6 Best Places to Visit in Fort Wayne, Indiana (2023)
The beautiful city of Fort Wayne in Indiana is famous for its stunning network of parks and boulevards that connect three magnificent rivers and numerous neighbors, which are all registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Wayne is home to one of the best zoos in the United States, some truly incredible wedding venues, a very popular hands-on science center, a famous theater, the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and a beautiful botanical conservatory.
Fort Wayne came into existence over 200 years ago after a strategic war fort was constructed at the confluence of three rivers in 1794. Since then, this place has been renowned for its economic prosperity, even when the Great Depression was going on. Today Fort Wayne has become a popular tourist destination owing to its happening city center and the many things that are there to do and places to see around the town.
Despite being a relatively young city, Fort Wayne now has a population of nearly 300,000 people, and it is the second largest city in Indiana, after the capital city of Indianapolis. With a mixture of old and modern, this city has something to offer for everyone.
6 Best Places to Visit in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Here are some of the best places to visit in Fort Wayne.
1. Fort Wayne Museum of Art
One of the many institutions operated by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne and a cornerstone of Fort Wayne’s Cultural District, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA) is one of the major attractions in Fort Wayne. The museum has been home to a wide range of mediums in American art over the years.
The museum hosts a collection of over 7000 paintings, delicate glass, and sculptures. Through these exhibits, the museum draws attention to many Indiana Impressionists, artisan glass cutters, and world-famous painters. FWMoA also hosts a vast range of events, programs, and classes throughout the year. Some of the popular events include internships, art classes, and a family-friendly Dia De Los Muertos that is celebrated every October.
The museum also hosts a popular Chalk Walk along with the Three Rivers Festival that takes place every July and transforms Main Street into a bustling art corridor. The event attracts thousands of people from all over Indiana every year.
2. The Embassy Theatre
Constructed in 1928, The Embassy Theatre is a legacy in Fort Wayne with a seating capacity of over 2000 people. The theater features many national Broadway shows, movie viewings, and popular social events. In fact, there is something happening at the theater all year round.
When you look at the structure from the outside, you are bound to think that you have been thrown into a 1930s Vegas movie, being flooded with lights and having an old town feel. The place may look antiquated, but it has a certain classy look about it.
It is the rooftop of The Embassy Theatre, though, that is a must-see. The rooftop has recently been restored marvelously to provide some of the most stunning views of the city as you continue to enjoy the night with your loved ones.
3. Headwaters Park
Located at the confluence of three major rivers, just a mile north of downtown Fort Wayne is Headwaters Park. This is a popular natural space of the city that is usually filled with ongoing community activities.
Apart from the year-round schedule of festivals and concerts that take place here, including the major Three Rivers Festival of the town, this 30-acre park is also a popular place where people come to just hang out, enjoy the nice weather, and take in the beautiful river landscape and surroundings.
On-site, it is the Hamilton Sculpture Garden that provides a landscaped space for visitors to appreciate and enjoy. There is a large open-air pavilion here that can be rented out for private events. During the winter months, the popular Headwaters Ice Skating Rink becomes one of the best places to enjoy the winter chill till it lasts.
4. Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Located on the south side of Downtown Fort Wayne, near the Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum and Parkview Field, the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is a year-round tropical attraction. This is a wonderful place for families, children, and anyone who wants to know more about botanical beauty.
The conservatory focuses on three distinct garden areas. The first is the cacti sprout in the dry environment of the Desert Garden, second is the foliage of the Tropical Garden that almost overflows on the walkway close to the koi ponds and a waterfall. The seasonal Showcase Garden is the third, and it puts on various exhibits throughout the year, including an immersive Butterfly Garden in the springtime.
The botanical center also offers many classes and programs, including artists’ receptions, plant swaps, and even grow your own activities. The Conservatory also plays host to a low-cost $1 Night on the first Thursday of the month throughout the year.
5. Historic Old Fort
This is actually a reconstruction of the original 1815 Fort Wayne. However, this is also a very detailed reconstruction, only known as the Old Fort, and it provides the ideal place for visitors to come and learn about the history of the area. Located across the mesmerizing St. Marys River from Headwaters Park, this reconstructed historic fort sits only a quarter mile from its original location.
As this is a public space, anyone can come and explore the grounds on their own. To check out the interior of the fort and to take part in some of the live-action histories that take place here, there is a non-profit organization that operates the fort and hosts many special events throughout the year. Most of these events, like the yearly Siege of Fort Wayne reenactment, are carried out with guided tours and costumed characters.
6. DeBrand Fine Chocolates Tour
No visit to the town of Fort Wayne is complete without visiting the DeBrand headquarters. And this is a must for all chocolate lovers. As you embark on this tour, you will be invited into the world of DeBrand chocolates and get to see many exclusive videos about their history.
By paying a small fee of $5 per person, you can also get a unique opportunity to go through their chocolate-making kitchens and also watch their artisans making beautiful creations with chocolate. You can even take some samples home.
This is a great place to spend an afternoon with your family and friends.