Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

July 7, 2012 6:00 AM

By Megan Horst-Hatch

South Bend isn’t just about the Fighting Irish and football. From art to white water rafting, this area offers a variety of activities for families, couples and groups looking to get away from it all in Chicago without getting too far away. Just a two-hour drive from downtown Chicago, South Bend’s amenities include something for everyone.

Getting There

Take the Kennedy, I-90, east to the South Bend/Notre Dame exit. The trip takes about two hours if you are departing from Chicago’s downtown. Allow for more time if you are traveling from the North Side or the Northwest suburbs. If you’d rather ride the rails, take the Lake Shore Limited. The train departs daily from Chicago’s Union Station, and South Bend is the first stop. Another option for rail travel is the South Shore Line. It originates at Chicago’s Millennium Station and ends at South Bend Airport.

Where to Play

south bend parks and rec Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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East Race Waterway
126 S. Niles Ave.
South Bend, IN 46617
(574) 235-9372

Price: $5 per person for rafting/$15 per day for kayaking

Go white water rafting in downtown South Bend with the East Race Waterway. Constructed in 1984 as part of South Bend Parks and Recreation, the waterway encourages participants get wet — really wet — along the 1,900-foot waterway. All rafting equipment is provided, but participants must wear rubber-soled shoes with heel straps. The required height for rafting is 54 inches, and children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the raft. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothes and a towel. But be aware, the East Race Waterway closes in early August.

memorial healthworks kids museum Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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Healthworks! Kids Museum
111 W. Jefferson St.
South Bend, IN  46601
(574) 647-KIDS

Price: $5/free children younger than 2

Healthworks! Kids Museum features interactive exhibits designed to teach kids about health. Children may play in a mock grocery store or climb walls inside the museum. From festivals to babysitting classes, Healthworks! covers all things kid. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a child.

smite museum Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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Snite Museum of Art
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN  46556
(574) 631-5466

Price: free

Considered one of the finest university art museums in the nation, the Snite Museum of Art has more than 24,000 works from all over the world, including Rembrandt etchings, Old Master drawings and Northern Native American art. The Snite’s exhibit Cassatt and Beyond runs through Sept. 23 and includes paintings by Mary Cassatt, Eugène Boudin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pierre Bonnard.

barnabys1 Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend


713 E. Jefferson Blvd.
South Bend, IN  46617
(574) 288-4981

Barnaby’s offers pizza with a variety of toppings and its signature thin crust at this family friendly restaurant. Established in 1969, Barnaby’s is a long-time local favorite, consistently winning the Readers’ Choice award from the South Bend Tribune. In addition to custom pizzas, Barnaby’s offers sandwiches, a children’s menu and salads.

fiddlers hearth Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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Fiddler’s Hearth Public House
127 N. Main St.
South Bend, IN  46601
(574) 232-2853

Fiddler’s Hearth Public House is so laden with dishes from Ireland, you’ll think you’ve been transported right to the emerald isle. Located in downtown South Bend, it features live entertainment from such performers as Three Men in Kilts and Sanctified Grumblers. Start with seafood in whiskey cream, dine on steak and Guinness pie, and finish with a fighting Irishman sundae.

Where to Sleep

ivy court inn Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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Ivy Court Inn & Suites
1404 Ivy Circuit
South Bend, IN  46637
(574) 277-6500

Price: $89 to $115 per night

With its proximity to Notre Dame’s campus, Ivy Court Inn & Suites boasts a view of the university’s famous Golden Dome from many of its rooms. Ivy Court offers a hot breakfast with made-to-order eggs and a complimentary copy of USA Today. Guests may also enjoy fresh gourmet coffee throughout the day and an on-site fitness center. Other hotel amenities include free high-speed wireless Internet and a microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker in every room.

oliver inn Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To South Bend

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The Oliver Inn Bed and Breakfast
630 W. Washington St.
South Bend, IN  46601
(888) 697-4466

Price: $90 to $339 per night

While The Oliver Inn Bed and Breakfast is an historic home, its amenities are anything but old-fashioned. Featuring LCD televisions, en-suite bathrooms for many of the rooms, iPod docking stations and wireless Internet connection, The Oliver Inn bridges history with modern comforts. This award-winning bed and breakfast is located in downtown South Bend close to Coveleski Stadium and the Studebaker Museum. Innkeepers Thomas and Alice Erlandson provide a full, hot gourmet breakfast by candlelight and complimentary snacks, coffee and tea are available in the butler’s pantry throughout the day.

Related: Illinois Releases 2012 Travel Guide

Where to Party

Club Fever
222 S. Michigan St.
South Bend, IN  46601
(574) 234-5200

Price: $5 cover

With 16,000 square feet and multiple levels, Club Fever keeps the party going all night. Boasting the largest dance floor in northern Indiana, Club Fever also features four full-service bars. The club has nightly drink specials and giveaways of samples and swag every week. Patrons must be 21 to enter, and two forms of ID are required (for example, a driver’s license and credit card).

Related: Best Campgrounds in Chicago

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at