The Indiana Insider Blog

Local Indiana – Great Indiana Attractions You Probably Don’t Know About

Are you tired of the same old, same old on vacations? Dining at the same restaurant you could go to at home? Going to an attraction expecting something great then being a bit disappointed? Well, we’ve gathered a great list of local favorites in Indiana. From a hole-in-the-wall restaurant to a candy factory tour to great wineries located in beautiful locations, there’s enough here to fill up a week. Be sure to take notes for your next vacation or weekend trip in Indiana.

Restaurant Experiences

Here are some of Indiana’s most unique restaurants. From a rural restaurant that encourages tailgating in their parking lot to Indiana’s first Spanish restaurant, there’s great food to be found in Indiana.

  • Bonge’s Tavern, Perkinsville – Do you hate getting to a restaurant just to find out there’s a two-hour wait to be seated? If so, then Bonge’s Tavern is NOT the restaurant for you. But waiting is half the fun at Bonge’s. While you wait for a table, have a blast tailgating in the restaurant’s parking lot. Best enjoyed if you bring a big group of friends and make an entire evening out of it. Once you’ve been seated, treat yourself to a menu that includes steak, Indiana’s famous pork tenderloin sandwiches and fresh seafood, not to mention the great beer and wine selection. Just remember to bring a designated driver if you tailgate before dinner :)
Bonge’s Tavern
9830 W 280 N
Anderson, IN 46011
765.734.1625
  • The Schnitzelbank Restaurant, Jasper – The Schnitzelbank offers authentic German cuisine and is located just 2 and a half Hours south of Indianapolis in Jasper. Due to Jasper’s German heritage, it’s also the home to the annual Jasper Strassenfest, held on July 30th-August 2nd, 2009.
The Schnitzelbank Restaurant
393 Third Avenue
Jasper, Indiana 47546
812.482.2640
  • Joseph Decuis, Roanoke – Located just about 15 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, Joseph Decuis is the type of restaurant you’d expect to find in New York or L.A. With it’s high-end American-fusion style cuisine, Joseph Decuis is sure to turn a few heads. Birthed out of a catering business, the restaurant opened in 2000 and has been wowing patrons ever since.
Joseph Decuis
191 North Main Street
Roanoke, IN 46783
260.672.1715
  • Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Middlebury – The Essenhaus is more than just an Amish-style restaurant, it’s also an Inn. Famous for their family-style Amish dinners, the Essenhaus is a great cultural experience if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In fact, the Essenhaus is even running a getaway package on VisitIndiana.com – check out their coupon for great savings.
Das Dutchman Essenhaus
240 US 20
Middlebury, IN 46540
800.455.9471
  • Cerulean Restaurant, Winona Lake – Cerulean is another surprising restaurant to find in the sleepy arts community of Winona Lake. Located on the outskirts of Warsaw, IN, Cerulean Restaurant will surprise you. Enjoy one of Cerulean’s traditional bento boxes for lunch or indulge in some of their fantastic Asian-American dishes (and of course some fresh sushi) for dinner.
Cerulean Restaurant
1101 East Canal Street
Winona Lake, IN 46590
574.269.1226
  • Derby Dinner Play House, Clarksville – If you’re looking for a place where you can get dinner and take in a great show, the Derby Dinner Play House is where you should head. Located in Jeffersonville, just across the river from Louisville, KY, the Derby Dinner is actually one of the oldest and largest continually-operating dinner theaters in the country. Leading Ladies is playing now through June 28, 2009.
Derby Dinner Play House
525 Marriott Drive
Clarksville, IN 47129
812.288.2632
Tickets: 812.288.8281
  • Don Quijote, Valparaiso – Billed as “Indiana’s Only Spanish Restaurant”, the highlight of Don Quijote is the tapas. Plan on ordering several of them for your table and enjoy a great authentic Spanish dining experience in the middle of Indiana. Located just an hour and about an hour southeast of Chicago, Don Quijote offers a big city dining experience without the hassle of Chicago traffic and parking.
Don Quijote
119 East Lincolnway
Valparaiso, IN 46383
219.462.7976

Click on “Read more” to see the rest of the great Local Indiana ideas…

 

Wineries/Wine Trails

Did you know that there are more than 40 wineries in Indiana? From Whiting and Fremont in the north to Bristow and Starlight in the south, there’s bound to be an Indiana winery close to you. Below, we’ve highlighted a handful of wineries and a few of Indiana’s wine trails.

