While it may seem like a sleepy town at first glance, Kokomo, Indiana, has hidden wonders and a storied past.
Dubbed as the “City of Firsts,” this city in Howard County was once the hub for innovations and inventions that helped the country progress.
Because of a natural gas boom in 1886, numerous technological advancements were developed in the city.
From horseless carriages to bombs, there were many things created here whose impacts are still felt in the contemporary era.
Today, innovation hubs are mostly located in major metropolitan areas, but that doesn’t mean this city has lost its touch.
There are still many things to see, do, and experience for the young and old.
So for your next weekend getaway, why not make this charming city your top choice?
Here are the 15 best things to do in Kokomo, IN:
Have a Fun Family Day at Highland Park
A short walk south of the Sycamore Stump & Old Ben exhibit lies Highland Park, another creekside destination for the family.
Highland Park is the oldest and most historic park in town, with lots of canopy-covered trails, green grounds, and bridges that cross the Kokomo Creek.
One of these is the Vermont Covered Bridge, one of the last covered bridges in the county.
It’s set in one of the beautiful clearings in the park, giving you a majestic view of the historic structure.
There are also playgrounds in the park built using vintage mental, and they have structures for both toddlers and bigger kids.
On the other hand, sports fans are welcome to use the tennis courts, baseball courts, and baseball diamonds set in various areas of the location.
Cool Down at Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center
When the hot summer months come, nothing beats a dip in a cool and crystal clear pool.
So if you’re visiting Kokomo during this season, make sure to stop by at Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center.
This water park has it all, so the young and the old alike will find something to enjoy.
From splash pads to high-energy water slides, from lazy rivers and leisure pools, the number of amenities will have you staying for more than just a few hours.
If you want to practice your swimming skills, there’s even a competition pool that offers the perfect depth and features.
And for those who need to refuel after an afternoon of splashing and swimming, there are many concessionaires that offer satisfying comfort foods.
Just make sure to follow the rules regarding snacks, as you can only have them at designated areas to keep the pool's waters clean and hygienic.
Stay Awhile at Foster Park
Across the Wildcat Creek from Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center lies another local favorite outdoor destination: Foster Park.
With its verdant grounds, patches of trees, and scenic wooded trails, the attraction invites many people to come and escape from busy lives.
The most visited routes are the ones beside Wildcat Creek, and here, you can enjoy the gentle streams of water and the jets of the fountains installed in the middle of the creek.
For those who like something more sporty, there are skate parks, tennis and basketball courts, as well as diamonds open for use.
But perhaps the most distinct feature of the location is the large white whale sculpture: Willie the Whale, who once lived in Indianapolis Zoo.
He was relocated here, and he continues to show his serene and friendly smile as children play beside, over, and inside him.
Make a Stopover at Sycamore Stump & Old Ben
While Kokomo is known as the City of Firsts, it might as well go for the title City of the Biggest with the Sycamore Stump & Old Ben attraction in tow.
The world’s largest Sycamore tree once stood several miles from Kokomo, but it was toppled by a storm that left a stump measuring 57 feet in circumference.
The humungous trunk was relocated to Kokomo in hopes of making it a landmark, but the planned structure was never realized.
Today, it stands in a shelter where it’s more protected from the elements.
One wing of this facility also houses another large specimen: Old Ben, the world’s largest steer.
His carcass, which weighed a whopping 5000 pounds during his death, has been preserved and put on display right next to the Sycamore stump.
Together, they serve as ambassadors of Kokomo’s wild ecosystem—proof of the rich resources that enable animals and plants to grow big in the region.
Marvel at the Beautiful Creations of Kokomo Opalescent Glass
Since 1888, the Kokomo Opalescent Glass company has continued to create some of the country’s most exquisite decorative glasses.
Their products stand true to the company name, with their ever-changing colors, intricate textures, and award-winning designs.
With the flashy, marbled, and magical quality of the glasses, they’ve become the favorite for church windows, art galleries, and contemporary establishments.
You’re welcome to purchase some as a souvenir for your trip to Kokomo, or you can buy them wholesale for an interior design project.
There are also tours that allow you to see the glass-making process, which remains traditional even up to today.
You’ll get to see firsthand how glassblowers are used by seasoned artisans to create unique pieces of art.
Just be prepared for some heat as you're going to come close to the furnaces during the tour.
Find Fresh Produce at Kokomo Downtown Farmers’ Market
When looking for vegetables, fruits, and other crops during your visit to Kokomo, then make a stopover at Kokomo Downtown Farmers’ Market.
This weekly event is a marker of the town's rich agricultural heritage and the region, with farmers and gardeners bringing their harvests from their fields or backyards.
Here, you'll find various fruit cultivars, seasonal vegetables, root crops, and other produce grown and harvested by local growers and small businesses.
