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Summer Fun in the Bend

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

If you’re spending the summer in South Bend and wondering what to do, fear not, there are a ton of great events happening on-campus and nearby! Summer is a great opportunity to try out all those places you’ve been meaning to visit. Here’s a list of 30 things to keep you busy this summer.

1.  Restaurant Week (June 23-July 6)

Restaurant Week is a great time to try out some downtown South Bend restaurants. Each participating restaurant offers a multiple course meal for $33 a person (these are at really nice restaurants like Tippecanoe Place or Lasalle Grill) OR dinner for two people for $33 total (these are more casual restaurants like Fiddler’s Hearth and Siam Thai). Grab a friend and start eating. For more details, participating restaurants and menus check out the website.

2.  The 4-H Fair (June 27-July 5)

Love foods and rides, or just the fair atmosphere? You’re in luck! Food is available from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily and the midway opens at 2:00 p.m. and goes until 11:00 p.m. Admission is $8 from noon until closing. There is also an open swine show on June 27 and an open beef show on June 28. You can check out the prize-winning animals (or enter your own, if you happen to have livestock nearby). There are concerts and daily shows as well. Be sure to check out all the fair has to offer. For more information, visit the fair website.

3.  Midnight Unveiling for ND sideline gear by Under Armour (June 30 at 11 p.m.)

On July 1, Notre Dame officially begins its 10-year apparel contract with Under Armour. There will be an unveiling event held in the Joyce Center to celebrate the occasion (and reveal all the new awesome gear). There will also be live music and food at the event. You can even enter to win prizes, which includes gift cards, Under Armour gear, and a football signed by Coach Kelly!

4.  South Bend Silver Hawks

SAO is hosting an event at the Silver Hawks Stadium on July 4 at 7pm for $8 (purchase tickets here). However, this is a great option any time the team is in town. The team often does promotions, which can make the games even more fun! Friday nights are usually Barefoot wine nights (free wine tastings), Thursdays are Thirsty Thursdays ($2 beers), Saturdays often have giveaways (like flat screens tvs and cooler bags), and there are a bunch of other great themes. If you love baseball and are looking for a place to see fireworks on the Fourth of July, the Silver Hawks are playing and there will be fireworks. The middle of July has some fun nights like Irish Night on July 17, Christmas in July (with fireworks) on July 18, and Star Wars Night on July 19. Check out details and buy tickets online here.

5.  Canoe or Kayak the St. Joseph River (Friday through Sunday until October 5, 11 a.m.-4:00 p.m.)

Located at St. Patrick’s County Park at the Brown Barn, canoe and kayak rentals are available on the weekends. Hours are as weather permits, but usually run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You cannot depart on a long rental trip after 2 p.m. and all boats must be returned by 7 p.m. A 1-person kayak is $20 for a short trip and $25 for a long trip. A short canoe trip (up to 4 hours) is $25 dollars and a long trip (up to 5 hours) is $30 dollars (not available on Fridays). Note, there is a gate fee to enter the park, which is $4 dollars if you’re from outside the county. You can buy a summer pass, if you plan to visit frequently. If you have questions, call 574-654-3155.

6.  Cherry Picking (early July)

If you love to make pies or eat cherries, you can pick this fruit during the beginning of July (usually there is a 2-3 week window) at Lehman’s Orchard/Winery/Farm Market. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call 269-683-9078 or visit their website.

7.  Go see Fireworks (July 4th)

As mentioned previously, you can see fireworks at the Silver Hawks on July 4th. You can also go see fireworks at Robert C. Beutter Park (400 N. Spring Street) in Mishawaka at dusk. The St. Joseph County 4-H Fair will also have fireworks at dusk on June 29 at the Fairgrounds (5117 Ironwood Road) in South Bend.

8.  Wine Walk (July 9, August 13 and September 10)

This is one of the top items on my bucket list for this summer. Every participating restaurant has 3 wines for you try and 3 complimentary appetizers. The event runs from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is $40 per person. There are 11 participating restaurants and free carriage rides available, weather permitting. There is also a shuttle service available to the East Bank and $10 from each person is donated to the charity of the month. July’s Walk supports the Reins of Life, August’s Walk supports Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County, and September’s Walk supports Pet Refuge, Inc. For more information, you can visit the website.

9.  Yoga on the Dock (July 10, 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. at the Boat House)

This is one of RecSports’ Summer Freebies. Yoga on the Beach will be taught by Steve at St. Joe Beach. No registration is required, but space is limited, so be sure to arrive early. For more information about this event and other summer freebies, check out Rec Sports.

10.  Krasl Art Fair & Silver Beach trip (July 12 Noon-9pm)

This is sponsored by SAO and transportation is provided to St. Joseph, MI. There you will visit the art fair and the beach. The cost is $5 and tickets can be purchased at the student shop.

