A Guide to a Notre Dame Football Weekend
I can't hide my cards too long: I'm an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame. It's an incredibly proud community that loves the school and its football team. Even people decades later come back to watch football games - it truly is a special place. Now that football season is back, I've been a bit sentimental about some must sees around South Bend so here's my guide to a Notre Dame Football Weekend!
26 Places • ago
Free

Attractions on Campus

Main Building
@markfedoronko
The Main Building is the center of campus. It's hard to miss with its iconic Golden Dome with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top. Inside, the building is adorned in frescos. If you are looking to attend Notre Dame, don't walk up the main steps however; lore has it that you won't graduate in four years if do this One of the best traditions on campus is Trumpets Under the Dome. Each weekend, the trumpet section of the Notre Dame band plays a short snippet of music while standing on the terraces inside the dome. The acoustics inside the building are magnificent. This event takes place on Fridays and Saturdays - Saturday's are more impressive but significantly more crowded. If you do elect to tailgate before the game it can be tough to attend an event like this. At midnight the day of gameday, the Notre Dame band's drumline performs a concert of drum cadences right in front of the dome - a pretty fun and hype-up tradition.
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Details
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
@markfedoronko
As a Catholic school, you'd expect Notre Dame to have a nice chapel. But instead of a chapel it's a full blown Basilica with a beautiful blue ceiling and embellishments all around. The organ is also noteworthy, and was installed a little over five years ago. The bells chime on the hour and give a wonderful little concert for passerby's on the adjacent quad
Add to
Details
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
@markfedoronko
A replica at 1/5 the size of the grotto from Lourdes, France, the grotto at Notre Dame is one of the most scenic spots on campus. Students and guests regularly light candles when they go. My personal favorite season is winter when the grotto becomes a snowy wonderland Across the way from the Grotto are Notre Dame's two lakes. It's a great place to walk along the trails and get some wonderful views of the Golden Dome
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Details
Hesburgh Library
@markfedoronko
The Notre Dame library is surprising ugly. However, the front face of the building features a mosaic called the Word of Life, one of Notre Dame's famed sites. Colloquially, people call this "Touchdown Jesus". During the summer, a reflecting pool in front of the library is filled creating a masterful illusion. On game days, the team will walk from the Guglielmo football building to the stadium right in front of the library. Called Player Walk it's a great way to see the team before the game!
Add to
Details
Notre Dame Stadium
@markfedoronko
If you're going to a football game, the stadium is probably the main attraction of your trip. The gold lettering around the gates give the stadium a sort of vibe comparable to old Yankee Stadium in New York. On Fridays before the game, you'll be able to walk out to the edge of the field in a free attraction called the "Tunnel Tour". You can also arrange for a paid tour of the stadium that can take you behind the scenes including the locker rooms and the famed "Play Like a Champion" sign
Add to
Details
Bond Hall
@markfedoronko
Bond Hall has held a number of different roles over its history, including library and home to the School of Architecture. Today, it's mainly an office building. However, it is the sight of the Notre Dame Band's "Concert on the Steps", which takes place on Saturdays several hours before the game. It's a great stop on game day once you've concluded tailgating to listen to some music and get to experience a historic tradition!
Add to
Details
Snite Research Center in the Visual Arts
@markfedoronko
If you want to get a change of pace during your trip, the Snite is Notre Dame's art museum. A beautiful museum with a great collection of paintings, it's a great stop to get your culture fix.
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Details

Restaurants

Dinner

Cafe Navarre
@markfedoronko
My favorite restaurant in South Bend, Cafe Navarre is the best fine dining in the city. Located in an old bank in downtown South Bend, the ambiance is elegant. Their wild mushroom soup is a personal favorite on the menu, but pretty much everything is good at this modern American restaurant
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Details
Parisi's Ristorante Italiano
@markfedoronko
Located in a house close to campus, Parisi's is a solid choice for Italian food. With tasty food since 1981, this is a real institution in the area. If you go in the warmer months, the courtyard is particularly nice.
Add to
Details
Taqueria Chicago
@markfedoronko
A little ways away from campus but worth the journey, Taqueria Chicago is located in the center of South Bend's Mexican community. With the best tacos in the city and a litany of other authentic Mexican dishes, this is a great and casual place for food. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to go to Rosita's across the sweet for awesome ice cream and paletas
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Details
Rocco's Restaurant
@markfedoronko
A classic pizza establishment for years in South Bend, Rocco's is the best pizza for a pretty far distance in any direction. A long list of famous people have been here - I even got stuck waiting for a table behind former House speaker Paul Ryan, but that's a side note. Gameday waits tend to be long so get here early or get take out if you don't want to wait for a table
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Evil Czech Brewery and Public House
@markfedoronko
Located in neighboring Mishawaka, Evil Czech is a great stop for a brewery vibe. With great beers, fun cocktails, and good food it's a great casual eatery with a fun vibe.
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Details