There are also other products like quality preserved meats, flower bouquets, freshly baked goods, and furniture made by talented artisans.
Perhaps the best thing about this farmers market are the local organizations who come weekly to promote their advocacies and events.
There are also educational activities where children and adults alike can learn about the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables.
Because of these, the farmer's market becomes a dynamic event where the community comes together to share produce and ideas.
Tour the Grand Halls of Seiberling Mansion
This industrialist mansion was built by Frank Seiberling, one of the wealthiest persons during the city's industrial era.
It has been around since 1889, and today, it has maintained its magnificent facade and gorgeous architecture that makes it a must-see destination.
With the combination of Neo-Jacobean and Romanesque Revival styles, the house has a distinct look that is unlike the other structures in the city.
It perfectly encapsulates the decadent lifestyle that Frank had during his time, and you're welcome to see some remnants of this opulence within the halls of the house.
The interior has been perfectly preserved with exquisite wooden furnishings and polished furniture adorning the rooms and galleries.
Outside, the verdant grounds are often used for events and seasonal occasions, turning the surroundings during fall and winter into magical scenery.
Browse the Stalls at Treasure Mart Antique Mall
In a city as historic as Kokomo, it almost becomes a requirement for you to bring home something that is uniquely from the town’s past.
One of the best places to buy these hard-to-find items is at Treasure Mart Antique Mall.
Within the 25,000 square feet space, more than 70 dealers sell a wide range of trinkets, oddities, and other rare products.
Browsing the stalls is a collector’s dream.
You'd find one-of-a-kind furniture sets, vintage jewelry, rare toys, artisanal pottery, Indian artifacts, and other merchandise that you won't see anywhere else.
All these are located under one roof, so you can easily roam around and discover the items you're looking for.
See the Blooming Wildflowers at Jackson Morrow Park
Jackson Morrow Park is another family destination with beautiful walking trails, wooded areas, and sprawling grounds.
Segments of Little Wildcat Creek pass through here, creating beautiful views, especially during fall when the foliage contrasts with the deep green color of the waters.
During spring, wildflower viewing is a favorite activity in the park.
Plants like garlic mustard, star-of-Bethlehem, white clovers, and May-apples create colorful sights to welcome the arrival of warmer weather.
For those who like more sporty activities, the Kokomo Pipeline Skatepark is a well-known local destination that beginners and professionals are welcome to use.
The most prominent feature of this destination is the 16-feet wide concrete pipe, which creates an interesting and challenging skating experience.
However, there are still bowls and segments that cater to any age or skill level.
Visit the Restaurants Downtown
No trip to Kokomo would be complete without trying out the local cuisine at favorite dining establishments.
Downtown is where you’d find the established restaurants of the city, and they are nearby each other, so you can easily visit all of them in one epic restaurant hopping tour.
Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery offers tasty American staples and drinks made from the freshest ingredients, with the menu consisting of slow-smoked barbeque, steaks, and beer on tap.
At Jamie's Soda Fountain, you can enjoy classic comfort food like sandwiches, desserts, and burgers, as well as the soda fountain with its steady stream of sweet and cooling beverages.
Oscar's Pizza is the town’s favorite pizzeria, with specialty pizzas made in-house, all available in various flavors that are sure to satisfy your cravings.
Bounce All Day at Gravity Trampoline Park
For those who want an exhilarating activity that isn't set outdoors, head over to Gravity Trampoline Park
The 18,000 square foot entertainment facility features a wide range of activities and amenities for the whole family.
Chief of this are the high-performance trampolines, where you can bounce around all day or to your heart's desire.
But there are also other games like extreme dodgeball, battle beams, rock climbing walls, and freestyle jump areas that will keep you entertained for hours.
If you need to refuel, the Gravity Cafe offers a wide range of delicious comfort foods and refreshing drinks.
So bring the whole family over and enjoy an entire day of bouncing and jumping!
Play a Few Rounds at Wildcat Creek Golf Course
The Wildcat Creek Golf Course is an 18-hole course that is ideal for both beginners and professionals.
As Howard County’s championship course, this attraction has well-maintained fairways and greens, an excellent layout, and scenic views that enhance the overall gameplay.
It incorporates segments of Little Wildcat Creek into the course, making it a water hazard as well as a beautiful addition.
What's great about the course is the instructors willing to help you improve your game by offering private and group lessons.
So join one today and refine your skills and knowledge of the game.
Explore the Banks of Wildcat Creek Reservoir Park
West of the city proper lies the Wildcat Creek Reservoir Park, a popular destination for families and nature lovers.
It's where Wildcat Creek is dammed, creating a large lake with beautiful sceneries and offering many water-related activities.
Along the tree-lined banks, there are many wooded trails, picnic grounds, and boat launches available for public use.
