Forgive the cliché, but fall is a special time in The Bend.
Crisp air swoops in along with football season. Beautifully colorful leaves make for an experience that sticks with you, especially if you’re out in our parks and nature areas. Harvest time also brings fresh bounty for local markets and restaurants.
Whatever your favorite fall activity, you’re likely to find it in The Bend. Here’s a list of our favorites.
Walking the South Bend Farmers Market
Fall isn’t called harvest time for nothing. Stroll the aisles at the South Bend Farmers Market and see for yourself. Local farmers bring all sorts of produce to the market specific to the season — fresh apples, sweet corn, pumpkins, gourds and more. Don’t forget the handmade crafts, delicious sweets and local coffee. Odds are you’ll smell it before you see it.
Notre Dame football home games
Let’s face it, Notre Dame football basically defines The Bend during fall.
Watching a game at Notre Dame Stadium has gotten even better in recent years with wider seats, new luxury boxes, stronger wifi and a new video board, among other amenity improvements. There are some things you have to do before kickoff — tailgate, experience traditions and hidden gems around campus and even get out into The Bend itself.
Campus also doesn’t get much more beautiful than fall, when colorful trees complement sites like the Golden Dome and Basilica. It’s a great time to tour around.
This isn’t your average pumpkin patch. Thistleberry Farm bursts with activity. Yep, you can pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving ahead of Halloween. But there’s so much more – pedal cars, a super slide, corn mazes, story book walking trails, duck races, giant Legos and, of course, hayrides. Oh and don’t forget pony rides and the corn cannon. That’s right, a corn cannon!
Family Fun at the Zoo
Indiana’s first zoo sits in the heart of South Bend. It’s home to more than 500 animals and hosts a series of special events throughout the fall, including a family friendly trick-or-treating night. Find out more about the Potawatomi Zoo in our guide.
Fall is an ideal time to explore The Bend on a bicycle.
No need to bring one of your own. Try a Lime Bike instead. Just download the app on your smart phone, link a credit card, scan the code on the back of the bike and you’re ready to ride. It costs $1 to unlock the bike and 5 cents per minute of the ride. Let the wind blow through your hair as you cruise along the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend or take a tour of Notre Dame’s campus. Once you’re done, park the bike wherever you’d like and lock the back wheel to end your ride.
Headlining Plays at the Civic
The South Bend Civic Theatre continues to roll out a robust schedule this fall. “The Secret Garden” runs Oct. 12-28, following up on the widely popular showings of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in September. A Victorian classic, “The Secret Garden” is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical adaptation. Next up is Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” which runs Nov. 9-18.
Rum Village Aerial Adventure Park
What better way to experience fall foliage than by getting up into their natural habitat? This aerial park consists of five treetop trails that range from 16-70 feet in the air. There are more than 60 different obstacles, plus zip lines through the trees. It’s a fun, adrenaline-packed way to experience beauty of Rum Village Park. The five trails range in difficulty from an easy course to a course that is fit for a dare devil.
Scares at a Scream Park
Halloween isn’t complete without a scare or two. Fear Itself at Legend Park in Mishawaka is one of the largest scream parks in the country. With five terrifying attractions, you will be jumping right out of your shoes.
Catch a Show at the Morris
The Morris Performing Arts Center is home to some of The Bend’s signature events. Fall action packed with concerts and shows. October includes a hit gospel comedy stage play called There’s One in Every Family (Oct. 19) and the Disney Jr. Dance Party On Tour (Oct. 24). November sees Straight No Chaser come to town and the opening of “The Sound of Music.”
Canoeing, Hayrides and More at the Parks
St. Joseph County’s parks offer plenty to do during the fall. You can take a canoe ride in the St. Joseph River at St. Patrick’s County Park, looking out on the colorful hues of fall. Bendix Woods County Park features hayrides. Hiking along various trails is one of the best ways to experience fall around here. Check out our guide to The Bend’s top hiking spots.
Insider Tip: We’re here with one more fall activity. The History Museum hosts Mystery at the Mansion: The Show Must Go on Oct. 19 and 26. First tours leave at 5:15 p.m. Stay tuned for more details.