Life at Notre Dame

When you've got time away from the lab, there is plenty to do at Notre Dame and around South Bend!


What do incoming students first notice?

South Bend, Indiana is a unique nook with its own culture and refined atmosphere. First things people from other parts of the country notice is:

  • It snows a lot here in the winter
  • People here are very friendly and kind
  • Chicago pizza is all about the deep dish (but there is a great place to get NY style pizza too, don't worry)
  • There are (apparently) a lot of churches
  • People here are pretty active. When it's warm out there are plenty of people running and biking outside, and a lot of people are involved in some kind of sport or physical activity.

The culture of South Bend

One of the things that stands out is that there is a very lively art scene here, from the traditional South Bend Museum of Art to the new spaces like Langlab. There are always events for art exhibits and art festivals. South Bend has some refined restaurants downtown and in the surrounding area, including several "farm-to-fork" style eateries and taverns. The more family oriented and chain restaurants tend to be in Mishawaka. However, South Bend is constantly having family-friendly events downtown as well. People who aren't from the Midwest most often are taken back by how nice and friendly people are here. This is a stereotype that often rings true.

Nearby Places to Visit

  • Chicago - a ~1.5-hour drive away, or take the train from South Bend airport
  • Lake Michigan- A nice ~45 min road trip in the summer (popular beach spots are Silver Beach County Park, Warren Dunes State Park, and Indiana Dunes State Park)

Neat things to see or visit that you might not know exist

  • Wineries - Michigan is known for having some great wineries
  • Breweries - Michiana boasts five (and counting) independent, award-winning breweries and brewpubs
  • East Race - South Bend has its own man-made whitewater park that is open during the summer
  • Potawatomi Zoo - located in South Bend, host of annual "Zoo Brew" craft beer festival
  • South Bend Cubs - South Bend Minor League Baseball team (fun and family oriented)

Weekend Events

As a heads up: South Bend holds plenty of events but aren't the best at marketing. If you want to see what's going on downtown look at the website below, grab a local newspaper, or grab event flyers located at restaurants downtown.

Here is a great website for local events/activities:

Hit downtown South Bend for First Fridays - held (you guessed it) on the first friday of every month, local business and community organizations set up booths and activities downtown for all ages. Past themes include "Fire and Ice," "Downtown Flavors," "Dog Days of Summer," and more.

Make sure to also check out the Morris Performing Arts Center.

Live Music

  • Fiddler's Hearth
  • LaSalle Grill
  • Chicory Cafe
  • Sights and Sounds (Downtown South Bend)
  • Langlab
  • Morris Performing Arts Center


  • The Drop Comedy Club (South Bend)
  • Morris Performing Arts Center

Most favored Restaurants

Woochi (South Bend)
Soho (Granger)

Rocco's (South Bend)
Tony Sacco's (NY style- Granger)

Papa Joe's Casa de Pasta (Mishawaka)
Macri's (South Bend)
Papa Vino's (Mishawaka)

Salsa's (Mishawaka)
Flamingo (South Bend)

Fiddler's Hearth (south bend)

Chicory Cafe (South Bend)

South Bend Brew Werks (South Bend)
Evil Czech Brewery & Public House (Mishawaka)
Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House (South Bend)
Iechyd Da Brewing Company (Elkhart)

Scotty's Brewhouse (Mishawaka)
Lots of other local places

Upscale restaurants
Corndance (Mishawaka)
Lasalle Grill (South Bend)

Whiskey Bar
The Exchange (South Bend)

Selected Places of Worship

If anyone has places of preference that they go for worship you can add to this site by contacting the Webmaster. You may also add to other categories on this site.