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Downtown for the Holidays

December 6, 2024

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

2023 info appears below. 2024 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.


The holiday season kicks off this First Fridays where we will be celebrating "Downtown for the Holidays!" Many of our downtown businesses will be having special holiday events to get you in a festive spirit!


NOTE - due to projected rain, we are moving our outdoor First Fridays activities to Saturday, December 2, including our Tree Lighting Ceremony with Santa's grand arrival to downtown, performances, giveaways, fireworks, and more!

We encourage you to come downtown both days - for our inside holiday activities and promotions Friday and our outside events Saturday.

First Fridays highlights include SBMA Holiday in the Gallery, Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Morris, Hibberd for the Holidays, live music at multiple locations such as Fiddler's Hearth, Merrimans' Playhouse, Chicory Cafe, Ironhand Wine Bar, plus the Gingerbread Village opening at the Courtyard, ornament decorating at Chicory Cafe, and much more!


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


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

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

Holiday in the Gallery is a beloved SBMA community event, inviting all to share their joy for the holiday season. This year they will have a Holiday Art Market, including artists from SBMA's community and local galleries. Enjoy live music in the Warner Gallery provided by the Fischoff Academy while creating snowflakes and treating yourself to goodies and the open bar. 

This exciting night has many facets including the opening of the LGBTQ+ exhibition and an Artist Talk with Rashaun Rucker, discussing his solo exhibition “Patron Saints of a Black Boy”.

They’re excited to kick off the festivities December brings with you!

Scheduled Programming:

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Art Market 

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Music by Fischoff

6:30 p.m. -  Rashaun Rucker Artist Talk

121 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Dec. 1- Dec. 24

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

211 N. Michigan St.

8:00 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze dazzles with a brilliant and whimsical family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a Broadway-style production around an infusion of contemporary circus arts. Cirque Dreams Holidaze will be at the Morris Performing Arts Center December 1-3 and features an ensemble of aerial circus acts, sleight-of-hand jugglers, fun-loving skippers, breath-catching acrobatics, and much more.

Holiday Show at Fire Arts

305 E. Colfax Ave.

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

Fire Arts Inc. presents its Annual Holiday Show and Sale featuring art work created by all the Fire Arts resident artists. They will have a First Fridays Holiday Show Reception December 1 with hot chocolate and seasonal treats. All purchases will receive a 10% discount by simply saying “Happy Holidays” before checking out.  

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Moved to Saturday, December 2

The Gridiron

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

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature live music by Joe Baughman + The Righteous Few, performances by  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! 


There will be food and retail vendors plus the Courtyard by Marriott will have hot beverages for sale with a cash bar as well.  ​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 Joe Baughman + The Righteous Few

5:30 p.m. - Southold Dance Theater

5:45 p.m. -  IU South Bend Kickline

5:55 p.m.  – South Bend Civic Theatre

6:20 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 Joe Baughman + The Righteous Few until 8:00 p.m.​

Visits with Santa

Now Starting Saturday


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.

Santa visits are completely free with no reservations required!

Here is the full Santa schedule:

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

Saturdays, December 9, 16, 23 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sundays, December 3, 10, 17, 24 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Friday, December 8 | 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)

Fridays, December 15 & 22 | 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.

321 S. Main St.

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Businesses at the Hibberd are joining together this First Fridays to bring you "Hibberd for the Holidays." Visit all participating businesses in the building - Bend Yoga, Salon Nouveau, Shive Hattery Architecture & Engingeerng, South Bend Brew Werks, Bradley Company, and Ragamuffin Bakery + Coffee - and be entered to win a raffle prize! They will also have special events that evening in the building like hand massages, store-wide discounts, candy canes, yoga games and more!

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Chicory Cafe will have free ornament decorating for the kids, free order of beignets with a purchase for anyone from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and live music from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Plus - adult coffee drinks: Spiked Pumpkin Spice and Peppermint Patty for $7 each.

401 E. Colfax Ave.

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Trombonist and composer Andrew Meyer leads the Andrew Meyer Quintet and will be presenting music from his upcoming debut album Silver Linings: all original music inspired by and written about uncertainty of the world of music during the height of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and his life experiences living in Chicago. The music is a reflection on Andrew’s deep admiration and love for the Art Blakey hard bop sounds of the 1960s mixed with the modern jazz sound of the Chicago music scene. Tickets are $10 General; $5 Student.

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.

First Fridays vendors and organizations

Moved to Saturday, December 2

The Gridiron

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

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

The Arty People

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Dena’s Kitchen & Catering LLC

Divided Attention Designs

Ko-s port-a-pit

LaShay LaVae

My School Options

Renewals by Anderson

Salvation Army Kroc Center

Temet Jewelry craft

Collection for St. Vincent De Paul Society

Moved to Saturday, December 2

The Gridiron

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

DTSB will be collecting donations for St. Vincent de Paul Society at our booth at the Tree Lighting Ceremony this year.

SVDP serves families in need in Northern Indiana with programs designed to relieve emergencies, provide support and encourage self sufficiency. The SVDP food pantry and home deliveries of food to homes serves over 9,000 families each year, and their financial assistance program provided $151k worth of rent and utility assistance to neighbors in need last year.

They are most in need of toiletries, diapers, canned chicken or tuna, peanut butter, and mac & cheese. 

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.  

Retail & Dining Specials

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 specialty drinks.

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.

121 S. Niles Ave.

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Perry Vine, located inside the Emporium Building, will be doing tastings of their cider and mead this First Fridays, with one free tasting per customer. Additional tastings are $1.50. If you plan to buy a glass you’re welcomed to BYOM (bring your own meal) and dine in the atrium area adjacent to our store — please note seats are limited. They will also have bottles for sale! Bring back your clean bottles and receive 10% off your next purchase!

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

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Free beignets with purchase! Plus 16 oz. Hurricanes and Blue Raspberry Long Islands for $5​

Courtyard by Marriott Bistro

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

15% off full bill at the bistro First Fridays, including both food and drinks. 

Dainty Maid Co. Food Hall

231 S. Michigan St. 

Special extended hours for dinner on weekend nights including First Fridays, with dining/drink options from Oak + Ash,  Smashed, Propaganda Pizza, Hall Pass, and a Roaster Called Revenant.

Fiddler's Hearth

127 N. Main St.

Enjoy live music by Kennedy's Kitchen from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every First Fridays! 

Ironhand Wine Bar

1025 Northside Blvd.

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

South Bend Brew Werks

321 S. Main St.

Karaoke every Friday

South Bend Chocolate Cafe 

122 S. Michigan St.

2 for $20 any crunch/pretzel combo

Tippecanoe Place/Studebaker Brewing Co.

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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