We discovered the affordable adventures that South Bend, Indiana has to offer almost on accident when we needed a meeting place for a kid exchange with relatives from Michigan. South Bend seemed like a good meeting point because it was a few hours from both of us. I decided that my husband and I should make the most of it and explore for a bit while we were kidless for a few hours.
1st stop – The University of Notre Dame– You can’t visit South Bend without checking out this popular university on a gorgeous campus. Warning: you will probably want to watch the movie Rudy again after a visit.
We didn’t take an official tour while we were there because of timing, but I would recommend one if you are planning ahead. There are free public walking tours and private tours available for a fee. Tours are limited to the first 25 people who register within 30 minutes of the tour in person at the Visitors Center. The hours vary by season so I would recommend checking the website for up to date info.
We wandered around the campus to check out the beautiful architecture. The Golden Dome, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and Touchdown Jesus, were a few of the highlights.
2nd stop – White Water rafting Downtown at East Race Waterway –
I found out about this gem with some online research prior to our visit. This is one of the coolest, unique, and low cost downtown adventures that I’ve ever tried. How often can you say that you went whitewater rafting….downtown!
We enjoyed this adventure so much that we went a second time when our kids arrived in town. You can read a full review and watch videos from our adventure here.
3rd stop- Sample lots of Chocolate and enjoy a meal at The South Bend Chocolate Cafe located at 122 S Michigan St and then take a chocolate factory and museum tour of The South Bend Chocolate Company- located at 3300 West Sample Street–
We missed the Chocolate Factory and Museum Tour because it wasn’t open on Sunday but we still enjoyed a nice meal and some sweet treats at the Chocolate Cafe. The prices are very reasonable and comparable to a Panera and all of us enjoyed our meals.
The Chocolate Cafe has a nice kids menu and playcafe area just for kids too. The two locations are about 5 minutes apart. You can choose a free 20 minute tour or a 45 minute inside scoop tour for a small fee. Check the website for tour times and days.
The Chocolate Cafe also has a large selection of bottled soft drinks. The hardest part is narrowing down your options.
*Bonus- Grissom Air Museum located at 1000 W Hoosier Blvd, Peru, IN. This museum is about an hour and 15 minutes away from South Bend which would make it a good stop on your way or returning home if you are coming from the south.
We noticed the planes on the side of the road on our way to South Bend and decided to stop on our way home. The museum was closed but we still enjoyed looking at the planes outside.
You can find more adventures to check out in South Bend from their website.