawberry Festival, which occurs in June.

Enter this mansion and peek into the past with Lane Place Antebellum Mansion.

Try the Activities in Crawfordsville Parks & Recreation

You can do many fun and leisure activities in Crawfordsville Park on South Boulevard.

Options for sports and fitness classes like yoga, body sculpting, functional fitness, and spin class are available throughout the week.

The destination is also home to several fun amenities like pools, splash pads, a gym, and an indoor walking track.

With a long list of potential activities, this place can entertain people of all ages.

Drop by and enjoy their activities and amenities.

Sip Fine Wine at Coal Creek Cellars Winery

A serene wine-tasting experience in an open-air outdoor setting is available at Coal Creek Cellars Winery.

This winery has indoor and outdoor options, but live music events make outdoor seating attractive to many guests.

Choose from red and white wines with varied flavors from sweet to citrusy.

Bring home a taste that matches your preferences.

The scenic winery is in a classic red barn that has stood in the same spot for over a hundred years.

It’s also surrounded by lush verdant plains and vineyards, contrasting beautifully with the red barn.

A visit to Coal Creek Cellars Winery will help you unwind in a cozy, country-style destination.

Give them a chance!

Stroll Down Crawfordsville Main Street

Buildings along Crawfordsville Main Street

Roberto Galan /

Crawfordsville Main Street is the city’s beautiful downtown, with historic buildings and thriving commercial establishments.

With support from the local community, this main street continues to undergo improvements to represent Crawfordsville’s culturCrawfordsville’sl features.

Winter morning at Crawfordsville Main Street

Michaeldavisson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From historical government offices to old civilian homes and schools, this main street is a scenic sight for history and architecture buffs.

You can also attend events like live music, farmers’ markets, and party nights.

Tour the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum

General Lew Wallace was an impressive major general who was also an author, artist, inventor, and musician.

The museum showcases his study, which houses many personal memorabilia like books, novels, trinkets, and draft writings.

His most famous work was the religious novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which received massive critical acclaim and popularity.

It became the best-selling novel of the 19th century.

Through guided tours, you’ll learn details about General Lew’s life, achievementsLew’sents, and background.

They also allow visitors to roam around gardens and grounds during a tour break freely.

Shop Local in Four Seasons Local Market

This cozy market only displays and sells items from Crawfordsville and Indiana.

Established in 2016, the Four Seasons Local Market was a joint effort of four families who discussed ideas about a business venture that could attract more customers.

Since then, their popularity has grown.

Their business constantly expands to offer new local products that match their customers’ preferences.

Some of their items include farm goods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy and handcrafted products like jams, candy, and baked goods.

This local market is a great way to try local flavors and discover new things.

Admire the Works in Athens Arts Gallery

Athens Arts Gallery connects you with the local talents of Crawfordsville and other places in Indiana.

Opened in 2010, this gallery seeks to enrich the arts and culture within the community and provide a venue for artists to display and sell their works.

It features many mediums like paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and other handcrafted artworks.

You can purchase many original works from the gallery at affordable prices.

They also change their featured artists and give others time in the spotlight.

Overall, Athens Arts Gallery is a leisure destination that allows you to admire the talents of local and regional artists.

Learn History at the Carnegie Museum-Montgomery

Exterior of the Carnegie Museum-Montgomery

Chris Light at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Find history, culture, and art at Carnegie Museum-Montgomery.

Founded in 2007, this museum aims to promote appreciation for history, culture, and art within Montgomery County.

You’ll see different exhibits around the premises with various themes like business, war, trains, and pop culture.

There are also a handful of interactive exhibits for children.

The admission fee is free, but they also offer a paid membership with the perk of free admission to partnered museums and science centers.

Have Fun at Milligan Park

Milligan Park is a one-stop destination for various types of recreation.

It’s one of the most famIt’sparks in Crawfordsville, boasting exciting attractions like the golf course, playground, and skate area.

A swimming pool and a splash pad are also perfect for cooling off on a summer day.

As the largest park in the city, Milligan Park also houses several picnic shelters around the area and horseshoe pits.

Softball and baseball fields are also available at Michigan Park.

They offer basic lessons like water adjustment, floatation, and stroke development if you want to improve your swimming.

Win a Game at Crawfordsville Golf Course

Crawfordsville Golf Course is a challenging 18-hole course open to the public.

Established in 1906 with only nine holes, this golf course has gone through expansions and renovations into the premium yet affordable course it is today.

The entire course spans 132 acres across the eastern end of the city.

It consists of easy and challenging goals to make the course fun for everyone.

Crawfordsville Golf Course is also well-maintained to ensure that the plains remain in pure color and condition.

If you don’t own a golf club, the staff lets you borrow from their collection, so long as you’re new to the sport.

Pick Flowers at Shannon Family Farms

Shannon Family Farms offer a unique flower experience at their farm in Crawfordsville.

Founded in 2004, this family farm focused on caring for livestock.

However, the time-consuming work wasn’t good for the family.

Instead, they renovated the farm into a flowery oasis that could still earn them some income as a business.

Wander the beautiful plains with colorful flowers lining your path, and pick your favorites to put in a garden pot.

It’s a calming experience that’s also easy on the eyes.

Anyone with an appreciation for beauty and nature can enjoy this casual venture.

Crawfordville’s Cabbages and Kings Antique Mall

Cabbages and Kings Antique Mall is a powerhouse for affordable and rare antique items.

A trip to the Cabbages and Kings Antique Mall is heaven for collectors and fans of old items, with three floors available.

Every piece tells a gripping tale of where it came from and what it went through before it landed in the antique mall.

