The lighter side of real estate

30 Things You Need To Know About Fort Wayne Before You Move There

The City of Churches has a whole lot to offer: baseball and festivals galore, the iconic Embassy Theatre and a lot of tasty BBQ ribs.

Ben Kerns

9 articles, 0 comments

1. The Embassy Theatre Will Rock Your Socks Off

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user cliff1066™

Originally designed as a movie palace when it was constructed in 1928, the historic Embassy Theatre now serves as the venue for concert tours, Broadway musicals, dance, community events and lectures, and it often hosts the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. With almost 500 performances a year, they’ve got something for classical music, Broadway or dance nut in all of us.

2. The Best Part Of The Three Rivers Festival Just Might Be The Bed Race

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user Andy Knoblaugh

There’s no shortage of water in Fort Wayne. Sitting at the confluence of three major rivers comes with a lot perks, one of those being the nine-day long Three Rivers Festival.

But forget about the parade, the crafts and the fireworks—you need to check out the bed race. Seriously, they stick wheels on beds, and then they race them. And it’s amazing.

3. Nobody Does Ribs Better Than Fort Wayne

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user toolmantim

Fort Wayne loves BBQ like Justin Beiber loves shirtless selfies and crappy tattoos: way more than is probably natural.

But when it’s made this well the only thing you can do is throw a festival and hop on for the ride! BBQ RibFest happens every year during the summer and award winning teams from across the country cook up over 20 tons of BBQ. Don’t forget your bibs!

4. Detroit’s Coney’s Can’t Compete With Ours

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island via Facebook

It may just be a hot dog stand, but it’s the best little hot dog stand north of the Mason Dixon. With just the perfect amount of onions and a touch of chili, the dogs at Coney Island Weiner Stand come with steamed buns and will definitely hit all of the right spots. There’s a reason it’s been able to hang around for a hundred years.

5. Some Of The Best Entertainers Don’t Make A Sound

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user Scott Clark

What’s a busker, you ask? A street performer, of course! Every year in June mimes and stilt walkers take over the streets to entrain the masses during BuskerFest. The kids can get their face painted then try and help those poor mimes figure out a way to get out of that box.

6. It Was Home To The Woman Who Inspired One Of The Best Movies Ever

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Wikipedia Commons

“There’s no crying in baseball!” You remember where that line came from, right? Who doesn’t love “A League of Their Own”?

Well, it just so happens that the woman who inspired the movie, Dottie Wiltse Collins, used to call this place home. She didn’t actually play for the Rockford Peaches, but she most definitely was a Fort Wayne Daisy.

7. This City Minors In Every Sport Imaginable

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Fort Wayne Mad Ants via Facebook

They may not have any major league sports teams, but Fort Wayne was voted the best place in the country for the minor leagues. Locals flock to watch the Komets and the Mad Ants every season.

8. But The TinCaps Are Looking To Go Pro Any Day Now

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Fort Wayne TinCaps via Facebook

And if that wasn’t enough to tip you off, you’ll quickly learn that Fort Wayne is in love with baseball. The first professional baseball game was played here back in 1847. Today they’re home to the TinCaps. Their games fill up quickly, so make sure to get there early to see what they’re all about.

9. People From Fort Wayne Celebrate German Culture Because It’s Their Heritage, But The Beer Doesn’t Hurt

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user 46137

Imagine Oktoberfest, only family friendly, and you’ve got Fort Wayne’s GermanFest. It’s a celebration of the city’s German heritage with great beer, good food and tons of Weiner schnitzels for the whole family.

10. Fort Wayne’s Enthusiasm For Teaching Children The Arts Is FAMEous

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: FAME via Facebook

The Foundation for Art and Music in Education opened with the primary goal of developing artistic creativity in every child. What better way to do that than hold a festival with music, dancing and art? The annual Northeast Festival hosts over 70 organizations and schools each year and is an engaging and educational part of the community.

11. Shigs In Pit Tastes So Much Better Than The Name Implies

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Shigs in Pit via Facebook

The BBQ in this joint may be top-notch, but it’s the sides that are to die for. Be sure to stop by and grab yourself some burnt ends with a helping of apple pie baked beans and green chile mac n’ cheese. It’s the perfect combination of sweet n’ spicy in one delicious meal.

12. People From Fort Wayne Know That Music Venues Are Better When They’re Open Air

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user Stig Nygaard

The only way seeing a play or concert could be any better is seeing it in the open air. The Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park has been around for over sixty years and is home to performances throughout most of the year. It has over 2,000 available seats, but you can easily set up a blanket and have a picnic in the park while you listen to some beats.

