Fort Wayne, Indiana’s second-largest city, casts a wide cultural net with plenty of fun things to do. Things to Do in Fort Wayne IN, arts United of Greater Fort Wayne is the true beating heart of the city’s culture. This organization oversees Fort Wayne’s Cultural District through community support and personal interests. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Arts United Center, and the History Center are all part of this.
Arts United also assists in the organization of many of Fort Wayne’s annual festivals, such as the iconic Three Rivers Festival in July.
With other important and eye-catching attractions such as botanical gardens, baseball parks, and children’s zoos dotting the city, it’s easy to see why Fort Wayne has a high rate of converting tourists into long-term residents. See our list of the best things to do in Fort Wayne Childrens Zoo for more ideas on fun places to visit on this leg of your Indiana trip.
List of 12 Things to Do in Fort Wayne IN Today
1. Fort Wayne Art Museum
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA), a cornerstone of Fort Wayne’s Cultural District and one of many institutions run by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne Indiana, showcases a diverse range of mediums in American art of promenade park.
The museum houses over 7,000 paintings, sculptures, and delicate glass pieces. FWMoA’s exhibits highlight Indiana Impressionists, world-renowned painters, and artisan glass cutters.
Throughout the year, FWMoA hosts a wide range of programs, events, and classes. Art classes, internships, and a family-friendly Dia de los Muertos celebration are among the events held each October. Every July, the museum hosts a popular Chalk Walk in conjunction with the Three Rivers Festival, which transforms Main Street into a bustling art corridor and is attended by thousands of people at Fort Wayne Outfitters.
2. Parkview Field
Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps Minor League Baseball team, was built just before the 2009 season and has been an important part of downtown ever since.
Parkview Field, regarded as one of the best minor league baseball experiences in the country, also hosts concerts, fitness festivals, and over 400 non-baseball events throughout the year.
The concourse of the baseball stadium is open to the public every day, weather permitting, for anyone who wants to stretch their legs on the track. With all of the extras this ballpark has to offer, the main draw will always be catching a late-night game under the lights. Post-game fireworks and crowd interaction between innings are additional game attractions at riverfront fort wayne.
3. Headwaters State Park
Headwaters Park, located a mile north of downtown at the confluence of three major rivers, is a popular natural space that is often bustling with community activity.
The 30-acre park is a popular place to simply enjoy the nice weather and river surroundings, in addition to the year-round schedule of concerts and festivals, including the keystone Three Rivers Festival.
The Hamilton Sculpture Garden on-site provides a landscaped space to enjoy. Headwaters Park’s large open-air pavilion can also be rented for private events. The popular Headwaters Ice Skating Rink is a fun place to enjoy the winter chill throughout the colder months of the year.
4. Botanical Conservatory Foellinger-Freimann
The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is a year-round tropical attraction on the south side of downtown, near Parkview Field and the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum. This conservatory is ideal for children, families, and anyone interested in botanical beauty, with three distinct garden areas.
Cacti sprout in the Desert Garden’s arid environment, and the Tropical Garden’s foliage nearly overflows on the walkway adjacent to koi ponds and a waterfall. Throughout the year, the seasonal Showcase Garden rotates exhibits, including an immersive Butterfly Garden in the spring.
This botanical center offers a variety of classes and programs, including plant swaps, artist receptions, and grow-your-own activities. On the first Thursday of each month, the Conservatory also hosts a low-cost $1 Night.
5. The Historic Old Fort
This detailed “Old Fort,” a reconstruction of the original 1815 Fort Wayne, is a fun place to visit and learn about the area’s history. This reconstructed historic fort is only a quarter mile from its original location across the St. Marys River from Headwaters Park.
Anyone is welcome to explore the grounds on their own because it is a public space. The non-profit organization that operates the fort hosts numerous special events throughout the year for visitors to see the interior of the fort and participate in some of the live-action history that it sponsors. The annual Siege of Fort Wayne reenactment, for example, includes costumed characters and guided tours.
6. Arts United Center
The Arts United Center, the crown jewel of the downtown Cultural District, was designed by world-renowned architect Louis Kahn in 1973. As his final completed theater before his death, Kahn’s designs can be seen in every sunlit corner and brick arch of this performance art and civic theater.
Concrete surrounds the main stage, creating a dramatic and isolating acoustic effect. The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic all perform in this magnificent auditorium. Backstage tours are available upon request and provide insight into the theater’s architecture and design.
7. Science Central
Science Central, housed in a decommissioned coal-burning power plant from 1908, is a hands-on science museum for children and community members. From the outside, Science Central still looks like the power plant it was designed to be, save for the colorful smokestacks and faux dinosaur skeleton near the front door.
More than 35,000 square feet of space inside the now-historic City Light & Power building aids in the introduction of science concepts to young children. The High Rail Bike, which safely teaches kids about gravity, is one of Science Central’s most exciting permanent exhibits.
Throughout the year, Science Central facilitates a variety of learning activities and events. STEM Camps, Coding Clubs, and an Afternoon Science Series are just a few of the programs available at Science Central. Science Central is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but open on weekends.
8. Festival of the Three Rivers
Fort Wayne is known as the City of Festivals because of its busy event calendar throughout the year. There’s something to do nearly every weekend of the year in Fort Wayne, from food festivals like the St. Joe Pickle Festival to cultural celebrations like Taste of the Arts and Pride Fest.
