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Your Go-To Guide for the Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana  

Your Go-To Guide for the Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana  

Fort Wayne isn’t just Indiana’s second-largest city; it’s a vibrant hub with hidden gems and surprises at every corner. With a population tipping over a quarter-million, this city punches above its weight in experiences that draw you in. Whether you’re eager to trace your ancestry or swoon over the craftsmanship in Vera Bradley creations—Fort Wayne’s spirit of innovation is irresistible. Wondering what to do here? I’ve explored and have top-notch recommendations for the best things to do in Fort Wayne!

best-things-to-do-in-fort-wayne

Step Back in Time with Genealogy

The ACPL Genealogy Center, a treasure trove with the nation’s largest public record database, is on the second floor of the Allen County Public Library. Imagine revealing your family’s past with guided support from real-life genealogy wizards—yep, that’s what you’ll find here, at no cost! 

Picture rows upon rows of items, including a vast digital collection that feels like you’re walking through history with every click.

allen-county-library-fort-wayne

Get ready for this—there’s an amazing collection dedicated to Abraham Lincoln at this library, too, featuring everything from original Civil War diaries to artwork. And the best part? You can gaze at these pieces for free! Plus, if you’re deep into family trees and don’t want to pack up at closing time, the center’s staff will gladly hold your spot overnight. That’s what I call Midwest hospitality!

Uncover Fort Wayne’s Artistic Heart

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art [FWMOA] is a visual haven with its gleaming Chihuly glass centerpiece. Here, art buffs can revel in a mix of permanent showstoppers and visiting exhibitions that range from contemporary art to interactive children’s displays. Though small in square footage, FWMOA’s impressive collection can awe the most seasoned art critics.

fort-wayne-museum-of-art-glassware-and-paintings

And for nature enthusiasts, there’s the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, a place I can never resist during my Fort Wayne visits. Journey through indoor garden spaces—from the lush tropics and cascading waterfall to arid deserts—all under one roof. The seasonal butterfly exhibit is especially enchanting, leaving visitors like myself completely enchanted. 

foellinger-freimann-botanical-conservatory

Savor Fort Wayne’s Flavorful Bites

Foodies, rejoice! Fort Wayne’s culinary scene boasts everything from award-winning breweries to farm-fresh dining experiences. For a taste of local favorites, be sure to check out:

  • Junk Ditch Brewing Company for comforting Chuck Roast Gnocchi
  • The Hoppy Gnome’s unique Kimchi Chicken Fingers
  • Proximo’s flavorful Carnita Benedict
  • Tolon’s mouth-watering Duck Fat Frites
  • Don Chava’s Mexican Grill and their Arroz Con Pollo to die for
  • Nawa’s aromatic Massaman Chicken Curry
  • Dash In’s classic Avocado Toast
  • Zesto Ice Cream’s iconic Chocolate Dipped Cone

And that’s just the beginning! So many more spots cater to all kinds of palates and cravings. For restaurant recommendations, including what to order, see our restaurant guide to Fort Wayne eateries. 

best-eats-in-fort-wayne

Savor the Flavors and Artistry of Fort Wayne

The city of Fort Wayne is teeming with up-to-date attractions. From the Northern Indiana Beer Trail—where you can taste-test local brews—to the Seasonal Apple Trail’s luscious caramel apples, there’s something for every palate.

Pro Tip: My faves are Hop River Brewing and Junk Ditch.

hop-river-brewing-flight

Don’t even get me started on the Public Art Trail, which showcases stunning murals and sculptures, solidifying Fort Wayne as the go-to place for creative souls.

buffalo-mural-in-downtown-fort-wayne

Then there’s the highly anticipated Vera Bradley Outlet Sale, a five-day extravaganza each April where fashion meets frugal. This is no ordinary sale—it’s an epic treasure hunt where dazzling patterns and accessories are up for grabs at jaw-dropping prices. But be quick! The VIP tickets for the first few days are hotter than a Hoosier summer. “Organized madness” best describes this event.

annual-vera-bradley-sale

Rally Behind Fort Wayne’s Home Teams

Looking for thrills and spills? Catch the TinCaps, the minor league (High-A Affiliate) of the San Diego Padres, swinging for the fences at Parkview Field—a stadium so great, TripAdvisor crowned it top dog in 2017. Want to level up your game day? Snag some box seats for that luxury feel.

tincaps-baseball-game

While on the topic of legends and TinCaps (who the team is named for and Fort Wayne’s most famous figure), there’s the Johnny Appleseed Festival—think delicious bites and historical reenactments—a perfect nod to the man who left a legacy of orchards across the region.

tincaps-mascot-johnny-appleseed

And then there are the Indiana Mad Ants—basketball’s finest and farm team to the Indiana Pacers. Trust me, attending a game is as much about the hoops as the mouth-watering concession stand goodies and infectious half-time shows. 

