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December 1, 2022

2022 info appears below

2023 info coming soon!

Downtown South Bend will be kicking off their month-long series of holiday programming this First Fridays - "Downtown for the Holidays!" 

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8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Santa Claus is coming to town this First Fridays, and downtown South Bend will be alive with holiday cheer. 

It all kicks off at the Gridiron at 5:00 p.m. with live music by The Erly, performances by the Spotlight Performers, Southold Dance Theater,  IU South Bend Kickline, and South Bend Civic Theatre, plus a holiday photo op, roving mascots, a Santa letter station, the Notre Dame Jump Rope Club, giveaways, and more! 
Santa will be arriving a little after 6:00 p.m. to light the tree, and Santa's House will be open for visitors directly after, approximately 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

You'll find a variety of First Fridays activities and promotions all around downtown. Check out all the details below.

This First Fridays is just the start of a month-long celebration of the holidays in downtown South Bend. For full holiday details, click here.



Parking (on-street and in City-managed garages) is always free in downtown South Bend nights and weekends.  For full details on downtown parking options, click here

Entertainment and Activities


Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Gridiron

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature live music by The Erly, performances by the Spotlight Performers, Southold Dance Theater,  IU South Bend Kickline, and South Bend Civic Theatre, plus a holiday photo op, roving mascots, face painting, the ND Jump Rope Club, a Santa letter station, giveaways, and more! 


Copper Kettle will have fresh-made kettle corn for sale and a cash bar will also be at the Gridiron provided by the Courtyard by Marriott.  ​Be sure to check out the Gingerbread Village Display in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott!

Santa will make his grand entrance to downtown a little after 6:00 p.m. for the lighting of the Gridiron Tree. Santa’s House will then officially open for visitors at approximately 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. To avoid people crowding in a line to see Santa, visits will be done through timed reservations, which can be made online. Walk-ups are also welcomed. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend.

Tree Lighting Schedule

5:00 p.m. - Holiday Music by The Erly

5:30 p.m. - Spotlight Performers

5:40 p.m. - South Bend Civic Theatre

5:55 p.m.  –  Southold Dance Theater

6:05 p.m. -  IU South Bend Kickline accompanied by high school students from Penn, Niles, Adams, Clay, St. Joe, and New Prairie, plus the Meaowlarks choir

6:15 p.m. - Santa's Arrival followed by Tree Lighting & Fireworks

6:30 p.m. - ND Jump Rope Club double dutch with kids until 7:30 p.m., and more Holiday Music by The Erly until 8:00 p.m.

Tree & Wreath Sales


5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Downtown South Bend annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Sale is back again this year, with proceeds benefiting Relay for Life. We will have a variety of fresh cut trees and wreaths from local supplier JK Tree Farm.


Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales will take place in downtown South Bend the following dates and times: 

Saturday - Nov. 26 • 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday – Dec. 2 • 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday – Dec. 3 • 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sunday – Dec. 4 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Visits with Santa


6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Santa's House will open up for visitors directly following the fireworks show, at approximately 6:30 p.m. Bring your camera for free photos with Santa in his red house by the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.

Reservations are not required but give you/your group a fast pass to see Santa without having to wait in line. Each 10-minute reservation slot is good for a family/group up to 8 people. Reservations and Santa visits are completely free!

Reservations go live at 2 pm the Tuesday before each weekend's visits. Here is the full Santa schedule:

Friday, December 2 | 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturdays, December 3, 10, 17 | 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sundays, December 4, 11, 18 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Friday, December 9 | 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (1-hour break for Holiday Light Parade)

Friday, December 16 | 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Friday, December 23 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 24 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

120 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Join the South Bend Museum of Art for an annual tradition of art, music, food and festivities to celebrate the holidays on First Fridays!

Come spend precious time with family and friends over an exciting craft activity, enjoy sweet sounds from the John Adams choir, and of course - snack on some yummy food!
Gorgeous ceramic vases (created by our very own Ceramic Studio Specialist) will be available for purchase - so you can give the best gifts to your loved ones this year!

121 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Dec. 2 - Dec. 24

Check out this year’s Gingerbread Village Competition entries in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott and vote for your favorite. 

The Gridiron

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will be collecting toy donations at our Tree Lighting Ceremony for kids ages 5 to 18. Please bring new toys, books or game donations to their booth right next to the DTSB tent.

Please no toys with violent or religious tones like guns, Bibles etc. Please no tech toys, battery operated gifts are fine if batteries are given with the toy. Toys can also be dropped off at the Boys & Girls Club at 502 E. Sample St. South Bend.

