Santa’s House

Look for the little red and white house located next to the South Bend Chocolate Café. 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! NEW THIS YEAR – Santa’s House has received a makeover, with thanks from the following downtown businesses: CircaArts Gallery, Inspire Me, and Classic Image Photography.

Date: December 7th – 24th (see below for hours) 
Location: Located at 100 Block of S. Michigan St. on the Gridiron near the South Bend Chocolate Cafe

Extra details: 
Bring your own camera and take photos of Santa with your loved ones.
Each child who visits Santa will believe 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. Click here for a full list of this year’s “I Believe” promotions.
When the weather outside is “frightful” Santa moves inside the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.

The main event: Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa’s Arrival

Join us at the Gridiron by the South Bend Chocolate Cafe at 5:00 p.m. for live holiday music by The Erly, a letters to Santa station, roving costumed characters like The Grinch, Rudolph, Stu, and Swoop, plus live reindeer, holiday photo ops, giveaways, and more!
Santa will make his grand entrance to downtown in a horse-drawn sleigh a little after 6 pm for the lighting of the Gridiron Tree and a fireworks show. Santa’s House will officially open for visitors after the fireworks, approximately 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  If the line is too long on the night of the Tree Lighting, don’t worry – you will have chances to visit Santa throughout the month of December (see hours below.)
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. Also enjoy more live music from The Erly 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Date: Friday Dec. 7th, 5:00 p.m to 8:00 pm
Location: The Gridiron – next to the South Bend Chocolate Cafe (by the former College Football Hall of Fame)

Cookie Decorating and Gingerbread Village at the South Bend Museum of Art

While you are downtown visiting Santa, head to the South Bend Museum of Art (inside the Century Center) for free cookie decorating, to view the Gingerbread Village and vote on your favorite, to participate in a holiday-themed art project, and more!
You can get there by crossing the street behind the former College Football Hall of Fame, or try out the pedestrian skyway that connects the DoubleTree and the Century Center.
NOTE – for the evening of Dec.7, cookie decorating will take place inside the DoubleTree atrium in order to accommodate the high volume of people that come to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and December First Fridays.
Date: December 7th – 24th (see below for hours) 
Location: The South Bend Museum of Art – 120 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Visits with The Grinch and Rudolph

Visit The Grinch and Rudolph inside the South Bend Chocolate Cafe during the same hours as the Santa House (see below.) The Grinch will be there the first weekend of December, and Rudolph will be there the second. They will continue to alternate weekends throughout the month.

Hours for Santa’s House and Cookie Decorating

Fridays – Dec. 7, 14, 21
5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
(Santa’s house will open Dec. 7 right after Tree Lighting Ceremony, approximately 6:30 pm)
(Special bonus Santa Hours Dec. 21 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Saturdays – Dec. 8, 15, 22
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sundays – Dec. 9, 16, 23
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  
Wednesday – Dec. 19
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  
Thursday – Dec. 20
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
– Dec. 24
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Free two-hour on-street parking is available on most downtown streets and in all three parking garages (see list below; excluding Main & Colfax garage when there is a special event at the Morris Performing Arts Center.) 

Parking is free every weekend, and after 5:00 p.m. on the weekdays on-street and in the garages.  

Parking Garages
Free two-hour parking, and free nights (after 5:00 p.m.) and weekends
•Main-Colfax Garage (enter via Main St.)
•Leighton Garage (enter via Jefferson Blvd.)
•Wayne Street Garage (enter via Wayne St.)

Event Sponsors