Midwest Living Review
As Indiana's fourth-largest city, South Bend is best known as home of the University of Notre Dame, which is actually located just outside South Bend in the unincorporated community of Notre Dame. Ranking second to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame University attracts the most visitors in Indiana -- nearly 700,000 annually -- with visitors spending nearly $40 million during Fighting Irish football season alone. Yet it's not all pennants and backpacks in South Bend. We found many places to shop, including the Eddy Street Commons area near the Notre Dame campus and an emerging arts and boutique neighborhood across the river from downtown. We also found a variety of dining options, from burger joints where you might rub elbows with students to upscale, white-tablecloth spots any foodie would enjoy. Our trip to South Bend was easy to enjoy because the city is a breeze to drive and park in, plus it's friendly and affordable. Part of the draw is the city's location along the St. Joseph River (at its south bend, naturally), which provides a sparkling backdrop as well as a great place for water sports, including white water rafting along the river's east race. Hiking or biking the nearly 13 miles of paved river walk is also a great way to pass the afternoon. More traditional than trendy, South Bend is a great place to explore and connect in friendly Midwestern surroundings.