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Visits with Santa

The Gridiron
December 2-24

To avoid people crowding in a 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.

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. 


First Fridays: Downtown for the Holidays

The Gridiron
Friday, December 1
5:00 — 8:00 p.m.

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.

Check out all the First Fridays specials offered by our downtown businesses! 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!


Beacon Health & Fitness will be offering free fitness classes!
8-8:45 a.m. - BodyPump
9:15-10 a.m. - Pilates
10:30-11:30 a.m. - Yoga
Please consider bringing a non-perishable food donation with you to support St. Vincent DePaul's Food Pantry.

Beacon Health & Fitness
December 16


Tree Lighting & Santa's Arrival

The Gridiron
**DATE CHANGE** Saturday, December 2 
5:00 — 6:30 p.m.

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature live holiday music by Joe Baughman & The Righteous Few and performances by the IU South Bend Kickline, South Bend Civic Theatre and Southold Dance Theatre. There will also be holiday giveaways, a holiday photo op, roving mascots, and fireworks.


Festival of Trees

December 1-24

Click the link below to vote for your favorite tree!

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


Jefferson Blvd.
December 8

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.

The fifth annual DTSB Holiday Light Parade will take place on Jefferson Blvd. Friday,

December 8 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. 


Historic West Washington Neighborhood
December 17

Take a trip through time with free self-guided tours of historic homes and businesses in the West Washington National Historic District.

The DTSB Holiday Historic Walking Tour is back!

Come celebrate the holiday season and explore South Bend's unique history on the DTSB Holiday Historic Walking Tour! 




South Bend Civic Theatre
December 8 - 17

Based on the 1942 award-winning movie, this fresh take on an old classic comes to the South Bend Civic Theatre. Bring your family to enjoy the heart-warming story of singer-songwriter Jim Hardy as he leaves Broadway and helps transform a farm into the Holiday Inn.


The Morris Performing Arts Center
December 16 - 17

Don't miss one of South Bend's favorite holiday traditions when the Symphony and special guest artists bring you "Home for the Holidays"! A spectacular program of cherished Christmas carols and memorable seasonal tunes that brings joy to all. The perfect gift for the whole family.


South Bend Civic Theatre
December 12

Lexus proudly supports the 90th Season Guest Artists.

A Doublewide, Texas Christmas is a heartwarming holiday play that takes place in a small, wannabe town in Texas where two best friends, Big Ethel, and Georgia Dean, are determined to win the local nativity scene decorating contest, as it would reaffirm that their town was, in fact, an official town. Filled with humor, heart, and holiday cheer, A Doublewide, Texas Christmas is a charming play that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas!

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The Morris Performing Arts Center
December 1 - 3

Imaginative and fun for the whole family, Cirque Dreams Holidaze features singers, dancers, penguins, toy soldiers, and reindeer
to invoke the dreams behind a child's eye
on the most magical of nights. 

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The Morris Performing Arts Center
December 8 - December 10

Magic is on the horizon for young Marie and the Nutcracker Prince, thanks to a visit from the charming but mysterious Great Impresario. At the stroke of midnight on a snowy Christmas Eve when the lines between fantasy and reality blur together, Marie sets out on an unforgettable journey through Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, a marvel of sights, sounds, and enchantment. 




History Museum
December 3 & 10

Enjoy the wonder of the Yuletide season in these self-guided tours of the 38-room Oliver Mansion, decorated for the holidays. Beautiful Christmas trees can be found on all three floors of the historic house. Festooned fireplace mantels and tabletops with Yuletide décor add to the beauty of the house. Enjoy musical selections of the season while you are touring the mansion. Have fun with an “Elf-on-the-Shelf” scavenger hunt and more! 

Please note that there are steps leading to the mansion and stairways inside of the house. $15/general; $10/members; $5/youth 6-17; and free/5 & under.


Aloft South Bend
December 17

Bring your kiddo downtown to have brunch with Santa Claus! Enjoy brunch, cookie decorating, letters to Santa, a hot chocolate station, a mimosa and bloody mary bar, and a photo op with Santa!


