South Bend population 107,789, and neighbor Mishawaka, population 46,557, are college towns. The University of Notre Dame borders South Bend and the South Bend/Mishawaka area is home to 10 other higher-education institutions. Canals along the St. Joseph River, which runs through South Bend, fueled the area's economy and now provide recreation venues.
The University of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish football team draws crowds to the area on fall weekends. The campus is a popular destination full of landmark buildings including the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Grotto and the Golden Dome. The Moreau Center for the Arts offers Broadway shows and local performance art. The Snite Museum of Art is also on campus.
Downtown South Bend is the center of the college scene with shops, restaurants, bars and music venues. The Morris Performing Arts Center hosts Broadway shows, September through June, and performances by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Southold Dance Theater. The Summer in the City Festival brings carnival rides, food and entertainment to downtown South Bend during June.
Two hands-on museums for kids, Hannah Lindahl Children's Museum in Mishawaka and Healthworks! Kids' Museum in South Bend are just a sampling of the cultural attractions in the area. Visitors can explore North American chocolate company memorabilia at South Bend Chocolate Museum, practice their touchdown dance at the College Football Hall of Fame, or take a glimpse at the area's transportation and car making history at the Studebaker National Museum.
Outdoor activities include parks, botanical gardens and a zoo. The East Race Waterway an artificial whitewater course along one of the historic St. Joseph River canals, brings kayakers and kayaking competitions to the area. There are more than 10 golf courses nearby including two on the Notre Dame campus.
South Bend and Mishawaka are 15 miles west of Elkhart and 139 miles north of Indianapolis. They are accessible via Interstate Highway 80/90 and U.S. Highways 20 and 31. Lodging options include bed and breakfast and national chain hotels and motels.