11.  Full Moon Canoe Trip (July 12 at 7:30 p.m.)

This event is located at St. Patrick’s County Park at the Brown Barn. It costs $10 per person and starts at 7:30 p.m. Registration and payment are required by July 9 and the trip can accommodate a maximum of 26 people. This is a 4.5-mile trip down the St. Joseph River by the light of the moon. To reserve your spot, call 574-654-3155.

12.  Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (July 19-September 19)

This year’s festival includes Henry IV, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing and ShakeScenes.

Henry IV runs Tuesday through Sunday, from August 19 to August 31. Shows run at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from $12 to $75 dollars. Performances are at the Decio Theatre in the Debartolo Performing Arts Center.

The Merry Wives of Windsor runs on Saturdays and Sundays from July 20 to August 16. The shows runs in various cities throughout Indiana and Michigan and returns to campus for a Monday performance in front of the Main Building at 7:00 p.m. on August 25.

ShakeScenes are performed July 19 and 20 at 2:00 p.m., free of charge, in Washington Hall. These are fun twists on classic Shakespeare plays.

Much Ado About Nothing runs September 17, 18 and 19 at 7:00 p.m. in Washington Hall. Tickets are $12 for students and $25 for adults.

More information about these shows can be found here.

13.  Notre Dame Beach Party (July 18, 3-9:00 p.m.)

Free beach party at St. Joe Beach with food and drink! Who doesn’t love free food and drinks at the beach? The on-campus location is also clutch!

14.  Archery Lessons (July 24 and August 21, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)

Having Game of Thrones withdrawal? Always wanted to be Robin Hood?  You’re in luck, you can take archery lessons for $10 at the Brown Barn at St. Patrick’s County Park. All equipment is provided, but be sure to register by July 21 for July 24 and August 18 for August 21. Call 574-654-3155 to register.

15.  Beach Bash (July 25, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Boat House)

This is another beach event, but this one has canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. There are also hotdogs, chips, drinks and frozen pops.  It does cost $3 and you have to register online via RegRegister, but all-you-can-eat food and boat rentals sounds pretty awesome to me. This is once again at St. Joe Beach. Visit here for more information. 

16.  Six Flags (July 26, 9:30am to 9:30pm)

I have one word for you: Goliath.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this out. It is the world’s tallest, fastest and steepest wooden rollercoaster (yes, it just set new records for all three of those categories in one go). SAO is running a bus trip to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL for only $35 (that includes transportation and admission). Be sure to buy tickets at: studentshop.nd.edu. The ride just started running on June 19, so you could be one of the first people to ride this awesome coaster (and all the other great rides at the park).

17. Canvas and Mocktails (July 31 at 8pm)

If record-setting rollercoasters aren’t your cup of tea, why not try painting and mocktails at Legends.  Food and drinks are provided and this event is free! Be sure to register online to reserve your spot by July 29 via the student shop.

18.  Blueberry Picking (last week of July through the end of summer)

Not a cherry person? No problem! Why not go blueberry picking instead? You can start picking blueberries at Lehman’s Orchard/ Winery/ Farm Market during the last week of July. Blueberries will be available through the end of summer and if you’re a fall fan, apple picking lasts  until the month of September. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm and 12pm-5pm on Sundays. For more information, call 269-683-9078 or visit their website here.

19.  Visit the Center for History, Featured Exhibit: The Band of the Fighting Irish (until August 2)

The Center for History is located at 808 West Washington Street in South Bend. The featured exhibit on the band includes vintage photographs, instruments, uniforms and much more! While you’re there, you can also enjoy a guided tour of the Oliver Mansion (38 rooms to see) and five other exhibit galleries. Admission is $8 for adults and the Center is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Saturday, and 12:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday. For more information, you can check out the website

20.  Geocaching: The Great GPS Stash Hunt (August 13, 6-9pm)

This event starts at the White Barn Harvest Room in St. Patrick’s County Park. You will learn how to use a GPS to go on a high-tech treasure hunt. They recommend bringing your own GPS (but they do have some available to use). If you want to learn more about geocaching, check out geocaching.com to find out more about this international sport. Be sure to register and pay by August 8 (it’s $3 dollars per person).

21.  Running Wild: 5K Trail Run and 3K Fun Walk (August 16 at 8am)

There are always 5Ks going on, but a nice trail run is a good change of pace.  Registration starts at 8am and the race starts at 9am. Both the race and walk start at the Red Barn at St. Patrick’s County Park. The fun walk will have a nature scavenger hunt (in case you don’t want to run), but there are prizes by age division for timed runs. Find registration information here

22.  Go to the movies.

This activity is definitely not limited to South Bend, but it’s a great one for a rainy day or even just to escape the heat and humidity. If you don’t have air conditioning, it’s an even better outing. You can go to the AMC Showplace South Bend 16 or the Cinemark Movies 14. There’s also a Cinemark 6, which is a budget theatre in Mishawaka. Have fun watching this summer’s blockbusters.

