Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne, IN

  • Published 2022/07/28

A gem of a city in the state of Indiana, Fort Wayne is one of the top choices for novice travelers.

The city boasts a low cost of living while maintaining a classy lifestyle, which locals and visitors love.

Even though it is the second-most populous city in Indiana, the amount of cultural and cozy vibes the place exudes will make you forget that fact.

Fort Wayne offers lots of exciting activities and places to visit, including parks and boulevards, mesmerizing museums, and excellent restaurants—the list goes on.

You can visit the city any time of the year, and it will still be the same: warm and welcoming, with something exciting brewing around the corner.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

Admire the Stunning Displays at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Exterior of Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Momoneymoproblemz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on East Main Street, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is one of the most-visited museums in the city.

Operated by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, it houses fascinating American art, ranging from paintings and sculptures to glass and displays.

The museum boasts nearly 5,000 works of art created by world-renowned painters and artisans.

View of Fort Wayne Museum of Art's sculpture garden

Momoneymoproblemz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also hosts programs, seminars, classes, and events annually.

These include comfortable art classes, museum internships, and a beautiful and artistic event called the Chalk Walk, part of the annual Three Rivers Festival.

Look out especially for the glass sculptures right by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s entrance—they are enough to lure you in!

Take a Scenic Stroll along the Native Trees of Indiana River Walk

The beautiful Native Trees of Indiana River Walk snakes around the St. Joseph River and skirts around the Purdue University campus.

This asphalt-paved trail spans up to 1.25 miles and is almost eight feet wide, making it preferable for jogging, biking, and walking.

More than 100 species of Indiana native trees line the walk, and each of them comes with its own plaque of interesting information.

The Native Trees of Indiana River Walk is rather fascinating and offers a great way to spend time in Fort Wayne.

Here, one can experience what it is like to move along amidst flora and fauna in the middle of an urban area.

Witness the Art of Chocolate Making at DeBrand Fine Chocolates

Step into DeBrand Fine Chocolates’ chocolate world when in Fort Wayne!

DeBrand Fine Chocolates is the delicious brainchild of Cathy Brand-Beere, who started it in 1987.

The chocolatier has always been keen on using the highest quality ingredients, and one can tell when tasting their fine chocolates.

All of their chocolates come in beautiful boxes, some of which are actually edible.

The shop, with its aesthetically brown and royal façade, also has a perfect and private Party Room, which can comfortably host groups for parties and get-togethers.

If you want to know more about their chocolate-making process, you can join a tour of their headquarters, where all the magic happens—something worth experiencing.

See the chocolatiers in action at DeBrand Fine Chocolates’ main branch along Auburn Road.

Tour around the Allen County Courthouse

Exterior of the Allen County Courthouse

JDMcGauley /

A national and historic landmark on Calhoun Street, the Allen County Courthouse is one of the best buildings exhibiting Beaux-Arts Architecture.

It was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1967 and was bestowed the honor of being a National Historic Landmark in 2003.

View of Allen County Courthouse's clock tower and dome

Nagel Photography /

Stained glass, mesmerizing murals, and sculptures are just some of the top things to see at this place.

The Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust looks after this attraction, which dates back to around 1897.

Join a group tour or take a self-guided tour to experience the courthouse’s charm.

Interior of Allen County Courthouse

Steve46814 (talk), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Admire the Flora at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

A cactus in Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Wayne has several natural attractions, and the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is one of them.

Located on Calhoun Street, this enclosed conservatory was founded in 1983 and spans over 25,000 square feet.

The conservatory offers four seasonal exhibits and has four outdoor gardens, including a beautiful waterfall, a desert garden, an outdoor terrace, and an exploration garden.

What is more impressive about this botanical garden is the abundance of trees that adorn the place.

The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is home to more than 502 different species, along with around 72 types of cacti, including the Saguaro Cacti.

Take a stroll around this enchanting place, have a bite at the cafe, and pick out souvenirs at the gift shop.

Enjoy a Unique Theatrical Experience at Arena Dinner Theatre

Most people watch shows and head to dinner after, or vice versa.

However, there’s a place in Fort Wayne where you can do both things simultaneously.

Arena Dinner Theatre, located on Rockhill Street, is a fantastic community arts corporation big on live theater productions.

Every year, the theater features around seven theatrical productions, which are always worthwhile and enchanting.

Indiana’s emerging and established actors and actresses have found themselves on this theater’s stage, with famous directors directing them.

Arena Dinner Theatre also has its own kitchen, which provides delicious meals for the audience watching the plays.

This theater is one of a kind, providing food for the stomach and soul at the same time.

