14 Things to Do in Decatur Indiana (2024)

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Looking for things to do in Decatur Indiana? Or things to do near Decatur Indiana? With a warm and sunny day in the forecast, I decided it was a perfect time to create an extended weekend and head out to a new county as part of my Explore Indiana project. As no one was free to explore with me, I decided upon a day trip that was more interesting for me than the rest of the family.

And I have to say, they all missed out!

So on this gorgeous day, I headed Northeast to explore Adams County – right next to the Indiana/Ohio state line, and about 25 minutes from Fort Wayne Indiana.

I decided to start the trip at the furthest point north and work my way south. So I started by seeing what kinds of fun things to do in Decatur Indiana I could find.

Decatur Indiana Things to Do

Stop by the Java Bean Cafe in Decatur Indiana for a coffee and bagel to start your day.

1. Start your day at Java Bean Cafe

As always, I started my day with coffee. I found a darling coffee shop called Java Bean Cafe Decatur Indiana. I enjoyed a coffee and bagel with cream cheese for $3.56. Can’t beat small-town prices. I also loved this “pay it forward” board. I’ve seen these in a few coffee shops lately and love the idea. Warms my heart.

The Java Bean Cafe, 151 N. 2nd Street, Decatur, IN

one of the best things to do in Decatur Indiana is enjoy the Sculpture Tour

2. Enjoy the Decatur Sculpture Tour

A really cool event in Decatur is the Decatur Sculpture Tour. For the past 10 years, Decatur has hosted an annual sculpture tour featuring a variety of artists. It’s unveiled every year in June. I was able to check out many of the new and returning sculptures as I walked around downtown.

I picked up a guide to the sculptures with their location and the name of the artist at the coffee shop, but you can also check out an audio walking tour by downloading the app Otocast. This would be my top idea for what to do in Decatur Indiana.

Girl with a racket on a bench sculpture in Downtown Decatur Indiana

💥 Related posts: If you love sculptures, check out the Sculpture Trail in Greene County, Indiana, or some of the gorgeous ones in Columbus Indiana

3. Check out the downtown Decatur shops

During my last visit, it was fairly early in the morning, so downtown wasn’t terribly busy, but I was thrilled to see a few restaurants and shops that appeared to be open as well as a wonderful bookstore.

The courthouse was also lovely, and I found the bison nearby too! Overall, Decatur has a lovely downtown and it’s well worth a stroll!

Bookstore in downtown Decatur, Indiana

4. Visit the Adams County Historical Museum

I love all the county historical museums I’ve visited over the years – Indiana has some great ones! The Adams County Historical Museum in Decatur, IN is a great way to learn about the county. It’s open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 to 4 and admission is FREE!

If there is a docent around, I’d highly recommend taking a guided tour with them. It’s a small fee, but well worth it. The docents know so much about the museums, they will point out highlights you might miss on your own, and they often share personal stories if you ask.

Adams County Historical Museum, 420 W. Monroe St. Decatur, IN

5. Bowl a game or two at Villa Bowl

If you are looking for fun things to do in Decatur Indiana with kids, then an outing to Villa Bowl would be a terrific option. Prices are quite reasonable and bowling is always a good time.

Villa Bowl also has arcade games and a pro shop. And, if you live in the area they even have a private room with a private bowling area for parties. Bowling is a terrific date night or family outing.

Villa Bowl, 1704 Nuttman Ave. Decatur, IN

6. Watch a movie at ABCinema

I love going to the movies, and often search out a fun local theater when we are traveling. In fact, if I’m traveling alone, a movie is often my preferred evening activity!

Even though the towns in Adams County Indiana are fairly small, there is a nice local theater in Decatur – ABCinema. Although it’s not large, the theater does show first-run movies, AND it’s crazy affordable. ABCinema is located in downtown Decatur and has been family-owned since 2017. I can get behind supporting a local cinema for sure.

