Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Evansville, IN

  • Published 2022/12/08

The city of Evansville is the county seat of Vanderburgh County in southwestern Indiana.

It was founded in 1812 by Hugh McGary, Jr. but was named after Robert M. Evans.

It is popularly known as the “Crescent Valley” or “River City” since it lies on an oxbow in the Ohio River.

Low-rolling hills surround Evansville’s western side.

It is also dotted with interesting tourist attractions like Bally’s Evansville, Mesker Park Zoo, and more.

Did you know that you can have a great time in this city without breaking the bank?

Here are free things to do in Evansville, Indiana.

See the Four Freedoms Monument

View of the Four Freedoms Monument at night

Taylor Bunner /

The Four Freedoms Monument is a historical monument nestled on Southeast Riverside Drive.

Evansville architect Rupert Condict designed the monument composed of four 24-foot tall ionic limestone columns.

These columns are surrounded by 50 uniformly shaped blocks representing the 50 states of the United States.

This important landmark also has 13 concentric steps representing the original 13 colonies.

The Four Freedoms Monument was commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 and was dedicated in 1976 in remembrance of the United States Bicentennial.

Relax at Garvin Park

Garvin Park is nestled on North Main Street and is one of the oldest parks in Evansville.

This 80-acre park, purchased by the city in 195, can be easily located since it is beside the historic Bosse Field.

From here, you can get free access to basketball courts, playgrounds, and a swimming pool.

This park is also included on the National Register of Historical Places and is a go-to venue for public events and gatherings.

Beautiful and luscious trees surround Garvin Park, so you’ll feel relaxed as you walk on its trails.

It is also a good destination for hiking and biking.

Practice Your Photography Skills at Howell Wetlands

Howell Wetlands is a 35-acre natural oasis on South Tekoppel Avenue.

It is one of the five urban wetland parks in the state.

Wesselman Nature Society is the one who oversees this wetland.

Howell Wetlands comprises marshland, oxbow lake, bald cypress slough, upland meadow, lowland hardwood forest, and more.

It is an excellent place to practice your nature photography skills.

You’ll also see amazing wildlife like deer, geese, ducks, muskrats, and herons.

You can also try exploring its walking trails and boardwalks.

Take a Stroll at Downtown Evansville Indiana

Aerial view of Downtown Evansville

IndyNotes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Evansville Indiana is a lively urban district on Main Street.

It has been the center of the tri-state since 1812.

A building at Downtown Evansville

Greeblie, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Evansville Indiana is dotted with shops, restaurants, art galleries, and museums.

This district also hosts various recreational activities such as a free yoga sessions, fireworks displays, free dog grooming, and more.

An alley at Downtown Evansville

Jon_Nguyen /

Explore St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is on East Michigan Street.

Its construction began on May 5, 1907, and the church was dedicated on Feb. 23, 1908.

This church is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church in Missouri Synod.

Everyone is welcome here, so you can visit it freely if you want a peaceful and serene time.

The architecture of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is also admirable inside and out.

View Impressive Art Collections at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana

The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana is a non-profit arts organization on Main Stree, formed in 1970.

Its mission is to cultivate regional artists through art exhibits and performances.

You can also buy art pieces and view the exhibitions at the Bower-Suhrheinrich Foundation Gallery.

The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana houses impressive paintings, sculptures, portraits, and other pieces.

Go Biking at Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage

Snow-covered Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage

Kurt D. Eichmiller /

Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage is a 12-mile pedestrian and biking trail on Southeast Riverside Drive.

This passage will give you the best views of the Pigeon Creek and Ohio Riverfront.

Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage was designated as a National Recreation Trail by the National Parks Service on June 5, 2004.

It is also connected to the city’s neighborhoods, other natural areas, and business districts.

Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage is a safe recreational area that is also best for running and skating.

You can also stroll with your baby and dog in this passage, surrounded by trees and picturesque scenery.

Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage is also wheelchair-friendly.

See Birds and Other Wildlife at Eagle Slough

Eagle Slough is a 127-acre natural wetland on Waterworks Road in the northern portion of Ellis Park.

This well-maintained habitat is a project of the Sycamore Land Trust.

Eagle Slough is a beautiful spot where you can admire hundreds of birds and other wildlife.

It has forests and lakes that attract these fantastic creatures.

A 1.2-mile trail and viewing platforms are available for your utmost convenience.

Eagle Slough is also home to some of the oldest Blad Cyrus trees in the world.

Hiking and biking are other fun activities you can enjoy with your family.

See the Art Displays at Haynie’s Corner Arts District

Haynie’s Corner Arts District is the only art district in Evansville.

