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 NOW in-person or online) or join the museum for 2nd Thursdays, a unique experience featuring demonstrations and designer trunk shows - the second Thursday of every month. You can also take a virtual 360 exhibit tour here!
3. Browse the nation’s largest public genealogy collection at the Allen County Public Library Downtown. *The Genealogy Center is currently closed to the public, but you can start your search from home using their online databases!
4. 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.
5. Browse antiques at any one of Fort Wayne’s local antique shops.
7. Soak up history at the Old Fort*; the grounds are open to visitors every day with special programming monthly. *Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Old Fort is open to walk through, but the buildings will be closed until after July 4. Events have been postponed until August.
8. 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.
10. Take a tour of an Amish community in Grabill, Indiana.
11. Take the kids out to eat for free at one of the many restaurants where kids eat free.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Walk through Lindenwood Cemetery and visit the graves of many of Fort Wayne’s founders (don’t forget to do some grave rubbings.)
15. Venture through the stacks at Hyde Brothers Booksellers.
16. 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.
17. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.)
23. Tour the Hamilton Sculpture Garden, a tribute garden to Emerine Hamilton, near the banks of the St. Marys River in Headwaters Park.
24. Take a tour of DeBrand Fine Chocolates, resuming on June 16! The tour costs $5, but each tour participant receives samples along the way and a coupon for $5 off a $10 purchase.
25. 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.
27. 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 and early fall.
1. 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!
2. Find Fort Wayne’s beautiful flowers with this guide to Fort Wayne in Bloom.
3. Fort Wayne and Allen County are home to many parks. Pack a meal — or support local restaurants by picking something up — and enjoy a relaxing picnic at one of these parks.
4. Beginning Thursday, July 9, Fort Wayne's favorite lunchtime event returns! From 11:30am-1:30pm each Thursday this summer, Lunch on the Square invites you to enjoy lunch from our amazing food trucks and relax to live entertainment.
7. Join the fun of the Make It Your Own Mural Fest, September 8 – 18! Over 11 days, artists will create 11 high-quality murals—one in each of the 11 counties in Northeast Indiana. All murals will be revealed on September 18, accompanied by celebratory events around the region.
8. Browse the Covington Art Fair at the Covington Plaza on August 22-23, a high-quality community event featuring fine arts. Or enjoy the juried art show during Art at the Riverside on September 26, on the banks of the St. Joe River in Leo.
9. Delight your taste buds at BBQ RibFest at Headwaters Park with free admission until 5:30 PM on Thursday, July 30 - Saturday, August 2.
10. This fall, take your family on a fall adventure and get ready to eat, discover, and explore the Fort Wayne Apple Trail!
11. Discover Fort Wayne from our riverfront with a variety of boat tour options (for a nominal price)!
12. Summer Nights at the Embassy is a weekly summer event celebrating local music and artists. The first two shows of this season, on June 1 & 10, will be live-streamed for FREE as virtual events! You can also purchase $5 tickets to attend the weekly event at the historic Embassy Theatre starting June 17.
13. 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: Check out the amazing sunflower field in mid- to late-August.
14. Stroll through Fort Wayne's favorite trails, and explore all of the beautiful fall foliage in the area!
15. Explore participating Fort Wayne museums and attractions for FREE during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown on September 13, from Noon – 5pm!
16. History and delicious foods abound at the Johnny Appleseed Festival, September 19 & 20!