Breakfast

The Early Bird Eatery
@markfedoronko
Unfortunately for me, Early Bird Eatery was not in downtown South Bend when I was a student. If it was, I would have come here pretty often. Early Bird Eatery is a fantastic breakfast spot in a newly redesigned Art Deco space. All of their food choices are good - some favorites are the Monte Cristo, the shrimp and grits, and the chicken and waffles. Their coffee drinks are also great
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The Original Pancake House
@markfedoronko
By and large, the Original Pancake House isn't anything crazy. They have decent pancakes and are a traditional diner near campus. However, if you're looking for something insane, order their Apple Pancake. World famous and stacked with 1,000 calories of deliciousness, it is a Dutch baby pancake smothered in apples and jam. Worth every calorie in my opinion (if you can finish it)
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Details
Rise'n Roll Bakery
@markfedoronko
If I told you to get Amish Crack, you'd probably not expect I'd be sending you to a bakery. Rise n Roll is an Amish bakery with several locations, the closest to Notre Dame being the one in Mishawaka (the rest are further east into Indiana's Amish country). Their cinnamon caramel donut - lovingly called Amish crack - is the main draw. They are very sweet but you get drawn in and keep eating them. Be warned or you might eat a whole dozen yourself
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Details
Yellow Cat Cafe
@markfedoronko
I have a few friends who would be up in arms if I didn't include Yellow Cat on a list of breakfast spots in South Bend. A casual diner, Yellow Cat has great affordable breakfast dishes. If you like hot sauce, they have a whole hot sauce cart with different sauces to try.
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Details

Bars and Drinking Establishments

Linebacker Lounge
@markfedoronko
The oldest and most storied bar in South Bend, the Linebacker Lounge (or colloquially the Backer) has been the senior bar of choice for ND students for most of the last 50 years. With an odd mix of townies, students, and alumni on football weekends it's the "must see" or drinking establishments. If you dare, there is a street sign pole in the center of the bar that people lick as a right of passage - I recommend licking the pole.
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O'Rourke's Public House
@markfedoronko
O'Rourkes is a great casual Irish pub located just across campus on Eddy St Commons. It's a great place to enjoy a casual beer. Food is pretty good as well
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Brothers Bar & Grill
@markfedoronko
Another bar/grill on Eddy St Commons, Brothers is another great pick for a casual beer. A chain from Madison, Wisconsin, it's casual restaurant by day and a fairly active bar at night. While the food isn't as good as O'Rourkes, their cheese curds are particularly good (a sign of the Wisconsin origins)
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The Blarney Stone (also known as Olfs or Finney's depending on who you ask)
@markfedoronko
Another classic student bar, this bar is formally the Blarney Stone. However, some alums will refer to it as Finneys and younger alumni will refer to it as Olfs. It's a pretty young (but of age) crowd here but there are lots of young alumni reliving their glory days on football weekends
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Details
The Exchange
@markfedoronko
If casual bar/grills and student bars are not the vibe you're going for, this is the place for you. Located in downtown, the Exchange is a whiskey bar serving delicious drinks. It's a great place for a nightcap after a nice dinner in downtown
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Details

Hotels

Morris Inn
@markfedoronko
The official Notre Dame hotel, this place has the best location for visiting campus. Good luck getting a room on a football weekend - it's pretty much donors only. However if you go another time it's a good option if you're trying to stay on campus
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Embassy Suites by Hilton South Bend at Notre Dame
@markfedoronko
Probably the nicest (and newest) of the hotels built on the periphery of Notre Dame's campus, the Embassy Suites has large modern rooms with a great location near Eddy St Commons and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Rooms tend to be more expensive here than the other options but it's a nice hotel for sure
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The Inn at Saint Mary's
@markfedoronko
A solid option located on the campus of St Mary's College (Notre Dame's sister school). While the hotel is a bit further to campus (think about a mile walk to the dome) the rooms are nice and tend to be more affordable than options right around Notre Dame's campus. They also have a nice coffee shop in the lobby popular with students at St Marys
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Ivy Court Inn & Suites
@markfedoronko
An extremely convenient hotel located just southeast of campus. Rooms tend to be cheaper than the Embassy Suites with a similar location. This is also very close to the hockey arena
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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel South Bend
@markfedoronko
A little further away from campus, the Doubletree is the best option in downtown South Bend. While you'll need transportation to campus you'll be close to the amenities of downtown
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Reach out to Mark!