Every Fort Wayne festival includes live music. Certain festivals, such as Buskerfest and Middle Waves Music Festival, cater to it specifically. The Three Rivers Festival, held in July, is perhaps the largest of all festivals to visit Fort Wayne.
The entire Three Rivers Festival, with over 80 scheduled events, takes place at the expansive Headwaters Park. Music concerts, massive parades, fireworks, and other fun activities such as pie-eating contests are all part of the festival’s celebrations.
Three Rivers Festival, Fort Wayne’s annual summer celebration for nearly 50 years, is a longstanding tradition for residents and tourists from across the country.
9. History Museum
The History Center, which is part of the Arts United cultural campus, houses a large collection of regional artifacts and insights. The Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society’s museum houses a collection of over 26,000 artifacts, including the 1893 City Hall building in which it is housed.
The museum’s detailed exhibits tell a regional story spanning native cultures to twentieth-century technological innovations. A detailed representation of Miami Indian history in the area, as well as a recreation of a blacksmith shop and foundry, are among the permanent exhibits. Additional exhibits highlight the region’s most recent innovations, such as music equipment and motorcycles.
The History Center, located five miles south of downtown, also oversees tours and events at the Chief Richardville House. This well-preserved 19th-century mansion once belonged to one of Fort Wayne’s most influential historical figures.
10. The Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum
This fascinating museum, housed in historic Old Station #3, is located downtown near Parkview Field and the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.
Visitors encounter firefighting relics from a previous generation as soon as they enter this two-story museum. This includes vintage red fire trucks and decommissioned operating systems.
More artifacts can be seen on the museum’s second floor, and visitors can get a glimpse into the lives and living quarters of modern firefighters. Every relic and artifact in the museum is accompanied by a wealth of information about that particular era of firefighting, providing valuable insight into one of the most courageous professions on the street.
11. Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve is a 756-acre restored mix-wetland environment located on the city’s southwest outskirts. The nature preserve has more than 10 miles of hiking trails to explore the area’s wetlands, meadows, prairies, and forests, making it an excellent place to spot wildlife in its natural habitat.
The Little River Wetlands Project, which also manages other similar preserves around town, owns and operates the preserve. The organization offers a variety of programs and ways to explore their properties, such as organized runs, public hikes, and naturalist-led tours.
The Little River Wetlands Project also manages the Arrowhead Preserve and Arrowhead Prairie in the southwest.
12. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, located a few miles north of downtown, is one of the area’s most popular family-friendly attractions. The Children’s Zoo has been serving the community for more than 50 years and has received numerous accolades as well as over 500,000 visitors each year.
An African Journey Safari Trail, an Australian Adventure River Ride, and an immersive Indonesian Rainforest are among the zoo’s specialty themed areas and attractions. Orangutans, lions, kangaroos, Komodo dragons, zebra sharks, and Tasmanian devils are among the resident animals.
Giraffe feedings and other scheduled “Wild Encounters” allow children and adults to interact with animals. Family Wild Nights, Kids Nature Camps, and adult-only galas and fundraisers are among the other events and special programs offered by the Children’s Zoo.
WHERE TO STAY FOR SIGHTSEEING IN FORT WAYNE, INDIANA?
With so many reasons to stay the night, Fort Wayne has a wide range of hotels to choose from. The majority of Fort Wayne’s quality and name-brand hotels are clustered around the city and conveniently located off Interstate 69. There are also overnight options in downtown, which are a great way to get immediate access to the many nearby attractions.
- Mid-Range Hotels: The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Fort Wayne is one of the most upscale hotels in downtown Fort Wayne. This nationally recognized hotel brand, connected to the Grand Wayne Convention Center and directly across the street from Parkview Field, also has an indoor pool, restaurant, and fitness center, as well as easy access to downtown.
- Budget Hotels: Budget hotels can be found in all of Fort Wayne’s hotel groups, offering very low rates. Extended Stay America – Fort Wayne – South, located on the city’s south side, not only offers a good rate, but the clean and spacious rooms will always entice you to return.
Is it worthwhile to visit Fort Wayne?
Fort Wayne, a city in the American state of Indiana, provides a heartwarming visit for first-time visitors and those who appreciate a city rich in culture. An American City Award winner that takes pride in its high quality lifestyle and low cost of living, its visitors always return for more.
What is Fort Wayne famous for?
During this period, notable Fort Wayne landmarks such as the Embassy Theatre, the Scottish Rite Auditorium, and the Lincoln Tower were built.
Is Fort Wayne secure?
FORT WAYNE, IN (WOWO) – Fort Wayne has been named Indiana’s fifth safest large city. AdvisorSmith’s “Safest Cities in Indiana” report provided the ranking. Fort Wayne had a total crime score of 62.5, which was lower than the state average of 76.4 for large cities with over 100,000 residents.
Is Fort Wayne a pleasant place to live?
Fort Wayne, Indiana has a population of 268,378 people. Fort Wayne is located in Allen County and is regarded as one of the best places to live in Indiana. Living in Fort Wayne provides residents with a dense suburban feel, and the majority of residents own their homes. There are numerous coffee shops and parks in Fort Wayne.