ABCinema, 130 W. Monroe St. Decatur, IN

7. Take a ride or a walk along the Rivergreenway Trail

If getting outside is more your cup of tea, then be sure to check out the Rivergreenway Trail in Decatur Indiana. It’s a 5-mile paved trail along St. Mary’s River, so it’s ideal for walking or biking. It goes through the St. Mary’s Nature Preserve, so between that and the river, the scenery is gorgeous.

The trail goes by a nice city park with restrooms and playground equipment too, so if you have younger kids with you that need an “incentive” to walk, this might do the trick.

Rivergreenway Trail, 120 Limberlost Trail, Decatur, Indiana

More Fun Things to Do Near Decatur Indiana

After you’ve explored Decatur, be sure to head a bit south to explore some of the other fun things to do in Adams County.

checking out the Clock Tower is one of the fun things to do in Berne Indiana

8. Check out the clock tower in the lovely Muensterberg Plaza

A few miles south of Decatur is the town of Berne, Indiana. I really enjoyed the drive down US27 (one of the Historic State Road Highways from 1926. US 27 runs from Ft. Wayne all the way to Miami, FL) where I passed many farms – almost all of them with laundry hanging out to dry! I also noticed many horses as well as a few horses and buggies. It was lovely and peaceful.

Berne was founded by Swiss Mennonite immigrants in 1852 (hence all the horses and buggies I saw), and to this day proudly proclaims its Swiss heritage. I loved all the Swiss-inspired buildings throughout the town.

Right off of 27 is a beautiful 160-foot-tall Clock Tower in the lovely Muensterberg Plaza. It was constructed in 2010 and can play over 1000 different tunes. To get a feel for its size, the clock hands are 15 feet long, and the bell ringer in the belfry is 7 feet tall!

Also in the plaza is a lovely bear statue. According to local lore, the bear has always been the symbol representing Berne, IN. The Swiss immigrants would have often seen it on flags, coats of arms, and more while living in Switzerland and bears used to be found in this area of Indiana. With all this history and beauty, the Muensterberg Plaza was a perfect place to wander for a bit and soak up the sun.

Muensterberg Plaza and Clock Tower, Corner of US 27 and SR 218, Berne, IN

find things to do in Downtown Berne, Indiana

9. Indulge in a little furniture shopping while in Berne Indiana

Berne is a small town of about 4000 and is well known as the furniture capital of Indiana. With multiple furniture makers and showrooms, if you are in the market for solid, well-made furniture, head over to Berne.

I was amazed at how many furniture stores I saw while in the area. Apparently, it’s a destination spot for many Hoosiers who know where good quality furniture can be found!

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10. The Filling Station Coffee Haus

Even though I’d already enjoyed a cup of coffee in the morning, when I saw the Filling Station Coffee Haus, I had to stop and check it out. Its adorable exterior drew me in.

The coffee shop serves a variety of fun coffee drinks as well as breakfast items and for lunch sandwiches and salads. Plus, they have a drive-thru which is often a bonus if you just want a quick drink.

Filling Station Coffee Haus, 524 US Highway 27 N. Berne, IN

Picture of Limberlost

11. Get lost in history at Limberlost

My last stop was my favorite of the day. And the reason I didn’t force my family along – I wasn’t sure they would be interested. Now that I have visited – I’m positive I was wrong and plan on bringing them back to check it out in the future.

Gene Stratton Porter was an incredibly talented author and naturalist from the late 1800s until her untimely death in 1924. Her books were known worldwide and have inspired many famous authors as well as educated future generations on the day-to-day lives of people and the nature around her.

I was excited to visit Limberlost, her home for many years in Geneva, Indiana, where she began writing, seriously studying nature, AND learning how to take incredible photographs.

As a child, I often read her books when I visited my Grandparents as my Grandmother was a fan and loved birds and nature as much as Gene did. I inherited the books for my own library and after visiting Limberlost plan to not only read them again but also encourage my daughter to read them – I’m confident she’ll enjoy them.

👉 I’d recommend starting with reading A Girl of the Limberlost to get a feel for Gene Stratton Porter’s writing – it’s got an old-fashioned tone but somehow still feels current.

