Beautiful flowers and more sun can only mean one thing — spring is here. As The Bend comes into bloom, it's an ideal time to get outside and explore. Miles and miles of hiking trails and bike paths await. Adrenaline seekers can conquer and aerial ropes course. Golfers can head to our championship courses.
And that's just the beginning. Check out these can't-miss spring activities.
If you're an outdoorsy type, we're guessing winter weather didn't keep you inside. Still, heading out for a hike during spring is a breath of fresh air. Exploring our best parks as the flowers and trees begin to bloom is extra special. Potato Creek State Park is a favorite, secluded and with miles of trail. St. Patrick's County Park, Bendix Woods and Rum Village are a couple more worth venturing to.
RELATED CONTENT: The Bend's Best Hikes
Potawatomi Zoo is a fun destination for families. It's home to more than 400 animals — lions, tigers, rhinos, red pandas and more. There's a carousel and Zoo Train too! You'll notice some construction, but don't be deterred. It's part of a planned giraffe exhibit that's going to make the zoo even better.
Beer + Wine Tasting
There are few better ways to really get to know a place than by testing out some of its flavors! The Bend his home to several craft breweries where locals like to hang out and unwind. South Bend Brew Werks, Bare Hands Brewery, Crooked Ewe Brewery + Ale House and Evil Czech Brewery are some top choices. If you're looking for wine, try Ironhand Vineyard wine bar. For spirits, Indiana Whiskey is your type of place.
RELATED CONTENT: A Guide to Craft Beer in The Bend
Rum Village Aerial Adventure Park
An outdoor activity with a little adrenaline rush. The aerial adventure park, which opens May 1, has five treetop trails that range from 16-70 feet in the air and more than 60 different obstacles, plus zip lines. The trails range from easy to difficult (we see you, dare devils) so it's a great option for all ages.
Golf enthusiasts start to gear up in the spring so they can head back out on the links. Our area courses are both championship caliber and wildly approachable. Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame hosted the 2019 U.S. Senior Open and is considered one of the top public courses in the Midwest. Blackthorn Golf Club hosted a Symetra Tour event for about a decade. Elbel Golf Course shows off some of our best natural landscapes. Eberhart-Petro in Mishawaka takes you over the St. Joseph River multiple times.
RELATED CONTENT: A Guide to Golf in The Bend
If you're looking to take a walk down memory lane, these are your spots. Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum tell stories unique stories about The Bend's history, whether it's through classic cars or the rise of local manufacturing or via a 38-room mansion tour.
RELATED CONTENT: Visit The Bend's Museums
Patio Season is Back
Warmer temperatures draw people outside for all kinds of reasons, including outdoor dining. Dozens and dozens of restaurants in The Bend will open their patios as spring takes hold. Be sure to call in advance if you're unsure whether the patio at your favorite restaurant will be open.
RELATED CONTENT: The Bend's Best Patios
South Bend Cubs Games
Baseball season is almost here. The South Bend Cubs, a single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, begin their season May 4. Fans will return at a limited capacity and there will be other coronavirus-related precautions in place, but Four Winds Field is sure to be a popular place for fans as the season gets underway.
The Mishawaka retail district is a regional shopping destination with a mall, multiple smaller shopping centers and dozens of other well-known stores. If you're looking to shop, it's worth exploring. And so are these other options!
South Bend Farmers Market: A favorite all year round but especially in spring when fresh fruits and veggies start to show up. This market has been around for decades and always features some of our best growers and makers.
University Park Mall: A hub in the Mishawaka retail district, the mail is a regional draw. You can find an Apple store, Build-A-Bear, J.Crew, lululemon, Michael Kors, Coach, Victoria's Secret and more.
Downtown South Bend: There are some wonderful locally owned boutiques in downtown South Bend. Try Inspire Me!, Unique Boutique International and Ali on the Boulevard.
Granger: More boutiques are located in Granger near the mall and other major retailers. Satori, Vintage Charm, Glam, Pink Pineapple and Sorella are some of the top choices.
Do you like to take your bikes wherever you go? Then you're coming to the right place. The League of American Bicyclists in 2018 named South Bend a silver level bicycle friendly community. Our paths, parks and trails are waiting. Leisurely riders can follow the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail all across the area. It covers 17 miles from downtown Niles, Mich., through South Bend then on to downtown Mishawaka. Most of it runs along the St. Joseph River. You'll pass restaurants, views and more along the way.
RELATED CONTENT: The Best Bike Trails in The Bend
If you're more adventuresome, mountain bikers will find gold at a few parks: Bendix Woods, Potato Creek and Rum Village.
Explore the University of Notre Dame
WE always recommend taking a walk through one of the world's iconic campuses, no matter the season. Spring is particularly beautiful as flowers bloom around popular landmarks. Instagrammable moments await near the Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, the Basilica and the Grotto.