The city of Mishawaka is more than just a neighbor to South Bend and Notre Dame, it is a source for unexpected exploration and a destination of discovery. You will find constant entertainment, a shopaholic’s paradise, and a number of parks that provide great running paths and breathtaking views. Mishawaka will satisfy your cravings with delicious options for a cold drink and a hearty meal. This small town can offer big opportunities to turn a quick pit stop into a day full of adventure and we are here to offer you some tips on how to discover Mishawaka the right way.
The Mishawaka Parks allow for you to enjoy the beauty of the area while having a fun time with family and friends. The Shiojiri Niwa Japanese Garden is a great place for a couple to take a romantic walk. This garden symbolizes the Sister-City relationship between Mishawaka and Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It features more than 20 different varieties of large plants, over 200 boulders, and a teahouse pavilion. Perhaps the most iconic piece to Shiojiri Niwa is the largest bridge at the garden. Inspired by the bridge leading to Matsumoto Castle not far from Shiojiri City, the bridge’s red finish makes for a beautiful contrast with the emerald green grass and the trees in full bloom. The landscaping and attention to detail make this a popular site for summer weddings.
If you have children in the car, take them to the recently renovated Central Park along the St. Joseph River. This park has it all – from a basketball court and splash pad to a playground that is truly one-of-a-kind. Grill up some burgers and have a bite to eat in the picnic area, then take a walk along the river and discover fish making their way upstream on the fish ladder.
The Mishawaka Riverwalk Trail runs all along both sides of the St. Joseph River and is a great place to go for a run, walk, or even bike ride. Whichever way you choose to travel, it is quite relaxing hearing the the ducks conversing with one another, watching the steady flow of water travel up the river, and feeling the warm sun on your skin. The full trail is a perfect 2.5 mile loop.
Beutter Park highlights the river more than any other park in Mishawaka. The serene river race at Beutter Park features underwater lighting and an 800 foot sculpture that glistens no matter the weather. A footbridge, which connects the south and north shores of the Riverwalk, is a favorite spot for walkers, runners, and bicyclists. The bridge offers a unique perspective of the river. Beutter Park has plenty of green space as well making it a popular spot for summer concerts.
After you explore all of these parks, check out a park that is slightly different, yet just as fun. Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park that features wall-to-wall trampolines, ultimate dodgeball, a slam dunk zone, and foam pit. Not only will you have a ton of fun bouncing, jumping and hopping higher than you ever though you could, but it also serves as an alternate, yet effective way to get some exercise. Not looking for exercise, but still want a place that offers fun for the whole family? Go to Strikes & Spares Entertainment Center! They have bowling, glow in the dark mini golf, go-karts, and arcade games. If your friend is upset with their performance after ten frames of bowling or still in disbelief they lost in go-karting on the final lap, you can offer to buy them a drink at Keglers Sports Bar to make them feel better.
You and your friends may find it more enjoyable not to be bowling a perfect game, but to be among an endless sea of locally-owned boutiques, retail outlets, and fresh markets. Mishawaka has you covered! You will be hard-pressed to travel down a street in Mishawaka that does not have some sort of retail or department store alongside of it. The University Park Mall is a shopaholic’s one-stop shop for anything and everything with over 120 specialty shops including The Apple Store, Barnes and Noble, LOFT, and J. Crew. The moment you walk in, the hustle and bustle of shoppers overtakes you. An agenda that began with one or two items completely changes after you walk past a display window saying to yourself, “Oh I have to have that!” You can take a look through The Disney Store with your children or even make a quick trip to Pat’s Pets and play with some of the fun-loving, furry friends they have there.
Walking along the St. Joseph River, bouncing on trampolines and having a shopping spree can all certainly build up quite the appetite. Fortunately, there are delicious options for you to choose from for a meal. Evil Czech Brewery and Public House is a locally owned, farm-to-fork restaurant and craft brewery. If you are in Mishawaka during the afternoon then you must try their “Lightnin’ Lunch.” On Monday – Saturday, you can indulge your taste buds with this small plate, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Try a four-inch gourmet burger, quesadillas and even woodstone pizza. On Sundays, have the Hangover Brunch for a certified cure to that pesky hangover.
When the weather is warmer, try one of the EVIL craft beers in the outdoor beer garden. Surrounded by graffiti-embellished walls, the beer garden allows patrons to enjoy the outdoors while having a cold one. Play a game of cornhole with your friends or sit back and relax with music and laughter filling the air. This unique beer garden features a recently refurbished double-decker bus where you can order cold brews, Mexican food, and a selection of appetizers.