A History Lover’s Guide to The Bend
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There are few better ways to learn about a place than to walk through its history.  

Getting to know The Bend means stopping by our museums, touring historic sites and grabbing a bite to eat in beautifully repurposed buildings. How’s how to take a classic look at South Bend.  

Visit History

Just minutes from downtown South Bend proper, the Museum District is a treasure trove of local history.  

The History Museum

Takes you from European exploration of the area to present day. One of its featured exhibits, “World Famous: The Olivers and the American Dream,” details the rich history and influence of a family that put South Bend on the international map. Also includes the 38-room Oliver Mansion, one of The Bend’s best tours.

RELATED CONTENT: Step into The Bend’s Past at The History Museum

Studebaker National Museum

Spend time here for walk through automotive history, notably the rise and fall of Studebaker Co. Also features the largest collection of presidential carriages in the world, including the brogue used by Abraham Lincoln the night of his assassination.

RELATED CONTENT: Classic Cars at Studebaker National Museum 

Civil Rights Heritage Center

Highlights social and civil rights issues. Located in the former Engman Natatorium, a once-segregated public pool. De-segregating the pool is central to the museum’s story.

Tour History

Want a little extra guidance? It’s time for a tour.

African American Landmark Tour

Put together by the Civil Rights Heritage Center, the African American Landmark Tour that covers 17 stops around the city. Best as a driving or biking tour, it includes several early churches and gathering places.

RELATED CONTENT: Explore the Civil Rights Heritage Center

Downtown South Bend Architecture Tour  

Downtown South Bend puts together architecture tours on First Fridays. They start outside Café Navarre and last about 90 minutes, covering several of the most historic buildings in downtown.  

Studebaker-Bendix Heritage Trail

Hop in the car for a closer look at local manufacturing history. A follow up for the classic car lovers, this trail is all about the contributions and legacies of Studebaker and Bendix Corporation.  

RELATED CONTENT: Follow the Studebaker-Bendix Heritage Trail

Dine with History

Café Navarre

A flagship downtown restaurant in a former bank. It sits at the corner of Michigan and Washington, which is considered the true city center.

The Exchange Whiskey Bar

A must-visit for history and whiskey lovers alike. It’s adjacent to the site of the original Studebaker blacksmith shop, now Studebaker Plaza.

The Hideaway at The LaSalle

One of The Bend’s best cocktail bars and inside one of its most historic buildings. The space oozes history, including all original wood in the bar.

LaSalle Grill/LaSalle Kitchen + Tavern

LaSalle Grill (fine dining on the main floor) and LaSalle Kitchen + Tavern (gastropub upstairs) sit inside South Bend’s oldest commercial building.

Studebaker Grill + Brewing Co.

Formerly known as Tippecanoe Place, it doesn’t get much more historic. Located inside a former Studebaker family mansion and worth a self-guided tour after dinner.