December 4, 2020

2019 information listed below. 2020 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 The Erly, holiday photo ops, a Santa letter station, giveaways, games, and roving costumed characters like The Grinch, Rudolph, Louie the Lightning Bug, Stu, and Swoop.
Santa will be arriving a little after 6:00 p.m. to light the tree, followed by a fireworks show. Santa's House will be open for visitors after that, approximately 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
Free cookie decorating will be taking place in the DoubleTree atrium from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. that evening, and 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 details on the over 50 events and performances taking place throughout December, 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



As always, Transpo will be offering FREE shuttle rides on one of their new CNG buses from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Click here for a map of the shuttle route. Transpo shuttle service will pass each stop approximately every 15 minutes.

The shuttle service now has First Fridays Tour Guides! They will tell you all about the different activities and promotions taking place downtown at First Fridays, as well as give general info about the downtown businesses, mixed with historical tidbits and fun facts. Grab a seat on the new First Fridays Transpo Tour, and enjoy the informative ride!

As a special treat, The Music Village Jammers will be performing on the First Fridays shuttle from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Entertainment & Activities

Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa's Arrival

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

The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at the Gridiron with entertainment starting at 5:00 p.m. Enjoy live music by The Erly, holiday photo ops, a Santa letter station, giveaways, games, and roving costumed characters like The Grinch, Rudolph, Louie the Lightning Bug, Stu, and Swoop. Additional entertainment will be provided by the IU South Bend Kickline and some surprise guests. Santa is expected to arrive a little after 6:00 pm to light the tree, and afterwards fireworks will fill the sky.   

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 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. If the line is long on the night of the Tree Lighting, and you want to go do other First Fridays activities instead, don't worry - you will have chances to visit Santa throughout the month of December (see hours below.)

Fridays – Dec. 6, 13, 20 • 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

(with 6:30 p.m. start time December 6)
Saturdays – Dec. 7, 14, 21 • 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sundays – Dec. 8, 15, 22 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  
Monday – Dec. 23 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  
Tuesday – Dec. 24 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

Free photos with the Grinch at South Bend Chocolate Cafe

6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

Visit the Grinch this First Fridays at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe and bring your camera for free photos. The Grinch and Rudolph will be at the Chocolate Cafe on alternating weekends throughout December, on the same schedule for Santa's House & Workshop (see above.)

Laura Whidden will also be playing a free show from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Laura will be performing pop/rock selections mixed with her own song creations. Also take advantage of their First Fridays special of 2 for $20 any crunch/pretzel combo. 

Holiday in the Gallery

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
120 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Join the South Bend Museum of Art for an annual tradition of art, music, food and festivities to celebrate the season! Check out this year's Gingerbread Village Competition entries in The Dot Shop, where you can also shop for one-of-a-kind gifts created by local artists.


Plus, enjoy free museum admission, giving you the opportunity to view the following exhibitions:
*The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature: 29 pioneering artists: 80 years of published science fiction, adventure and fantasy illustrations!
*WorldBuilders: Recent Artwork by Jeff Miracola, Michael Whelan, Donglu Yu and Kirsten Zirngibl
*Beyond: Video and Animations by Evan Mann and Julia Oldham

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides

6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pick up & Drop off by Studebaker Plaza

Dream Coach Carriages will be offering 15-minute horse-drawn sleigh rides from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets will go on sale beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Studebaker Plaza. The cost is just $20 per 15 minute sleigh ride, which can accommodate up to four passengers.

Festivus Celebration at Purple Porch Co-op

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

123 N. Hill St.

Join Purple Porch Co-op for their inaugural A Festivus for The Rest of Us! event. Seinfeld fans can enjoy the following activities:

Elaine Dancing
Seinfeld-themed Foods
Airing of Grievances
An Aluminum Pole

It's a Festivus for the rest of us!

TMV Holiday Benefit Concert

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

333 S. Michigan St.

Harp guitarist Muriel Anderson will be performing a holiday concert to benefit The Music Village. This casual-yet-elegant evening in TMV's main room will help support TMV community outreach programs.


Tickets for this holiday-themed benefit concert are $50 per person and include one alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink and a wide variety of hors d'oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Double Dutch with the ND Jump Rope Team

6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Gridiron

Members of the ND Jump Rope Team will be doing double dutch in the parking lot west of the Gridiron for kids to join in!

Snowman Make & Take at Therapeutic Indulgence

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

903 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Stop in to Therapeutic Indulgence this First Fridays for a Make & Take Snowman Rice Sock! These will be assembled in the basement and all ages are welcome. Bring your kiddos to get creative, then take your new friend home, throw it in the microwave for a minute and enjoy some nice warm cuddles. $5

Holiday Show at Fire Arts

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

305 E. Colfax Ave.

Fire Arts, Inc. will be holding a second reception for their holiday show. Join them for light refreshments and some holiday cheer.  Also take advantage of their 10% discount on purchases of original artwork.  This discount is valid through December 23rd.

Kennedy’s Kitchen at Fiddler’s Hearth

9:00 p.m. to midnight
127 N. Main St.

Enjoy free live music at Fiddler’s Hearth by local Irish band Kennedy’s Kitchen from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every First Fridays!

Specials on 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. Relay for Life will be kick off the sales this First Fridays. Trees and wreaths are provided by J & K Tree Farm from LaPorte. Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales will take place in downtown South Bend the following dates and times: 

Fridays – Dec. 6, 13 • 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays – Dec. 7, 14 • 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sundays – Dec. 8, 15 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

Pay it Forward Friday at Ali on the Boulevard

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

722 E. Jefferson Blvd.

  Ali on the Boulevard will be donating a portion of this First Fridays sales to Youth Services Bureau. They will also be  accepting sweater donations for St. Margaret's House December 5th - 7th, and will give $5 Ali cash for each sweater donated.

20% off Paperbacks at Idle Hours Bookshop

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

212 S. Michigan St.

Stop in to Idle Hours Bookshop and warm up with some treats and a special extra 20% off paperbacks! They make great stocking stuffers.

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 in their newly renovated space – with extended hours. Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Specials on Food & Drinks

Free Cookie Decorating

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

Enjoy free cookie decorating across from the Gridiron in the DoubleTree atrium. Starbucks will have a beverage station with $2 hot chocolate, $2 coffee, and $5 adult beverage mix-ins. Cookie decorating will continue throughout the month of December, but will move to the South Bend Museum of Art, with the same schedule as Visits with Santa (see left column).

$1.99 Santa & Grinch Smoothies at Edible Arrangements

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
123 S. Michigan St.

Edible Arrangements will be running a special on $1.99 Santa (strawberry) and Grinch (pineapple) smoothies, in addition to their normal First Fridays special of 1/2 priced dipped chocolate boxes. They will also be offering 20% off on Christmas pre-orders.

One-Topping Pizza Deal at Center Stage Pizza
5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

428 Lincoln Way West

Center Stage Pizza will be offering a special on an 18" one-topping pizza for just $15.

Special Dinner Hours at PEGGS

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

127 S. Michigan St.

PEGGS will be open for special dinner hours this First Fridays. They will also be running a gift card promotion through Christmas Eve: receive a $5 gift card for every $20 in gift cards purchased.


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 $19.95 plus tax.

Ben’s Pretzels

122 S. Michigan St.
3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce).


131 S. Michigan St.
Get one 14″ 1-topping pizza for $12

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Live music, 5 oz. gelato cup for $3, 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.

Live music, 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

Tippecanoe Place

620 W. Washington St.
1/2 price appetizers In the Studebaker Lounge 

Unique Boutique International

122 S. Michigan St.

50% off the entire store 


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