Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Shipshewana, IN

  • Published 2021/09/29

The small town of Shipshewana lies at LaGrange County, Indiana’s Newbury Township.

It is well-known for being the third-largest Amish settlement in the United States.

Shipshewana has a land area of 1.18 square miles, making it the second smallest town in the county.

Meanwhile, this town is the least populated in LaGrange, with only about 721 people, according to the most recent census.

Despite its size and population, it attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, making Shipshewana a popular tourist destination.

There are several things to see and do in this small town.

Shipshewana and LaGrange County, Indiana, are exceptional tourist destinations for anyone seeking to experience the simplicity of Amish culture.

This includes the excellent cuisine and high-quality goods that are produced by the Amish.

There’s also a flea market here that’s said to be the largest in the Midwest.

To top it all off, a handful of shops in town specialize in selling hand-crafted items.

Thinking of the best activities to enjoy in this town?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Shipshewana:

Watch Local Performances at Blue Gate Theatre

This local theater is the town’s premier entertainment venue.

It is a household brand in the area, with over 300 events, 100 performers, and excellent Amish Musicals.

It features world-class musical performances and concerts by renowned artists, such as Josh Turner, Michael W. Smith, Night Ranger, and so on.

It also holds a variety of additional family-oriented entertainment, including some of your favorite Southern Gospel artists.

It also has a top-notch restaurant right on-site that serves Amish cuisine.

There are so many options to pick from at this restaurant that is half buffet and half restaurant.

Stopover at Menno-Hof Mennonite – Amish Visitor Center

While the Center isn’t exactly an attraction but more of a support center for visiting tourists, it’s nevertheless a lot of fun.

It is a non-profit information center established to help tourists learn about Amish and Mennonite culture and lifestyle.

In this facility, visitors may observe and learn about a wide range of topics.

You’ll discover multi-image presentations, historical surroundings, and exhibits that transport visitors to a new world where Amish and Mennonites reside.

For example, you’ll be able to witness how the Anabaptists got their start in the Swiss courtyard and how they were tormented in the prison for their religion.

Along with seeing how the Anabaptists traveled from Germany to Holland, you’ll also get a glimpse of how they boarded a 17th-century sailing ship to go on a trip in pursuit of a better life in America.

Explore Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park

If you’re traveling with kids, they will surely enjoy visiting Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park.

As an Amish-run business, Dutch Creek welcomes tourists to enjoy a wagon trip around the farmland, where they may interact with farmyard animals and exotic ones.

A wide variety of exotic creatures, such as camels, ostriches, and water buffalos await your arrival in this enclosure.

These creatures, as well as the surrounding scenery, are among the most beautiful you’ll ever see, which make for excellent subjects for photographs.

The Park also welcomes school field trips and group visits.

Buy From Local Merchants at Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market

Are you a sucker for a good deal?

The town’s open-air market has 26 lanes full of merchants you’ll want to peruse.

You can find bargains on everything at “Midwest’s Largest Flea Market.”

Keep an eye on its store hours since it is only open throughout the months of May and September on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

There’s also an auction here where you may place bids on a variety of antiques and vintage collectibles.

Every Wednesday, there are over 10 auctioneers selling at the same time, making it a unique experience.

In addition, this location features a food court with various delectable options.

They provide everything from pizza to burgers, sandwiches, and desserts.

That’s why this Auction & Flea Market is a must-visit if you’re looking to do some serious shopping.

Taste Top-Quality Cheese From Heritage Ridge Creamery

Are you a cheese lover?

If you want to observe and learn how it is made, then this is the place for you!

Experience delectable cheese made with high-quality milk sourced from the dairy farms of Northern Indiana and learn the process of cheese-making in this Creamery.

It produces a variety of cheeses, including Colby, pepper-jack, garden veggie cheese, and Amish cream, all of which are meticulously crafted and offered at reasonable costs.

Shop for Amish Shoes at Yoder’s Shopping Center

Yoder’s Shopping Center offers a variety of stores under one roof.

If you’re looking for something enjoyable to do with the whole family, this is the place to go.

Stop by this wonderful retail mall when you have some free time.

You never know, you could find something you love here.

It has about everything you could possibly need.

In fact, the shoe collection is one of its most extensive.

Plus, it has old-fashioned salesmen who will assist you in measuring your foot to ensure you receive the proper fit.

If you’re searching for unusual oddities or housewares, there’s also a Hardware shop.

You can also visit Naomi’s Candies and Cafe for some homemade confections, like ice cream or coffee, or visit the nearby Cotton Corner for sewing machines by Bernina and other materials for quilters.

Experience Downtown Shipshewana With Buggy Lane Tours

Going on a tour at Shipshewana, Indiana, is a great way to get to know the area better.

With Buggy Lane Tours’ group guided tours, you will see everything that this charming town has to offer up close.

As you explore the city on a horse-drawn carriage, you will get a view of the white-painted homes, golden cornfields, laundry blown by the breeze, lovely flower gardens, and unique kiosks that offer home-baked products and home-grown veggies.

Buggy Lane Tours offers several levels of tours.

Choose between its 15-minute tour, the shortest they provide, or its 3-and-a-half- to 4-hour tour.

Buggy Lane Tours is just one of the many tour companies in Shipshewana.