13. They’ll Wine And Dine And Put On A Show For You All In One Place

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Arena Dinner Theatre via Facebook

If you’re more into seeing “Death of a Salesman” than Death Cab for Cutie, Fort Wayne has you covered. They’ll even provide you with food, too! The Arena Dinner Theatre is a non-profit community arts corporation that shows seven full-length theatrical productions a year. It’s almost like eating a TV dinner at home, but live and with better food.

14. Try Not To Confuse This Historic Fort With That Other One–They Just Stole The Name

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Historic Fort Wayne via Facebook

Not to be confused with the Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit, the Historic Old Fort that this city was named after is located where all the rivers meet. It’s only a replica, since the original was destroyed, but it’s a fantastic place to go to experience life in the 1700 and 1800s in Fort Wayne.

15. The Richardville House Keeps Native History Alive

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Wikimedia user Nancy.mccammon-hansen

Fort Wayne has a rich history of Native American culture. The Richardville House pays tribute to that by preserving the home of the chief of the Miami people of the early 1800s. Not only is it the oldest Native American structure in the U.S., but it’s also the only surviving national Treaty House and the first Greek Revival house in Indiana.

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16. And People From Fort Wayne Definitely Love Modern Art

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Artlink Contemporary Gallery via Facebook

If you’re tired of Michelangelo and Rembrandt and are looking for art that’s a little more modern, Artlink might be the place for you. They’re located at the Auer Center for Arts and love giving new talent a platform to showcase their work. The galleries shift every few weeks, so there’s always something new to see!

17. Fort Wayne’s Kids Are Gearing Up To Rule The World

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Science Central via Facebook

Fort Wayne is as dedicated to teaching kids about science as they are the arts. The interactive Science Central provides programs and even birthday parties to help kids learn about the medical, astrological, biological and other sciences.

Wouldn’t it be great to raise the next Doogie Houser?

18. And The Karpeles Library Is Helping Them Get There

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user Muffet

Not only does Fort Wayne love science, but they love old historical manuscripts, as well. There are only twelve Karpeles Manuscript Libraries in the U.S. and Fort Wayne is home to one of them. The Karpeles Library is home to the oldest collection of manuscripts and documents in the country. The exhibits change often, and contain works from all over the world.

19. Fort Wayne Locals Have Fitness On Lockdown

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Fort4Fitness via Facebook

Fort Wayne is a great city for fitness addicts. Unleash your inner Ahnold at Fort4Fitness. There are several events to help you get your sweat on from a half marathon, a 10K run or a spring cycling race.

20. When You’re Looking For A Fancy Drink, Club Soda’s Got You Covered

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Club Soda via Facebook

If you’re looking for a sophisticated place to unwind in Fort Wayne you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Club Soda. This upscale restaurant is the perfect place to go to enjoy a well-cooked filet mignon. Just make sure you wash it down with one of their delicious martinis.

21. Fort Wayne Residents Like To Bend It Like Beckham

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user woodleywonderworks

Baseball may be the sport that started here, but it’s certainly not the only one Fort Wayne is great at. The Shindigz National Soccer Festival is a yearly event that brings in some of the best collegiate teams from all over the nation. In addition to a pretty kick-butt tournament, the festival includes youth clinics, tailgating parties and beer tents.

22. Fort Wayne’s Folk Heroes Are More Iconic Than Yours

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user wakacheeka

Johnny Appleseed was laid to rest in Fort Wayne and to honor his contribution to its bountiful orchards, this city throws him a festival every year. There are food booths, crafts and demonstrations all exploring the history of the man born as John Chapman.

23. Like The Rest Of The State, People Here Are Obsessed With The Holidays

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user cloud2013

Fort Wayne takes the holidays to a new level. Most people display fireworks on the Fourth of July, but here they set them off in the middle of November. The Night of Lights kicks off the annual HolidayFest. It lasts through January with events like gingerbread house showcases, Christmas tree light displays and festival of trains for the children.

24. Don’t You Worry, There Are Plenty Of Exotic Animals To Pet

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo via Facebook

You and the kids will be able to experience the world all from the comfort of Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was named one of the top ten zoos in the country by “Parents Magazine.” The young’uns can hop with the kangaroos or even get to feed a giraffe.

25. You’ll Have to Become An Excellent Fisherman If You Plan On Catching Any Here

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user USACE HQ

With all the water in and around this city you’ll become a world-class fisherman in no time. Hurshtown Reservoir is jam-packed with locals looking to catch a smallmouth bass or catfish. You might have to compete with the Amish, though; they’re pretty skilled at it.

