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Grab Your Jackets Travel Blog: South Bend

Somewhere most of us wouldn’t see if not for college football

News: Midwest Winter Storm South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NET

This is another one of the reasons I love college football. I think most College Football fans have at least a vague familiarity with South Bend. It’s the home city Notre Dame, one of the most influential teams in college football. South Bend has seen many amazing games and has seen teams have their history either solidified or erased based on their performances on Saturday nights at the Notre Dame campus.

NCAA Football: Navy at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

But for non-football fans, I suspect you would not be able to find South Bend on a map. In fact some of you may not even know the name beyond it house Notre Dame, despite South Bend also being the 4th largest city in the state of Indiana with a population 318,586. Granted it’s not the population of 5.6 million that Atlanta houses, but still nothing to sneeze at.

Despite not having the biggest name, South Bend is a cool city that has a lot going on. It’s a bit of a trip, but if you like college football it is a fund city that is definitely worth a visit.

Travel How To: Getting to South Bend from Atlanta

The name South Bend derives from the city being near the southern most bend in the St. Joseph river, and not from the city’s position within the state of Indiana. South Bend is actually near the border of Indiana and Michigan, pretty much as far north as you can be in Indiana. This means, depending on your route, it’ll be about a 10 hour drive straight from downtown Atlanta to South Bend.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Flying to South Bend costs about $300 for the weekend. This is not too bad compared to some of the flight options we’ve seen in the past. Hotels run about $100 a night and uber is readily available. If you have the funds flying in may make the most sense.

Things to do in South Bend: The City and The Campus

Exploring Newberry National Volcanic Monument Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

The city of South Bend has some less well known attractions that are worth looking into if you have never been to the area. Being on the St. Joseph river means that there are plenty of nature parks and walks nearby. In particular the Potato Creeks State park is a great site to take a hike or go canoeing/kayaking if you are in the area.

The Auto Museum Moncopulli with a collection of primarily... Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Downtown has the Studebaker national museum. The city saw growth around the Studebaker car manufacturing plant when it was open. If you’re interested in the history and design of classic cars this may be worth checking out.

For family events, try the Potawatomi zoo. It has attractions with many large animals such as giraffes, buffalo, and rhinos. The zoo offers “encounter” experiences with these large animals where you can touch and feed the animals on your trip. You will need to reserve the encounters ahead of time, but this is a great opportunity to let your kids get close to animals they might not see otherwise.

Campus scene University of Notre Dame Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Notre Dame itself has plenty of attractions if you simply want to enjoy walking around campus. With unique architecture and designs, exploring the campus is an experience in itself. The Golden Dome, which is pictured in the article lead, is the administration building for the campus and is a beautiful site to behold.

Touchdown Jesus

Of course any football fan will be familiar with Touchdown Jesus. the “World of Life” Mural on the south side of the Hesburgh Library. The mural faces the North end zone of the ND stadium and displays Jesus raising his arms up to signify a score... pretty sure that was the intent of whoever made the mural. There is also a lesser known “First Down Moses” Mural on the west side of the library.

Stanford v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Basilica of The Sacred heart is another beautiful building. Arguably one of the most beautiful churches in the world, the gothic architecture and golden designs of the building are a must see.

2019 University of Notre Dame Spring Football Set Number: X162597 TK3

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lords is a replica of the Shrine where the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette. The Grotto is 1/7th the size of the real shrine, you can enter the shrine, light a candle, and say a prayer if you would like.

Be sure to look up information on the Gameday Express to make traveling around Saturday easier, because gameday will get busy. Enjoy your trip and always remember that Rudy was Offsides!!! Go Jackets!!!