Indiana is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and exciting attractions in the entire country. Our Geeks set out to find the most charming cities in the Hoosier State. In the end, the following destinations made the cut:
1. Fort Wayne
Parents will love the Children’s Zoo, with its 38 acres of exotic animals, Science Central, a discovery center for hands-on learning about the natural world, and Headwaters Park, a riverside party zone that features its own ice rink. But it’s the hipsters who will feel most at home in Indiana’s second-largest city. Take your pick from home-roasted java at Old Crown Coffee Roasters, first-class craft beer at Junk Ditch Brewing Company, Trubble Brewing and Gnometown Brewing Co, and a wide range of old and new vinyl at Neat Neat Neat Records and Music. An insider’s tip: try the Hoosier Heart Attack, an indulgently OTT cream pie treat at Sweets So Geek.
Young families will enjoy some quality time together along the two mile-long, picturesque Jasper Riverwalk or a ride on the restored Spirit of Jasper Train, while older relatives and history buffs will appreciate a peek inside the St Joseph Catholic Church, or a guided tour through the 19th Century Dubois County Museum – its 50,000 square feet showcase over 36,000 historic objects, including a reconstructed 1890s main street, a model train display and a log house built in 1850. And if it’s some peace and quiet you’re after, Sultan’s Run Golf Course offers 18 holes and 224 acres of me time, alongside forests, greens water, and wildlife.
3. Michigan City
Outdoor activities abound on the shores of Lake Michigan. Treat the kids to a trip to the beach, lakefront park and animals on show at Washington Park and Zoo, embark on a fishing expedition with Captain Ed’s Big Deck Charters, or head out on a boating adventure with Hot Tomolly Luxury Yacht Charters. For those more suited to solid ground, Calumet Bike Trail and Heron Rookery Trail offer cyclists, hikers and runners ample opportunity to take in the local wildlife. But there’s a lot of talent on show indoors, too. The Lubeznik Center for the Arts offers a range of galleries and exhibitions, as well as an annual art festival, and the Blue Chip Casino and Uptown Center for the Performing Arts host regular concerts and shows.
Batesville is a foodie’s paradise. The Sherman may be 165 years old but there’s nothing fuddy-duddy about the menu at its new Black Forest Bar. Have a drink for one at the imported 20th-century antique hunk of wood, book a nook for just the two of you or treat the whole family to an authentic German-inspired dinner. Then take a quick walk to stock up on cakes, cupcakes, buns, coffee cakes, cream horns and an endless array of doughnuts at Schmidt Bakery. Prefer to prepare your own meat? Langen Meats is a family-owned butchery that has been in operation since 1924: find your new favourite smoked steaks, hand-stuffed sausages and home-cured bacon.