  • Oliver Winery, Bloomington – Indiana’s Oldest and largest winery has now been open for 37 years and is still going strong. Oliver has a beautiful tasting room, located just minutes from Bloomington and the campus of Indiana University and they have more than 60 different wines, including about a dozen that are made from grapes grown on the property. You can also purchase Oliver wines at most grocery stores and liquor stores in Indiana.
Oliver Winery
8024 North State Road 37
Bloomington, IN 47404
812.876.5800
  • Easley Winery, Indianapolis – Located in Downtown Indianapolis, Easley offers tastings seven days a week and produces more than 20 different types of grape wines, sparkling wine, mead and fruit wines. Easley also sells everything you need to make your own beer or wine at home and they offer wine-making classes
Easley Winery
205 North College Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
317.636.4516
  • Thomas Family Winery, Madison – Thomas Family Winery is one of three prominent Madison-area wineries (including Madison Vineyards and Lanthier Winery), but what makes them unique are some of the wines they produce. While Lanthier and Madison Vineyards tend to make sweeter Indiana-style wines, Thomas Family Winery has focused more on drier, more complex wines and Cider. Some of the highlights include their 2006 Zinfandel, 2007 Tempranillo, 2007 Sack and Gale’s Hard Cider.
Thomas Family Winery
208 East Second Street
Madison, IN 47250
812.273.3755
  • The Ridge Winery, Vevay – One of the best thing about The Ridge Winery (other than the wine, of course) is the view of the Ohio River from the deck. The Ridge is located on Highway 156, just outside of Vevay (pronounced vee-vee). I recommend their Blueberry Wine, it’s not too sweet, but would be a great desert wine.
The Ridge Winery
298 Highway 156
Vevay, IN 47043
812.427.3380
  • Indy Wine Trail, Central Indiana – The Indy Wine Trail features 7 wineries located from Carmel to Columbus. This is a great wine trail to take if you live in or are visiting the Indianapolis area and you want to see more of the city, but still stay close to Central Indiana. Included in the trail are: Buck Creek Winery, Chauteau Thomas Winery, Easley Winery, Ferrins Fruit Winery, Grape Inspirations Winery, Mallow Run Winery and Simmons Winery.
  • Uplands Wine Trail, South Central Indiana – The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail stretches from Oliver Winery in Bloomington, down to Best Vineyards Winery in Elizabeth, IN (just outside of Louisville). Take this trail for the great wineries and the beautiful hilly countryside of south-central Indiana. Included in the trail are: Best Vineyards Winery, Brown County Winery, Butler Winery, Carousel Winery, French Lick Winery, Huber Winery, Oliver Winery, Turtle Run Winery and Winzerwald Winery.
  • Indiana Wine Trail, South East Indiana – The Indiana Wine Trail focuses on Southeastern Indiana, specifically Ripley, Madison and Switzerland Counties. If you’re vacationing in Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH or the Madison area, the Indiana Wine Trail is a great day-trip you can take. Included in the trail are: Ertel Cellars Winery, Lanthier Winery, Madison Vineyards, The Ridge Winery, Stream Cliff Farm Winery and Thomas Family Winery.

Breweries

There are nearly 30 different breweries and micro-breweries in Indiana and they span all across the state. We’ve listed a few great breweries below. In addition to having fantastic beers, most of these locations also have restaurants or pubs, so you can have a meal and enjoy some locally brewed beer on your next trip to Indiana.