You can rent a kayak or canoe to explore the more secluded areas of the lake or swim in designated segments.
Fishing is another favorite activity here, and you can catch largemouth bass, channel catfish, and black drums while on the shore or on a small watercraft.
This is actually the only place where fishing is permitted in Wildcat Creek, as the waters downstream have high concentrations of mercury that make the fish unsafe for consumption.
Watch an Exciting Race at Kokomo Speedway
If you're one who loves the thrill of watching race cars zooming down a track, then make sure to stop by at Kokomo Speedway.
The semi-banked dirt track is a quarter-mile long, and it hosts weekly races every Sunday night during the summer.
The primary cars that race here are stock cars, with the ARCA series as one of the main events.
But there are also sprint cars, late models, and modified car events that headline during October.
So whatever your preference, there’s something for you to enjoy.
Check out their calendar and bring the whole family over for some exhilarating roadside experience.
Immerse in History at Elwood Haynes Museum
Elwood Haynes was a chief inventor in Kokomo, and his house serves as the home of some of his creations.
As a pioneer in metallurgy and the automotive industry, his inventions made a profound impact on the country.
Most notably, his designs of the automobile enabled mass production of “horseless carriages.”
So we can thank him partly for the modern convenience that is the car.
You can find his prototype and other inventions inside this house, which was donated to the city of Kokomo by his daughter.
The museum contains many of Elwood’s original inventions, such as a stainless steel alloy, stellite, and other materials used in various machinery.
Most of these were vital to the war effort, and their variations are still used in NASA’s shuttles and satellites.
And, of course, his horseless carriages stand as prominent displays inside the house—a monument of sorts to his brilliance and ingenuity.
Gaze at the Exhibits at Indiana University Kokomo Art Gallery
The Kokomo Art Gallery at Indiana University (IU) offers around seven fine art exhibits annually.
Painting, sculpture, new media, and installation art are all included in these exhibitions.
In addition to national and international artists, the exhibits feature local and regional artists.
Academics and staff from the IUK campus plan and curate each exhibition, making it unique to the Kokomo region.
Indiana University Kokomo Art Gallery also sells artworks as a part of its regular fundraising efforts.
Catch a Game at Kokomo Municipal Stadium
The IU Kokomo Baseball and Soccer teams play at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
Ranked as one of collegiate athletics' best facilities, the stadium opened in 2015.
Due to its all-turf surface, the field has a year-round training and tournament space.
It can accommodate over 4,500 spectators with 3,000 fixed seats, 1,000 on grass berms, and four luxurious suites.
Baseball, softball, lawn tennis, and soccer are among the various sports hosted by the Kokomo Municipal Stadium, which also has a spectator stand.
The baseball team's home dugout, clubhouse, and bullpens are on the third baseline and provide the squad with top-notch training facilities.
Stroll through Industrial Heritage Trail
Industrial Heritage Trail connects Kokomo's old industrial areas to the city center.
There are several places to stop and rest along the route, including one beside a work of public art adjacent to Kokomo Opalescent Glass.
Whether on wheels or foot, the trail is perfect for bicycling, walking, or running.
By crossing Indiana 931 on Kokomo's north side, a pedestrian bridge joins this local rail-with-trail with the over 40-mile paved Nickel Plate Trail from Kokomo to Rochester.
One of the most remarkable places you will pass by is the Kokomo Rubber Company, established in 1895 and created the first pneumatic rubber tire in the United States.
Have a Retail Therapy at Markland Mall
Markland Mall is the place to go if you're looking for anything for any occasion.
Located in Kokomo, Indiana, Markland Mall serves the adjacent villages of Peru, Galveston, Greentown, Tipton, Sharpsville, and Russiaville with an indoor shopping center.
Easily accessible, the Markland Mall offers a wide range of services, including dining, shopping, and entertainment.
The Markland Mall features over 44 retailers, including Dunham's, Ross, Aldi, and Target.
Consider stopping by Chipotle, Ben's Pretzels, or Chili's while you're at the mall to fill up on some food.
Go Thrift Shopping at Vendor City
You may save money on your favorite home décor and furnishings at Vendor City.
You may find everything from ancient antiques to gorgeous furniture and home décor.
Flea market wares like grill scrubbers in boxes and other non-antique modern rubbish and shampoo materials fill most of Vendor City's floor space.
The rest of the complex is devoted to antiques, making the entire area an antiques and flea market in one.
In addition, the flea market has a good chance of having what you're looking for because it features local and foreign staff.
The historic and vibrant past of Kokomo is just one of the many things that make it a worthwhile destination.
There are also natural attractions and man-made destinations that are perfect for the whole family.
So when planning your trip to this charming city, reference this list so you won't miss the top spots.