*This post was updated in November 2017.*
During the summer, it may be great to get out and enjoy the weather and catch a quick and cheap bite from a food truck, but during the winter, it can be hard to even want to get out of the house. The Midwest winter months can be brutal, but we can make it a little better with many free and nearly free options.
- Browse the newest exhibit at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art with free admission on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m.
- Bike, walk or run on the Rivergreenway Trails to take in the winter scenery (make sure you bundle up).
- Uncover local food at indoor Farmers Markets like the YLNI Winter Farmer's Market and the Farmers Market at Parkview Field.
- Browse the genealogy collection (the nation's second-largest!) at the Allen County Public Library Downtown.
- Examine historical documents at the Karpeles Museum, browse the art at Artlink and the Castle Gallery or stroll the sacred at the Cathedral Museum - all of which are free!
- Our library system is one of the best in the nation and each branch offers a place to relax and let the kids play and explore! Remember to also check out the art gallery at the downtown branch!
- Soak in the history at the Old Fort. The Fort's grounds are open for visitors every day, with special programming monthly.
- Check out the free events like Jazz Jam (every first Thursday of the month) or just take a tour at Sweetwater Sound, one of the nation's leading musical instrument and sound retailers.
- Browse modern art at Wunderkammer
- Visit Northside Galleries to see fine art from local, national and international artists in 2 and 3 dimensions (closed Saturday and Sunday).
- Visit the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and hop aboard one of the last surviving steam locomotives in the world: Nickel Plate Road no. 765. Open Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday 12 - 4 p.m.
- Visit Creative Women of the World to learn about Fort Wayne's global impact on women in poverty and shop their fine artisan products.
- Browse the shops in The City Exchange.
- Take in local fine art while you get your morning coffee at Old Crown Coffee Roasters, Firefly Coffee House, Conjure Coffee and Fortezza Coffee.
- Visit the breathtaking Allen County Courthouse (cell phones and cameras not admitted). Groups of 5 or more may be scheduled Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. A $2.00 per person donation is suggested. Or, you can take the self-guided tour.
- Stroll the great shopping at Glenbrook and Jefferson Pointe and enjoy their free indoor play areas - both offer a great spot for kids to blow off steam!
- Walk through Lindenwood Cemetery and visit the graves of many of Fort Wayne's founders. Lindenwood's office offers a free book about the history and famous people buried there.
- Peruse the five galleries at the University of Saint Francis: the Weatherhead Gallery, the Goldfish Gallery, the Artist Spotlight Gallery, the Lupke Gallery and the Rolland Gallery.
- Venture through the stacks at the Hyde Brothers.
- Go sledding, build a snowman, make snow angels, or feed the squirrels at any of the parks. A local favorite is sledding at Franke Park. If you're out north, stop at Hickory Center Elementary where there is a large hill for sledding.
- Go ice skating or play ice hockey on the basketball court in Lakeside Park or at the Headwaters Park Pavilion.
- Sample wines at Teds Market for a free wine sample every Thursday night. You can also pick up a build your own pasta bowl!
- Find free information on a number of different topics from events around town to those quirky eateries on the Fort Wayne Insiders Blog is your place to get all of the insider information!
- Explore over 6,000 acres of natural areas that are protected by ACRES Land Trust
And the nearly free...
- Taste the secret recipes at DeBrand Fine Chocolates' behind-the-scenes tour.
- Take in our affordable museums, including the History Center ($6 for adults), Firefighter's Museum ($4 for adults), and Botanical Conservatory ($5 for adults).
- Enjoy admission to Allen County Parks, Preserves and Nature Centers for only $2.
- Enjoy Kid's Korner indoor playground at McMillen Park Community Center for only $1.
Every Wednesday, kids age 13 and under skate FREE at Headwaters Park Ice Skating Rink. Skate rental costs $2.
Throughout the Fort Wayne Komets season, kids can get in for FREE with the purchase of an adult ticket on Kids Seat Free Night
And while you're at it, check out where kids eat free in Fort Wayne here!