Shipshewana Attractions: Unique Experiences You’ll Love

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I’ve been lucky enough to visit Shipshewana, Indiana, twice in the last six months – once in the winter and once this summer and I have to say it is a LOVELY place for a weekend getaway! There are so many interesting Shipshewana attractions that I could still return and enjoy an entirely different experience.

Whether this is your first (or fifth!) visit, you’ll want to plan at least a few fun things to do in Shipshewana, but then let the laid-back atmosphere of the town fill in the gaps. You’ll be surprised by what you discover by just wandering the countryside. So, start your planning with some of my favorite attractions, and then let Shipshewana show you the rest.

Menno-Hof in Shipshewana Indiana

1. Menno-Hof

I’d recommend stopping at Menno-Hof on your first day in Shipshewana. This Mennonite-Amish visitor center is the best way to easily learn a little about the history of the many Mennonite and Amish families living in Shipshewana and the surrounding towns.

The museum is unique in that you start in one room with a fifteen-minute presentation and are then guided through a series of other rooms, learning various aspects of Mennonite and Amish history and lifestyle as you go. I learned quite a bit on my visit and felt it was the perfect introduction to the area. You’ll also get the chance to ask questions of the guide and I’ve found them to be full of knowledge as well as super friendly.

Menno-Hof, 510 S Van Buren Street

Davis Mercantile in Shipshewana Indiana

2. Davis Mercantile & Downtown Shipshewana

After your short history lesson, head into town and enjoy a little retail therapy. In Indiana, Shipshewana is well known for its quality furniture, fabric, and other items that are perfect for gifts. I know more than a few groups of ladies who make a shopping trip to Shipshewana an annual tradition.

Davis Mercantile is a terrific place to start, as it has several levels of shopping all in one building. Plus, there is a delicious pretzel place on the main floor and a carousel on the top floor! When I visited, I couldn’t resist enjoying a pretzel and riding the carousel. Then, after you’ve shopped your fill there, head out to the rest of the downtown stores.

Davis Mercantile, 225 Harrison Street

pie and coffee at the Blue Gate restaurant in Shipshewana Indiana

3. Blue Gate Restaurant & Theater

You can’t go to Shipshewana without indulging in some pie. You just can’t! And although I’ve enjoyed a lot of great pie in Shipshewana, my favorite is at the Blue Gate Restaurant. In addition to pie, you’ll find some of the best “home-cooking” with items like fried chicken, noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, and so forth. It’s well worth the calories.

As a bonus, if there is a show at the connected theater, you should definitely book tickets. It’s a charming little theater that houses a nice variety of Amish musicals (yes, there is such a thing, and it’s delightful), musical acts, and more. It’s fun, wholesome entertainment that’s appropriate for the whole family.

Blue Gate Restaurant, 195 North Van Buren Street

Bison in a field in Indiana

4. Cook’s Bison Ranch

On my most recent summer trip to Shipshewana, I visited Cook’s Bison Ranch. What a cool experience! Not only did we get to drive out and see a herd of bison, but we got to feed them! And they were not shy about getting their treats. When I visited, the babies were out (mid-June), so it was fun to see them too.

Technically located outside of Shipshewana, the drive to Cook’s gave us the opportunity to enjoy the scenic countryside and admire the many beautiful farms. I love that in Shipshewana, you are as likely to see a horse and buggy as a car. It’s incredibly peaceful to hear the horses’ clip-clop.

If you’d like, you can also book a combo bison tour with a chuckwagon BBQ lunch included. Call ahead to book your tour – you don’t want to show up and be disappointed that there isn’t availability.

Cook’s Bison Farm, 5645 E 600 South, Wolcottville, IN

mural of the Pumpkinvine trail in Shipshewana Indiana

5. The Pumpkinvine Trail

The Pumpkinvine Trail runs right by downtown Shipshewana and is an ideal spot for biking (there is even an outfitter located just a block away). We love biking converted rails to trails or even walking on them, as we recently did on a visit to St. Charles, Missouri.

The Pumpkinvine Trail covers 17 miles and runs through not just Shipshewana but also Goshen and Middlebury. It’s a nice paved and flat trail that is easy for most bike riders to enjoy. In the summer, I saw dozens of people enjoying the trail, and even in the winter, there were a few hardy souls out there on their bikes!

sign for the Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market

6. Shipshewana Flea Market

If you aren’t headed to Shipshewana for the shopping, you might be planning a visit there to check out the Shipshewana Flea Market. This HUGE flea market is one of a kind for sure. This is a summer outing as it’s only open Tuesdays & Wednesdays from May to September (although they do have a few weekend events, so keep that in mind and check the website).

