So you’ve made the correct decision in attending a game at Notre Dame during the college football season. Good for you — I doubt you’ll be disappointed. But how can you make the most out of the experience? There is so much that goes on during Notre Dame Football gamedays, it’s impossible to do everything without making it some type of race rather than a pilgrimage of enjoyment.
AN OVERNIGHT TREAT
While getting into South Bend on Friday isn’t a requirement of a fantastic football weekend, it is something I highly recommend — even if that means a hotel outside of town. Being there on Friday means you’ll be able to attend the Friday pep rally on campus and the Midnight Drummer’s Circle (in front of the Golden Dome) to really get in the mood for some college football.
WHERE TO EAT?
South Bend was rated as one of the best cities in the country for pizza, and it’s easy to agree with that claim after years of sampling the pies in town. While everyone has their own set of personal pizza rankings, I’d have to go with 1. Rocco’s 2. Barnaby’s and 3. Bruno’s.
If pizza isn’t your thing (are you even human?) there are plenty of other options around town — which include a very healthy dose of Irish pubs such as C.J.’s, Corby’s, O’Rourke’s, Brothers, Fiddler’s Hearth, and more. Maybe you’re ready to lick the pole and be a part of history over at the Linebacker Lounger — one of the most iconic bars around campus.
One of my favorite places is in Granger at Villa Macri. It’s an enormous Italian restaurant, deli, and sports bar with fantastic food and again... plenty of space to plop down to enjoy some food, drink, and more football.
When you’re on campus for gameday, the Eddy Street Commons has plenty of spots to fill your stomach and wet your mouth, but there are also some great options on campus. Dorms are out on the lawn grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, but the best option is probably over on the South Quad — that’s where the Knights of Columbus sell their famous steak sandwiches.
WHAT TO SEE?
Again... there is almost more to see than what you can comfortably accomplish before the game, but here’s a solid rundown of what to see on campus:
- Touchdown Jesus.
- The National Championship coach statues are located at gates around the stadium.
- Moose Krause’s bench.
- Fair Catch Corby statue.
- We’re Number One Moses statue.
- The Log Chapel.
- The Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
- The Grotto.
- The Bookstore.
- Knute Rockne’s grave.
Besides locations and monuments, there is the player walk from the Basilica to Notre Dame Stadium, Trumpets Under the Dome, and the Notre Dame marching band as they march into the stadium to begin game events. From time to time you’ll see the bagpipe band marching through campus, and if you don’t see them, you’ll definitely hear the pipes from all over.
ABOUT SOUTH BEND...
There’s a big difference between South Bend and the Notre Dame campus. South Bend is a major city in Indiana and is mostly a typical blue-collar midwestern town. It’s not exactly the college town some might imagine when they see images of Notre Dame’s campus.
As far as your visit is concerned, almost everything you need (and likely want) is right there on campus or just off campus. Obviously, if you are staying at a hotel in South Bend, you’ll have to venture more around the city. South Bend is a fairly easy city to navigate and Mishawaka and Granger are lovely residential areas to the east and north of South Bend.