ArtDabbler Designs
December 3

Sneak away for a quiet or productive afternoon and drop your artists off at the studio! They will create an ornament painting on canvas with paper and paint ornaments to bring home this Sunday afternoon. Each artist will be encouraged to create a painting and an ornament all their own, which allows them to explore their creativity and learn new techniques. An activity fun for any kid!


South Bend Museum of Art
December 1

Gorgeous ceramic vases (created by their very own Ceramic Studio Specialist) will be available for purchase - so you can give the best gifts to your loved ones this year!

Join SMBA for an annual tradition of art, music, food, and festivities to celebrate the holidays on First Friday!

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!


Ironhand Vineyard
December 14

Join South Bend Lyric Opera for Caroling in the Bend! SBLO artists will perform Christmas and holidays songs including Victoria Schemenauer, Brittney Hale, Kaitlyn Meyer and Dylan Engquist Bajo on piano.

Reservations are encouraged for dining at Ironhand. Book on their website using Tock.


The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery
December 7

"Hygge" is a Danish word for "finding pleasure, comfort, and warmth in very simple, soothing things such as a cozy environment and the feeling that friendship and family bring us!” Bring some friends and fill your cups with hot chocolate, tea, and snacks to fill your holiday spirit with joy! 

Select from over 500 pottery pieces including Holiday/Seasonal items. $6 for the first ticket, $3 for any additional. Your ticket fee includes beverages and snacks, but does not include pottery.

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History Museum
December 6

Curator of Copshaholm Skylar Whited describes Christmas traditions of the past, with a first-floor  tour of the mansion, all decorated for the holiday season included! 

Insights in History is
 by THK Law, LLP.

Admission is $3/general; $1 members. Reservations are required by December 4.


Howard Park
November 24

Howard Holiday Market

Located inside the Howard Park Event Center, it's the perfect opportunity to start your holiday shopping from local, unique vendors.

Howard Park is celebrating the official opening of ice skating season with activities and everyone is invited. The park will be bustling with holiday excitement, so sip, skate, and shop your way around Howard Park.


Chicory Cafe
December 4

Chicory offers a wide variety of breakfast items including waffles, biscuits and gravy, egg po' boy sandwiches, quiche, avocado toast, bagels, cold cereal, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

Chicory Cafe of South Bend made it on the nice list this year and Santa is coming to celebrate! Come have lunch at the cafe and get a picture with Santa (bring your own camera).


ArtDabbler Designs
December 8

Bring your elf to the studio on Friday, the 8th to create a special present for someone they love! Each artist will have 3 options to choose from and will leave with a wrapped present in wrapping paper they make themselves!

Each artist will be encouraged to create a present all their own, which allows them to explore their creativity and learn new techniques!


Monroe Circle Community Gear
December 15 & 16

The Monroe Circle Community Center annual Christmas Store is happening again this year! Register early at Open Cafe or the Food Pantry to get a shopping time! They will have in-person registration Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. - 2p.m., with online and phone registration beginning December 4.

Be sure to bring a photo ID, a St. Joesph County proof of address, and birth certificates for children when registering.

Family Activities



The Cellar Wine Bar 7 Kitchen
December 4

Join The Cellar for a boozy and scrumptious evening to indulge in the perfect wine and cookie match made in heaven! Their expert sommelier and pastry chef will guide you through a unique tasting experience, explaining the nuances of each wine and how it compliments the flavor of cookies. Don't miss this mouth-watering event!

Tickets are required to participate in this event.


The Garage
December 16

Come celebrate the happiest time of year with DJ Dehteg! This event will feature music by artists such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, $uicideboy$, XXXTENTACION, and more!

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November 26

The Welcome Center will also feature coupons, giveaways, coffee, donuts, and a Shop Small photo booth. The DTSB Small Business Saturday Welcome Center will be located right next to the Howard Holiday Market - taking place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Howard Park Event Center. 

Join DTSB in celebrating and supporting our local businesses by shopping and dining small in downtown. Stop by the Small Business Saturday Welcome Center on November 26 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in Howard Park to get your own Shop Small bag and a list of all the deals, promotions, and added experiences taking place in downtown South Bend that day.



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