There is nothing better than quality time spent with family and friends, and you will be able to get plenty of that in South Bend. Indulge your taste buds with an international cuisine or enjoy a hot dog and a baseball game at the downtown minor league ballpark. Enjoy a walk around one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country or along the river in downtown where an interactive light display is waiting to be discovered. The sounds of clinking glasses and live music will fill the night air as you leave your stresses and worries back at home and experience the pure, authentic energy that envelopes South Bend!
Begin your trip to South Bend with a visit to the Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum. At the Studebaker National Museum, learn about the history of the Studebaker Corporation. Check out some classic Studebaker wagons, like the very one the Studebaker brothers took when they traveled to South Bend for the first time, and amazing automobiles that look like they just rolled off the factory room floor. Have your picture taken in a 1950 Studebaker Champion convertible and be sure to see the country’s largest presidential carriage collection, including the carriage Abraham Lincoln rode to Ford’s Theatre the night he was assassinated.
After you explore the three floors of the Studebaker National Museum, walk over to The History Museum. Learn about the history of the St. Joseph Valley region in seven rooms of life-like dioramas and interactive displays. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League has its own exhibit on display at the museum too, but remember “there’s no crying in baseball!” And, you can’t visit The History Museum without experiencing a guided tour of the Oliver Mansion.
This elegant 38-room mansion was once home to J.D. Oliver, president of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works in South Bend, and his family. Featuring all original furnishings, you can get a real sense of what it was like to live back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Take a peak into J.D. Oliver’s den with pictures of business colleagues and past United States Presidents hanging from the walls or stop by the kitchen where even the spices in the cabinets are original to the house.
After you make your way through these two engaging museums, prepare to ride down the first urban white water rafting course in North America at the East Race Waterway. If you have $5 and five minutes, you can take a ride down the East Race! Battle class 2 rapids on this 1,900 foot long course. All safety equipment is supplied as is the raft, but if you want to go kayaking down the East Race Waterway it is $15 all day and kayakers must supply their own equipment. The East Race Waterway is open June – August on the weekends and is a great way to beat the heat.
All this rafting and kayaking has probably built up an appetite. You won’t go hungry in South Bend though! There are so many delicious local restaurants in downtown South Bend that you are sure to find what you are craving. Follow the South Bend Foodie Trail brought to you by the editors of Midwest Living magazine. Enjoy a fine dining experience in downtown South Bend at Café Navarre where French, Spanish and Italian influences can be seen throughout the lunch and dinner menus. If you prefer to go grab a slice of pizza with the family, you are in luck—South Bend was named the #1 city for pizza lovers after a study done by SmartAsset.com. Drive to Barnaby’s South Bend for a slice of pizza that received the 2016 Readers’ Choice Award for Best Local Pizza.
If you prefer a hot dog and Cracker Jack, Four Winds Field is the place for you. The South Bend Cubs, Class A affiliate of the 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs, have called Four Winds Field home since 2015. This ballpark not only provides fans with great baseball and an awesome seat to watch the game, but it also serves to entertain those who may not be the biggest baseball fans. From the Tiki Hut bar and bounce houses out in left field to the performance center, jungle gym and splash pad in the right field corner, there is so much to see and do at the ballpark. Fans love the special promotions the Cubs have and the Cubs love the large amount of people who come out on a nightly basis to watch the game. Four Winds Field is the ballpark that everyone can enjoy.
As the sun begins to set over South Bend, it is the perfect time to go for a walk around the University of Notre Dame campus. The two words I would use to describe the campus are “beauty” and “perfection.” From the moment you turn onto Notre Dame Avenue and are greeted by the Golden Dome, you feel like you are home even if it is your first time stepping foot on campus. Everything is exceptional— the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Touchdown Jesus, the Grotto, the lakes, the architecture, all of it! Even the tall trees on what is referred to as God Quad have grown even more beautiful with each passing year. For a breathtaking view of the Golden Dome and Basilica, be sure to take a walk around the two lakes on campus!
Once the sun sets in South Bend, there is one place to go where light continues to shine—the South Bend River Lights. This interactive light display was dedicated in 2015 to celebrate the 150th birthday of South Bend as a city. Three light structures line the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend and illuminate the river with bright, fluorescent colors. However, it is up to you to change the colors and patterns of the colors by waving your arms next to the light sculptures. There are even special themed nights for the River Lights! When Notre Dame Football wins a home game be sure to stop by Seitz Park in downtown South Bend to see the river lit up blue and gold.
Close out your night with a cold drink at one of the several South Bend brew pubs. Fiddler’s Hearth is as authentic of an Irish pub as you can get without actually being in Ireland. Sip on your drink and enjoy the live music they have playing there nightly. LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern is South Bend’s first gastropub and is another great local spot to enjoy a drink and live music.
The most exciting thing is that this list of fun activities and attractions is not even close to being everything there is to do in South Bend. You can also visit local art museums, Indiana’s first zoo, an aerial adventure course, awesome shops and boutiques, parks with fantastic hiking trails, the region’s only symphony orchestra, and plenty of more good eats and cold drinks to try. There is no need to worry about work, school or anything else because it is the weekend in South Bend and… Mondays Can Wait!
See You Around The Bend!