15 Best Things to Do in Richmond, IN

Richmond, IN
Kenneth Keifer / shutterstock.com

Prioritize the fun things to do in Richmond if you plan to visit East Central Indiana.

This city, after all, is not only the seat of Wayne County but also a part of the vibrant Dayton, Ohio metropolitan area.

Richmond’s name likewise aptly suggests a fertile resource for visitors to enjoy.

Incorporated in 1818, Richmond was first called Smithville but was renamed supposedly because of the fertile local soil.

Various other factors contributed to the early development of Richmond, but one of the most significant was the Cumberland (or National) Road.

This national road bisects the city east to west and has been pivotal to growing Richmond as a manufacturing center with a fertile land resource.

Additionally, the East Fork Whitewater River runs across the city, nourishing the lush greeneries along its banks.

Today, agricultural marketing and processing remain important economic drivers for Richmond.

There are other anchors to the development of this city as an exciting travel destination.

Learn more about these in the following list of best things to do in Richmond.

Wade in the Shallows of Thistlethwaite Falls

Front view of the thistlewaite falls.
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

This Richmond point of interest is man-made and formed through a diversion of the course of a stream to a rocky ledge.

Timothy Thistlethwaite and his brother-in-law Joseph Ratliff accomplished this feat in 1854 to form the falls, whose current was tapped to run several mills.

Side view of the thistlewaite falls.
Ty B Wilson / Shutterstock.com

With the mills now gone, the Thistlethwaite Falls has become a tourist draw where you can wade its shallow waters and explore nearby creeks.

Just a short walk on Waterfall Road will also lead you to the nearby 104-acre Springwood Park with a 30-acre lake.

The park’s facilities include nature trails, picnic areas, restrooms, a playground, and sports fields.

Front view of the thistlewaite falls.
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

Tour the Wayne County Historical Museum

This museum on North A Street is composed of eight buildings where the displays focus on Wayne County and world culture.

Described as a “miniature Smithsonian,” the museum holds many important artifacts on the history of Wayne County.

These collections cover the county’s early pioneer years through the Industrial Revolution and into the modern era.

The museum also displays the cultural objects collected by the museum’s founder, Julia Meek Gaar, during her worldwide travels.

An Egyptian mummy is one of these, which has a counterpart in the Joseph Moore Museum in Earlham College and Richmond.

Because of these two Egyptian artifacts, the city has earned the moniker "Mummy Capital of Indiana."

Explore the Historic Depot District

Approximately four blocks along Fort Wayne Avenue and North E Street comprise this charming commercial district established in 1902.

During its early years, the Historic Depot District was a hub for the transport of goods, especially for moving commodities via the Underground Railroad.

Commercial establishments, galleries, pubs, and restaurants took over the district following its revitalization in more contemporary times.

The Historic Depot District, however, retains its vintage feel courtesy of the beautiful architecture of its commercial buildings.

Such ambiance injects a quaint flavor to the franchise restaurants and big chain stores in the district.

Richmond visitors are more likely to drift more to the shops and restaurants homegrown in Richmond City.

Marvel at the Displays of Joseph Moore Museum

This museum is located at the campus of the Earlham College on National Road West.

The Joseph Moore Museum will mainly inspire your interest in science and the natural world.

Ta’an, the Egyptian mummy that was purchased in 1889 for the Earlham College collection, will likely pique your curiosity too.

The museum’s Pleistocene Giants exhibit is another crowd-drawer in this museum, with its display of the college’s favorite specimens of giant slot and giant beaver.

You can also tour the museum’s Ralph Teetor Planetarium for free, which is also open to group tours.

Have Fun at the Glen Miller Park

Welcoming road sign for glen miller park.
Deansfa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1885, this park is Richmond city’s most popular and the largest at 194 acres.

The Glen Miller Park spreads on East Main Street, and here, you can relax watching ducks and geese swim at its centerpiece pond, where fishing is allowed.

Green trees and grass at glen miller park.
Deansfa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Various sports amenities have been developed in this park, including tennis courts, a disc golf course, and a practice golf layout.

Kids love this park, as it provides an ADA-accessible playground, a splash pad, and an 11,000-square-foot skating area.

Visitors of this park can also enjoy its nature and picnic areas, floral garden, and open-air and enclosed shelters.

A small house at glen miller park.
Deansfa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Nature at the Hayes Arboretum

The Hayes Arboretum, accessible from Elks Road, is a 466-acre private property classified as a forest.

This project of the S.W. Hayes Research Foundation provides educational activities and recreational experiences focusing on nature.

Hayes Arboretum boasts 3 percent of Indiana’s old-growth forest, as well as vast reforested woodlands.

Arboretum visitors can enjoy an auto tour of this expansive private forest and its Nature Center converted from an 1833 dairy barn.

The Hayes Arboretum also has 16 miles of trails, 7.5 miles dedicated to mountain biking.

Notably, this biking trail has been named one of the top 10 in Indiana.

Check Out the Model T Ford Museum

This museum is located on North 8thStreet and displays Model T Ford automobiles manufactured from 1908 to 1927.

The museum’s collection includes one of the first Model T Ford manufactured and one of its last.

The Model T Ford Museum also features memorabilia related to the car model, a vintage garage, a working machine shop, a showroom, and a Pietenpol airplane.

Visitors can also check out for souvenirs at the museum’s gift and bookshop, as well as browse at the Bruce McCalley Memorial Library and Research Center.

The Model T Ford Club of America, founded in 1965, established this museum to educate the public on the history and evolution of the pioneering automobile Model T Ford.

