Nestled into the north of downtown Fort Wayne, are three rivers that offer you ample opportunities to explore natural environments in the heart of the city. Plus, if river activities are not your thing, there is not even a need for you to access the water in order to be able to enjoy the area!
As the rebirth of Fort Wayne has occurred in recent years, much attention has been turned back to where our city began -- our three rivers! Enjoy this long list of things to enjoy along Fort Wayne’s Riverfront.
The 7 Best Riverfront Activities in Fort Wayne, Indiana
There are miles of trails to explore but even a simple loop can take you from Foster Park to North Side High School, and there is a whole lot of city to see along the way. Download the Fort Wayne Outdoor Pass — your guide to Hikes, Bikes and Paddles in the Fort! The downloadable trail map(s) also allows you to complete check-ins at the fun outdoor excursions you go. A certain number of check-ins will allow you to earn fun Fort Wayne swag!
2. River Cruises
Let the wind flow through your hair as you sit back and enjoy a relaxing boat ride on Fort Wayne's rivers! Pick from several different options to suit your style.
- Take a 45- or 90-minute guided cruise on Sweet Breeze — a fully-accessible, authentic canal boat replica — as you learn about Fort Wayne's history along the riverfront.
- Gather up to 16 people for a 2-hour Party Barge experience with Rum Runner Party Boats, offering a floating BYOB bar tour on the water.
- Take a scenic tour aboard an airboat!
3. Promenade Park
Explore Fort Wayne's rivers at one of the area's top attractions — Promenade Park! Opened in 2019, the park offers adventure and fun for everyone on the banks of the St. Marys River in downtown Fort Wayne. Promenade Park is home to a kids' canal and splash pad, an amphitheatre for live music, a treetop canopy trail perfect for a sunset walk with a great view, kayak rentals and launching dock, a taproom and cafe, and an accessible playground.
The summer season also brings a wide range of festivals to Headwaters Park from Three Rivers Festival to Germanfest, Greekfest, RibFest, and Fort Wayne Pride. All of these festivals are family-friendly and cost little or nothing to attend. However, I’d definitely bring a little extra cash to enjoy a bite to eat or enjoy a cold drink. Check out our Calendar of Events for the latest festival info.
5. Fort Wayne Outfitters
If you aren’t sure where to start your adventure on a day when there isn’t a festival, stop by Fort Wayne Outfitters. They are heavily invested and experienced with the riverfront area. They have lots of great shopping, rental items like kayaks, standup paddleboards, and bikes, and great tips about how to enjoy the riverfront from the land or the river.
6. Old Fort
The Old Fort is one of many destinations that can be found along the trails. This structure is a local gem and is great to experience in person.
With regular events and historical actors, it’s easy to get involved and this is a great place to bring the kids.
Get your camera out because there are plenty of photo opportunities here as well as great views of Downtown Fort Wayne across the river.
Drinks at Hall's Deck / Photo Credit: Brett Gauger
Don’t forget to grab dinner or drinks a few blocks away at Hop River Brewing Company.
With their own beer and original menu, Hop River has an inviting outdoor patio and a wide range of games to choose from. They offer all kinds of activities and events that are updated regularly on their website. They have become a local hot spot in the community not just in the Historic Wells Street Corridor but in all of Fort Wayne. Spend some time there and get to know the staff. They will make sure you have a great experience.
The Deck is also a great spot to enjoy a meal or a drink while directly overlooking the river! Completely outdoors, this spot is open seasonally in the summer and early fall. Another great seasonal option is Trubble Riverside Cafe and Tap, located at Promenade Park downtown. Try one of their locally-brewed craft beers, a wine slushie, or grab a snack for the whole family.
With so many things to do, you will see why the riverfront is always moving. It’s more than just the rivers, it’s the growth and love of a community that has come back to life around our riverfront.
Speaking of new life, don’t forget to get a photo with the Tobias Studios mural at the corner of 4th Street and Wells Street. Use the Fort Wayne Public Art Trail to find this amazing mural!
This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated. Last Updated: June 2022