Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Evansville, IN

  • Published 2023/03/13

If you’re looking for a guide to Evansville, Indiana, then you’ve landed in the right place.

Some people don’t consider this midwestern business town to be a holiday destination, but this article is here to debunk that.

If you’re looking for a cultural, historical, and relaxing vacation, Evansville has a whole lot to offer.

The city is home to amazing museums, stunning gardens, and thought-provoking historical attractions just waiting to be explored.

These are the best things to do in Evansville, Indiana:

Have a Captivating Experience at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science

The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science is an all-in-one place, as its name suggests.

It has over 30,000 permanent objects covering art, history, and science.

The museum is situated in Evansville’s Historic District located downtown.

There is always something new to explore since the museum regularly hosts exciting exhibitions collaborating with museums across the country.

One of the most interesting things about the museum is the Koch Immersive Theater, which has a massive 40-foot-diameter dome with a 360-degree projection, giving visitors a mesmerizing live experience.

This place will guarantee a fun and captivating evening whether you come with your family or friends.

Take a Wildlife Detour at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden

Scarlet Iris at Mesker Park Zoo

LKPhotographyandDesign /

Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden is the perfect place to spend a fun day with your family.

The area, spanning 45 acres in northwest Evansville, is home to more than 700 species of flora and fauna from all across the globe, especially those found in the tropical depths.

The place also has themed botanical gardens in different corners of the zoo, representing other geographical areas.

Waterfalls at Mesker Park Zoo

JDUPONT8, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Noteworthy highlights for tourists include the Engelbrecht Carousel, paddle boats, and bumper boats.

Visitors will get an up-close experience of the wildlife and greenery.

A trip to zoo entails long walks, so wearing comfortable shoes is highly recommended.

A macaw at Mesker Park Zoo

LKPhotographyandDesign /

Get to Know the History Behind the USS LST Ship Memorial

USS LST Ship Memorial on the waters

Roberto Galan /

Military history geeks must not miss out on this place.

USS LST-325 is the last fully operational World War II vessel.

There is a guided Main Deck tour available for tourists, where the working of the ship, its role in the Great War, and its history are narrated.

You will get the opportunity to see artifacts, documents, and photos of the ship and visit the main deck, the mess deck, the sleeping quarters, the tank deck, the stern, and the officers’ quarters.

USS LST-325 sets sail to the neighboring cities in the months of August and September.

If you’re traveling around that time, make your reservations well in advance.

Spend a Relaxing Day at Burdette Park

This recreational park is a 170-acre space situated just outside the city center.

Burdette Park is a paradise for nature lovers.

Travelers can experience the beauty of every season here.

It has a large public swimming pool that hosts many refreshing events all throughout the year.

People come here for jogging, hiking, biking and even fishing.

This vast place is close to nature and a hub of activities.

You are sure to get a wholesome experience here with all the different shades of nature and varieties of fun activities.

Enjoy Family Time in the Children’s Museum of Evansville

The Children’s Museum of Evansville is one of the finest places to visit with your family, especially if you have young children.

Located in downtown Evansville, it has a dynamic mix of exhibits, galleries, programs, and activities.

There are varieties of fun things to do, especially for kids.

These include climbing Moe, the two-story Duck, playing a laser harp, having water-based fun at the Wet Deck, and chatting with a talking bust of Mark Twain.

It is a must-visit place for children.

Kids can learn interesting and exciting new things from the programs conducted in the museum.

The programs are held from time to time, so make sure to check out their schedule beforehand and plan accordingly.

Visit the Hartman Arboretum, Indiana’s Master Garden

Flower at Hartman Arboretum

Taylor J. Scott /

The Hartman Arboretum is nestled within a private property owned by Grant and Jean Hartman.

Grant Hartman started designing and planting back in 2001, and now the garden is maintained by the family and a group of master gardeners.

It is a very visually appealing place with more than five hundred trees, shrubs, and other plants.

There are lots of events here held between the period of spring and autumn.

Butterfly Day, Moth Night, and Spring at Arboretum are some events that are absolutely not to be missed.

