December can only mean one thing: The holiday season has officially arrived. Getting into the spirit is easy around The Bend, where there are dozens of ways to celebrate. Put these things to do in South Bend and Mishawaka on your December to-do list.

Ironworks Ice Rink in Mishawaka 

Winter got a little more fun last year with the opening of Ironworks Ice Rink in downtown Mishawaka! Located adjacent to Beutter Park and Ironworks Plaza, the skating ribbon also includes an area for ice bumper cars and other fun activities. Skating at Ironworks opens Dec. 2 and is by reservation only, so make sure to book your time in advance.

The Gift of Lights at Potawatomi Zoo 

Visit Potawatomi Zoo on Friday, Saturday or Sunday until Dec. 23 for The Gift of Lights. More than a million lights are wrapped around trees and free-standing displays throughout the zoo. The train is a magical ride this time of year.

Holiday in the Gallery

The South Bend Museum of Art invites the SBMA community to enjoy live music provided by the Fischoff Academy and a Holiday Art Market featuring local artists and galleries on Dec. 1. Scheduled programming begins at 5 p.m. and the art market will be open until 8 p.m. 

Ice Skating Returns at Howard Park

Dipping temperatures ushers in one of the Midwest's best cold-weather activities: skating on the Howard Park ice trail, which includes a bridge and loops around a state-of-the-art playground. Visitors will want to reserve ice time in advance all season.

Downtown for the Holidays

December's First Friday (Dec. 1) is holiday themed with the tree lighting and Santa's arrival in downtown South Bend, one of our most popular holiday events. You can also see the Holiday Light Parade on Dec. 8. Visits to Santa take place all month.

The Nutcracker 

Southold Dance Theater and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra are collaborating on "The Nutcracker," a holiday classic. You can catch a performance Dec. 8-10 at the Morris Performing Arts Center.

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