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South Bend IN

South Bend, IN

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Driving into town, travelers might not be privy to South Bend, Indiana’s illustrious role in automotive history. While it is unlikely to see one chugging down a South Bend street today, the Studebaker first came off the line here. The early 1900s saw the Studebaker rise to prominence in the automobile industry for its reliability and quality, and South Bend’s last Studebaker rolled off the line in December of 1963.

Today, the Studebaker National Museum is one of the best things to do in South Bend. Exhibits like the Studebaker Super Service Center give children a hands-on introduction to the science of cars, while the museum store is the perfect place to pick up an Avanti model kit or even a brick that was used in the construction of the original Studebaker foundry.

While the auto industry helped shaped the city, today South Bend presents a robust arts and culture scene to visitors. Its museums and festivals draw big crowds, but so does its status as an education superstar: South Bend is home to Notre Dame University, bringing both intellectuals and Fighting Irish fans to the city year after year.

For many, a visit to South Bend means heading to the sidelines to cheer on Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team. From their first game in 1887 to the present, Notre Dame has had 104 winning seasons, making the Fighting Irish one of the most storied teams in college football history. Famed Notre Dame coaches like Lou Holtz and Ara Parseghian won over football fans across the nation during their tenures, and iconic players like Joe Montana rose out of the college ranks in South Bend to become NFL Hall of Famers. The Fighting Irish continue today to be one of the most competitive teams in college football as well as one of the top attractions in South Bend.

Tickets to Notre Dame football games are not the easiest to come by. Luckily, Legends of Notre Dame Restaurant & Alehouse Pub has game-day festivities starting at 8 a.m. with a pre-game party. Stay for the kickoff and watch the action on one of their 24 large, flat-screen televisions, then celebrate the victory, or wallow with like-minded fans in defeat, at the post-game events.

The College Football Hall of Fame is likewise in South Bend, two miles from Notre Dame in the heart of downtown. The museum features memorabilia from across the sport, along with an archive library and a gift shop.

Some other great attractions for kids in South Bend include the Healthworks Kids Museum and the Hanah Lindahl Children’s Museum. At Healthworks children can participate in activities like Conk the Junk Food and Grossology to learn about healthy eating habits. Afterwards, travelers can head five miles northwest to Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum, for hands-on fun with mastodon bones, Native American artifacts and musical instruments.

For dinner with the whole family, Barnaby’s is the perfect choice for family-friendly dining. Children love the pizza and the sandwich selection will tempt most appetites. For more upscale fare, why not dine in a 40-room mansion formerly owned by the Studebaker family? Located in South Bend’s historic district, Tippecanoe Place is one of the best restaurants in South Bend. Serving entrees like Roasted Indiana Duckling and Amish Stuffed Chicken Breast, Tippecanoe Place makes for a delicious dining experience while tours of the mansion’s grounds, grand hall and library are a nice way to relax after a meal.

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