The place consists of sections like Fall Color Groove, where tourists get to experience the best colors of fall; Native Vine Arbor, where people can admire oriental vines; and Blueberry Patch, where people can pick different fruits depending upon the season.

This place is open for public visitations every day.

Catch a Baseball Game at Bosse Field

For all baseball enthusiasts, this place is a must-visit.

Bosse Field is one of the oldest ballparks in the country.

It was built in 1915 and is home to Frontier Minor League baseball team, the Evansville Otters.

Baseball fans will love getting to watch a game here.

It gives a nostalgic feel with its sweeping stands, old-fashioned architecture, and electrifying vibes during games.

People can also go for a pre-game picnic or attend events in the Bud Lite Lime Patio.

All of these things make Bosse Field very much worth adding to your itinerary.

Enjoy a Grand Evening at the Victory Theatre

This theater in downtown Evansville brings back the vibe of the early 1900s with its chic furnishings and grand decor.

Originally opened in 1921, the Victory Theatre was restored in recent days.

It is the home of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.

The theater regularly hosts ballet performances, theatrical productions, concerts, and children’s programs, which makes it a hub of cultural activities.

This is the place to be if you want to dip your toes into an evening of culture.

Check out their annual schedule beforehand to make your reservations.

The theater has a mesmerizing ambiance that makes it another must-visit attraction in Evansville.

Try Your Luck at Tropicana Evansville Casino

For all those interested in an evening of casual gambling, Tropicana Evansville Casino is a great place to visit.

It has classy decor with bright lights and jazzy music.

If you’re traveling with friends, head to the club for a dazzling night of fun.

It has exciting game machines and tables where visitors can try their luck at penny slots, blackjack, roulette, and poker.

If you are not interested in gambling, don’t worry!

Listen to live music or dine in one of the several restaurants on-site.

It is situated in downtown Evansville, which means it’s near the riverside.

So, couples can also go for a nice stroll by the river after dinner.

Visit the Reitz Home Museum

The Reitz Home Museum was home to John Augustus Reitz and his family.

He was a wealthy lumberman who built the house in 1871.

The museum is a fine example of French Second Empire-style architecture.

It is one of the finest standing buildings of the Victorian era, with its gorgeous chandeliers, stained glass windows, white onyx fireplaces, hand-painted ceilings, Moorish doorway screens, and intricate wood floor designs.

Visitors can take a guided tour and bask in the old-world charm of French architecture.

Find Some Solace at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is a 100-year-old church built in the Gothic Revival style.

This is a place where you can get close to your spiritual side and find mental peace.

People can also visit this church just to admire its architectural beauty and explore the history of the place.

Know the History of Angel Mounds

A diorama at Angel Mounds

Herb Roe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Angel Mounds is a 100-acres huge State Historic Site along the Ohio River.

This site preserves the prehistoric Native American culture and is also a National Historic Landmark.

Welcome sign of Angel Mounds

Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Angel Mounds was built by Middle Mississippian Native Americans who lived during the period of 1000 to 1450 AD.

History buffs should definitely visit this place and learn about this centuries-old civilization that died out even before the European settlers arrived.

Admire Nature at the Howell Wetlands

The Howell Wetlands is spread across 35 acres of land and is one of Indiana’s five popular urban wetlands.

It is managed by the Wesselman Nature Society.

It provides a unique ecosystem with a variety of natural habitats, such as slough, marsh, and river oxbow.

Tourists can have a great adventure along the two-mile-long walking trail within the wetland riddled with wooden bridges and walkways.

The Howell Wetlands is an excellent spot for hiking and enjoying the beauty of nature.

It is an exciting place for all adventure lovers.

Go for Retail Therapy at Eastland Mall

Exterior of the Eastland Mall

Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are having a boring day, what can be more fun and enjoyable than retail therapy?

Eastland Mall is the best place for that in Evansville.

It has more than 120 shops, including Macy’s and JCPenney.

The mall also has a food court offering a variety of cuisines.

This is a popular hangout location for locals, so it is mostly crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.

Get Caffeinated at Penny Lane Coffeehouse

Penny Lane Coffeehouse has a warm and welcoming ambiance for all coffee lovers.