26. A Peaceful Day Is Just A Short Drive Away

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user puliarf

Speaking of the Amish, they’re going to be your new neighbors. A few miles up the road lies Grabill Amish Community, the land of horse-drawn wagons and candle-lit lanterns. They even hold a fair so you can check out all the amazing ways they get by without technology in a world that’s practically ruled by it.

27. The Religious People Here Are More Religious Than Yours

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user mutrock

Unofficially nicknamed the City of Churches, Fort Wayne is home to one of the highest concentration of religious folks in the nation. And religious folks love them some churches; there are over 360 of them in the city. Praise Jesus! Or Buddha. Whomever, really, just praise somebody!

28. The Military Left A Lot Of Great Remnants Lying Around

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: 122n Fighter Wing via Facebook

Fort Wayne is the home of the 122 Fighter Wing Indiana National Guard. You can still see all of the aircraft flown there at the Baer Field Heritage Air Park next to the airport. There’s a ton of rich history and you might discover your inner pilot while you’re there.

29. Fort Wayne’s Schools Have Teamed Up To Beat All Other Schools

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne via Facebook

Fort Wayne is so awesome that they managed to wrangle two top-rated universities for the price of one. Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (try saying that one five times fast) is a bridge campus for students from both universities. It’s two separate schools with all of the benefits, in one place.

30. This Little City Is More Diverse Than Yours

Moving to Fort Wayne

Source: Flickr user OregonDOT

Would it surprise you to know that a city in Indiana is one the most statistically diverse in the nation? Well, prepare to be amazed because Fort Wayne currently has the largest Burmese population outside of Burma, itself. But if that weren’t enough, over six percent of the residents of Fort Wayne were born outside of the U.S. How ‘bout dem apples?

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What do you love about living in Fort Wayne? Tell us in the comments below!

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posted on: June 2, 2014
[views], 13 comments


  1. Nanette Kinsey

    The West End Shops! Great women-owned businesses downtown. I love just being downtown.

  2. Connie

    I live I’m Columbus Ohio now but was born and raised in the fort. Miss it miss it so much . Love the festivals bike paths all the theaters the zoo is wonderful and all the beautiful parks there. Hcity is always clean and well kept with very little pollution. Wish I could move back my kids who was born in Columbus love going to visit there they would move to the fort in a minute. Always something to do never boring with great schools.

  3. Fort Wayne resident

    Just wanted to let you know it is Arena Dinner Theatre. The article says Area Dinner Theatre. Great picks!

  4. Erin A

    This is a well done list. Fort Wayne is a GREAT place to raise a family. We LOVE the parks and splash pads around town. Also, lots of FREE festival activities throughout the year!

  5. Jake J

    I don’t live in Fort Wayne, per say, but I visit the Concordia Theological Seminary every summer and I love the city surrounding!

  6. Daniel

    Very well put together article! Fort Wayne is a wonderful town!

  7. Dorothy Kittaka

    Fort Wayne is a great place to live. #10 FAME, Foundation for Art and Music in Education has brought multicultural arts to over 4,500,000 students since 1987. The Arts are alive in Fort Wayne.

  8. Pam Shannon

    Fort Wayne’s public library has the second largest collection of genealogical records in the United States. It’s a great place to go if you’re researching your family history.

  9. Monique Jordan

    I agree with Ms. Shannon. The Allen County Public Library not only has the second largest genealogical collections in the United States; they have lots of events planned throughout the year. Recently, there was the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, and the continuous Saturday “Rock the Plaza” live music events. Don’t forget about the ACPL, it is definitely a great place to study, research, and have fun!

  10. Barb Bean

    Great article. Love the Fort. Lived there for 15 years. Had to relocate, but will definitely be moving back.

  11. Lisa

    We also have a Sensory retail store in its 10th year that welcomes families to bring their children for sensory /therapy products. 4715 Lima Rd. Unique as there are only 1 of 3 in the states. Autism And SPD are on the rise. This city is proactive in helping their children.

  12. Ruth Shepler

    Sure looks like a great place to live!

  13. Dee

    I was born and raised in FTW. Have had the opportunity to live all over the globe from the Caribbean to the Marianas Islands and I’m telling you, there might be some places more strikingly beautiful, but Indiana in it’s own right is amazing. Ft. Wayne has a lot more to offer than is often realized. The statement about Coney Island is totally true. I just moved back from the Detroit area and not one there can hold a candle to the Fort’s Coneys. I could have lived anywhere and I’m so glad to be back home.


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