Notre Dame Football Weekends: What to Do in The Bend

Campus turns into the epicenter of activity during Notre Dame football home game weekends.

Activities leading up to kickoff — Friday’s pep rally, Trumpets Under the Dome, tailgating, etc. — are many. There’s also plenty to do around The Bend. Top notch restaurants, museums, parks and more await.

If you’re visiting for a game, don’t limit yourself to campus. Make it a full weekend by exploring some of The Bend’s best attractions.

Grab a Slice Near Campus

No trip is complete without sorting out the best places to grab a bite to eat.

Consider Rocco’s Restaurant a top option, especially if you’re on the hunt for pizza. Open since 1951, Rocco’s sits about a mile from the heart of Notre Dame’s campus. Over the years it’s become a favorite spot for pizza and Italian cuisine for locals and visitors alike.

Pizza doesn’t get much more classic than the Rocco’s Combo with homemade sausage, shaved raw green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Vegetable lovers are sure to love the Veggie Combo — the tomatoes, garlic and basil are all fresh.

Rocco’s is a can’t-miss dining destination for its combination of good food and signature hospitality. It’s not the only pizza option worth a mention.

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Wash Down Dinner

Now it’s time to kick back with a cold drink and take in the game weekend vibes.

Head toward downtown South Bend for a variety of options, from popular Irish pubs to local craft breweries. Corby’s Irish Pub is a favorite watering hole for students and alumni. Fiddler’s Hearth cultivates a traditional Irish pub atmosphere, complete with community seating and live music.

South Bend Brew Werks serves up beer brewed on site and a menu that leans on locally sourced ingredients. Plus, with every beer purchase there’s an opportunity to donate toward local charities.

If craft beer is your thing, the list of local establishments doesn’t end with Brew Werks.

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Explore Local History

Downtown South Bend isn’t just a destination for food and drink. It’s also home to some of our best attractions.

Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum spotlight The Bend’s roots. Studebaker National Museum takes you inside an industrial giant of yesteryear: Studebaker Corporation, a wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend from 1852 to 1967.

Dozens of automobiles and wagons made in South Bend are on display. Studebaker is also home to four carriages that were used by former United States presidents, including the one Abraham Lincoln took to Ford’s Theatre the night of his assassination.

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Situated next to Studebaker National Museum, the History Museum is another fun stop.

It displays several permanent and temporary exhibits. One permanent exhibit features the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which the hit film A League of Their Own detailed. You can also tour the Oliver Mansion.

This 38-room estate was once home to industrialist JD Oliver and family. It has all original furniture, which gives visitors a unique perspective at what it was like to live in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Stroll the River

Finish up your exploration of downtown South Bend by walking the St. Joseph River.

Make your way to Seitz Park for a view of the South Bend River Lights. Constructed in 2015 to celebrate South Bend’s 150th birthday, this interactive light display illuminates the river. When Notre Dame football wins a game, the lights turn blue and gold to put the final exclamation point on victory.

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