Choose Your Lane at the City Bike Park

This facility for dirt bike enthusiasts is located at the 30-acre Freeman Park along New Paris Pike.

The City Bike Park, formerly called the Rose City BMX Track, is designed with two lanes and runs at approximately 1,180 feet in length.

The right lane is for beginner or intermediate bikers, whether adult or kids, who want to improve their dirt-track riding skills.

The left lane is for the skilled riders who have already mastered their manuals and can execute jumping routines on the track’s berms.

Aside from this bikers’ facility, its mother, Freeman Park, offers a basketball court, a soccer field, and a picnic area.

Tour the Starr Piano Historic Landmarks

Side view exterior of the starr piano company building.
Cathy Cline, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Richmond is home to the historic warehouse and administration building of Starr Piano Company, which also produced phonographs and records.

This company, which operated from the late 1890s up to the mid-1900s, is the parent company of the Gennett recording studio.

Part of Starr Piano’s brick industrial building in Richmond’s South 1st Street has been preserved and is now a feature of the city’s scenic Whitewater Gorge Park.

The preserved two-story, five-sided structure now also houses the Gennett Records Walk of Fame.

Front exterior view of the starr piano company building.
Cathy Cline, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Initiated in 2007, it honors the artists of Gennett Records with significant contributions to American music history.

Louis Armstrong and Gene Autry notably led those inducted to the Gennett Records Walk of Fame.

Other Hall of Fame inductees include musicians who popularized distinctly American musical genres of country, jazz, blues, gospel, and popular music.

Spoken word and the music of Native Americans and other ethnicities are also honored in the Gennett Records Walk of Fame.

Go Paddling/Fishing at the Middlefork Reservoir

This 405-acre reservoir, which provides 60 percent of Richmond’s water supply, forms a 177-acre lake open for boating and fishing.

The most popular fish species caught at the Middlefork Reservoir are Common carp, Largemouth bass, and Channel catfish.

You can access the reservoir via Sylvan Nook Drive, off US 27 North, and upon entry, you can easily find the boat launch and boat rentals.

There are also recreational facilities on the reservoir’s scenic grounds, such as indoor and outdoor picnic areas and a dynamic playground.

Richmond’s lone dog park, Hill’s Bark Park, is also located at the Middlefork Reservoir.

Play Horseshoe at Clear Creek Park

If you are among the 15 million US horseshoe pitching aficionados, Clear Creek Park is one destination you’d want to go to.

The horseshoe courts of this park are the domain of the Rose City Horseshoe League, which holds weekly meets aside from competitions during summer and fall.

There are also other sports and recreational facilities at this 49-acre park on West Main Street.

Those for sports include a stadium, baseball/softball diamonds, and playing courts for basketball and tennis.

Non-players visiting Clear Creek Park can hang out at its playground, concessions, and picnic areas.

Tee Off at the Highland Lake Golf Course

The Highland Lake Golf Course features a well-maintained 18-hole championship layout with large, fast greens promising a wonderful round.

Located on Highland Road, this golf course plays at 6,981 yards from its farthest tee placements.

Regulation play is at par of 72 in this course which has a 71.5 rating and a 118 slope rating on Bluegrass.

Opened in 1972, this golf facility provides pull carts, motorized carts, rental clubs, and a wide selection of accessories at its Pro Shop.

Golfers can sharpen their game in Highland Lake’s three-practice greens and driving range.

Park Your RV at Grandpa's Farm Campground

A family-owned and operated enterprise, this RV campground on Middleboro Pike has been in operation for more than 50 years.

It has therefore fine-tuned the facilities and activities that Indiana travelers and visitors require.

At Grandpa's Farm Campground & RV Park, you can choose from tent and RV sites in open or wooded areas, as well as several picks along the Whitewater River.

The campground provides full hook-ups for water, electric power, and sewer.

Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, and wireless Internet and a dump station are also available.

There is also a heated swimming pool in this campground, and the nearby river offers you the opportunity for fishing.

The campground’s area is likewise geared for fun activities like basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, horseshoe pitching, Frisbee, and hiking.

Peek on Unearthed Rocks at Richmond Fossil Park

This unique park is located on the corner of Bridge Avenue and Sim Hodgin Avenue.

Its main attraction is a pile of fossiliferous rock brought to the site by workers of the Indiana Department of Transportation from a road cut near the city limits.

Impressions of prehistoric marine creatures are embedded on these rocks, indicating the “Richmondian Age” dating back to 440 million years ago.

After a peek at these fossils, you can turn to the nearby Bicentennial Park on the eastern banks of the Whitewater River.

There are picnic areas in this scenic river valley area.

Visit the Richmond Art Museum

This art center, formerly known as the Art Association of Richmond, was founded in 1898 and takes pride as the second oldest in Indiana.

Richmond Art Museum (RAM) immediately impresses its visitors with RAM’s permanent exhibit of 19th and 20th Century artworks.

One much-anticipated project of RAM is its annual hosting of the Secret Garden Tour, focusing on artworks in local public spaces.

RAM, located on Hub Etchison Parkway, is also remarkable for its various child-centered projects to stimulate the creative minds of the young.

These activities include an annual high school art competition and a festival of films produced by high-schoolers.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to prepare for a full day’s schedule if you’re visiting Richmond, as this city brims with points of interest that you wouldn’t want to miss.

The parks of this city are expansive and loaded with facilities that can cater to any hobby or interest.

The cultural attractions in Richmond are likewise varied, as shown by its museums and art center revolving around diverse themes.

With a well-laid-out list of things to do in Richmond, you can be sure that there won’t be a dull moment in your visit to this city.