It is situated at the intersection of 2nd and Adams Streets.

This arts community comprises four neighborhoods with the same vision of promoting arts and history.

You can participate in Haynie’s Corner Arts District’s over 21 events held throughout the year.

This place is also where you can watch the free music performances of local musicians.

There are also several art displays for sale and restaurants.

Marvel at the Architecture of the Old Post Office and Customs House

Exterior of the Old Post Office and Customs House

Tim Schapker, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Old Post Office and Customs House is nestled on Northwest 2nd Street and is a must-see if you’re into architecture.

Built in 1869, it showcases a stunning Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style with round arches.

These arches are placed over the house’s doors and window openings.

The Old Post Office and Customs House also boasts extensive use of stone masonry.

This important city landmark is also a favorite venue for people celebrating their holiday parties, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, and other events.

See a Variety of Plants and Flowers at the SWIMGA Display Garden

SWIMGA Display Garden is an oasis of plants, flowers, and shrubs on East Lloyd Expressway.

In late 2005, the state of Indiana donated the 1.2 acres of land where this beautiful garden sits.

Make sure to allot ample time when visiting SWIMGA Display Garden, as it features a lot of interesting display gardens.

Wander and appreciate the Alpine Rock Garden, Cottage Garden, and Native Grass Garden.

If you’re into flowers, stop by the Iris Walk, where you’ll see many colorful flowers.

You’ll also love the Japanese Garden, which is home to traditional plants, a dry stream, and a handmade bamboo fence.

Aside from garden touring, SWIMGA Display Garden is also a good and relaxing place for biking.

Watch the Sunset at Riverfront/Dress Plaza

Riverfront/Dress Plaza is situated in Downtown Evansville.

It features a brick paved walkway above and seating areas below, which is a perfect location to enjoy Ohio River views.

You also shouldn’t miss out on the spectacular sunset at Riverfront/Dress Plaza.

Bring your friends and family and watch as the sun sets into the beautiful waters of the Ohio River.

Riverfront/Dress Plaza also has a nice walking and running area surrounded by lush trees.

You can also watch epic fireworks show here every 4th of July.

Take a Photo of the Old Courthouse

Aerial view of the Old Courthouse

Jim Bethel /

The Old Courthouse is situated on Northwest Fourth Street, which stands out with its Neo-Baroque architecture.

It was built in the 1890s and is one of the best examples of the Neo-Baroque architectural style in the United States.

Exterior of the Old Courthouse

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

Its intricate yet elegant sculptures, carved from Indiana limestone, make this structure unique and picture-perfect.

Inside the Old Courthouse, you’ll be welcomed by lavish marble floors and walls accented by black slate stairs.

The stairs have iron railings that will lead you to the rotunda.

Details of the the Old Courthouse building

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

Walk along the USI Trails

USI Trails is a multi-use trail located inside the University of Southern Indiana on University Road.

This scenic public trail was created for biking, walking, and nature tripping.

USI Trails will lead you to some of the most beautiful spots in the university.

The trail starts at University Boulevard, just between the Physical Activities Center and the Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center.

The USI-Burdette Trail, completed in 2012, will transport you to an area of river bottom land.

That river bottom land has an additional 37-mile road perfect for biking.

Go Skating with Friends at Sunset Skatepark

Sunset Skatepark is a wheel-chair accessible public skate park on Southeast Riverside Drive.

It boasts a 27,000-square foot skate-scape and is open to young children and adults 60 years old and above.

Locals, tourists, and people with diverse social backgrounds are also welcome here.

Sunset Skatepark is also the state’s largest skate park.

Its target users are economically disadvantaged youths who yearn for physical and social activity but have no means of renting a private skatepark.

If you’re looking for a safe place to have fun with friends, you should try Sunset Skatepark.

Enrich Your Mind at Willard Library

Willard Library is a public library on North First Avenue.

It is the oldest operating library in Indiana.

Willard Library opened in 1885 and welcomes all races, classes, and sexes.

Its mission is to educate its visitors with historical, educational, cultural, and recreational materials free of charge.

While you’re here, check out the Special Collections department, which houses the Midwest’s widest collection of genealogy studies.

Willard Library is also famous for the Grey Lady ghosts.

It was first reportedly sighted on Aug. 10, 2010, and has since been a “famous ghost,” which has its own 24-hour viewing Ghostcam at Willard Library’s website.

Final Thoughts

Evansville is home to various parks, trails, museums, and other fascinating attractions.

A day or two is not enough to experience what this city offers.

Make sure to spend a lot of time here and enjoy all these free things to do in Evansville, Indiana.

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