Nestled on the banks of the mighty Ohio River, Evansville is the third-largest city in Indiana and falls within the Tri-State area of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. It’s among the most popular places in southern Indiana thanks to its healthy mix of cultural, historic and outdoor attractions, and has been awarded by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as the “best city in the country ‘to live, work, and play”.
The city nicknamed “River City” is filled with unique sights and notable landmarks to explore. From the best preserved Native American site in the United States to the Mesker Park Zoo, the oldest in Indiana, Evansville has enough to keep you busy in one of America’s most charming cities.[toc}
20 Things To Do In Evansville
1- Visit The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science
Established in 1874, the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science has something everyone can see, do and learn about.
The museum is situated in Evansville’s Downtown Historic District and was founded by members of the Ladies Literary Club.
It quickly outgrew its small starting venue, and pretty soon, a brand new, state-of-the-art centre was built for one of the city’s most popular institutions.
Featuring a collection spanning fields such as anthropology, natural history, fine art, history and science, the museum is among the best attractions to tour in Evansville.
There’s even a planetarium and theatre inside the museum hosting various events and gatherings throughout the year, making it a great destination for all ages to explore.
Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science is at 411 SE Riverside Dr, Evansville, IN 47713.
2- Admire Victoria Architecture At Reitz Home Museum
The Reitz Home Museum is the only Victorian House Museum in Indiana, situated right in the heart of Historic Downtown Evansville.
The house was built in 1871 for John Augustus and Gertrude Reitz, local lumber barons and philanthropists during the 19th century, and is one of the finest examples of Second Empire-style architecture in the United States.
This architectural and historical landmark is decorated inside and out with period-correct furnishings and features symbols of opulence such as marble fireplaces, hand-laid parquet floors, stained glass windows and painted ceilings.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is open to the public for tours and even includes a visitor’s centre where guests can learn all about this stately Evansville mansion.
Reitz Home Museum is at 112 Chestnut St, Evansville, IN 47713.
3- Tour USS LST-325
Also occupying a well-deserved spot on the National Register, the USS LST-325 is the only Landing Ship Tank-class vessel open for public tours.
Permanently docked at Riverside Drive in Evansville, the vessel is a floating museum that saw extensive service during WWII and in the Greek Hellenic Navy from 1964 to 1999.
The ship was commissioned in 1943 and has been a prominent historic landmark in Evansville since she arrived in 2005.
Today, the vessel is open for tours and features several WWII artefacts and photographs and has a gift shop where visitors can buy a souvenir to take home.
USS LST-325 is at 610 NW Riverside Dr., Evansville, IN 47708.
4- See The Animals At Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens
Home to over 700 animals from regions across the world, the 45-acre (18 ha) Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens has been delighting visitors with rare and exotic species since the zoo first opened in 1928.
When it opened, it became the first zoo in Indiana and the first in the United States to facilitate animals in exhibits that resemble their native habitats.
The zoo currently features over 180 animal species from Africa, Asia, North America and Australia and endangered animals such as jaguars, Arrau turtles and capybaras.
Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens are at 1545 Mesker Park Dr, Evansville, IN 47720.
5- Explore Angel Mounds State Historic Site
Covering an area of over 100 acres (40 ha) along the banks of the Ohio River, the Angel Mounds State Historic Site is the best example of prehistoric Native American culture in the United States.
The entire site is a designated National Historic Landmark and was built by Middle Mississippian Native Americans between 1000 AD and 1450 AD.
While it’s not exactly known what the mounds represented, it is one of the most significant historical landmarks in the region.
It features a model museum and plenty of hiking and biking trails.
Angel Mounds State Historic Site is at 8215 Pollack Ave, Evansville, IN 47715.
6- Relax in Burdette Park
Just outside Downtown Evansville, the 170-acre (69 ha) Burdette Park is a wooded urban outdoor venue filled with a range of hiking and biking trails, campgrounds, an aquatic centre, and many more fun attractions.
The park’s aquatic centre features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, children’s pool and waterslides, and is one of the largest aquatic centres in the Midwest.
Whether you’re stopping by to camp, glamp or just relax for an afternoon, this delightful Evansville park has a fun line-up of things to do.