  • Upland Brewery, Bloomington – Upland Brewery has 5 signature beers, a wheat, pale ale, amber, porter and an IPA. Each brew has its own unique flavor and all are available at the brewery’s pub. This is a great place to drop by if you’re in Bloomington. If you don’t know much about brewing, you can take a virtual tour of the brewery and learn all about how beer is made.
Upland Brewery
350 West 11th Street
Bloomington, IN 47404
812.336.BEER (2337)
  • Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis (Broad Ripple) – Brugge holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it located just blocks from my house, but because they are a truly unique brewery in Indiana. Brugge specializes in Belgian food (including the amazing Frites – Belgian Fries – that you simply cannot miss) and of course, Belgian beers. If you’ve never had a Belgian beer before, they are typically darker, more complex and have a higher alcohol content than most other beers. If Mussels and Mitrailettes (Belgian sandwiches) aren’t your thing, just drop by for some Frites and a beer. You won’t be sorry.
Brugge Brasserie
1011a East Westfield Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46220
317.255.0978
  • Three Floyds Brewery, Munster – The Three Floyds Brewery Pub features typical pub food, but the beer is definitely worth the trip. Located just an hour outside of Chicago, Three Floyds also host the annual Dark Lord Festival, which is attended by hundreds of beer-lovers.
Three Floyds Brewery
9750 Indiana Parkway
Munster, Indiana 46321
219.922.3565
  • Mad Anthony Brewing Company, Fort Wayne, Auburn & Warsaw – Mad Anthony got its name from the Revolutionary War General that Fort Wayne was named after. Mad Anthony’s great assortment of beers and large pub menu are sure to satisfy after a day in and around Fort Wayne. The three locations make it even easier to enjoy this great Indiana microbrewery.
Mad Anthony Brewing Company – Fort Wayne
2002 Broadway
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
260.426.ALES (2537)
 
 
Mad Anthony Brewing Company – Auburn
114 North Main Street
Auburn, IN 46706
260.927.0500
 
 
Mad Anthony Brewing Company – Warsaw
113 East Center Street
Warsaw, IN 46580
574.268.2537
  • Great Cresecent Brewery, Aurora – Great Crescent is a bit different than the other micro-breweries in Indiana. They don’t have lincense to serve by the glass yet, so when you visit Great Crescent, you’ll be buying their beer to take home with you. They still have a great selection that includes a Blonde Ale, Witbier, Mild Ale, Stout, Cherry Ale and even a Coconut Porter. They’re only open Thursday-Saturday, so be sure to check the website before you visit.
Great Cresecent Brewery
327 Second Street
Aurora, IN 47001
812.655.2435
  • Barley Island Brewing Company, Noblesville – Barley Island is a micro-brewery located in historic downtown Noblesville, about 20 minutes north of Indianapolis. You can enjoy their beer and traditional pub food in a great location, or you might find Barley Island beer served at your favorite central Indiana restaurant.
Barley Island Brewing Company
639 Conner Street
Noblesville, IN 46060
317.770.5280

Factory Tours and other Trip Ideas

Here are a few Factory Tours and other Trip Ideas for your next visit to Indiana.

  • Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory, Kokomo – Head to Kokomo to tour the oldest Opalescent Glass Factory in the world. Established during a natural gas boom in the 1880s, the factory still offers tours on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:00AM. The factory has no climate control, so dress appropriately, and make sure not to wear open-toed shoes or sandals – they’re not allowed!
Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory
1310 South Market Street
Kokomo, IN 46904
765.457.8136
  • Albanese Confectionery, Merrillville – This is sure to be one of the tastiest factory tours you ever go on. Albanese Confectionery is best known for their world-famous gummi bears. Anytime someone from the office goes up to Albanese and brings some of the gummi bears back, the entire back is gone within a couple days.
Albanese Confectionary
5441 East Lincoln Highway
Merrillville, IN 46410
800.736.0581
  • Annie Oakley PerfumeryLigonier - You probably didn’t know that any perfume was made in Indiana, much less the only perfume company whose products are created and packaged in the United States. You can tour the Annie Oakley Perfumery to get a behind-the-scenes look at how owner Renee Gabet creates such wonderful fragrances. The best part is you can even create your own custom fragrance while you’re there for a tour.
Annie Oakley Perfumery
300 Johnson Street
Ligonier, Indiana 46767
  • Other Factory Tours – Here’s a PDF document with information about more factory tours in Indiana.

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