The moment you step onto the University of Notre Dame’s campus, you are met with breathtaking architecture everywhere you look. From the distinctive “Notre Dame brick” made from the nearby lakes to the famous Golden Dome shining in the sun, Notre Dame’s campus is full of history, beauty, and tradition. In 2017, Notre Dame was once again ranked among the top ten most beautiful college campuses in America by Condé Nast Traveler. While you are visiting, be sure to check out these 10 campus landmarks that help make Notre Dame such an iconic and beautiful university.
1) Golden Dome
The Main Building is the headquarters for administration. However, the most recognizable feature of the Main Building is not what is inside, but rather what is on top. The Golden Dome sits atop the building and is covered with actual gold leaf. A 19-foot-tall, 4,000-pound statue of Mary our Lady is at the peak of the Dome.
2) Touchdown Jesus
The 14-story Hesburgh Library is an important gathering spot for students on campus. It also has the famous mural, “The Word of Life,” on the south side. This image is better known as “Touchdown Jesus” as it appears Jesus is signifying a touchdown with His arms up as He faces the north end zone of Notre Dame Stadium.
Light a candle and say a prayer at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Grotto is one-seventh the size of the French shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette.
4) Notre Dame Stadium
Home of Notre Dame Football, Notre Dame Stadium is one of college football’s most historic venues. Go for a tour of the recently renovated stadium to see the locker room, touch the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign, and even walk out through the tunnel onto the field to get your picture taken.
5) Log Chapel
Just beyond St. Mary’s Lake sits this breathtaking, small worship space that is used for Masses and even weddings. The Log Chapel is a replica of the one built by Rev. Badin in 1831 that served as a missionary headquarters for northern Indiana.
6) South Dining Hall
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this dining hall has been serving up delicious food since opening in 1927. The architecture resembles a medieval Guild Hall. Students even find the interior similar to that of Hogwarts in Harry Potter.
7) Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The Basilica has a Gothic-inspired, cross-shaped design and is a magnificent, welcoming place for reflection and prayer. From gorgeous murals to breathtaking stained-glass windows, the Basilica is considered to be one of the most beautiful college churches in the world. The Basilica is also the tallest structure on campus and features a 12-foot-tall gold cross at the top of the bell tower.
8) First Down Moses
On the west side of the Hesburgh Library, you will find an iconic statue of Moses pointing upward towards Heaven. Naturally because it is near Touchdown Jesus and Notre Dame Stadium, students have nicknamed the sculpture “First Down Moses” because it appears Moses is signifying a first down.
9) Clarke Memorial Fountain
The Clarke Memorial Fountain, or better known as Stonehenge, stands as a tribute to those men and women who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and in times of peace.
10) Snite Museum of Art
The Snite Museum of Art has a permanent collection of over 28,000 artworks and ten to twelve special exhibitions each year. Admission is free.
Be sure to fly into South Bend when you are visiting the University of Notre Dame! The South Bend International Airport is serviced by three air carriers (Delta, Allegiant, and United) providing nonstop flights to ten major cities. It is also the only airport in the United States to offer air, interstate rail and bus service in one location.
Interested in seeing all these sights and more? Take a student-guided, 90-minute walking tour of the campus as you learn more about student life and the rich history of the University of Notre Dame. Public tours are free and no reservations are needed. For tour times, click here. For group tours, be sure to contact Susan O’Connor, Visit South Bend Mishawaka Services & Sales Coordinator, to schedule.