Burdette Park is at 5301 Nurrenbern Rd, Evansville, IN 47712.
7- Learn Cultural History At Evansville African American Museum
The Evansville African American Museum is a significant cultural and historic institution in Evansville, situated inside an even more significant building, the 1938 Federal Housing Project known as Lincoln Gardens.
Featuring a plethora of exhibits, memorabilia and artefacts that tell the story of what life was like during the New Deal for Evansville’s minority population, the museum is an eye-opening venue to tour with something to see for everyone.
Opened in 2007, this more recent addition to the city’s museum scene is well worth a visit and hosts several educative programs and events throughout the year.
Evansville African American Museum is at 579 S Garvin St, Evansville, IN 47713.
8- Go Wine Tasting At Winzerwald Winery
Winzerwald Winery is a family-run wine producer in Evansville specialising in producing fruit, spice-infused, traditional German and signature blend wines near the Hoosier National Forest.
Inspired by winemaking processes and wineries in Germany, Winzerwald treats visitors to an outdoor Weingarten, cheese tastings at the Cheese Haus, and even a gift shop.
This award-winning winery brings the winemaking traditions of Germany to the Midwest in spectacular style, turning it into a must-visit attraction in Evansville that you’ll not want to miss.
Winzerwald Winery is at 2019 W Franklin St, Evansville, IN 47712.
9- Visit Indiana’s Oldest Public Library
The Willard Library opened its doors to a fine collection of books and manuscripts to the public in 1855, making it the oldest public library in the state of Indiana.
Books aren’t the only attraction at the library, as the building is an impressive Gothic Revival-style structure designed by James W. Reid and listed on the National Register.
With its oak carvings and natural wood furnishings, the library is one of Evansville’s most visually stunning landmarks and is completely free to visit.
Willard Library is at 21 N First Ave, Evansville, IN 47710.
10- Stroll Along The Evansville Riverfront Walkway
Evansville’s proverbial “front door”, the Evansville Riverfront Walkway is a 2.5-mile-long (4 km) paved walkway where the city’s joggers, hikers, cyclists, skaters and dog walkers get together to enjoy a stroll along the Ohio River.
The walkway passes by attractions such as Bally’s Casino and the Four Freedoms Monument and is renowned for its spectacular views across the Ohio River.
A hive of activity, especially during the annual 4th of July fireworks display, the walkway is among Evansville’s best outdoor attractions and a free experience.
11- Be Amazed At The Evansville Wartime Museum
The Evansville Wartime Museum was established in 2017 to honour and celebrate the wartime efforts made by Evansville people on home soil during WWII.
The museum tells the tale of Evansville’s WWII factories that built hundreds of LST ships and fighter planes and the thousands who volunteered with organisations such as the Red Cross Canteens, who looked after injured soldiers.
The museum’s collection of wartime items includes a 1943 M4A4 Sherman Tank, a P-47 fighter plane built in Evansville, a Dodge Weapons Carrier, and many other interesting displays.
The museum is a great destination to visit if you’re a war historian or simply interested in Evansville’s industrial past and is bound to amaze visitors of all ages.
Evansville Wartime Museum is at 7503 Petersburg Rd, Evansville, IN 47725.
12- Catch A Sporting Event Or Show At Ford Center
The multi-purpose Ford Center in Downtown Evansville was built in 2011 to provide the Evansville region with a state-of-the-art basketball, ice hockey and live concert venue rivalling the best arenas in the country.
Capable of seating up to 11,000 spectators, the venue serves as the home venue for the University of Evansville Purple Aces men’s basketball team and the Evansville Thunderbolts of the SPHL.
Since its opening just over a decade ago, the venue has welcomed the likes of Elton John, Cirque de Soleil and Lady Antebellum, so be on the lookout for events and performances during your trip to Evansville.
Ford Center is at 1 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Evansville, IN 47708.
13- Go Shopping At Eastland Mall
The regional shopping hub for the Tri-State areas of Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana, the Eastland Mall is the go-to shopping destination in the city.
The mall was opened in 1981 and is home to over 130 shops, three department stores and a food court.
With a total shopping area of more than 1,000,000 square feet (92,903 m2), the mall has tons of stores to explore and shop.
