This post is sponsored by Visit South Bend, but all thoughts and opinions about my stay and activities are my own.
As people begin traveling again, some might be looking for a weekend getaway that’s not too far from home. South Bend, Indiana is in northern Indiana and borders nearby Michigan and Illinois, making it a great little getaway town. My friend Bree (you can read her blog here) and I took a short overnight trip up to The Bend for a fun weekend getaway. It’s under three hours from Indianapolis, which is the perfect distance for those living in central Indiana too!
Where to Stay
Our hotel for the night was downtown at Aloft South Bend. This is a great location with close proximity to restaurants, shopping and is just minutes from the University of Notre Dame. You’ll also find great views of downtown, work space, free wifi and it’s a pet friendly hotel. We were on the 16th floor and our neighbors were a tad noisy, but other than that, I thought it was a good room for the purpose of our trip. Parking is a little limited – at one point the garage was full, but we were able to find a spot after a few short minutes of waiting.
Where to Eat.
We had several amazing meals in South Bend! It was just after lunch time when we arrived, so our first meal was at Caracas Bistro in Mishawaka. This Venezuelan Restaurant serves a variety of dishes, including arepas and their famous milkshakes. I highly recommend going just for that – the brownie was hot and topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce and extremely decadent.
For breakfast on Saturday morning, we decided to try Chicory Cafe. Need a beignet fix? This is your spot! There are lots of other options too and most of the menu is Cajun inspired.
A great lunch or dinner spot that we hit up before heading home was Howard Park Public House. Their ingredients are locally sourced and often seasonal, but there’s something for everyone. The Asian tots were the star of the meal, but the burger and drinks were also very good.
What to Do.
There’s something for everyone in The Bend. Take a tour of the South Bend Chocolate Factory, go rafting down the East Race waterway, check out all the murals, do a self-guided walking tour of Notre Dame or check out the National Studebaker museum.
We weren’t able to do all these things, but did have time for a few! Even though it was hot and humid during the summertime, we spent a little time walking around the Notre Dame campus. The university, which is home to the Fighting Irish, was founded in 1842 and is a private Catholic university. There are several recognizable sights on the campus like the golden dome and a mural commonly referred to as “Touchdown Jesus.”
The South Bend Chocolate Company was also a great tour to take, especially if you like sweets! We learned all about the chocolate making process from harvest to packaging and got to taste some candies, popcorn and dip our own chocolate spoons. This tour lasts about an hour and runs Monday – Saturday at the top of every hour. There’s also a small chocolate museum at the end of the factory tour.
And if you’re an adventure seeker, you will LOVE the East Race Waterway! This was my first time rafting and it was way more challenging than I thought. The course is the first man made course in the Midwest. It takes about 10 minutes to get down the river and you can go in two person kayaks or larger rafts that accommodate several people. It’s also very reasonably priced and season passes can be purchased. All equipment is provided and you will get wet! There are no changing areas, so bring a towel and be prepared to change in your car if you don’t want to wear wet clothes home. Parking is free and there’s a lot plus street parking.
Finally, walk around downtown to check out all the shops, art and local happenings. If you’re looking for a small town getaway, South Bend is the perfect weekend trip! Thank you to Visit South Bend for sponsoring my trip – I hope to return again to check out all the things I didn’t have time for this trip.
For more about what we did in South Bend, be sure to check out my YouTube video with all the highlights!