The secret is out on one of The Bend’s charming parks.

Island Park, adjacent to the Century Center in downtown South Bend, overlooks the St. Joseph River. USA Today in 2017 named it as one of “25 Must-See buildings in Indiana.” It should come as no surprise; Island Park offers a distinct view of the city and its defining feature, the river.

The 11-acre island is a tranquil, quiet spot to grab some shade in the summer time. Visitors can unpack a lunch or simply take in the views, which include the “Keepers of the Fire” sculpture.

Panoramic water views aren’t limited to the day time, either. Island Park is one of the best viewing spots for the South Bend River Lights, an interactive public art display unveiled in 2015. The light wash over the river starting 30 minutes before dusk.

Since opening during the celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary as a city, the River Lights have become a symbol of South Bend akin to the University of Notre Dame’s iconic campus.

Island Park as an Event Space

Special events are a major part of the island’s use. It’s been a venue for concerts, festivals and outdoor weddings in tandem with the large canopy. Groups utilizing Century Center as a meeting space can use Island Park on its own or in conjunction with the Great Hall. It’s an ideal setting for a cocktail hour.

Even better, Island Park’s location connects visitors to the rest of the city. It’s within walking distance of several hotels, restaurants, bars, boutiques, museums and other attractions.