The Gridiron

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

We will have several organizations and vendors at the Gridiron this First Fridays:

Acceptance Insurance

Aloha Glow

The Arty People

Bella Bauer - Miss Southern Heartland's Outstanding Teen


Boys & Girls Club 

The Copper Kettle

Driverseat South Bend



105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Chicory Cafe will have free cookie decorating this First Fridays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. plus live music by Rebecca Strand from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

111 N. Main St.

9:00 p.m. 

In case you didn't hear The Drop Comedy Club relocated to the Aloft Hotel and features amazing comedy shows every Friday and Saturday night! This First Fridays they will have headliner Alan Ford featuring Sofia Javed. DTSB will be featuring a contest on their Facebook page for a pair of free tickets to the Friday night show. 

Live @ ALoft with DJ Outlaw

111 N. Main St.

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Live @ Aloft in the WXYZ bar will feature DJ Outlaw playing your favorite tunes November 4.  Live @ Aloft features local artists, groups or DJs playing music every Friday from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the WXYZ lounge. 

The WXYZ bar also has "Cocktails for a Cause" with $1 from every cocktail sold donated to their featured charity of the month.  Also take advantage of their First Fridays special - buy 1 flatbread pizza and get a 2nd flatbread pizza at 1/2 off.

321 S. Main St.

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Bring out your inner diva at South Bend Brew Werks with karaoke this First Fridays (and every Friday!)

211 N. Michigan St.

7:30 p.m.

COME FROM AWAY comes to the Morris Performing Arts Center November 29 through December 4. This New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. Don’t miss this breathtaking musical!

Retail and Dining Specials

NOTE: First Fridays drink specials are available for anyone 21+ throughout the day on First Fridays, for the operating hours of participating businesses.  


St. Joe Coffee Co. Latte Special

305 S. Michigan St.

8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The St. Joe Coffee Co. - the new coffee shop located in side the St. Joe County Library's Community Learning Center - will be featuring half off their December Latte of the Month: the Holiday Joy Mocha with coconut syrup, almond syrup, and chocolate sauce. 

Friends of the Library Book Sale

333 S. Michigan St.

12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Friends of the Library Book Sale is back open!  Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

217 S. Michigan St.

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Pigeon & The Hen Loves Mariah Carey!

“I have a rule which states that I will not be seen in fluorescent lighting without sunglasses,” Mariah Carey

Wear your sunglasses and paint under the beautiful sound of Mariah Carey's Christmas album and other classic Christmas albums. 

$7 fee covers food/drink and NOT POTTERY

They will offer Mariah's Favorite Things...
-Only red M&Ms
-Pink bubbly
-Christmas-shaped pizza
-A cheese and fruit platter
-red velvet cake pops drenched in GLITTER.
-first drink is free

231 S. Michigan St.

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

OAK & ASH BBQ will be serving up some deliciousness this First Fridays at a pop-up at Dainty Maid Food Hall. They will have ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken birria tacos, pork birria tacos along with a small selection of sides. Hall Pass will be open for a full bar

TakeOut 25 Downtown 

Join the TakeOut 25 Downtown South Bend Facebook Group to discover new dishes and restaurants downtown. We encourage you to join the group post pictures of your downtown carryout and in-person dining experiences.  

Ongoing First Fridays Promotions



713 E. Jefferson Blvd.

$4 pints every First Fridays; also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $22 plus tax.


131 S. Michigan St.

Get one 14″ 1-topping pizza for $15

Center Stage Pizza

428 Lincoln Way West

Get an 18" 2-topping pizza, garlic cheese bread, and a 2 liter of soda for just $24

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

16 oz. Hurricanes and Blue Raspberry Long Islands for $5​

Ironhand Wine Bar

1025 Northside Blvd.

Live music, 20% off bottles of MI Cabernet Franc​

South Bend Chocolate Cafe 

122 S. Michigan St.

2 for $20 any crunch/pretzel combo

Tippecanoe Place/Studebaker Grill

620 W. Washington St.

1/2 price appetizers In the Studebaker Lounge 

Unique Boutique International 

122 S. Michigan St.

50% off the entire store 

WXYZ Bar at Aloft 

111 N. Main St.

Buy 1 flatbread pizza and get a 2nd flatbread pizza at 1/2 off; plus monthly Cocktail for a Cause, with $1 from every cocktail sold donated to their featured charity of the month.


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