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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Midwest, USA

Why Haven’t You Visited Fort Wayne?

It’s easy to overlook many states and cities in the United States. After all, it sometimes feels like there are thousands of them. So when Fort Wayne suggested we check them out, the first thing we had to check was a map.

Fort Wayne is a city in Northeast Indiana and turned out to be much bigger, friendly and yummier than we could have expected. 

Allen County Court Administration in the centre of town

 

Where To Stay In Fort Wayne

We stayed right in the heart of the city at the Hilton at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. One room with two queen beds was a perfect fit for our family. It was easy walking distance to restaurants and family friendly activities. 

 

Where To Eat In Fort Wayne

There is so much tasty food in Fort Wayne, whether your style is laid-back fast food or a high-end steak dinner. Here are 7 eateries we tried during our visit – a handy starting point for your own culinary adventures: 

 

816 Pint & Slice

An easy walk from our hotel. We enjoyed a quick dinner here at the end of a long travel day. This unique historic building is completed by a friendly atmosphere, trendy vibe, yummy pizza and delicious pasta. And all at a very reasonable price.
Style: Budget dining.

 

Coney Island

Simple and delicious. A few dollars goes a long way here. The same family has operated Coney Island since 1916. Each day they sell on average 2000 hot dogs and hand chop over 50 pounds of onions! I preferred the hamburgers to the hot dogs, but the chilli was a great addition. Feed the family for less then $10!
Style: Budget dining.

 

Rise’n Roll Bakery & Deli

This is an Amish bakery specialising in creating preservative-free mouth-watering masterpieces. Seriously, be careful because the Cinnamon Caramel donuts are insanely addictive. You’ve been warned.

Style: Bakery.

 

The Deck at the Gas House 

This trendy outdoor dining area overlooks the river. Try the Ruben sandwich with slaw. Connected to the Old Gas House Restaurant.
Style: Smart casual dining.

 

The Oyster Bar 

There is no other place you need to go for oysters. Lively atmosphere and delicious food.
Style: Smart casual dining.

 

J K O’Donnell’s 

An energetic, fun Irish pub serving more traditional British food than Irish, but it was hearty and filling.
Style: Smart casual dining.

 

Wine Down Tastings & Tapas 

This funky spot is right by the baseball field, but you wouldn’t know it. On showcase is an amazing collection of 50+ wines that you can purchase by the glass. Great for wine and dessert.
Style: Smart casual dining.

 

Joseph Decuis 

Technically not in Fort Wayne, but in the beautiful small town of Roanoke, Indiana. Quite possibly the best steak I have ever had in my life (I know that’s a big call). I absolutely insist you visit, especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion or just hungry for high end dining. Plus you get to choose your own $200+ wood steak knife to eat with. 
Style: Fine dining.

 

Is There Anything To Do In Fort Wayne?

Is there ever! I was surprised how much there was to do. Families will love Fort Wayne and so will couples and solo visitors alike. Here’s what we got up to:

 

Civic Theatre

Arts play an influential part of Fort Wayne’s social scene and you can’t go by the iconic Civic Theatre. Our whole family enjoyed Mary Poppins and we were pleasantly surprised by the high quality production standard.

 

Parkview Field

A fairly new addition to Fort Wayne, but already a winner. This stadium is not just for the TinCaps baseball games, but holds festival, concerts, family days, you name it.

 

Embassy Theatre 

Taking a tour of this 1912 beauty is like taking a walk back in time. The historic structure features a 1,100-pipe organ and a majestic auditorium for some of the nation’s most popular performers. 

 

Botanical Conservatory

An interesting place to take the kids with interactive features and regularly rotating exhibits. 

 

Fort Wayne Museum of Art

This cultural intuition is operated with a contagious passion, and the art pieces are exquisite. I’d recommend leaving the kids at home for a walk through this gallery as it houses fragile items. 

 

Segway Tour

Josh, a lover of segways, took this tour. There’s no better way to see a city than by Segway, and this tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, illuminating Fort Wayne’s history and landmarks in an engaging way.

 

Vera Bradley 

If you are fan of Vera Bradley’s easily-recognisable bags, then you are going to be in heaven in Fort Wayne. We took a tour of the factory and even met the founder. The factory is colossal with fabric patterns, new looks and staff everywhere.

 

Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center

Once you’ve had a taste for Vera Bradley head to this outdoor shopping prescient to save on factory outlets. 

 

Roanoke Tour

This beautiful town is not far from Fort Wayne. One main street with sweet country shops, adorable cosy restaurants and real heart. Great day trip. 

 

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Ranked consistently as one of the top zoos in the USA, we were really impressed with Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo. Interactive exhibits and 40 acres of animals including lions, hyenas and monkeys make this is a must for any animal lover. 

 

Science Central

We arrived after hours so only got a quick peek at this amazing science museum, but we will be back. Over 120 exhibits spread over a multiple floors, the kids will have a field day… especially with a slide from one floor to the other.

 

Sweetwater

This is like the Google of music. The largest music equipment retailer in the United States is right here in Fort Wayne. You can find everything music here from electric guitars to recording studios. And if you have the chance to book in a tour, please do it. The employees who work here are so lucky – gym facilities, cafeteria, a free video game arcade, mini golf, and not to mention a nifty spiral slide from the top floor to the bottom. Plus family members are welcome to join their loved ones on lunch breaks. Please can I have a job?

 

Genealogy Center

The Genealogy Center is home to over 370,000 printed volumes, 590,000 microforms, military records that go back to the 1700’s, city directories, census records, passenger lists, and so much more. In all, their collection totals over 961,726 items! All visitors have free access as it’s part of the public library. Look up your family’s history – you might be surprised at what you find.

Curt Witcher, Genealogy Centre Manager and one of the world’s leading experts on genealogy

 

So Why Haven’t You Been To Fort Wayne Yet?

Famous zoos, giant music retailers and the nation’s largest public genealogy collection, oodles of delicious food – tell me why you haven’t been to Fort Wayne yet? I can tell you I’m going again.

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"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Joel M. on
So glad you had a good time! If you're in the mood for SE Asian dining, I hope you'll make a trip to South Calhoun Street to eat pho at Saigon or Thai and Burmese dishes at Mahnin! (Two of my favorites. :-) ) Come back soon!
Posted by Karen on
You managed to try some places I haven't been to yet and I've lived here most of my 50 years. The Rise and Roll donuts are well known locally as Amish crack - way too addictive!
Posted by Sylvia on
Awwww. This made me homesick for FT. Wayne and I've never even lived there. But our kids do, moved there five years ago and we've visited often.

We are planning a trip to Williamstown, Kentucky with the Louisville Slugger Museum. And Kentucky Derby as side trips. Any advice?
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