South Bend, Ind., is home to one of the most well-known universities in the nation — the University of Notre Dame — and educational sites spread throughout the city. There are also numerous museums, a range of outdoor activities and many hotels for students during their visit.


The University of Notre Dame is a historic college unlike any other. Visiting offers just as much for potential students as it does for the curious passerby. A tour of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is an enchanting look into beautiful Gothic architecture and painted ceilings. Visit on a game weekend and experience traditions like no other, like Trumpets Under the Dome, where the marching band trumpet section gathers under the famous Golden Dome and plays the Notre Dame fight song.

Near Notre Dame you’ll find Saint Mary’s College, a renowned Catholic women’s college dating to the 1840s, and Holy Cross College, another Catholic institution. Saint Mary’s is home to just over 1,500 undergraduates while Holy Cross, a co-ed college, has around 500 students.

Indiana University South Bend leads the way in terms of public education. It is home to around 5,000 students and partners with local Ivy Tech Community College to provide guaranteed admission through special programs.

Bethel University in Mishawaka is a Christian liberal arts college that offers several overnight trip opportunities that allow prospective students a chance to stay in a residence hall for the night. Visitors can also attend chapel and meet faculty.

Outdoor Adventures

East Race Waterway

The first artificial whitewater course in North America, the East Race Waterway is a 2,000-foot-long course that features Class 2 rapids. Novices will find it inviting while more skilled rafters can still seek out a challenge. The river drops about 12 feet along the length of the course and offers a thrill to those braving its waves. Along the banks of the water are five miles of scenic paved and lighted paths that offer a chance to run or walk parallel to the St. Joseph River.

Edge Adventure Park

Located inside the 160-acre Rum Village Park in South Bend, Edge Adventure Park is a series of treetop “trails” that range in height from 16 to 60 feet. Following these trails required navigating obstacles and utilizing zip lines. If your group doesn’t enjoy heights, the park offers mountain bike trails, disc golf, hiking trails, picnic shelters and a nature center. All these great options are located just 15 minutes from the University of Notre Dame.

South Bend Cubs

A Class-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, the South Bend Cubs host games throughout the regular season at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium. Four Winds Field has won numerous awards, including Ballpark Digest’s “Best Ballpark of 2017.” The stadium even offers tours to groups for those interested in visiting when the team is away.

Historical Attractions

Studebaker National Museum

Get a rare look into the automotive industry’s past at Studebaker National Museum. It houses the world’s largest collection of president carriages, including those used by presidents Harrison, Grant and Lincoln. The Studebaker Company was also known for its contributions to the military and its collection includes artifacts dating back to 1857. Studebaker is a testament to South Bend’s past as a major automotive producer.

The History Museum

Located right next to Studebaker National Museum, The History Museum not only contains several exhibits and artifacts, it also manages three homes for visitors to explore. The museum is a gateway into the city’s history that anyone can enjoy.

Oliver Mansion

One of the three homes The History Museum, the Oliver Mansion is a centerpiece to South Bend’s history. It gives visitors a look into a wealthy lifestyle of J.D. Oliver, an industrialist known for the Oliver Chilled Plow, and his family. Originally known as Copshaholm, it is a 38-room Romanesque mansion that was the first home in the area to have electricity. Guests can walk through the many rooms (with their original furnishings) to experience life as it was years ago. They can also explore the Italianate gardens, where there is a teahouse, rose garden, pergola, tennis lawn and fountain.

South Bend Chocolate Factory

There are few kids that wouldn’t wish to visit a real chocolate factory. South Bend Chocolate Factory offers a 45-minute tour that educates groups on the history of chocolate and shows the process of producing candies from start to finish. The tour ends with a free chocolate spoon dip, a trip through the factory’s museum and 10 percent off purchases at the store. Don’t forget to check out the 1,300-year-old Mayan chocolate pot.

Hotels & Facilities

Hilton Garden Inn at South Bend

The Hilton Garden Inn has a variety of amenities any school group would need when on a trip. It houses a full-service restaurant (Bistro 933) that serves breakfast and dinner. The hotel also has a pool, provides free Wi-Fi, a full business center and a fitness center.

Inn at Saint Mary’s

Right next to the Hilton Garden Inn on the Saint Mary’s College campus, the Inn at Saint Mary’s offers free airport shuttle service among its amenities. You’ll also find free breakfast, a cocktail lounge and a café that proudly serves Starbucks at this hotel across from the University of Notre Dame.

Gillespie Conference Center

Boasting 15,000 square feet of flexible space, the Gillespie Conference Center is a perfect fit for any event looking for a home in South Bend. It’s located near the University of Notre Dame and on the Saint Mary’s College Campus and can accommodate events ranging from class reunions to fundraisers.