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Get in the holiday spirit during the whole month of December! Watch the Tree Lighting Ceremony, attend the Holiday Light Parade, visit Santa, vote for the best gingerbread house, purchase a fresh-cut tree, and shop for the perfect gift. Click below to find just the perfect activity for you!


This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature live holiday music by The Erly and dance performances by the IU South Bend Kickline and Southold Dance Theatre.


There will also be holiday giveaways, a holiday photo op, roving mascots, and a Santa letter writing station.

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—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



Look for the little red and white house located next to the South Bend Chocolate Café (at the 100 Block of S. Michigan St.). Santa’s House is a great place to spend one-on-one time with the “big guy.”

Don’t forget to bring your wish list and a camera! Each child who visits Santa will receive an “I Believe” sticker which will enable them to receive trinkets and discounts throughout downtown South Bend, including a  complimentary chocolate bar from the South Bend Chocolate Cafe. 

To avoid people crowding in line to see Santa, online reservations are highly recommended for Santa visits and can be made by clicking the "Visit Santa" button below. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend at 2:00 p.m. Each 10-minute slot can accommodate a family/group of up to 8 people. We will also be accepting walk-up visitors, and a physically distanced line will be created for those without a reservation.

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 | CANCELLED

  • Saturday, December 24 | CANCELLED

COVID-19 Guidelines 

  • ​Plexiglass will separate Santa from guests. 

  • Guests are encouraged to wear masks while waiting to see Santa, but it is not required. 

  • Hand sanitizer will be available. 

Visits With Santa

Holiday Specials

Holiday Specials
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Community Chanukiah Lighting

Celebrate the 1st night of Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah) with the Jewish community in Downtown South Bend on Sunday, December 18th at 5:30 PM
Witness the lighting of the 1st night’s candles on the giant chanukiah (sometimes called a menorah) outside of the Morris Performing Arts Center displayed in the Jon Hunt Plaza.

First Fridays


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, giveaways, and more! 

The 2022 Gingerbread Village will be located in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott. View the entries and vote for your favorite!

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Gingerbread Village

Holiday Window Display Contest

Take a tour of the downtown decor to view all of the contestants in this year's Holiday Window Display Contest and vote for your favorite on DTSB's Facebook page. Voting will start December 4 and the winner will be announced December 24 on DTSB's social media. 


Festival of Trees

View holiday trees decorated by local sponsors and organizations! Vote for your favorite on DTSB's Facebook page. The winner will be announced December 24 on DTSB's social media. 



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The fifth annual DTSB Holiday Light Parade will take place on Jefferson Blvd. Friday, December 9 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. 

Do you have a float or walking unit you would like to enter into the parade?  Fill out the online application here. The application deadline is December 1.

Light Parade


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.

Tree and Wreath Sale


The DTSB Holiday Historic Walking Tour is back for the first time since 2019! Come celebrate the holiday season and explore South Bend's unique history on the DTSB Holiday Historic Walking Tour. Take a trip through time with free self-guided tours of historic homes and businesses in the West Washington National Historic District.


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