This is a fantastic neighborhood hangout spot with a broad spectrum of customers.

It is best described as a “place to take time and remember why you’re living.”

Apart from their great wide range of coffee, Penny Lane Coffeehouse serves some delicious sandwiches and build-your-own breakfast or lunch sandwiches.

This place is known for its soothing ambiance in Evansville—and who knows, you may even be lucky and run into sports legends or celebrities.

Enjoy Amazing Seafood at Bonefish Grill

If you have a liking for seafood, Bonefish Grill is an excellent place to dine.

It is a part of a national chain of restaurants and serves an incredible range of seafood.

The restaurant also offers steak and chicken dishes.

One of its signature dishes is Bang Bang Shrimp, which is a must-try appetizer.

This place is pretty popular and usually gets crowded, especially for dinner.

So, it’s better to make a reservation or online booking before heading here.

Hang Out at Lamasco Bar and Grill

Lamasco Bar and Grill is an amazing place to hang out with friends or just have a relaxing evening.

This iconic bar serves incredible food and is popular for regularly hosting exciting events like concerts, karaoke nights, trivia nights, comedy shows, and open mic sessions.

Another highlight of this bar is its all-day ready breakfast menu, and its Breakfast Burrito is a must-try.

It also has an outdoor patio, so if the weather is pleasant, tourists can chill out there as well.

Check Out Willard Library

Willard Library is a private library that is a perfect place for book lovers.

It is housed inside a gorgeous building built in Victorian Gothic style.

You can also visit to admire the beautiful architecture of the building with its grand staircase and graceful window cases.

If you are looking to do some research, this is the place you want to visit.

The library is not only known for its access to historical collections and online databases but also its facilities for genealogical research.

Apart from all this, an interesting fact about the library is that it has a resident ghost called the Grey Lady.

It’s a must-visit if you are up for an adventure.

Make Your Way to the Marker, aka the Origin of Evansville

This is the place where it all began.

A public sculpture was installed in Downtown Evansville, marking the city’s birthplace by the riverside.

The sculpture mimics the shape of a map pin, with a four-foot-diameter sphere mounted on top of a 10-foot-long post.

It is a good spot to take photos.

Visit the Willard Carpenter House

The Willard Carpenter House is an establishment that serves as a memorial to Willard Carpenter, one of the most influential pioneers of public charity.

One of his most notable acts was acting as an agent of the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War.

Construction of the house began in 1848 and was completed in 1849, leaving behind a two-story Greek Revival Style home that was made by local carpenters and artisans.

The site itself is gorgeous, and any visitor interested in history will definitely want to stop by for the significance of the man who lived there.

Stop by the Four Freedoms Monument

The Four Freedoms Monument is considered the most recognizable landmark in Evansville.

This site serves as a testament to the most treasured freedoms of the United States and will undoubtedly stir up some American pride in you.

After walking up 13 steps to represent the 13 original colonies, you’ll be led to four columns and 50 pedestals.

Each of the pedestals has the name and seal of each state engraved upon it, while the columns are historical artifacts that were made in 1882.

Explore Eagle Slough Natural Area

Eagle Slough Natural Area is an oasis wetland where you’ll get the chance to see over a hundred species of birds.

You can follow the walking trail and see the majestic beauty of nature all around you as you make your journey.

There are also interpretive signs along the path to make it easier for travelers to understand what they’re walking into.

You’ll also pass by various observational decks.

There, you can witness various natural features and see the sights overlooking the wetlands and lake before you.

See the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse

Exterior of the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse

Judson McCranie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, also known as the Old Courthouse, was constructed in 1888 and once stood as the center of Vanderburgh County.

With its gorgeous architecture and amazing historical features, you’ll definitely want to stop by to get a few photos and view the fantastic details in the stonework.

Building details of Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse

Judson McCranie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its main tower rises to a height of 216 feet and is enclosed in windows that allow sunlight to enter through the interior.

The courthouse staff also offers tours upon request, so make sure to look into that if you want to learn more about the building.

