Not every trip comes with time to explore all corners of your chosen destination.
Instead you need to make the most of a day or two at most. The best thing you can do in this situation is be armed with information about how to best use however many hours are available. What are the must-see spots? Where can you grab a quick bite to eat before moving on to the next attraction?
Fortunately, you can see a whole lot in The Bend over the course of a day. Let this be your guide.
Start with Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day, right? There’s no better way to kick off a day of exploring The Bend than by fueling up at breakfast. Macadoo’s Family Restaurant in Mishawaka won a vote by locals and visitors in 2018 as The Bend’s best breakfast spot.
Are you downtown? Peggs is a favorite within walking distance of all the hotels. Locals will also tell you the café inside the South Bend Farmers Market is a gem.
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Tour the University of Notre Dame
NOTE: Masks are required on campus at all times whether indoors or outdoors.
Walk off your meal by heading to one of the most beautiful and renowned college campuses in the world: the University of Notre Dame. Its campus is full of notable landmarks — Notre Dame Stadium, the “Word of Life” mural (known popularly as Touchdown Jesus), the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and more. Head out on foot and it’ll be lunch time before you know it.
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Bite into a Burger
Grabbing an on-the-go lunch is necessary given the time constraints of this visit. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for fast food. Instead head to the East Bank neighborhood of South Bend for the undisputed champion of Northern Indiana burgers. The View Tavern is a no-frills neighborhood bar home to the Becky Burger (pictured below), which in 2014 took the crown of best burger not only in St. Joseph County but in a multi-county region. It’s one of many standout burgers in our area.
Visit the Museum District
One of the best ways to learn about a place is to absorb its history. You can do a whole lot of that at The History Museum and Studebaker National Museum. Even better, both are situated on the same campus. The History Museum covers a range of topics, dating back to the area’s settlement by European explorers, and includes the Oliver Mansion. Studebaker National Museum dives into South Bend’s rich automotive history. Just down the road, you can also check out the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center.
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Visit a Local Pizza Spot
Visiting The Bend for just a day should be a no frills experience. That’s just the type of place it is. Wrap up the visit with a pizza — there are dozens of incredible options to choose from in one of the Midwest’s most underrated pizza scenes.
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Perhaps after dinner (or heck, even before) kick back and reminisce about your day over a drink. Whether it’s a craft brew — South Bend Brew Werks is within walking distance of downtown South Bend restaurants — or a craft cocktail, there are several options.
View the River Lights
After filling up on dinner and drinks, it’s time to take in one of The Bend’s most unique features. South Bend installed its River Lights in 2015 as party of the city’s bicentennial celebration. Vibrant color washes over the St. Joseph River, highlighting the “Keepers of the Fire” statue and the water as it rushes downriver. There is a lot of construction around the lights now so your best bets to view them is from the Colfax and Jefferson bridges. It’s a fitting way to wrap up your trip.
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