23.  Summer on the Patio at Café de Grasta (Weekly cookouts every Wednesday from 11:00am to 1:30pm)

If you’re looking for a change of pace on campus for meals, look no further than Café de Grasta’s weekly Wednesday cookouts. Save the dining hall, LaFun, and ABP for the rest of the week. The cookouts may be rained out, so take advantage of the good weather when you can.

24.  Visit the Snite Museum of Art.

Odds are, you take the Snite for granted. But it’s a free museum on campus and there’s always some cool stuff to see. The museum is open 10:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:00am to 5:00pm Thursday through Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sunday. There’s also a nice shaded garden area, which would be great to eat lunch. Remember that you will have to check your bag if you have one. This is another great thing to do if you don’t have air conditioning or if you love art!

25.  Try a new restaurant.

I’m always on a mission to find new places with great food around South Bend. Here are a few of my favorite discoveries, all of which I heartily recommend:

Polito’s: Casual Italian, think large pizza place. They have a salad bar (which is included with all pasta dishes). The portions are huge and the vodka sauce is simply divine.

Evil Czech Brewery: Owned by the same people who own Corndance, but significantly cheaper. The beers are great (many of them are brewed on site), their Taco Tuesdays are delicious, and everything on the menu is fantastic. Try the truffle fries or the truffle mac. I’m also in love with their shrimp tacos and their bangers and mash is gigantic.

Papa Joe’s Casa di Pizza: Yes, this is another Italian place, but it’s like stepping into Italy. The pasta dishes are even bigger than Polito’s and there is unlimited salad and breadsticks. Most nights they will also let you do pasta dish combinations, which should be two half servings of pasta, but it’s usually two 2/3 servings.

26.  Go for ice cream or froyo.

Hot days deserve cool finishes. Walk to Let’s Spoon for some froyo or head to Ritter’s and try their new Twix Sundae.

27.  Visit the zoo.

You’re never too old to visit the zoo.  The Potawami Zoo is open 10:00am to 5:00pm daily and admission is $8.50 per person.  There are keeper talks if you want to learn something new about your favorite animals or you can just meander around the zoo. Click here for more info.

28.  Go to the dunes.

Confession: I still have not been to the Indiana Dunes, but I’ve been told they’re a blast, so I’m going to recommend you find a time to visit this summer. There is plenty of beachfront and numerous trails to explore. The beach area (for National Lakeshore) is open 7:00am to dusk and except for West Beach (which has a $6 entry fee) the beach areas are free. You can bring alcohol, just no glass bottles. Note: for the State Park, there is a $10 entrance fee for out-of-state vehicles ($5 for in-state) and you cannot bring alcohol. The park is open from 7:00am to 11:00pm. There are many trails where you can climb the dunes, whereas at National Lakeshore, there is only one. Have fun exploring! Visit the website here.

29.  Go to the farmer’s market.

The farmer’s market is always full of an assortment of produce, meats, crafts and dry goods. While the prices may not be cheaper than the super market, if you’re into supporting local farmers and love super fresh food, this is a great place to shop on the weekend. The market is open 7:00am to 2:00pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Saturdays it’s open until 3:00pm.

30.  Try out white water rafting.

At the East Race Waterway, you can go white water rafting. All equipment is provided and you’re guaranteed to get wet. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rafter, you’re certain to have a great time.  It costs $5 per person per ride and the East Race Way is open Saturdays from 12:00pm to 5:00pm until August, as well as from 12:30pm to 4:30pm on Sundays. The course is located at 126 South Niles Avenue in South Bend and they only take cash. For more information, visit their site here.


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Maria Fahs

Notre Dame

Maria is finishing her Masters in English at Notre Dame. She has read many good books and several bad books, but she usually tries not to finish those. Her current favorites are: 1984, The Book Thief, The Tragedy Paper, Code Name Verity, Dr. Copernicus, I Am the Messenger, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. She is writing her second thesis on Harry Potter, exploring notions of authorship and reader agency in the digital age. She even managed to write her Capstone on British Children's Literature and designed her own Directed Readings Course on Notre Dame history during undergrad. Her favorite way to read is with a mug of tea and scented candles. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she can be found binging on the BBC (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin [RIP]). Her favorite color is purple, she studied abroad in London, and she enjoys being an amateur painter. She harbors a not-so-secret dream of one day writing a children's book, but until then, she is likely to be found reading them and writing letters whenever she gets a chance. She hopes to teach English or work in a university sharing her love of education.