The auction is on most Wednesdays, so if you have an interest in both the flea market and the auction, plan your visit accordingly. It’s a HUGE place, but one of the easiest ways to check it out is to stay at the Farmstead Inn across the street and walk over. Then you don’t have to worry about parking. I’ve stayed there before, and it’s a lovely inn with pretty rooms and plenty of comfy areas for hanging out.

Shipshewana Flea Market, 345 South Van Buren Street

Book your stay at the Farmstead Inn today!

Cheese from Yoder's in Shipshewana

7. Yoder’s Meat & Cheese

Near the Shipshewana Flea Market is Yoder’s Meat & Cheese. I enjoy a good local store, and Yoder’s is just that. You can pick up a huge variety of Amish cheese, meats, seasonings, and, of course, jams and jellies. Whenever I visit, I make sure to stop to grab a few bottles of Happy Salt. On the first visit, I only bought one and was instructed to come home from this last trip with at least two!

The building houses several other stores, and with its convenient location to the flea market and the Farmstead Inn, it’s a must-visit. Between Yoder’s and the other stores you can find just about anything you need – and plenty of things that are just fun to try!

Yoder’s Meat & Cheese, 445 South Van Buren Street

barn quilt in LaGrange County Indiana

8. Barn Quilts

If you are looking for free things to do in Shipshewana, Indiana, consider a drive to see how many barn quilts you can find. This is a fun activity if you like exploring or maybe don’t want to do a lot of walking. You can pick up a map of them at the Shipshewana Visitors Center and see how many of the 80-ish quilts you can find.

Or, do what I do and keep your eyes peeled while you are out exploring, and then yell “stop” to your driver when you see one! Warning, though, that doesn’t always go over well!

Racks of goods and push carts at E&S Sales in Shipshewana Indiana

9. E&S Sales

E&S Sales is one of those unique places you have to check out to really understand. It’s a huge store with tons of bulk food items (I especially loved the candy varieties), groceries, and more. It’s about impossible to stop in without buying something!

It’s also fun to walk around E&S and look at the dozens of toy push cars on display. It’s quite a collection! The people are friendly and many locals do their shopping here as the prices are reasonable. Definitely plan a visit when you are in Shipshewana.

E&S Sales, 1265 North SR 5

horse and carriage and buggy rides sign

10. Buggy Rides

I absolutely love how you start seeing and hearing all the horse & buggies as soon as you get close to Shipshewana, so of course I wanted to experience riding in one! There are several options in downtown Shipshewana (Buggy Lane Tours and Blue Gate Amish Tours) so you won’t have any issues finding one. If you have kids along, they will definitely enjoy this!

On my last visit, I also had the opportunity to learn how the buggies were made by visiting a local buggy maker. Check the tour options to see if you can book a tour that includes visiting a few Amish businesses – it’s a unique way to see up close the Amish way of life.

Concert ticket with stage in the background

11. Blue Gate Performing Arts Center

The Blue Gate Performing Arts Center is a fantastic place to see a show, and they have hundreds of shows each year. I’ve been to two different shows there and enjoyed them both. In addition to the excellent music, the venue itself is very interesting. There are hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from various artists that cover the walls. You are sure to find someone who’s music you like!

If you like live music, I’d encourage you to look at the lineup and try to plan your visit to Shipshewana around a show you’d like to see. The town is quiet at night, so it’s a great way to give yourself a fun and enjoyable evening activity. They have a lot of tribute bands (very fun!) as well as original artists. I just did a quick search and found half a dozen shows I’d like to go to, so I bet you can find something you’d enjoy too!

Blue Gate Performing Arts Center, 760 South Van Buren Street

If you are seeing a show at the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center, book your stay at the Blue Gate Garden Inn and you can walk right next door to the show!

salt wellness therapy building in Shipshewana Indiana

12. Salt Wellness Therapy

Are you in the mood for a little relaxation? How about visiting a salt room? My son and I did this years ago on a weekend soccer trip to Warsaw and enjoyed it immensely – and let’s face it, it can be hard to find fun things to do with your teenage son! So, if you are in Shipshewana, consider booking an appointment at Salt Wellness Therapy.

Although they have a massage chair, I’d recommend spending time in the salt therapy room. It’s not quite the salt cave we visited on our trip, but it’s still a fun and unique thing to do – and a nice break from all the shopping!

