Weekend for Art and Outdoor Lovers Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Midwest isn’t typically thought of as the place to go for art and a city isn’t typically where you find outdoor enthusiasts. Yet the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana is filled with amazing architecture and is surrounded by art and nature. Taking some time to explore this city’s historic buildings, museums, and parks, and throw in a little shopping and good food, and you have a great weekend in store.
Fort Wayne was established when a U.S. military fort was built in 1794 and named after Revolutionary war general Anthony Wayne. The fort was built at the intersection fo the St. Joseph, St. Mary’s, and Maumee rivers and became a major trading post for pioneers. The city was a major manufacturing hub and like other rust-belt cities in the Midwest, industries and city-growth declined over time. However, Fort Wayne has reinvented itself, with downtown redevelopment, preserving green spaces, and attracting diverse businesses and lively events.
Fort Wayne had 86 parks and more than 90 miles of trails and at the heart of the city is Headwaters Park, a 30-acre jewel in the middle of the city. There are year-round activities to enjoy here: festivals, outdoor concerts and movies, an ice skating rink in the winter and splash pad in the spring and summer. Right across the river is the historic old fort that you can tour and you can connect with the the Rivergreenway Trail which runs along the riverbank for 25 miles. The trails are wonderful for hiking and biking and you can enjoy the water too with canoe and kayak rentals nearby, boat tours and even a party barge tour.
Within a short walking distance is the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Housing a great collection of art and hosting special exhibitions, you can easily enjoy an afternoon. Across the street is also the Artlink Gallery and the area is filled with restaurants you can enjoy for lunch or dinner. A few blocks further south is the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservatory where special exhibit, even in winter, make you feel like your in a lush oasis. If you do visit in winter you can head across the street to Parkview Field where there is an indoor Farmers’ Market or catch it in the summer a few blocks to the east. Not just filled with fruit and veggies, but baked goods and local art too.
Shopping and More
There is even more to do outside of the immediate downtown area. Plenty of great restaurants, shopping, galleries and even more museums. You can catch a minor league game at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum or Fort Wayne’s own Vera Bradley hosts an outlet sale there every April. Nearby the Children’s Zoo also opens in April where you can explore well-done exhibits and feed giraffes by hand! A great outdoor concert and movie venue is across the street at Foellinger Theatre. It hosts great bands all summer long and weekly outdoor movies are free.
The West Central neighborhood is home to the West End Historic District and is filled with wonderful homes of varying architecture. Greek Revival, Late Victorian, and Craftsman Bungalow style are abundant. Three notable structures are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Christian G. Strunz House, John Claus Peters House, and Trinity Episcopal Church. You can easily spend part of a day strolling though the neighborhood or enjoy the home and garden tour and Artsfest in the fall each year.
There is so much to this unique Midwest city that has a wonderful balance of history and architecture, art and nature, shopping and food and plenty of events throughout the year to make it a great destination!