Located in the middle of Northern Indiana, South Bend is a great town to explore. Probably known more for Notre Dame University football, South Bend has a lot of hidden jewels that are sometimes overshadowed by the glow of the Golden Dome. For instance, did you know that South Bend is home to the National College Football Hall of Fame, has it’s own chocolate factory, was home to the Studebaker automobile manufacturing empire or built the first artificial whitewater rafting course in North America? You didn’t, well now you do!
At the College Football Hall of Fame the legendary game comes alive through the many aspects of the game from fan to player to media points of view. The HoF also gives a great in-depth look at where the game came from and where it’s going. A great time to go, besides around a Norte Dame football game, is during their Annual Enshrinement Festival. Festival activities include induction ceremony, Fanfest, parade and dinner. Check out the happenings of this year’s festival on the Enshrinement Festival post at Indiana College Towns.
South Bend Chocolate Factory opened in 1991. The main facility now houses a chocolate shop, museum with the world’s largest collection of chocolate-related memorabilia and shows off the production side with the Insider Scoop tour. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate and more. I know I did!
Auto history in South Bend is strong and it all started with the Studebaker’s in 1852…well, they weren’t building cars back then, but their blacksmith shop was just the springboard into their vast auto empire. Visit the Studebaker National Museum to experience the history and collection of their creations. A great place to eat is Tippecanoe Place just down the street. Once the Studebaker’s mansion, it is now a casual (but up-scale) restaurant with really good desserts!
Enjoy whitewater rafting in the heart of downtown! As part of the St. Joesph River, the East Race Waterway offers an exciting ride for the experienced (and not so) via raft or kayak. The waterway is only open through August 10 and rides are $4, so you better get there fast.