Did you know that Fort Wayne is the second most populated city in Indiana?
Located in northeastern Indiana, Fort Wayne is home to a vibrant local culture and hundreds of unique destinations.
But, unless you’re a local, you probably don’t know where to begin. What are the must-see locations for anyone passing through Fort Wayne?
We’re here to fill you in! Keep reading below to learn about eight of the best Fort Wayne destinations to explore while in town.
1. Fort Wayne History Center
If you want a debriefing on the city’s past, check out the Fort Wayne History Center. It’s located in the old city hall building, which was built in 1893.
Inside you’ll find over 32,000 artifacts documenting the history of Fort Wayne and the surrounding Allen County. The history chronicles everything from the stories of the Native American tribes living in Fort Wayne to the role Fort Wayne played during the Industrial Revolution.
You can even check out the old city jail in the basement of the building! It’s certainly a unique stop for anyone with a passion for history.
2. Fort Wayne Museum of Art
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is located in downtown Fort Wayne and features both permanent and traveling exhibits. Their permanent collection has over 7,000 pieces showcasing American history.
Along with a variety of exhibits, the museum holds special events and workshops. They even hold an annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Chalk Walk and special galas and auction events.
The museum is also home to the Paradigm Gallery, where visitors can purchase works of their own. The shop features works by both local and national artists.
3. Catablu Grille
Catablu Grille offers Fort Wayne visitors a high-quality private dining experience. Along with having an exciting menu, the restaurant also has a unique history.
Originally the owners purchased a historical landmark known as Cinema Blue. The theater was 75 years old at the time, but it hadn’t been opened in 20. The restoration process began, and Catablu Grille was born.
Due to an ever-growing clientele, the restaurant expanded to accommodate its patrons. Now on West Jefferson Boulevard, you’ll still find all the charm of the original Catablu Grille location. It features a sophisticated menu that locals and visitors alike are sure to enjoy.
4. Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Whether it’s summer or winter, you can explore the wonders of nature in the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. This lush conservatory is found in downtown Fort Wayne, and it houses both seasonal displays and permanent features.
Inside you’ll find the Desert Garden and the Tropical Garden, along with the Showcase Garden, where the four seasonal displays are featured. Outdoors you can stroll through the Exploration Garden, the Terrace Garden, the Streetside Garden, and the Beverforden Garden.
5. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a nationally ranked zoo, open seasonally and featuring everything from red pandas to stingrays. It’s the perfect destination for a Fort Wayne summer day trip.
The zoo is broken up between the central zoo exhibits, the Indonesian Rain Forest area, the Australian Adventure area, and the African Journey safari paths. The variety of exhibits allows for hours of exploration for young children.
The zoo also features rides and hands-on experiences. In exchange for purchased tokens, children can feed certain animals. Among other rides, you’ll find a miniature railroad and a carousel.
6. Lakeside Park & Rose Garden
The Lakeside Park & Rose Garden is the perfect destination if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Fort Wayne. This lovely nature hideaway looks like something straight out of a movie, and it’s the perfect place to take a romantic stroll.
Featuring sunken gardens and over 2,000 roses, it’s a must-see for nature lovers. There is a variety of pavilions, so you can literally stop and smell the roses.
You’ll also find tennis and basketball courts and playgrounds at the site. It’s the perfect outdoor stop for families looking for a break from museums and shopping plazas.
7. The Embassy Theatre
The Embassy Theatre is a performing arts theater, known for being the home of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. The theatre has been around since 1928, where it originally operated as a movie palace and vaudeville house.
The theater is unique and features a 1,100-pipe organ, which has been a part of the theater since its birth. The restored theater also has a mezzanine and a stage better suited for traveling theater troupes.
The Embassy Theatre primarily hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and symphonies. However, they also feature special events and film series for the public.
8. DeBrand Fine Chocolates
You can’t leave Fort Wayne without a visit to DeBrand Fine Chocolates. Chocolate fans of any age are welcome, making it the perfect stop for kids and adults alike!
Tours are available of the DeBrand headquarters, where candy fanatics can watch the chocolatiers in action as they cook up sweets. The tours give visitors a chance to learn about artisan chocolate-making techniques and test out samples along the way.
Don’t forget to pick up some sweet treats for the road before you head out!
Exploring the Best of Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne is brimming with opportunities and adventures for both solo travelers and families. Whether you bring little ones to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo or spend a solo day at the Embassy Theatre, you’ll never be bored in Fort Wayne.
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