Evansville Means History, Animals and Arts
You’ll want to do it all in the Evansville area, from animal encounters at the zoo to checking out the arts districts. Venture out for a hike in the woods or to learn about archaeological mounds. It's also a good launching pad for Indiana history side trips.
About This Road Trip
Unique Arts Districts
Evansville's personality really comes through in its arts districts. You can get from one to the other by taking TED: The Trolley of Evansville Districts. Browse shops and galleries at Haynie's Corner. With a beautiful fountain at its center, it hosts evening and weekend events featuring live music outdoors. See what's on the menu at locally owned restaurants in historic homes and structures. Be sure to come on Saturday for the Franklin Street Bazaar, featuring food trucks, artists, music and more. It's just one of many events at West Franklin Street, home to the 2nd-largest street festival in the country, Westside Nut Club Fall Festival. The Ohio River serves as the front door to Downtown Evansville, bordered by a lovely 6.5-mile greenway for walking and biking. Locally owned restaurants, bars, antique stores, galleries and unique shops line Main Street.
Keep an eye out for reptiles, amphibians and birds as you explore the old-growth lowland forest at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve. Kids love traipsing through the onsite Nature Playscape, where they can play with rock structures, dirt and sand, textured pathways and natural water features. At Angel Mounds State Historic Site, you will see earthen mounds built 1,000 years ago by Native Americans known as Mississippians. A day at the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden feels like you’re a global traveler as you meet hundreds of animals from around the world, like the greater kudu of Africa, exotic Amazonian creatures or an Asian rhino.
A Side Trip to New Harmony
Just a quick 30-minute drive northwest takes you to Historic New Harmony, a small rivertown with a really interesting history involving two early American Utopian societies who tried at different times to establish model communities. Today visitors can walk the labyrinths, see the roofless church, visit art galleries and browse local shops. Also located on the banks of the Wabash River, Harmonie State Park offers log-style family cabins, bike trails, fishing and hiking.
A Look at Indiana History
Just an hour north of Evansville lies Vincennes, a haven for history enthusiasts because this is where Indiana had its beginnings. At the Vincennes State Historic Sites, you can tour the original building where Indiana’s first legislators met and see a replica of the Jefferson Academy, the first school of higher learning in Indiana. The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park features the largest national monument outside of Washington, D.C.: a granite memorial commemorating the conquest of the Old Northwest Territory. The Indiana Military Museum has one of the best comprehensive collections of artifacts in the Midwest spanning all the way from the Civil War to today. See military aircraft, vehicles, uniforms and more.
Map Out Your Road Trip
See the road trip stops on the map below. To customize and save your itinerary, click the list button. Remember: you should contact the destinations for updates.