Mark provides all sorts of info to help your travel needs! This includes specific travel itineraries and planning services. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like customized travel services.

Like this guide? Don't be afraid to say thank you and send a tip!

* * *
CURATED BY
My name is Mark, and I've been travel planning since the age of 11. About Me I help redefine the way you experience the world. I don't just plan trips; we craft extraordinary adventures tailored to your unique desires. Mark's journey into the realm of travel planning began at an early age, driven by an insatiable curiosity to uncover the hidden gems and cultural nuances that make each destination truly exceptional. Expertise Beyond Borders Boasting an extensive portfolio of expertise, Mark is a seasoned navigator through the enchanting landscapes of Morocco, the captivating history of Jordan, the rich tapestry of Israel/Palestine, the cosmopolitan allure of Copenhagen, and beyond. Whether you're yearning for the vibrant markets of Marrakech, the ancient wonders of Petra, the historical significance of Jerusalem, or the contemporary charm of Copenhagen, I ensure that your journey is not just a trip but a transformative experience. Custom Itineraries, Crafted with Care I understand that no two travelers are the same. My commitment to personalization means that every itinerary is a bespoke masterpiece, meticulously crafted to reflect your preferences, interests, and dreams. From immersive cultural excursions to adrenaline-pumping adventures, we curate experiences that resonate with your individual travel style. Why Choose Mark's Travel Recs? Passion-Driven Expertise: Mark's lifelong passion ensures every itinerary has an authentic touch. Global Perspective: With knowledge spanning diverse destinations, I offer journeys beyond the ordinary. Attention to Detail: I leave no stone unturned, from accommodation to off-the-beaten-path excursions. Seamless Planning: Let me take the reins for a stress-free journey from conception to execution. Embark on a voyage of a lifetime with me—where the world is your oyster, and I help you discover its pearls
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A Guide to a Notre Dame Football Weekend
I can't hide my cards too long: I'm an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame. It's an incredibly proud community that loves the school and its football team. Even people decades later come back to watch football games - it truly is a special place. Now that football season is back, I've been a bit sentimental about some must sees around South Bend so here's my guide to a Notre Dame Football Weekend!
26 Places • ago
Free

Attractions on Campus

Main Building
@markfedoronko
The Main Building is the center of campus. It's hard to miss with its iconic Golden Dome with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top. Inside, the building is adorned in frescos. If you are looking to attend Notre Dame, don't walk up the main steps however; lore has it that you won't graduate in four years if do this One of the best traditions on campus is Trumpets Under the Dome. Each weekend, the trumpet section of the Notre Dame band plays a short snippet of music while standing on the terraces inside the dome. The acoustics inside the building are magnificent. This event takes place on Fridays and Saturdays - Saturday's are more impressive but significantly more crowded. If you do elect to tailgate before the game it can be tough to attend an event like this. At midnight the day of gameday, the Notre Dame band's drumline performs a concert of drum cadences right in front of the dome - a pretty fun and hype-up tradition.
Add to
Details
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
@markfedoronko
As a Catholic school, you'd expect Notre Dame to have a nice chapel. But instead of a chapel it's a full blown Basilica with a beautiful blue ceiling and embellishments all around. The organ is also noteworthy, and was installed a little over five years ago. The bells chime on the hour and give a wonderful little concert for passerby's on the adjacent quad
Add to
Details
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
@markfedoronko
A replica at 1/5 the size of the grotto from Lourdes, France, the grotto at Notre Dame is one of the most scenic spots on campus. Students and guests regularly light candles when they go. My personal favorite season is winter when the grotto becomes a snowy wonderland Across the way from the Grotto are Notre Dame's two lakes. It's a great place to walk along the trails and get some wonderful views of the Golden Dome
Add to
Details
Hesburgh Library
@markfedoronko
The Notre Dame library is surprising ugly. However, the front face of the building features a mosaic called the Word of Life, one of Notre Dame's famed sites. Colloquially, people call this "Touchdown Jesus". During the summer, a reflecting pool in front of the library is filled creating a masterful illusion. On game days, the team will walk from the Guglielmo football building to the stadium right in front of the library. Called Player Walk it's a great way to see the team before the game!
Add to
Details
Notre Dame Stadium
@markfedoronko
If you're going to a football game, the stadium is probably the main attraction of your trip. The gold lettering around the gates give the stadium a sort of vibe comparable to old Yankee Stadium in New York. On Fridays before the game, you'll be able to walk out to the edge of the field in a free attraction called the "Tunnel Tour". You can also arrange for a paid tour of the stadium that can take you behind the scenes including the locker rooms and the famed "Play Like a Champion" sign
Add to
Details
Bond Hall
@markfedoronko
Bond Hall has held a number of different roles over its history, including library and home to the School of Architecture. Today, it's mainly an office building. However, it is the sight of the Notre Dame Band's "Concert on the Steps", which takes place on Saturdays several hours before the game. It's a great stop on game day once you've concluded tailgating to listen to some music and get to experience a historic tradition!
Add to
Details
Snite Research Center in the Visual Arts
@markfedoronko
If you want to get a change of pace during your trip, the Snite is Notre Dame's art museum. A beautiful museum with a great collection of paintings, it's a great stop to get your culture fix.
Add to
Details

