Elkhart is a small city located 110 miles east of Chicago and 150 miles north of Indianapolis. Learn more about this quaint city before moving there.Elkhart is a small city located 110 miles east of Chicago and 150 miles north of Indianapolis. Learn more about this quaint city before moving there.Local Guide

7 Things to Know Before Moving to Elkhart, IN

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What is it Like to Live in Elkhart Indiana?

Elkhart is a small city located 110 miles east of Chicago and 150 miles north of Indianapolis. As of the 2010 census, the population was 50,949. Its motto is “The City with a Heart”, which reflects this community’s core values of caring for one another. Elkhart prides itself on being a diverse, energetic, and unique community that offers plenty to do and see. It’s also a great place to raise a family or start a career.

In Elkhart, residents are proud to build and invest in their community. There are also many job opportunities and chances to contribute to the locality’s creative culture, especially in entry-level positions. This makes it an excellent place for people to make a fresh start in a new profession. If you’re interested in moving to Elkhart, here are 7 things you should know about the city and its surroundings.

1.The Outdoor Recreation is Excellent!

If you love the outdoors, then the beautiful areas preserved and maintained by Elkhart’s Parks and Recreation Department will keep you busy throughout the year. There are amenities for everyone, which include nature reserves, public parks, playgrounds, 9 bike paths and hiking trails, and parks. In particular, Wellfield Botanic Gardens is a local favorite where residents can enjoy beautiful bird walks, enjoy Groovin' in the Garden shows, or learn how to quit and make origami.

Currently, Parks and Rec plans to improve over 30 parks in the city by partnering with a nonprofit called enFocus. The ultimate goal is to make the community even better, especially in the South Bend-Elkhart region. This plan includes hosting community meetings to bring people together.

2. You Gotta Find the Elks!

Elkhart is named after the majestic Elk, an animal native to the area. This has nurtured a fond love of the animal, resulting in many Elk monuments dispersed around the city. The hunt is on to find all of them, and both locals and tourists have fun discovering all the locations. The Elk List just keeps on growing as more people discover tributes to this peaceful woodland mammal. If you move here, will you find them all?

3. You Need to Check out the Environmental Center.

Located at 1717 E. Lusher Ave. Elkhart, IN 46516, The Elkhart Environmental Center has been in operation since 1992. Its purpose is to educate the community about the city’s local flora and fauna. There are events hosted around the year and any volunteering opportunities. Experience hiking trails, protected ecosystems that include prairies, forest areas, and wetlands, or go on an adventure with the boat launch. The Reflection Grove and Learning Garden also have plenty to offer. Learn more about the Environmental Center’s current offerings and events by calling 574-293-5070.

4. You'll Wine and Dine.

In Elkhart, you can enjoy a variety of dining options, which include everything from New American to Thai food. If you have a craving for fine dining, Artisan serves seasonal cuisine based on locally sourced food. It’s rated highly on Google with a 5-star average and also holds the AAA Four Diamond Award.

Italian food is also popular in Elkhart, with Antonio’s being one of the local favorites. With over 810 ratings that average 5-stars, this restaurant has been voted “Best Italian in Elkhart County” by the city’s residents. When you consider that the owner, Paul Cataldo, is an International Pizza Champion, it’s no surprise why this restaurant tops the list of local favorites. These are just two examples of the goodness you’ll find in Elkhart when it comes to eating out. We’ll leave the rest for you to explore.

5. It’s a History Buff’s Dream.

Elkhart originated as a settlement of New England immigrants in 1829, but this area was occupied by the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi tribes for many years prior. This rich history of Native American and English settler life has left a trail of relics and historic buildings to preserve.

Elkhart has several museums and some cherished cultural landmarks that will satisfy curious history aficionados. Places like the Midwest Museum of American Art and the National New York Central Railroad Museum are just a couple of examples of places to visit and learn about the area.

6. There’s Plenty to Do.

Elkhart may be a small city, but things are happening around the year to keep residents engaged. For instance, the Elkhart Jazz Festival has been held every summer since 1988, where many jazz legends have performed. It’s rare to combine the big city excitement of jazz in an intimate small-town environment, but this festival does the job perfectly. There is also always something going on at The Lerner Theatre, an old theater that has been revamped into a state-of-the-art performance center. Rain or shine, performances can go on as planned in this indoor venue.

7. The Local Government is Transparent.

Nothing beats honesty that’s backed with transparency. Elkhart Live streams common council meetings online so that residents can be in the know about the laws that affect them on a local level. Meetings happen on first and third Mondays at 7:00 p.m. To find out more about local ordinances or how to get involved, contact City Hall at 574-294-5471 and use extension 1053.

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