South Bend River Lights
NOTE: Due to construction in Seitz Park, the Light Forest has been temporarily removed. They will return when upgrades to Seitz Park are complete. In the meantime the lights are best viewed from the Colfax Bridge, Pier Park, Island Park and the Jefferson Bridge.
Unveiled in 2015 as part of South Bend’s 150th birthday celebrations, the South Bend River Lights are now a fixture of the downtown landscape. Vibrant color washes over the St. Joseph River, highlighting the “Keepers of the Fire” statue and the water as it rushes downriver.
The lights turn on a half hour before dusk and stay on until sunrise. They operate 365 days a year.
Best Viewing Spots
The Colfax Bridge, Island Park and Pier Park. There’s 24-hour access at Island Park, which has drawn national acclaim, except during private events. Downtown South Bend parking is free after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. The best parking available for River Lights access is along Niles Avenue, at Century Center and at Seitz Park.
Depending on what’s happening in The Bend, the River Lights might be programmed to display specific colors. Some examples include red, white and blue for the Fourth of July or green ahead of a big Notre Dame football game. Special sequences have also taken place for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas Day.