December 3, 2021

2020 December First Fridays information appears below. 2021 information coming soon!

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 80/90, a holiday photo op, a Santa letter station, giveaways, and more! Space will be limited to 150 people, but the event will also be live streamed. Click here to enter the ticket lottery!
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. 

PLEASE NOTE - Santa visits will be through timed online reservations, which will open up the Tuesday prior to each weekend. Click here for more info and the reservation link.
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 DTSB-managed garages) is always free in downtown South Bend nights and weekends.  For full details on downtown parking options, click here

Entertainment & Activities


Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa's Arrival

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Gridiron


This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will be limited to 150 participants in order to comply with current recommendations for COVID-19 safety. A ticket lottery will take place for these limited spots. CLICK HERE to enter between November 28th and December 2nd at noon. Winners will be drawn during a Facebook live at 3:00 p.m. December 2nd, and winners will be notified by email as well. Winners may have invite up to four friends/family members. Limit one entry per person.

Masks will be required at the event and attendees will need to stay with their family/friend groups they arrive with and socially distance from other groups. Hot beverages may be brought inside the event but must be enjoyed by pulling down masks instead of removing them.

We will also be live streaming the event on the DTSB Facebook page for those who aren't able to win tickets. 

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will feature live holiday music by 80/90 and a performance by the IU South Bend Kickline. There will also be holiday giveaways, a holiday photo op, and a Santa letter writing station.


Be sure to check out the Gingerbread Village Display in a new location this year - 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 p.m. 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. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend.

Visits with Santa

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

Santa's House will open up for visitors directly following the tree lighting, at approximately 6:30 p.m. 


NEW THIS YEAR - To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following protocols will be in place for our Visits with Santa:

  • To avoid people crowding in a line to see Santa, visits will be done through timed reservations, which can be made online. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend.

  • Plexiglas will separate Santa from guests

  • Hand sanitizer will be available

Click here to reserve your spot for the weekend of December 4th - 6th. Reservations open up at 2:00 p.m. December 1st. Each 10-minute slot can accommodate a family/group of up to 8 people.

Click here for more information on downtown Santa visits, which will take place throughout December:

Fridays - December 4, 11, 18 • 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
(Santa's house will open December 4 right after the Tree Lighting Ceremony, approximately 6:30 p.m.)
Saturdays - December 5, 12, 19 • 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sundays - December 6, 13, 20 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00  p.m.
Wednesday- December 23 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday - December 24 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Crafting with the Gnomies at Therapeutic Indulgence
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
903 E. Jefferson Blvd.
Therapeutic Indulgence will be hosting a Crafting with the Gnomies activity this First Fridays. Stop by with the kiddos for some fun holiday crafts! They will be making Gnomes and Snowman for $5 each. They will be practicing social distancing by hosting this event in a large atmosphere - in their downstairs area. A mask must be worn at all times.
CASA Toy Drive
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Gridiron

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program of St. Joseph County will be collecting gifts this First Fridays. They will be located in the Gridiron parking lot from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

CASA encourages community residents to delight in the holiday season by celebrating the joys of giving back.

There are many ways to help the children in our community. As the holiday season kicks off and the shopping frenzy begins for residents in St. Joseph County, it can be easy to forget that many children, especially those in crisis, may not have the same joyful experiences this year that many people have come to expect.


One way to give back is to donate gifts to the Annual CASA Holiday Toy Drive. Each year the Toy Drive’s goal is to provide gifts to every child in foster care throughout St. Joseph County. With the number of kids in the foster care system rising and over 640 children in crisis to reach, CASA needs the help and support of St. Joseph County residents to bring some holiday cheer to the most vulnerable children in the community.


The CASA Program is happy to accept donations of new, unwrapped toys, books, games, and clothes!

Transforming South Bend: First Fridays Innovation Conversations

12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Live-streamed here

For the past four years, the Center for a Sustainable Future has held a series of 8-12 weeks of individual talks in the Sustainability & Innovation Series. They are now being held on the First Fridays of each month, a perfect tie-in to DTSB First Fridays activities and great fuel for First Fridays conversations! 


Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, the Center will showcase incredible local sustainability and innovation leaders to share how and why they are working to transform South Bend and the greater region into an innovative and sustainable place.


The theme of the talks is “Seeing Systems,” which invites speakers to make and share connections between social justice, sustainability, community building, peace building efforts, and more.


Join in on First Friday Innovation Conversations each First Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. Listen in and share comments and questions on YouTube to join the conversations every first Friday at noon from wherever you are that day!

First Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 pm EST


  • December 4 “Spring at Small Farms” by Kay Westhues, artist, folklorist, and IU South Bend Sustainability Fellow

  • February 5 “The Ways We Use Urban Landscapes” by Dr. Deb Marr, IU South Bend

Specials on Dining, Retail & Services


Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales

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

The Gridiron

The Downtown South Bend annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Sale is back again this year, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofit groups.  Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales will take place in downtown South Bend the following dates and times: 

Fridays – Dec. 4, 11 • 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays – Dec. 5, 12 • 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sundays – Dec. 6, 13 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

20% off at Idle Hours Bookshop

11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

212 S. Michigan St.

Idle Hours Bookshop will be featuring gift-wrapped classics for just $20, and will also have a 20% off sale.

Deals on Products & Services at The Beehive Salon

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

706 E. Jefferson Blvd.

The Beehive Salon will feature $5 off waxing this First Fridays, complementary hand treatments, 10% off Deva and Aquage (what is left in stock), and will be providing cheese, crackers, and wine. Sanaa Chocolates will also be at the salon this Friday.

Holiday Gift Card & Gift Basket Specials at PEGGS

through Christmas Eve

127 S. Michigan St.

Open for dinner hours from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Also, holiday gift card special: get $5 free for every $20 you buy. Plus holiday gift basket special, with $60 worth of PEGGS goodies for $45. Both offers valid through Christmas Eve.

Mac & Cheese Burger at CJ's

11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

236 S. Michigan St.

CJ's December Burger of the Month is the Mac & Cheese Burger -  topped tasty mac & cheese, American cheese, and finished with crispy bacon bits - for $9.99.

Friends of the Library Book Sale 

12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
333 S. Michigan St.

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. To protect the community, the following safety measures will be in place: 

  • Masks will be required. 

  • Capacity is limited to ten people at a time, and their time will be limited to 30 minutes.

  • Be prepared to wait outside.

  • Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available to clean carts and baskets.



Baker’s Bar & Grill

123 N. St. Joseph St. 
Buy one appetizer, get one 50% off.


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 $12

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.
$1 cookies (while supplies last), and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $5

Edible Arrangements

123 S. Michigan St.
50% off a box of dipped fruit (pick-up)

Hair Crafters

602 Lincoln Way East
20% off for new guests and 10% off all retail

Ironhand WIne Bar

1025 Northside Blvd.

20% off bottles of Henri & Madeleine 

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
New seasonal beer release

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

122 S. Michigan St.
2 for $20 any crunch/pretzel combo

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 South Bend

111 N. Main St.

$5 IPA beer special


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