Nestled in the heart of Downtown Fort Wayne, there’s a whole city block of experiences, hidden in plain sight: the enchanting Double Plus alleyway. Collaboration, talent and hard work have transformed what once was a mundane series of intersecting alleys into an unlikely home for creativity and culture. With its captivating murals, mesmerizing light sculpture, expansive outdoor seating, and more than a few of Downtown Fort Wayne’s culinary classics, these alleys offer an immersive experience for first-time visitors and longtime locals alike.
The Double Plus’ name is literal; from a bird’s-eye-view, it’s two plus-signs in a row, north to south — and no matter which angle you enter from, expect to be greeted by an explosion of color and expression. Talented local and national artists have turned the once-bare walls into a free, year-round, open-air gallery.
From inspiring abstract designs, to stunning larger-than-life portraits, each mural reflects the diversity, creativity, and spirit of Fort Wayne and its people. The newest addition is a stretch of alleyway called the Bill Blass Runway, a tribute to the South Side alumnus, World War II veteran, and world-famous fashion designer born and raised in Fort Wayne.
The Right Lighting
When you enter the Double Plus alleyway from the north off Berry, the 77 Steps light sculpture takes center stage. The suspended tubular lights wind above you, casually fading from one color to the next. Whether you start or end with 77 Steps, its whimsical design adds a hint of magic to your stroll, making each walk through the Double Plus magnetic and memorable.
The Best Seat in Town
TriCore‘s Porch Off Calhoun took what used to be VIP parking between Pint & Slice and the parking garage to the south, and turned it into VIP outdoor seating for everyone. Grab a pint and a pizza from Pint & Slice, or a sandwich and salad from Dash-In, and enjoy it in the summer breeze. Or just sit and relax, play a game, or admire the murals.
Infinite Food Options
Besides Pint & Slice and Dash-In, the Double Plus is right in the middle of so many spots to grab a sweet treat, a craft cocktail, or a four-course meal. Revitalize Health Bar is about seven steps from 77 Steps. At the opposite end, Big Apple Pizza serves up New York style pizza until 9:00 p.m. Down the street, Insomnia Cookies can satisfy your sweet tooth even after a late-night adventure. And with JK O’Donnell’s, Double Dragon, Próximo, GK Cafe and Provisions, Fortezza, and Sweets on Main just a skip away, there’s something for every palate.
Events for Everyone
Every Friday evening, now through September 1, TriCore‘s Porch Off Calhoun hosts a variety of live bands, as part of Downtown Live! — making it the perfect spot for mingling or catching up with friends after the workweek.
On September 22, Art This Way is hosting their annual Art Crawl, and this year they’re calling it the Alley Bash, complete with artists in motion, live music, even a silent disco. If you go, expect to spend a lot of your evening immersed in the Double Plus.
Downtown Fort Wayne’s Double Plus alleyway has undergone a true shift in focus, from the background to the foreground; from the space between attractions, to the attractions themselves. It’s proof of our city’s commitment to revitalization, and empowering creative expression. More importantly, though, it’s a testament to how art, vision, collaboration and hard work can transform urban decay into thriving urban oases, available to and enjoyable by everyone.
With its vivid murals, inspired lighting, inviting outdoor seating, and an array of restaurants, the Double Plus has become an immersive experience for art enthusiasts, food lovers, culture seekers, photographers, and anyone who just wants a beautiful space to hang out in.
The Double Plus space is constantly evolving with new murals, installations, and gatherings. If you’ve already visited, expect these alleyways to be even more dynamic next time you stop by — and if you haven’t seen them yet, you’re in for a treat.
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.