Salt Wellness Therapy, 250 E Middlebury Street

bread and bowl with salad

13. Amish In-Home Dining

If you want to get a real taste of the Amish lifestyle (pun intended), then consider booking an Amish in-home dining experience. I’ve done this twice – once for breakfast (the cinnamon rolls were heavenly) and once for lunch and both experiences were interesting and delicious.

You will need to book this ahead of time, and it’s quite possible that there won’t be any availability during your visit, but if there is, do it. It’s a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else and a fun way to learn more about the Amish first hand. If this is something you think you’d like to do, contact the Shipshewana Visitors Center. They have all kinds of connections with local Amish families and can help you find what you are looking for.

JoJo's pretzel from Shipshewana Indiana

14. Try a Pretzel (or Two!)

Thanks to my trips to Shipshewana I’ve become a devotee of soft pretzels. At least the soft pretzels found in Shipshewana. There are several locations where you can enjoy these tasty treats, but my favorites are Ben’s Soft Pretzels and JoJo’s Pretzels.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels is hard to miss – it’s located in a big red building just past the Blue Gate Inn, and I always make it a point to stop on my way out of town to pick up a pretzel to munch on while driving home.

JoJo’s Pretzels is located in the Davis Mercantile, so it’s a nice option for an afternoon shopping snack. Just a heads up though – if it’s a busy time of the year (like the holidays) there will be a long line! Although some people are team Ben’s and others team JoJo’s, I have to admit I love them both – but my suggestion is to try them both on your next trip and make your own decision.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels, 100 Berkshire Drive

JoJo’s Pretzels, 205 North Harrison Street

lady standing in front of wings mural in Shipshewana Indiana

15. Downtown Shipshewana Murals

My final option for free and fun things to do in Shipshewana is to check out all the murals you’ll find downtown. There are a few that are easy to spot, but I even found a few new ones on my last trip that I hadn’t noticed before!

If you enjoy murals, there are over a dozen in LaGrange County, and you can pick up a map from the visitors center showing you where they are and also telling you the story behind each one.

Why Visit Shipshewana?

Shipshewana is a gem in northern Indiana, perfect for a relaxing and educational getaway. Since I’ve had the pleasure of visiting twice in the last six months, I’ve gotten to experience the town in both winter and summer. Each season brought its unique charm and attractions, making each trip a new adventure. I think fall will have to be next!

The appeal of Shipshewana lies in its laid-back atmosphere and rich cultural heritage. The town is steeped in Mennonite and Amish traditions, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you wander through the quaint streets or the picturesque countryside, you’ll find that Shipshewana has a way of revealing its treasures to those who take the time to explore.

Planning your visit to Shipshewana is part of the fun. While it’s great to have a list of must-see attractions, leave some room for spontaneity. The beauty of Shipshewana is in its slower pace – you’ll discover delightful surprises just by letting the town guide you. Whether it’s a charming shop, a scenic trail, or a local event, Shipshewana is full of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.

Map of Shipshewana Attractions

Where to Stay When Visiting Shipshewana

I’ve stayed at both the Farmstead Inn & Conference Center and the Blue Gate Garden Inn, and both stays were great. If your visit is for the auction, you might prefer the closer location of the Farmstead, but if you are going to a concert at Blue Gate Performing Arts Center, you can’t beat the Blue Gate Garden Inn – it’s just a few steps away. Plus, I really love their delicious breakfast.

Looking for more options? Check out this post with all my favorite places to stay in Shipshewana!

FAQs: Shipshewana Attractions

Is Shipshewana worth the trip?

Absolutely! Between the shopping, delicious food and slower pace of life it’s well worth a visit.

How much does it cost to get into Shipshewana Flea Market?

The flea market is free, but parking is $5.

Is Shipshewana closed on Sundays?

Most of Shipshewana is closed on Sundays which makes it the perfect day to visit nearby Elkhart, Indiana.

Is Shipshewana cash only?

Although most stores accept credit cards, there are still quite a few locations in Shipshewana that are cash only.

Amish kids with a pony and cart in Shipshewana Indiana

Conclusion: Shipshewana Attractions

So what do you think? Are you ready to book your trip Shipshewana? Even though I just returned from my latest trip there, I’m ready to go again! There is just something so special about this unique town in Northern Indiana.

Whether you are there for the shopping, delicious food, Amish & Mennonite history or just want a place to slow down and savor life, Shipshewana will deliver. So, start with this list of my favorite Shipshewana attractions, book your hotel room and see if Shipshewana makes it’s way into your heart like it has mine!

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