As the end of summer is in sight, and fall is right around the corner, there is still a little bit of time to get outside and enjoy the weather. With the outbreak of COVID-19, finding activities to do that are safe and entertaining can be a challenge. Luckily, Fort Wayne offers many events and places with an outdoor venue. This way, guests have the luxury of having a good time, while safely social distancing.
Here are five things you can enjoy in Northeast Indiana despite COVID-19 this fall.
1. Dining outdoors
Nawa has a new patio space on The Landing.
Fort Wayne has always had a wide selection of food and local restaurants to choose from. Getting a meal with friends or family is a great way to spend time together, and so many different eateries have outdoor options.
Nawa, a Fort Wayne favorite, offering Asian cuisine and cocktails, recently added an outdoor patio option. This is a great place to get together with friends and spend an evening on The Landing. Another Fort Wayne favorite is The Deck at Halls Gas House. While they may be known for their famous drinks, such as the refreshing Purple Haze, they also had a variety of different foods to choose from. With this entire venue being outside, it’s a great way to have a good time, while also social distancing. Brett Gauger, a Visit Fort Wayne writer, compiled a detailed list of all the places offering outdoor dining in the city here.
RoKo's Kitchen serves globally inspired cuisine.
Food trucks are also a socially distant way to enjoy an outdoor meal. Many venues have food trucks on the weekends, such as Ted’s Beer Hall, regional wineries, or event spaces like Union 12. Check out Visit Fort Wayne’s website for a full list of local food trucks to follow.
2. Parks and trailsACRES properties have more than 65 miles of trails.
This city, more recently, is also known for its abundance of parks and trails. Fort Wayne has more than 120 miles of trails, and that number continues to expand. Whether you want to ride around downtown or explore Allen County, hopping on a bike and hitting the trails is a great way to do it. (See a full map of the city’s trails here!) If you don’t have a bike of your own, you can rent one at Fort Wayne Outfitters. If you’re feeling adventurous, give the local mountain bike trails a try.
Demopoulos rides the trails that KC Velo Club maintains.
Along with trails, local parks are also a great way to enjoy nature in the Northeast Indiana community. Fort Wayne, alone, has more than 80 parks, while also continuing to add more. The new Promenade Park on the downtown riverfront offers beautiful scenery, swings, event spaces, a canopy walk, a playground, brewery, and more only steps away from the city center. Find a full map of local parks here, and plan a visit to one you haven’t explored before. ACRES Land Trust, a nonprofit that protects natural areas in Northeast Indiana, has incredible preserves you can hike, too.
3. Water activities
Riverfront Fort Wayne's Promenade Park opened in August 2019.
Kayaking on Fort Wayne’s three rivers downtown is a great way to get outdoors and relax. Fort Wayne Outfitters has kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) available for rent during the warm weather seasons (May-October, weather permitting).
Party boats, like the Rum Runners managed by River City Ventures, are another fun way to get out on the water with friends and family downtown. These boats will take you out in a supped-up pontoon for a relaxing excursion where your party can bring your own food, drinks, and music to enjoy on Bluetooth speakers. Each boat can carry up to 16 passengers, providing customers with 12 stools around a large wood bar, and two shot-skis for drinks.
Rum Runner party boats offer up to 16 guests per boat a fun cruise of the downtown waterways.
If you’re looking to explore the rivers, lakes, and streams beyond Fort Wayne, there are many regional boating attractions to check out, too. Just be sure to check each attraction’s hours of operation and special safety procedures during the pandemic.
4. Murals and public art
A new mural in downtown Fort Wayne by Tokyo-born artist JUURI.
On almost every corner or street in downtown Fort Wayne, there is a wall or alley that has an engaging mural for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. There are 30 murals, sculptures and statues in and around downtown Fort Wayne. Some of these public art displays tie into local folklore, others are more random, but they all make downtown more colorful and inviting.
During the month of September 2020, the 11-counties of Northeast Indiana are getting 11 new murals on downtown buildings across the region as part of the area’s first Make it Your Own Mural Fest, featured in Forbes magazine. These murals will be painted by local and national muralists to promote creative culture in the region. There are also 11 new murals being painted in downtown Fort Wayne alone.
With so much public art to experience in the city and surrounding counties, Visit Fort Wayne has complied a helpful map that can help you find some of the existing murals and sculptures downtown.
5. Outdoor events and music Two-EEs Winery hosts popular “Weekends Uncorked” music events.
Speaking of public art, Fort Wayne offers socially distant concerts at various locations around town, even during the pandemic. While the Clyde Theater has been closed, its adjoining Club Room at the Clyde has been hosting weekly live music events on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It also has a new outdoor patio courtesy of the Crescendo Café, where you can enjoy the music.
Many breweries and wineries in the Fort Wayne area, such as Two EE’s and Country Heritage, offer relaxing, outdoor venues for live music on the weekends, too. These are great options after a long work week to just sit back and relax with great company. Find your favorite spot for drinks in the city, and check out their Facebook page for upcoming events.
If you’re interested in discovering more local musicians in the area, Visit Fort Wayne’s Made in Fort Wayne, Indiana playlist on Spotify is a great place to start.