Located on a bend in the St. Joseph River, South Bend is a historically-rich city that lies adjacent to the University of Notre Dame. Its car manufacturing legacy is celebrated at the Studebaker National Museum, while museum homes offer a glimpse into the life of some of the city’s most prominent residents.
Things to do
Admire the classic cars, historic carriages and military vehicles at the Studebaker National Museum, which celebrates this former South Bend company. It houses a Conestoga wagon once used by early pioneers to cross the Great Plains, as well as a Studebaker Champion that featured in “The Muppet Movie”.
To the north of South Bend is the University of Notre Dame, which centres around the magnificent “Golden Dome” and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. This Neo-Gothic landmark is considered one of the most beautiful university churches in the world, with elegant stained-glass windows and murals painted by the Vatican’s Luigi Gregori.
Also on the University of Notre Dame campus is the Snite Museum of Art, renowned for its collection of Italian Renaissance paintings and Mesoamerican art. Admire pre-Columbian pieces created by the Olmec civilisation and prominent works by 20th-century painters Joan Miró and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Step back in time to see how South Bend’s wealthy lived during the 1930s at the Romanesque Queen Anne-style Oliver Mansion. This lavish, 38-room estate features ornate fireplaces, stained-glass windows and dark wooden finishings, as well as original furnishings once belonging to J.D. Oliver.
South Bend Airport is 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre and trains connect west to Chicago and east to New York. An inner-city trolley accesses most of South Bend’s sights.