Situated on the St. Joseph River banks in north-central Indiana, South Bend has a rich history connected to its French heritage. The region is perhaps most famous for being one of the country’s largest Roman Catholic strongholds, which helped make it a common destination for immigrants from Ireland and Germany during the 19th century. Today, this city of 100,000 still shows a distinct historical touch in its architecture and atmosphere.
Although South Bend is considered by many to be the cultural heart of the region, its neighbours on all sides are worth exploring. There are plenty of options on the Lake Michigan coast just to the east for people more interested in outdoor activities. Towns like St. Joseph and Niles boast popular parks and beaches. If you’re looking for more urban options, Elkhart and Mishawaka are located very close to South Bend’s eastern side. Visitors will find a more diverse atmosphere with large immigrant communities of Brazilians and Mexicans.
The South Bend Scenery
Visitors who take time to explore the area near South Bend and Mishawaka will discover a lush green landscape that seems like it’s right out of a postcard. Realizing that its location on the northernmost part of the state affects this region’s weather, you’ll find plenty of rain as well as snow during the winter months. Even during the spring and summer, you can expect frequent rain showers – especially between June and August.
Most of the local attractions are located on or very close to US 31. This route is known for its lack of commercial development for some visitors, but it does offer a scenic adventure perfect for road trippers. Within 15 miles of South Bend, you’ll find several state parks, historical landmarks, and outdoor activities. If you’re up for vineyard tours or wine tasting, check out the nearby town of Niles. Here you’ll also discover restaurants that draw inspiration from other Michigan cities like Grand Rapids or Detroit.
As an alternative to US 31, consider taking US 20 through the region. This route offers a more traditional way to explore the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Mishawaka city limits are located very close to South Bend, about 3 miles away from each centre. On the northern side of town is one of the area’s biggest attractions: Notre Dame University.