Restaurants

Dinner

Cafe Navarre
@markfedoronko
My favorite restaurant in South Bend, Cafe Navarre is the best fine dining in the city. Located in an old bank in downtown South Bend, the ambiance is elegant. Their wild mushroom soup is a personal favorite on the menu, but pretty much everything is good at this modern American restaurant
Add to
Details
Parisi's Ristorante Italiano
@markfedoronko
Located in a house close to campus, Parisi's is a solid choice for Italian food. With tasty food since 1981, this is a real institution in the area. If you go in the warmer months, the courtyard is particularly nice.
Add to
Details
Taqueria Chicago
@markfedoronko
A little ways away from campus but worth the journey, Taqueria Chicago is located in the center of South Bend's Mexican community. With the best tacos in the city and a litany of other authentic Mexican dishes, this is a great and casual place for food. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure to go to Rosita's across the sweet for awesome ice cream and paletas
Add to
Details
Rocco's Restaurant
@markfedoronko
A classic pizza establishment for years in South Bend, Rocco's is the best pizza for a pretty far distance in any direction. A long list of famous people have been here - I even got stuck waiting for a table behind former House speaker Paul Ryan, but that's a side note. Gameday waits tend to be long so get here early or get take out if you don't want to wait for a table
Add to
Details
Evil Czech Brewery and Public House
@markfedoronko
Located in neighboring Mishawaka, Evil Czech is a great stop for a brewery vibe. With great beers, fun cocktails, and good food it's a great casual eatery with a fun vibe.
Add to
Details

Breakfast

The Early Bird Eatery
@markfedoronko
Unfortunately for me, Early Bird Eatery was not in downtown South Bend when I was a student. If it was, I would have come here pretty often. Early Bird Eatery is a fantastic breakfast spot in a newly redesigned Art Deco space. All of their food choices are good - some favorites are the Monte Cristo, the shrimp and grits, and the chicken and waffles. Their coffee drinks are also great
Add to
Details
The Original Pancake House
@markfedoronko
By and large, the Original Pancake House isn't anything crazy. They have decent pancakes and are a traditional diner near campus. However, if you're looking for something insane, order their Apple Pancake. World famous and stacked with 1,000 calories of deliciousness, it is a Dutch baby pancake smothered in apples and jam. Worth every calorie in my opinion (if you can finish it)
Add to
Details
Rise'n Roll Bakery
@markfedoronko
If I told you to get Amish Crack, you'd probably not expect I'd be sending you to a bakery. Rise n Roll is an Amish bakery with several locations, the closest to Notre Dame being the one in Mishawaka (the rest are further east into Indiana's Amish country). Their cinnamon caramel donut - lovingly called Amish crack - is the main draw. They are very sweet but you get drawn in and keep eating them. Be warned or you might eat a whole dozen yourself
Add to
Details
Yellow Cat Cafe
@markfedoronko
I have a few friends who would be up in arms if I didn't include Yellow Cat on a list of breakfast spots in South Bend. A casual diner, Yellow Cat has great affordable breakfast dishes. If you like hot sauce, they have a whole hot sauce cart with different sauces to try.
Add to
Details