Step Back in Time at the Old Fort

Daytime view of the Historic Old Fort Wayne

Travis Eckert /

Believe it or not, the Old Fort Wayne that you see today on Spy Run Avenue, parallel to the St. Mary’s River, is a beautiful replica of the Third American Fort of the 18th century.

A complete document of local history, it showcases different eras ranging from French Colonial History to Civil War re-enactments.

One of the blockhouses in Historic Fort Wayne

Momoneymoproblemz, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The place is run and maintained by a non-profit organization, Historic Fort Wayne Inc.

Displays and events are hosted frequently here all year round, most featuring characters in costumes and guided tours around the fort’s premises.

Exterior of the Old Fort

Momoneymoproblemz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When there are no events, visitors are allowed to roam around and absorb the vintage knowledge the place imparts.

A place right out of a history textbook, the Old Fort is one interesting place to visit.

Stop and Smell the Flowers at Lakeside Park & Rose Garden

Statue surrounded with flowers at Lakeside Park & Rose Garden

Joseph P. Brennan /

Fort Wayne’s Lake Avenue is blessed with a beautiful place known as Lakeside Park and Rose Garden.

What makes this historic garden famous is the presence of a sunken garden, consisting of more than 2,000 rose plants available in more than 150 varieties.

The climate is not conducive to growing roses, but the soil works wonders for the roses’ growth.

Pergola at Lakeside Park and Rose Garden

Joseph P. Brennan /

Lakeside Park and Rose Garden was restored to its original glory and receives thousands of visitors annually.

The park also consists of expansive tennis and basketball courts, provisions for ice-skating during the winter, spacious playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails.

Have a Delicious Meal and Craft Beer at The Hoppy Gnome

The Hoppy Gnome is best described in three phrases: inviting ambiance, lip-smacking food, and excellent service.

Located on East Berry Street, the place has been around since 2015 and has become a hit among the locals.

GnomeTown Brewing Co. was recently added to this paradisal group and offers more than 40 taps of craft beer and a quality array of wines.

The restaurant employs a unique concept, as all their dishes are made entirely from scratch, including tacos, tortas, steak, seafood, and delicious vegetarian options.

To top it all off, if you return to the restaurant after a few months, you will find the menu wholly transformed.

The Hoppy Gnome, with all its whimsical charm, is a must-visit.

Shop till You Drop at Glenbrook Square

If you wish to purchase anything in Fort Wayne, Glenbrook Square is the place for you.

This shopping mall, located on Coldwater Road, is lined with stores like Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, JCPenney, HomeGoods, and Dave & Buster’s, among others.

It has been around since 1966, stands on 1,210,000 square feet of space, and is one of the three most prominent malls in Indiana.

From beauty and skincare to electronics and house supplies, you can find everything here.

A huge plus point is the availability of many restaurants in and around the mall so that you don’t have to hunt for food and drinks after shopping.

Participate in the Events at Headwaters Park

Aerial view of Headwaters Park

Travis Eckert /

Located on South Clinton Street in Downtown Fort Wayne, Headwaters Park is a paradisal place where relaxing vibes are ever-present and exciting events are an everyday occurrence.

This 30-acre park offers a whole range of events and activities, both public and private.

Two parking lots, plazas, Hamilton Sculpture Garden, and picnic spots adorn the place, with a spacious open-air pavilion in the middle.

One of the picturesque places in Fort Wayne, Headwaters Park is a popular space to host weddings, receptions, family reunions, and picnics.

When the snow blankets the city, this pavilion is where the famous Headwaters Ice Skating Rink is held.

Have the Best Pizza in Fort Wayne at 816 Pint & Slice

What’s more enjoyable than having a pint of beer and a slice of pizza to relax?

These are precisely what the Thomas Family decided to offer to Fort Wayne when they opened Pint & Slice.

The pizzeria was established in 2007 and quickly rose to fame, not just in Fort Wayne but around the world.

Pint & Slice offers a delicious selection of classic pizzas made with the freshest ingredients.

Quality beers and wine are also available on the menu, along with salads, grinders, calzones, and pasta.

All of these are made in a clean and hygienic open kitchen while you enjoy your meals in a spacious and cozy space.

Pint & Slice is located along Calhoun Street.

Catch a Live Performance at the Embassy Theatre

Exterior of The Embassy Theatre

Cliff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Formerly known as the Emboyd Theatre, the historic Embassy Theatre is one of the beautiful places to experience Fort Wayne’s culture.

It has entertained visitors since 1928 and is close to celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The theater, located on West Jefferson Boulevard, has a whopping 2,471 seats and is the proud home of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.

Signage of the Embassy Theatre

Cliff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and reopened as a performing arts center.

