Friends, we’re excited to report that Fort Wayne, Indiana is growing and revitalizing in really exciting ways - and you’ve officially heard it hear first.
Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana and the largest county east of the Mississippi River. It’s approximately 150 miles from Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, and Grand Rapids. It’s been coined the “hub of Northeast Indiana”, and there’s no doubt that this flourishing city is on the rise. We recently spent a weekend in Fort Wayne, learning the history, exploring the attractions, and witnessing new milestones in the city… Here’s some of our favorite things about Fort Wayne and why this thriving city needs to be on your list.
A BRAND NEW RIVERFRONT DESTINATION
The weekend we visited Fort Wayne luckily enough was the weekend they opened up the brand new Promenade Park. And it’s ANYTHING but your average park. There’s a tree-lined canopy trail, riverboat cruises, a children's playground, dining gardens, fountains, family gardens, a riverfront amphitheater, a cafe and tap room, and so much more! We were blown away by how beautifully landscaped and thoughtfully designed the park is, and by the looks on everyone’s faces, it’s bound to be the Midwest’s newest destination!
A BASEBALL STADIUM UNLIKE ANY OTHER
No trip to Fort Wayne is complete without a visit to Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps. This stunning, retro-looking ballpark was built with sandstone and red brick, and it’s more than just a baseball stadium - it’s the centerpiece of Fort Wayne’s downtown! While we unfortunately missed a TinCaps game by one night, we were able to explore an empty and pristine Parkview Field, and we can only imagine how spectacular it is during a home game. It’s top of our “Must Do” list when we return!
A CHILDREN'S ZOO EVEN ADULTS WILL LOVE
We were a little skeptical that the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo would even interest us… After all, it’s called a “Children’s Zoo”, and we don’t have any children. Yet. Boy, were we wrong! Located on over 40 acres with over 1,000 animals, it’s consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the U.S., and for good reason! It’s beautifully maintained, easy to navigate, the exhibits are thoughtful and spacious, and their dedication to conservation and education is incredibly inspiring. It’s WELL worth the cost of admission ($15/adults, $10/kids 2-8, $12/seniors & 1 and under are free) and a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.
A JAW-DROPPING CONSERVATORY
Located in the heart of Fort Wayne’s downtown is a lush, natural oasis known as the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. No matter the season, you can surround yourself with breathtaking displays of nature, from tropical gardens to desert landscapes, and adult admission is only $5! (Children ages 3-17 are $3, and ages 2 and under are free.) Their three indoor gardens span over 25,000 square feet and feature over 1,200 plants and 72 types of cacti. It’s quite a sight to see!
A CULINARY SCENE THAT WILL SURPRISE AND IMPRESS
From bars, pubs, breweries, wineries, artisan chocolate shops, international dining, and more, Fort Wayne’s culinary scene is as extensive and remarkable as their downtown. Being the foodies that we are, we were equally overwhelmed and inspired by the vast array of options. Here’s just a few of our favorites:
Junk Ditch Brewing Co:: Located in an old paper warehouse with the name Junk Ditch, our expectations were low… but we left absolutely blown away. Craft beer, creative food, a refined yet casual environment, and an “everything from scratch” philosophy, Junk Ditch is one of a kind. Go for brunch if you can, and be sure to try their cinnamon roll.
Shigs In Pit :: Mention a good BBQ place, and we’ll come running. The folks at Shigs In Pit not only know how to do BBQ, but they know how to do sauce and sides too! They’re known for their ribs (which are delish), but our favorite was their burnt ends sandwich!
Hop River Brewing Company :: You can’t not have a good time at this family-friendly brewery, with its spacious outdoor patio, original food menu, plethora of board games, pinball machines, and tasty craft brews! We suggest sampling one of Hop River Brewing Company’s 10 local house beers and pairing it with one of their famous sloppy joes… it’s a match made in heaven!
Have we convinced you to visit Fort Wayne yet? If not for the parks, attractions, and the food, come for the people. Everywhere we went we were amazed by how warm and friendly Fort Wayne locals are. One night we even shared our dessert with a few strangers sitting next to us at a local bar!
Fort Wayne is COOL. And it’s only getting cooler… and don’t forget, you heard it here first.