With all your favourite brand outlets and one-of-a-kind stores conveniently located under one roof, Evansville’s biggest and most popular mall is always an interesting place to visit in the city.
Eastland Mall is at 800 N Green River Rd, Evansville, IN 47715.
14- Admire The Old Evansville Courthouse
The Old Evansville Courthouse, or the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse as it’s also often called, is one of Evansville’s most impressive and striking landmarks.
Designed in the governmental architecture and Beaux Arts styles of the 19th century, the courthouse has been the venue of significant events in Evansville’s history.
Not only was this visually stunning building a stop on the Presidential campaigns of Harry Truman in 1948 and John F. Kennedy in 1960, but it also served as a makeshift military headquarters during martial law in 1937.
Old Evansville Courthouse is at 201 NW 4th St #102, Evansville, IN 47708.
15- Explore Wesselman Woods Nature Center
Situated on the largest tract of virgin old-growth forest within city limits in the USA, the Wesselman Woods Nature Center is a serene 200-acre (81 ha) outdoor wonderland with a host of fun attractions.
The non-profit centre was founded in 1971 to protect some of the last remaining indigenous forests of Southern Indiana and has grown into a splendid Evansville attraction that features over 3 miles (5 km) of wetland nature hiking trails.
Not only is the centre a hub for conservation efforts in the region, but the centre also organises a variety of fun events throughout the year to attract and entertain visitors of all ages and interests.
16- Wander Around Hartman Arboretum
The Hartman Arboretum was opened in 2001 to allow visitors to enjoy the unblemished landscapes of Southern Indiana in all their glory and raw beauty.
The arboretum features a hydrangea garden, a wildlife garden and a contemplative garden for visitors to stop by, a native vine arbour, a stumpery and a pick-your-own blueberry patch.
Spring through autumn is the best time to visit the arboretum, with fun events such as Moth Night, Butterfly Day and Spring at Arboretum taking place every year.
Hartman Arboretum is at 5939 Spirit Trail, Evansville, IN 47720.
17- Take The Kids To The Children’s Museum of Evansville
Nicknamed “cMoe”, the Children’s Museum of Evansville is a family-friendly educative and entertainment centre situated inside an 18,000 square foot (1,672 m2) Art Deco building.
It has intriguing exhibits to help kids learn and develop through play.
The museum’s teaching subjects range from scientific theory to freedom of expression and is by far the most entertaining venue for kids to explore in Evansville.
Children’s Museum of Evansville is at 22 S.E. Fifth Street, Evansville, IN 47708.
18- Catch A Game At Bosse Field
Film fans of the 1992 comedy “A League of Their Own” might recognise Bosse Field as the stadium where Dottie and Kit start their professional baseball ambitions, however, this fully-operational frontier league stadium is more than just a film set.
Opened in 1915, the stadium is the third-oldest professional baseball stadium still in use in the United States and serves as the permanent home of the Evansville Otters.
The stadium has played host to everything from NFL games and collegiate soccer games to music concerts, making it one of the country’s most historic multi-purpose entertainment centres.
Bosse Field is at 23 N Main St, Evansville, IN 47711.
19- Step Back In History At Willard Carpenter House
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Willard Carpenter House was the former residence of Vermont philanthropist and businessman Willard Carpenter during the mid-19th century.
Carpenter built the Willard Library and a tunnel underneath his home to smuggle runaway African American slaves into safety fleeing from the Confederate South in 1849, making him one of Evansville’s earliest Civil Rights proponents.
Not only is Carpenter’s Greek Revival-style mansion renowned for its architectural majesty, but the venue’s rich history and proud legacy make this unique Evansville home a must-see attraction in Indiana.
Willard Carpenter House is at 413 Carpenter St, Evansville, IN 47708.
20- Victory Theatre
Home to the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the 1,950-seat Victory Theatre is among the city’s finest venues for the performing arts.
The theatre was opened in 1921 as part of the Sonntag Hotel – Victory Theater complex and featured daily programs of vaudeville performances, film screenings and comedy routines.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre is the go-to venue in the city for ballet, Broadway plays and other entertainment events, making it well worth visiting.
Victory Theatre is at 600 Main St, Evansville, IN 47708.
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