The top part of the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse

Wirestock Creators /

Tour the Evansville African American Museum

The Evansville African American Museum is housed in one of the original apartments that showcase African-American life in the area during the 1930s.

The museum itself displays the work of local artists and permanent exhibits, with contributors coming from both past and present residents.

Aside from that, the building also serves as a celebration and community area for locals and visitors alike.

If you’re interested in learning about a unique part of Evansville and Indiana culture and history, then you’ll surely love a visit to this museum for the chance to see what it has to offer.

Go for an Arcade Date at Walther’s Golf & Fun

Looking for a place to bond with your whole family?

Walther’s Golf & Fun is an all-around amusement park with two mini-golf courses and a 32-hole layout.

Aside from golf, the park’s attractions include laser tag and an array of arcade machines.

You’ll never run out of games to play and win.

End your Walther’s Golf & Fun experience with a bite of its cafe’s handmade pizzas.

Find this entertainment site on the corner of North First Avenue and Avon Avenue.

Learn About War History at Evansville Wartime Museum

Opened in 2017, Evansville Wartime Museum is a unique city museum focusing on the place’s wartime contributions.

Its artifact collection includes a wide array of engines, war vehicles, and weaponry.

Learn more about what life was like during the war from survivors and veterans.

Come by during one of its interactive events, including a testimonial talk and live music.

If you’re interested in visiting, Evansville Wartime Museum is on Petersburg Road.

Stimulate Your Senses Outdoors with a Visit to Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Nature trail at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Chris M Morris, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along North Boeke Road, Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve is a living testament to the original forests of Southern Indiana.

This 200-acre tract was once the home for many indigenous people before the McCallister family acquired the piece of land in the 19th century.

By 2018, a part of the preserve has become a Nature Playscape for children.

Its 4-mile trails wind past dense trees that are home to many native birds, including Great-Horned Owls and Wood Ducks.

It has a westside property called Howell Wetlands.

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve is the ultimate nature destination you shouldn’t miss for the world!

Breathe in the Fresh Air while Biking Along Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage

Snow-covered trail of Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage

Kurt D. Eichmiller /

Keep your bike wheels turning when you drop by Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage.

This urban multi-use trail is 10 feet wide and passes through the core of Evansville.

This is why it’s a go-to spot for many joggers, bikers, and those looking for a scenic place to stroll.

The overarching plan for this greenway is to encircle the entire city.

For now, the passageway remains an outstanding wildlife corridor and historical space.

As it passes by the banks and creek of the city, it features storyboards that tell Evansville’s history.

Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage’s opposing ends are at Canoe Launch & Trailhead on North Heidelbach Avenue and at Sunrise Park.

Meet Playful Kittens While Snacking at River Kitty Cat Cafe

If you love cats and coffee, don’t miss out on visiting River Kitty Cat Cafe while you’re in Evansville.

This unique cafe first opened in 2017 under the ownership of Annette Gries and Nancy Drake.

It aimed to provide shelter for homeless cats until they found their forever homes.

In 2019, the Vanderburgh Humane Society bought the cafe.

Now, the place has become an attraction for many animal and cat lovers visiting Evansville.

While relaxing with a tasty Meowcchiato or a Hot Chococat—yes, the cafe’s menu has its own feline spin to it, play with a few friendly resident cats.

Who knows?

You might just find your forever companion with one of these cafe’s cats.

River Kitty Cat Cafe is on Main Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Sip at Winzerwald Winery

Winzerwald Winery, situated on a hilltop in the Hoosier National Forest, is a paradise for all wine lovers.

Perfect for a day trip from the city, the winery is an hour’s drive away from Evansville.

This family-owned vineyard produces some great wines, signature blends, traditional German varieties, and premium selections.

It has an indoor wine tasting room that attracts a lot of wine lovers.

Visitors can also join the Wein Klub for discounts on wine purchases and access to members-only events.

Final Thoughts

As the county seat of Vanderburgh, Evansville is a place that’s filled with history and culture.

It’s an area that always has something interesting and exciting going on around it, just waiting to be discovered.

Any adventurous traveler would be lucky to get the chance to explore this place and will have a lot of fun along the way.

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