Bars and Drinking Establishments

Linebacker Lounge
@markfedoronko
The oldest and most storied bar in South Bend, the Linebacker Lounge (or colloquially the Backer) has been the senior bar of choice for ND students for most of the last 50 years. With an odd mix of townies, students, and alumni on football weekends it's the "must see" or drinking establishments. If you dare, there is a street sign pole in the center of the bar that people lick as a right of passage - I recommend licking the pole.
Add to
Details
O'Rourke's Public House
@markfedoronko
O'Rourkes is a great casual Irish pub located just across campus on Eddy St Commons. It's a great place to enjoy a casual beer. Food is pretty good as well
Add to
Details
Brothers Bar & Grill
@markfedoronko
Another bar/grill on Eddy St Commons, Brothers is another great pick for a casual beer. A chain from Madison, Wisconsin, it's casual restaurant by day and a fairly active bar at night. While the food isn't as good as O'Rourkes, their cheese curds are particularly good (a sign of the Wisconsin origins)
Add to
Details
The Blarney Stone (also known as Olfs or Finney's depending on who you ask)
@markfedoronko
Another classic student bar, this bar is formally the Blarney Stone. However, some alums will refer to it as Finneys and younger alumni will refer to it as Olfs. It's a pretty young (but of age) crowd here but there are lots of young alumni reliving their glory days on football weekends
Add to
Details
The Exchange
@markfedoronko
If casual bar/grills and student bars are not the vibe you're going for, this is the place for you. Located in downtown, the Exchange is a whiskey bar serving delicious drinks. It's a great place for a nightcap after a nice dinner in downtown
Add to
Details

Hotels

Morris Inn
@markfedoronko
The official Notre Dame hotel, this place has the best location for visiting campus. Good luck getting a room on a football weekend - it's pretty much donors only. However if you go another time it's a good option if you're trying to stay on campus
Add to
Details
Embassy Suites by Hilton South Bend at Notre Dame
@markfedoronko
Probably the nicest (and newest) of the hotels built on the periphery of Notre Dame's campus, the Embassy Suites has large modern rooms with a great location near Eddy St Commons and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Rooms tend to be more expensive here than the other options but it's a nice hotel for sure
Add to
Details
The Inn at Saint Mary's
@markfedoronko
A solid option located on the campus of St Mary's College (Notre Dame's sister school). While the hotel is a bit further to campus (think about a mile walk to the dome) the rooms are nice and tend to be more affordable than options right around Notre Dame's campus. They also have a nice coffee shop in the lobby popular with students at St Marys
Add to
Details
Ivy Court Inn & Suites
@markfedoronko
An extremely convenient hotel located just southeast of campus. Rooms tend to be cheaper than the Embassy Suites with a similar location. This is also very close to the hockey arena
Add to
Details
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel South Bend
@markfedoronko
A little further away from campus, the Doubletree is the best option in downtown South Bend. While you'll need transportation to campus you'll be close to the amenities of downtown
Add to
Details

Reach out to Mark!

Mark provides all sorts of info to help your travel needs! This includes specific travel itineraries and planning services. Please reach out if you have any questions or would like customized travel services.

Like this guide? Don't be afraid to say thank you and send a tip!

* * *
CURATED BY
My name is Mark, and I've been travel planning since the age of 11. About Me I help redefine the way you experience the world. I don't just plan trips; we craft extraordinary adventures tailored to your unique desires. Mark's journey into the realm of travel planning began at an early age, driven by an insatiable curiosity to uncover the hidden gems and cultural nuances that make each destination truly exceptional. Expertise Beyond Borders Boasting an extensive portfolio of expertise, Mark is a seasoned navigator through the enchanting landscapes of Morocco, the captivating history of Jordan, the rich tapestry of Israel/Palestine, the cosmopolitan allure of Copenhagen, and beyond. Whether you're yearning for the vibrant markets of Marrakech, the ancient wonders of Petra, the historical significance of Jerusalem, or the contemporary charm of Copenhagen, I ensure that your journey is not just a trip but a transformative experience. Custom Itineraries, Crafted with Care I understand that no two travelers are the same. My commitment to personalization means that every itinerary is a bespoke masterpiece, meticulously crafted to reflect your preferences, interests, and dreams. From immersive cultural excursions to adrenaline-pumping adventures, we curate experiences that resonate with your individual travel style. Why Choose Mark's Travel Recs? Passion-Driven Expertise: Mark's lifelong passion ensures every itinerary has an authentic touch. Global Perspective: With knowledge spanning diverse destinations, I offer journeys beyond the ordinary. Attention to Detail: I leave no stone unturned, from accommodation to off-the-beaten-path excursions. Seamless Planning: Let me take the reins for a stress-free journey from conception to execution. Embark on a voyage of a lifetime with me—where the world is your oyster, and I help you discover its pearls
Send A Tip
Support Mark Fedoronko’s work.
Select your tip amount
$5
$10
$20
$50
Or type in other amount
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Mark Fedoronko Privacy Terms