My stay in Fort Wayne was hosted by Visit Fort Wayne, but all thoughts and opinions about my stay and activities are my own.
Located in northeastern Indiana, Fort Wayne is the second largest city in the Hoosier state. It’s also a great day or weekend trip from Indianapolis, Chicago, South Bend, Detroit, Cleveland and many other Midwest cities. Whether you’re a solo traveler, couple or a family – there’s something for everyone in this big city with a small town feel.
Here are 5 things to do when you visit Fort Wayne, Indiana!
Explore Promenade Park
Rent a bike, canoe or kayak from Fort Wayne Outfitters and get in some outdoor time right in the heart of the city. The riverfront park has a lot to offer like splash pads for the kids, a tree canopy trail, outdoor games and an amphitheater. Grab something to eat from one of the food trucks that park nearby or pop in a local restaurant.
Check out the Local Art Scene
The art scene in Fort Wayne has exploded in recent years. With over 100 different public art pieces throughout the city, it’s a real gem in the Midwest for creatives and those who like to admire sculptures, architecture and murals. Be sure to download the free Public Art Trail Pass which will guide you on a quest through the city to find them all.
If you have time, take in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. While I wasn’t able to squeeze that into my trip, it’s definitely on the list for next time. Their web site will have the most up to date information on current exhibits!
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, located in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, has three unique gardens to explore. Currently, the main exhibit highlights Paris with lush waterfalls, lavender, a cute French bistro and images of the Eiffel Tower. You’ll also be able to see bees at work, explore an outdoor garden and experience the Sonoran Desert at the conservatory.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. Check out their website for special events, discounts and educational programs.
Try a Local Restaurant
Local cuisine is always a big draw when visiting a new city and Fort Wayne has some great options to choose from. I ate at Nawa and Birdies during my stay – both were conveniently located within walking distance from my hotel.
Nawa, an authentic thai restaurant, is located at The Landing. It was the best meal I had on the trip! Try the basil stir fry or a noodle dish if you go. If you’re looking for a good rooftop dining spot, Birdies brings the ambiance atop The Bradley Hotel (themed and named after Vera Bradley). The portion sizes were on the smaller side and the menu is fairly limited, but if you’re after small bites and drinks, you’ll find that here.
Tour Black Pine Animal Sanctuary
Black Pine Animal Sanctuary might be one of Indiana’s best kept secrets. Located about 40 minutes north west of Fort Wayne, the sanctuary is home to many different species who come to them from captivity. Here, they are provided a home for the rest of their lives and people can visit to learn about responsible care and conservation.
I took the basic tour, which lasts nearly two hours. Our guide, Lowell, was extremely knowledgeable and gave us a lot of background on the animals. Four of their tigers were rescued from the Tiger King’s facility and now live there!
For more on my trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana, check out my vlog on my YouTube channel!