Indiana Daily Student

Fort Wayne has more than meets the eye

Fort Wayne has an undeserved reputation when it comes to big-city life. Granted, it is located in the wasteland of corn stalks and soybean fields known as Northeast Indiana, which is enough to bias almost any opinion. However, Indiana's second-largest city features a more than ample range of activities that makes any college student's visit worthwhile.\nApproximately a three-hour drive from Bloomington, Fort Wayne is an easy weekend vacation spot -- or even a good place to check out for a day's worth of serious shopping. Unknown to many Hoosiers, Indiana's largest mall isn't located in Indianapolis; Fort Wayne's Glenbrook Square easily wins that title. Boasting four department stores and more than 160 specialty shops, Glenbrook Square effortlessly turns into a day-long shopping adventure. The multi-level mall holds stores ranging from d.e.m.o. to Structure to Charlotte Russe to GUESS, easily suiting most consumer tastes. \nIn the slight chance that you can't find that awesome shirt you've been looking for at Glenbrook Square, you also can search for a new wardrobe at Jefferson Pointe. The newest shopping center to come to Fort Wayne, contemporary and original shops constantly are moving into this open-air mall. With architecture that echoes that of Mediterranean buildings, Jefferson Pointe gives a decidedly unique meaning to "spending a day at the mall." And if you get tired, you always can grab a bite to eat at one of the 22 restaurants and eateries, then head to the central outdoor fountain to enjoy lunch on the square.\nWhile window shopping at Jefferson Pointe, be sure to check out Rave Motion Pictures. Located within the Jefferson Pointe complex, it houses 18 movies screens, leaving you with the impression of an airport. The two-story plate glass entrance, complete with spotlights and other movie-related paraphernalia, makes a night at the movies a truly memorable event.\nHowever, Fort Wayne seems to have infinite options for any given occasion. If sprawling multiplexes aren't what you are looking for, see that new movie at the Cinema Grill. Located close to Glenbrook Square, this small theater doubles as a restaurant. Instead of stadium-style seating, your group of friends will be sitting at a table or a bar. As the movie plays, waiters will come to you to refill your drinks and take your orders from the Cinema Grill's own menu -- from which you can order popcorn for the traditionalists.\nCraving something more social? Perhaps louder, as well? Try Piere's, Fort Wayne's most popular nightlife spot. The massive complex holds five different clubs and two banquet facilities under one roof. With a club this large, crowds up to 2,000 can see Powerman 5000, Sisqo and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few of the 65 national acts that Piere's plays host to each year. \nHowever, if you just want to get out to dance, don't wait for the night of a show. Piere's has multi-level dancing, suspended lit dance floors, and even an official Wild On E! dance cage that stands 15 feet tall. For all the club people, Piere's is definitely a hot spot of the Midwest.\nAfter dragging yourself back, completely exhausted from a night of dancing and entertainment, you might want to check out some of the more mellow attractions the city has to offer. From July 12 \nto July 20, the Three Rivers Festival will be taking place at Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne. This 35-year-old festival brings in about 500,000 people over the course of nine days, making it the second largest festival in Indiana. With amusement park-like rides, vendors, beer tents, art shows and concerts -- this year Ted Nugent and David Lee Roth are headlining the festival -- it's an event that everyone in the Fort will be checking out.\nDowntown also holds attractions for the artistic type. The Three Rivers Festival takes place practically on the front lawn of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. The modest museum has held exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists, such as glass artist Dale Chihuly, and with a $3 admission fee, it's a cheap opportunity to pick up some culture.\nAfter you've got the artistic part of your brain warmed up, head further downtown to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. Here, you can appreciate the art of nature in three distinct climates. Consisting of three massive connected greenhouses, you can see a rainforest waterfall in the Tropical House as well as a giant Saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert House. The third greenhouse is a showcase that changes several times a year. Currently, the showcase greenhouse is housing many different species of butterfly for visitors to enjoy. \nOn your way out of town, your final stop could be the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Although it is geared toward younger children, the Children's Zoo holds interest for all ages. Check out the award-winning Indonesian rainforest and an African veldt, complete with tigers, orangutans and Komodo dragons -- but be cautious of the peacocks and other birds that freely wander the grounds!\nOffering the attractions found in most big cities, Fort Wayne holds undiscovered excitement well within driving distance of Bloomington. Full of nightlife, arts, entertainment and shopping, Fort Wayne is an easy summer getaway destination for that weekend when you're looking for something different.

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