You’ll see a vast collecYou’llf items, shelves upon shelves of random products and furnishings.

They also hold sales with up to 50% off, especially during holidays.

It’s located along WashiIt’sn Street; drop by if you’re ever in the city.

Make Waves with Sugar Creek Campground & Canoe Rentals

Sugar Creek Campground is Crawfordsville’s ultimaCrawfordsville’s various water recreation in Sugar Creek.

They give you access to fun activities like kayaking, tubing, canoeing, and fishing.

They also offer camping packages outdoors where they’ll loan you all you need to make camping a fun and convenient stay.

It’s the perfect destination for warm, sunny days in the city!

Unwind with the recreational activities of Sugar Creek Campground & Canoe Rentals.

Enjoy the Strawberry Festival Attractions

The Strawberry Festival is the largest local annual event well-enjoyed by Crawfordsville and Montgomery County residents and visitors.

Held every second week of June, you’ll get to enjoy three days of family-friendly activities and different attractions.

Experience the rich heritage of the “The Athens of Indiana” at the historic Lane Place, decorated in strawberry theme.

Kids will have tons of fun at the Children’s Area featuring kiddie games like Bean Bag Toss, Ring Toss, Miniature Golf, and Frog Flipper, along with pony rides, sand art, face painting, a bounce house, and so much more.

Drop by the Food Court and enjoy servings of festival food and as you guessed it, there are plenty of strawberry delights to try.

Stroll around the grounds and find assorted items you can purchase from over 90 Arts and Crafts booths, and other products at the Commercial Booth Area; likewise, you’ll enjoy the best local entertainment while you shop.

If you love vintage cars, you’ll surely enjoy the Corvette Car Show and Antique & Classic Car Show with over 150 models on display.

Enjoy the festivities at the Strawberry Festival.

Bring Your Dogs to Bark Avenue Dog Park

Your furry family member can have all the fun at Bark Avenue Dog Park.

Right on East South Boulevard, this 1.6-acre off-leash space is run by the Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation Department partnering with the Montgomery County Animal Welfare League.

You can purchase a 72-hour Pass or Annual Pass at the Parks and Recreation Department.

The park is also open from dawn to dusk and you can bring your dog any day of the week.

Do make sure that you get to check the dog park rules when you visit the facility.

Whether you have a small pooch or a big buddy, the park has plenty of space for both big and small dogs.

Let your dogs run and play at Bark Avenue Dog Park.

Catch the Sugar Creek Players Perform at the Vanity Theater

Watch amazing front-seat performances by the Sugar Creek Players at the Vanity Theater.

The theater venue is located at South Washington Street and has been a local pride for premier stage productions.

The theater group had its beginnings at Wabash College, with its members aiming to revive the local theater scene; they had their debut performance in 1971.

In 1983, they finally found a home at the Vanity Motion Picture Theater and had their first theater production in 1988.

Today, you can catch an array of spectacular theater shows that your family is sure to enjoy.

You can order tickets online and check the season’s productions by the Sugar Creek Players at their website.

Find an Array of Goods at the Crawfordsville Farmers’ Market

Spring, Summer, and Fall weekends always come alive at the Crawfordsville Farmers’ Market.

You’ll catch the market every Saturday morning until noon at Pike Place; it runs from May to September.

Since 1993, the market has grown to over 40 market stalls where you can find a variety of local farmers, growers, producers, and artisans.

Get your fresh produce, farm-raised meats and eggs, homemade jams and jellies, and other natural food products.

While you enjoy shopping, you can also catch scheduled events like cooking demonstrations, family activities, food trucks, fitness classes, and live music.

You can also bring your leashed dogs and there are pet waste bags provided by Pike Peak to help you clean up quickly.

Shop and enjoy at Crawfordsville Farmers’ Market!

Enjoy Authentic Mexican Food at Little Mexico

You’ll love an array of delicious Mexican specialties served at Little Mexico.

Irma and Ignacio Bravo’s unique restaurant is located on East Main Street; the restaurant was also voted as the Best Ethnic Restaurant and Best Overall Restaurant in Montgomery County.

Since 1993, locals and tourists to Crawfordsville enjoy the authentic Mexican flavors served at this brightly-decorated food stop.

Go loco over delicious appetizers like the Nachos Supremos, Bean Nachos, Seasoned Ground Beef Nachos, and The Quesos, best enjoyed with tasty dips.

Bite into different Quesadilla flavors like Ground Beef, Cheese, Mushroom, Chicken, or Carne Asada, or have a Quesadilla for dinner in Quesadilla de Camaron, Quesadilla Rellena, and Vegetarian varieties.

Try the Super Taco Salad or Fajita Taco Salad with your choice of French, Ranch, or Italian dressings.

You won’t get enough of their Super Taco Salad and Fajita Taco Salad, along with their House Favorites like the Chimichanga de Camaron, Arroz con Steak, and Huevos con Chorizo.

Looking for healthier options? They have Great Healthy Choices on the menu, plus other selections like the Platos de Pollo and Burrito Especiales.

Enjoy other Mexican dishes from their Lunch Menu and choose from their Just-for-Kids Menu for your little ones.

Cap off your meal with deliciously sweet desserts by Little Mexico.

Final Thoughts

Crawfordsville is a peaceful city rich in leisure attractions like museums, farms, malls, and nature spots.

If you ever need a dose of adrenaline, this city also harbors zip lines and water recreation to make your heart race.

It also has impressive historical destinations like Rotary Jail Museum, Lane Place Antebellum Mansion, and its thriving Main Street.

There’s enough variety in Crawfordsville to make it worth your while.

Book your trip today!

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