South Bend is a blossoming Midwestern city that offers just about everything for the thriving millennial. As someone who has had the privilege of visiting this great metropolitan more often than usual, it’s unmistakable that this northern Indiana city has it all.
As a city that changes noticeably with every season and flourishes with a congenial beauty, South Bend is a busy metropolitan featuring places that excel in culture and history, novel spots that serve unique food and drinks, and crowds that are warm and friendly. While it’s recommended you spend a lengthy amount of time in this charming Midwestern municipality, we share some popular ideas to check out when you have got just 24 hours to spare in the Bend.
South Bend is a very vibrant foodie town. With hot spots like Le Peep serving a wide breakfast and lunch menu, to Chicory Café and their diversely flavorful and seasonal coffees — there are plenty of options in the heart of downtown to kick start your day. But as the day goes on, if you’re looking to check out a chic lunch spot that isn’t a franchise, Mango Café is a favorite that serves up authentic Venezuelan dishes, while The Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House and its on point location is touted the “GOAT” by Yelp users for its delicious brews and innovative eats. When the evening beckons a bit more sophistication to your palette, Render Kitchen & Bar is as elegant as they come with its contemporary cooking in a modern urban atmosphere. In the upscale and modish bistros, LaSalle Grille offers wood-fired steaks and a sizeable wine list.
Museums and attractions
Originally settled in the early 19th century by fur traders, South Bend is a city rich in history with the St. Joseph River shaping its economy well into the mid-20th century. Of course, remnants of its cultural roots are still evident in this Midwestern city with museums and attractions that honor its history. There is a lot to see, such as the Civil Rights Heritage Center that celebrates the struggles and extraordinary achievements of citizens committed to social justice; the Military Honor Park and Museum by the South Bend Regional Airport displaying airplanes, tanks, weaponry and a research library; or the History Museum on 10 acres of land that includes the Oliver Mansion. Not to mention, the South Bend Museum of Art, the Snite Museum of Art and the Studebaker National Museum are lavish sights for historians to revel in and get a glimpse into what made this city so sincere. And of course, if all those museum ideas make you hungry, the South Bend Chocolate Company is a great place to knock two birds with one stone. As a factory that got its start making chocolates under a license from the University of Notre Dame, the public today is invited to take tours of the factory and museum, and dine at their delicious café, located on Michigan Street.
If you are in need of a last minute gift or a souvenir that is unique to your travels, South Bend’s downtown is the perfect spot to shop. Featuring locally produced products and handmade items, there are plenty of longstanding cute boutiques, specialty retailers and more just around the corner. Inspire Me! Boutique is a contemporary clothing store with European and designer brands situated on the gorgeous cobbled streets of downtown South Bend, while Hammes Bookstore and Café on Eddy Street Commons is pure glee for those looking to get their ‘Fighting Irish’ on with Notre Dame sports apparel and more. Nearby Mishawaka is also home to the area’s indoor mall, University Park. But if you are searching for a more organic experience, check out the South Bend Farmers Market, where local growers and merchants sell their rare and unique goods year-round.
The University of Notre Dame
Standing on 1,250 acres of land and along the St. Joseph River, The University of Notre Dame is a culturally historic and rich oasis in the northern part of Indiana. Boasting two lakes and buildings dating back to the 1800s, the university and its surrounding campus offers residents, students and tourists a thriving downtown, walkable neighborhoods and access to natural attractions and cultural amenities. From the collegiate Gothic architecture and park-like landscapes, to its exquisite outdoor sculptures and memorable views, this university opens its doors to visitors every day for tours that dive deep into its history and commitment to community, while basking in art.
While there are plenty of bars to satiate your late night tastes, South Bend also offers a chance to relax to the sounds of local musicians, enjoy some laughs at the comedy club or theater. Whether you’re looking to dress up or go casual, there’s a ton brewing within the city’s nightlife. Between taking in close-to Broadway shows at the Morris Performing Arts Center to the famed State Theater offering movies and special events, the nightlife is one that greatly thrives. For laughs, check out the Drop Comedy Club, which promises to bring the laughs on every visit. However, if you’re in the mood for a more polished experience, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is a real charmer.
South Bend River Lights
Exploring the St. Joseph River is a definite sight for those who want to revel in a bit of forestry and nature all year round. Tourists and visitors will keep busy as they find themselves biking, walking or running along the Riverwalk. But located in the heart of South Bend, near the Seitz Park and Century Center Island is one of the newest attractions that is a beautiful sight once sun sets. Home to a one-of-a-kind interactive sculpture on either side of the river for all to see, the South Bend River Lights transform the cascades of the St. Joseph River every night into a canvas of art. Lighting up with splashes of color, a visit to the Riverwalk is a great way to unwind after a long day.
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Do you live in South Bend or visit often? What are some of your favorite sights in and around the city? Let us know in the comments below. To plan your trip to South Bend, Ind. this season, check out Visit South Bend!