Cathy’s Countryside Tours, Blue Gate Tours, and Miller’s Buggy Line Tours are just a few other well-known tour operators.

Appreciate Local Art at Barn Quilt Trail & Walldog Murals

When visiting the area, some of the finest things to do is to take a tour of the town’s murals and take photos with them.

Because they are painted in the shape of a patchwork, these murals carry on a venerable tradition.

In these quilts, you’ll learn about Shipshewana’s heritage, quilting’s long history, the people’s love of art, and the people’s sense of community.

Each is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

LaGrange County Barn Quilt Trail features over 30 stunning quilt murals that are hand-painted.

There are also 16 Walldogs murals depicting the town’s history.

You may pick up a map at the visitors’ center or download an online map of the site’s murals and other exhibits.

Learn About the Town’s Past at Shipshewana Area Historical Society

In uptown Shipshewana, the Historical Society (SAHS) occupies a restored one-room Farver School.

See exhibits of historical items from the early settlement of Shipshewana and the surrounding area.

Its goal is to preserve and understand the history of the Shipshewana region via publications, education, and the acquisition of artifacts, among other activities.

The SAHS has earned a solid reputation as a valuable resource for local history through working together and with careful, long-term leadership.

Each year, SAHS raises money for its museum by hosting a chicken barbecue fundraiser.

It also collaborates closely with local educational institutions, imparting historical knowledge to pupils.

Visitors and school groups flock to the museum year after year.

Celebrate Christmas With the Locals

If you happen to be in Shipshewana, Indiana, in December, you might be able to attend one of its Christmas festivities, such as the Lighting of Shipshewana.

This festival gathers the entire town to formally welcome the holiday season, featuring colorful floats, wagons, horses, and carolers lined up and parading through town.

This isn’t all, there is another well-known event known as Shipshewana’s Lights of Joy Drive-Thru Light Park that features more than two million LED Christmas lights that will have the entire family squealing with delight.

Aside from these events, the town also holds Holiday Bazaar, Chocolate Day Walk, and Shipshewana Ice Festival.

Anyone visiting this region over the holiday season will have a blast and be immersed in holiday cheer.

Ride the Century-Old Shipshewana Carousel at Davis Mercantile

Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy riding this 1906 Dentzel Carousel.

The German brothers who made these magnificent works of art were well-known for their meticulousness, and it is still evident more than a century later!

The functioning parts, gears, bracing, and center pole are all original to the completed carousel.

It was a special request that all the animals be carved to look like those seen in and around Shipshewana, Indiana.

It features a herd of “labor horses” tamping down the dirt for a farmer.

Al Bontrager, an Amish carver who learned to carve from his grandfather when he was a young Amish kid, sculpted these creatures.

Paddle Along Fawn River

Are you seeking a thrilling outdoor experience or a relaxing vacation?

The Potawatomi Indians used to enjoy the picturesque Fawn River, so come see for yourself!

T & L Country Canoes LLC offers canoe and kayak rentals for those who want to get out on the water.

You may explore the Fawn River on weekdays or weekends.

Wildlife in this region can be spotted at any time of day, although it’s most active in the early morning and evening.

Explore Shipshewana on Bike

If you want to have a different perspective of Shipshewana, rent bikes at Shipshewana Bike Rental.

It opened for business in 2017.

Its top-notch service offers locals and visitors of all ages a once-in-a-lifetime experience they’ll never forget.

Residents and visitors alike may ride wherever they want with our small-town-style rental.

This includes everything from the downtown core to the communities along the Pumpkinvine Trail.

Take note to make reservations on its official website beforehand.

See Crafters Demonstrate Their Expertise at Fall Crafters Fair

Shipshewana has an annual autumn festival for crafts, artists, Amish manufacturers, vintage vendors, performers, and singers in the area.

The three-day event will keep you busy with its delectable cuisine, beverages, and entertainment.

The event, which takes place at the beginning of October every year, pays homage to the area’s rich history of handicrafts and traditional culture.

Watch as talented crafters show off their expertise.

Aside from demonstrations, the event also features entertainment on both Friday and Saturday.

Here, you will see the works of quilters, carvers, painters, blacksmiths, singers, and other artisans of various kinds.

If you have a budget, you may also buy high-quality goods that have been expertly crafted by hand.

There are also kid-friendly activities, such as a barrel train ride.

Enjoy Amish Cuisines at Shipshewana Auction Restaurant

Shipshewana Auction Restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch, is located adjacent to the Livestock Auction barn at the Shipshewana Flea Market.

This unique restaurant serves up wonderful Amish and Mennonite homemade dishes.

Menu favorites include chicken and noodles, roasted chicken, a tenderloin sandwich, and prime rib.

Indulge in its home-baked fresh fruit pie prepared from scratch.

Be sure to check their website for hours and weekly deals as it’s open on the same days as the flea market and auction.

Final Thoughts

Shipshewana has long been known as “dry,” since no businesses in the community serve alcoholic drinks.

Shipshewana citizens have refused vendors their alcohol license, therefore maintaining its reputation as an alcohol-free zone.

Nonetheless, the village of Shipshewana, Indiana, is a wonderful location to visit if you ever get the chance.

If you’re looking for new experiences, this region has plenty to offer.

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