The Embassy Theatre is also well-known for hosting functions and events, including weddings and parties.

Its ornate decorations, dazzling lights, and vintage charm will make your experience memorable.

Interior of the Embassy Theatre

Cmadler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Nature Trails at Eagle Marsh

Scenic sunset over Eagle Marsh

arthurgphotography /

With more than 14 miles of trails, shallow-water wetland, prairie, forest areas, and sedge meadows, Eagle Marsh is a magical nature reserve spanning 831 acres.

It is located just on the southwest border of Fort Wayne and is the proud home to several mammals—including beavers, muskrats, and otters—as well as reptiles and amphibians.

More than 200 types of birds are seen flying across the sky, which visitors can gaze at to their heart’s content.

The wetland trails will take you to different preserves, letting you enjoy watching the magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

Visitors are welcome to join guided tours or explore the area independently.

If you wish to spend some time away from the city’s hustle and bustle, Eagle Marsh is the place for you.

Appreciate Modern-Day Heroes at the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum

Exterior of the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum

Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Firefighters are among those who would risk their lives unthinkingly to save others.

Therefore, these heroes deserve a tribute of some kind or other.

This led to Fort Wayne creating the beautiful Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum, located on Washington Boulevard.

It is a non-profit organization that focuses on preserving the Fort Wayne Fire Department’s magical history and the associated artifacts of the fire service.

From uniforms and apparatus to fire gear and tools, the museum has it all for visitors to see.

A tour around the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum will surely give you a greater appreciation for firefighters.

Bond with Family While Learning at Science Central

Colorful roof of Science Central

Travis Eckert /

Science Central is a learning accelerator, particularly for science, technology, engineering, and math topics.

It is a relic of City Light & Power’s former power plant, formerly called the big edifice home.

Presently, it is the destination for children, parents, instructors, and friends who want to engage in some interactive science and technology fun.

Entrance of Science Central

Colts12871, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Science Central features more than 130 interactive, year-round displays.

This attraction on North Clinton Street is a terrific spot to visit if you’re looking for family-friendly activities in Fort Wayne.

Appreciate the Stunning Features of Castle Gallery

The Castle on West Wayne Street was created as a wedding gift for B. Paul Mossman and his wife in 1905.

It was renewed as an art gallery in 1995 and now exhibits work by international artists.

Castle Gallery features ancient cherry, walnut, oak, mahogany flooring, and fittings.

Visitors can plan their trip around the gallery’s numerous activities, which include book tours and composer events.

Enjoy Castle Gallery’s grandeur and learn about its history.

Enjoy Live Entertainment at Mad Anthony Brewing Company

Located on Broadway Street, Mad Anthony Brewing Company has a calm, relaxed ambiance, a comprehensive food selection, regular live entertainment, and an excellent beer menu that changes frequently.

They provide the most incredible Chicago-style pizza, a wide range of vegetarian options, renowned “Unwraps,” and classic pub cuisine.

Serving award-winning hand-crafted ale and lager, Mad Anthony Brewing Company ought to be at the top of your choice for entertainment.

Enjoy something light, a hearty dinner, or hire them as a catering service for your upcoming party.

See Different Animals at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Cute penguins in Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Zyra Lee Zhang /

Find out what makes the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo one of the best places for family enjoyment in Indiana.

The zoo, located on Sherman Boulevard, is home to some of the most spectacular animals on the globe.

Giraffes in Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Zyra Lee Zhang /

Visitors can experience a tour while seeing more than 1,000 species living peacefully in habitats.

Among the country’s 10 leading zoos, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is the ideal location for your upcoming birthday celebration or private event.

Enjoy the trip, see the animals, and don’t forget to snap photos!

Ducks and geese near Fort Wayne Children's Zoo pond

Zyra Lee Zhang /

Treat Yourself a Delicious Dinner at Black Canyon Restaurant

On Dupont Road, you’ll find an eclectic restaurant with a contemporary setting and a lively bar atmosphere.

Black Canyon Restaurant is regarded as a brand-new, full-service American eatery that specializes in freshly made dishes to order.

The restaurant proudly makes everything from scratch and serves brunch, lunch, and dinner.

They acquire the best ingredients to prepare dinners that include steaks, seafood, chicken, and pork, along with custom salads.

If you’re searching for fantastic beer, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the ever-changing list of craft beers at Black Canyon Restaurant.

Final Thoughts

Tourists of Fort Wayne get to explore its stunning mix of parks, museums, and more stunning attractions.

One of the top zoos in the country, a well-liked interactive science center, a renowned theater, and a lovely botanical conservatory are all located in the city.

Use this list of the best things to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana and enjoy a memorable vacation.

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