The cabin is gorgeous and has been meticulously restored to look just as it did when Gene and her family lived there. I was lucky to have a wonderful guide, Jeanne, who knew so much about Gene, her life, and tons of interesting little tidbits. We spent an hour and a half chatting about the land, Gene, and her life. Jeanne was fabulous and I learned so much during our time together.

The surrounding swamps are gone today, but there are a few within driving distance that I plan on checking out on a future trip.

After my time at Limberlost, I took a quick drive through downtown Geneva and then headed home.

Gene Stratton-Porter books

Where to eat in Adams County Indiana

There are quite a few wonderful restaurants in Decatur and the surrounding Adams County. Although I’ve already shared the best coffee shops, here are a few other solid choices.

12. The White Cottage

In Berne, an excellent choice for a tasty, home-cooked meal is The White Cottage. It’s a cute little restaurant located in the heart of downtown on Main St. They serve Hoosier favorites like a breaded tenderloin, burgers, fries, etc. but everything is freshly made.

The White Cottage, 178 Main St. Berne, Indiana

13. 2 Brothers Bar & Restaurant

If you are ready for lunch or dinner when you are in Decatur, Indiana, then consider a meal at 2 Brothers Bar & Restaurant. This local favorite has been around since 1947. The establishment has both family dining and a bar and the menu is quite diverse although they are best known for their homemade chili.

2 Brothers Bar & Restaurant, 239 W. Monroe St. Decatur, IN

14. Dee-Zertz

In the mood for a tasty treat? Then stop in at Dee-Zertz. It’s one of the best restaurants in Berne Indiana if you want to indulge in dessert. They offer dozens of flavors for hand-dipped ice cream – including seasonal options, so you can almost always try something new!

Dee-Zertz, 205 N. Main Street, Berne, IN

Looking for more day trips near Decatur & Adams County?

Map of Adams County Indiana

Where to Stay in Decatur Indiana

If you want to make a weekend trip out of this (and I think you easily could), your best bet is the Holiday Inn Express in Portland Indiana. It’s about 15 miles to Berne, and 25 to Decatur, but has excellent ratings so would be worth the slight distance.

Another option would be to stay in Indianapolis and make this a day trip. Since I live in a suburb of Indy, that’s what I did and it was an easy and enjoyable drive.

FAQs about Decatur & Adams County

What is Decatur Indiana known for?

The Decatur Sculpture Tour: This is an annual event that features over 20 sculptures created by local and regional artists, which are displayed throughout the city for visitors to enjoy.

What is Berne Indiana known for?

Berne Indiana is known for its furniture making, and its large Amish population – the 5th largest Amish community in the United States. It’s also known for its Swiss-German architecture and heritage.

What a whirlwind day of adventure in Adams County! Trust me when I say, from charming coffee shops like Java Bean Cafe to history-packed spots like the Adams County Historical Museum, this place is a gem.

The sculptures dotting Decatur are pure artistry in the open air and don’t even get me started on the tranquility of Rivergreenway Trail. And if you’re taking the fam along, make a beeline for Villa Bowl for some old-fashioned fun! But the crown jewel? It’s got to be Limberlost in Geneva. The home of author and naturalist Gene Stratton Porter, it’s not just a house; it’s a storytelling haven wrapped in history and nostalgia.

So, ready to pack your bags and explore Adams County? Whether you’re into history, nature, or just good old Hoosier hospitality, this slice of Indiana has something for everyone. And hey, who knows what other little-known treasures you’ll find? So, what’s stopping you? Get out there and make your own memories!

PIN FOR LATER:

If you love art, books and history, Adams County has you covered. With an outdoor sculpture tour, Swiss heritage and even Limberlost (Gene Stratton-Porter's cabin), you are all set for a perfect Midwestern day trip! #daytrips #indiana #localtravel
If you love art, books and history, Adams County has you covered. With an outdoor sculpture tour, Swiss heritage and even Limberlost (Gene Stratton-Porter's cabin), you are all set for a perfect Midwestern day trip! #daytrips #indiana #localtravel