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for the Mad Dancerz Dance Team, the official dance team of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. They’re phenomenal!

indiana-mad-ants-basketball-game

Have a Wild Time at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Want something that’ll be a surefire hit with the kids? The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is where little ones and grown-ups alike can marvel at over 100 exotic species from all corners of the globe. 

Encounter meerkats, Tasmanian devils, Colobus monkeys, and a California sea lion. And if you dare, soar high on the African Journey Sky Safari to see the zoo from a bird’s-eye view. Don’t forget about Wild Encounters, where you can get up close and personal with fascinating creatures like stingrays, penguins, and giraffes!

fort-wayne-childrens-zoo

Breathe Fresh Air at Promenade Park

Freshly opened in 2019, Promenade Park (Riverfront Fort Wayne) is Fort Wayne’s outdoor oasis where three rivers converge, offering activities for everyone. Kayak through tranquil waterways, stroll through the tree canopy trail (great for all ages and abilities), and watch the kids squeal with delight in Kids’ Canal’s water playground.

promenade-park-indiana

Pro Tip: This outdoor area has an easy in/out ramp at the riverfront for kayaking ease. 

Need gear for your day out? Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot has you covered for a waterside adventure. If you’re looking to cool down, the city also features splash pads and pools aplenty, including a giant one at Headwaters Park.

fort-wayne-outfitters

Discover the Wonder at Science Central

Imagine a place where bright, crayon-like spires beckon you to explore and learn—Welcome to Science Central! This hands-on museum is a playground for the mind, with over 130 exhibits that are as educational as they are thrilling.

Science comes alive here, especially if you catch their Science on a Sphere exhibit. If you’re lucky, Martin, the Executive Director whose enthusiasm for science knows no bounds, might even give you a tour.

science-on-a-sphere

Rest Your Head in Style

Picking a place to stay is a cinch with options like the baseball-themed Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Wayne Downtown. Here, simplicity and comfort come together—some rooms even overlook the ballpark! Complimentary breakfast is included, and there is a fantastic rooftop bar. 

hampton-inn-and-suites-ft-wayne

For convenience, the Holiday Inn (PFW-Coliseum) offers both friendliness and free shuttle services, not to mention it’s just across from the Vera Bradley sale hotspot.

Wrapping Up Your Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne

Whether you’re hungry for culture, longing for outdoor fun, or itching for a family outing that everyone will adore, Fort Wayne welcomes you to create memories that stay. See for yourself what makes this Midwestern city a gem worth exploring!

downtown-fort-wayne-skyline

I was hosted by the Fort Wayne CVB for this familiarization trip. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. As with all posts on this site, all opinions and conclusions are 100% my own and unbiased.

Check out some other great Midwest travel posts: 

6 Awesome Reasons to Visit Elgin, IL

24 Hours in Ann Arbor, MI

Best Things to Do in Janesville, WI

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Lisa McDowell

Thursday 13th of July 2017

Wonderful and fun review of The Fort! I would add one thing you missed, but might love next time: The Zoo! Ft. Wayne has one of the top family zoos in America!

We've been to zoos all over the US, and Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo is our favorite! (Yes, even over San Diego and the National!)

Safe travels-have a wonderful summer! Lisa

MelodyPittman

Thursday 13th of July 2017

Thanks so much! Oh yeah, I'm doing some compilation posts about the zoo and for some other sites I write for. LOVED the zoo very much! Glad you caught that one. LOL

Nina | Nina Near and Far

Thursday 22nd of June 2017

The Yummi Bunni Ice Cream Bun is hilarious!! And that's so impressive about the genealogy data base, what an amazing resource!

MelodyPittman

Saturday 24th of June 2017

Yes! So cool because genealogy is so interesting, plus I"m just nosey, I mean curious. LOL

Nate

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

The minor league ballparks are always fun to visit! I will definitely have to try the Yummi Bunni Ice Cream and DeBrand Chocolates if I'm ever in the area! Are there any good hiking trails in the area?

MelodyPittman

Saturday 24th of June 2017

I'm not sure about the hiking trails but there are dozens of outdoor activities in the form of kayaking, paddle boarding, bike riding. I think bike riding is more popular in the midwest than anywhere else in the country I've been.

Carol Colborn

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

My favorite place is Indianapolis, of course!

MelodyPittman

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

Awesome! I'm headed there tomorrow for a week!

Edith & Juan

Tuesday 20th of June 2017

You got me at icecream haha! Fort Wayne seems like the perfect weekend getaway. Perhaps we find ourselves there someday when visiting Indiana.

MelodyPittman

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

That sounds like a plan! Thanks for reading. ;)

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