Looking for an affordable weekend getaway with the family in the Midwest? Fort Wayne, Indiana is a perfect destination offering many free activities you can enjoy with your family any time of year!
Free Things to Do Any Time of Year in Fort Wayne, Indiana
1. Browse the newest exhibit at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art with free admission on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Shop the Paradigm Gallery (open in person or online). You can also take a virtual 360 exhibit tour here!
3. Dotted around downtown Fort Wayne are mesmerizing murals. Use this interactive Mural Map on your phone for a tour of Fort Wayne's favorite public art.
4. Hike, Bike, and Paddle Fort Wayne's land and water trails with the Fort Wayne Outdoor Pass! Get the free pass on your phone, check in as you explore the different trail locations, and earn great prizes and you complete more check-ins!
6. Take in the breathtaking view from the Tree Canopy Trail at Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne! While you're there, take a walk on the historic Wells Street Bridge, enjoy the relaxing swings, or grab a pint from Trubble Riverside.
7. See what’s new at The Landing. This historic corner of downtown was the city’s first major hub of activity in the 1800s, and is being restored with new life as a point of destination. Stroll the pedestrian street to discover new restaurants and shops, and see what else is on the way.
8. Explore the Allen County Public Library – one of the best in the nation! Kids love the downtown branch, complete with reading nooks, aquariums, a toddler play area, and free programming all summer long.
9. Soak up history at the Old Fort; the grounds are open to visitors every day with special programming monthly. During the summer, they even have guided tours and re-enactments offered weekly — so check for details to plan your perfect time to visit!
10. Take a tour of Fort Wayne’s great nature preserves and parks including Little River Wetlands, Eagle Marsh, many of the ACRES Land Trust preserves, Lindenwood Nature Preserve, and Salomon Farm Park.
11. Explore Fort Wayne’s 120 miles of trails. Highlights include the 18 miles of hilly Aboite Trails, the Rivergreenway, the Indiana Native Tree Walk, the historic 5.5-mile Towpath Trail, the Pufferbelly rail-to-trail. Check out these 8 bike trail itineraries perfect for the family.
12. Find the names of loved ones or pay your respects to the fallen at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Fort Wayne — a 360 ft., 80% size replica of the original Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Dedicated and unveiled in May 2021, the Vietnam Memorial Wall is located at the Veteran's National Memorial Shrine and Museum at 2122 O'Day Road.
13. Set out for a tour of an Amish community in Grabill, Indiana.
14. Take the kids out to eat for free at one of the many restaurants where kids eat free.
15. Visit the breathtaking Allen County Courthouse* (cell phones and cameras not admitted.) Group tours available by appointment Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM or you can take the self-guided tour. *Call ahead to confirm tours are permitted for the date you plan to visit.
16. Pick up a Downtown Walking Tour map and explore the city's modern heart combined with Fort Wayne history; stop by the Visitors Center for guides to ten historic Fort Wayne districts; or pick up a map and hit the ARCH Heritage Trail downtown.
17. Walk through Lindenwood Cemetery and visit the graves of many of Fort Wayne’s founders (don’t forget to do some grave rubbings.)
18. Let the kids explore at many of our favorite playgrounds including Taylor’s Dream and our 53 other playgrounds.
Stroll the sacred at the Diocesan Museum.
19. Venture through the stacks at Hyde Brothers Booksellers.
21. Browse antiques at any one of Fort Wayne’s local antique shops.
22. Visit Parkview Field — open to the public on days when there are no games or events! Walk the concourse or bring your lunch to enjoy with a great view of the ballpark.
23. Window shop at many of Fort Wayne’s boutique shops featuring locally handcrafted items and unique finds.
24. Visit Creative Women of the World to learn about Fort Wayne’s global impact on women in poverty and shop the store's fine artisan products.
26. Tour the History Center during free admission times on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (during the farmers market – starting in May.)
28. Tour the Hamilton Sculpture Garden, a tribute garden to Emerine Hamilton, near the banks of the St. Marys River in Headwaters Park.
29. Take a tour of DeBrand Fine Chocolates! The tour costs $5, but each tour participant receives samples along the way and a coupon for $5 off a $10 purchase.
31. Take in the views of a beautiful limestone quarry at the Hanson Observation Deck. This observation deck is open to the public and will provide you with an amazing view of the quarry.
33. Stop by the Fort Wayne Visitors Center for more ideas and suggestions!
Seasonal Free Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana
As the seasons change, so do many of Fort Wayne’s great activities. Save on your next weekend away in Fort Wayne this summer.
1. Every Friday and Saturday evening this summer, explore downtown and catch live music from favorite local bands during Downtown Live!
2. Make a splash at one of Fort Wayne's Splash Pads: Buckner, Kreager, Shoaff, Memorial, McCormick, Waynedale, Shoaff, Headwaters, Riverside Gardens, Robert E. Meyers or Franklin Park. Or, splash in the Kids' Canal at Promenade Park! Most Fort Wayne splash pads open Memorial Day weekend.
3. Pack your lunch or pick up from your favorite local restaurant or food truck and enjoy a free concert at Lunch on the Square at Freimann Square every Thursday, 11:30am - 1:30pm, June through August.
4. Grab a free ticket for an early Fourth of July celebration with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Patriotic Pops concert on June 26 at Parkview Field.
5. Head to Promenade Park for music near the riverfront! Enjoy the Muddy River Concert Series every other Wednesday evening, celebrating themes of heritage, culture, and connection. Or check the schedule and take in one of the Riverfront Sunday Heritage Concert Series ensemble performances, happening on select Sundays throughout the summer.
6. Grab a bike or take off on foot and tour the Sculpture With Purpose around downtown!
7. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and hear great local music at a Friday Nites Live concert every Friday of the summer at Jefferson Pointe!
8. Experience Fort Wayne's vibrant arts community during Taste of the Arts on August 28! This year's festival will feature in-person experiences around downtown at Arts Campus Fort Wayne, The Landing, and Promenade Park. Celebrate the rich diversity of arts and culture through live performances, kids' activities, visual art, and amazing local foods.
9. Delight your taste buds at BBQ RibFest at Headwaters Park, with free admission until 5:30 pm on Thursday, June 17 - Saturday, June 19
10. Find Fort Wayne’s beautiful flowers with this guide to Fort Wayne in Bloom.
11. Bring your own kayak and explore any of Fort Wayne’s three rivers: the St. Joseph, the St. Marys, and the Maumee. Or, rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard from Fort Wayne Outfitters for a great price!
12. Celebrate at Fort Wayne's largest summer festival, the Three Rivers Festival, July 9-17. The festivities conclude with a downtown fireworks show on July 17.
13. On August 29, discover more than 100 hands-on games and activities, plus live music and more, during Open Streets — where several downtown streets are closed to cars and OPEN for walking, biking, rollerblading, and playing!
14. Bring your racquets and visit the public tennis courts around the city at Kreager Park, Foster Park, Swinney Park, Lakeside Park, or one of our other great parks.
15. Visit Salomon Farm Park to see a working farm in action. Visit the goats, donkeys, sheep, and other farm animals, walk or bike the 1.8-mile trail around the property, enjoy bird-watching, or discover your new favorite photo spot! TIP: Later this year, check out the amazing sunflower field in mid- to late-August.
16. Roam the famous St. Joe Pickle Festival, July 15-17.
17. Grab your skateboard or skates and show off your skills at the outdoor Lawton Skate Park.