See if South Bend, IN is the right destination for your family.
South Bend, IN could be the perfect destination for you and your family if you like college towns, outdoor activities, and winter, but want easy access to larger cities. South Bend is home to Notre Dame and four other colleges. It’s a short drive to the dunes and beaches along the Indiana and southwest Michigan coastlines. And Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis are all about two to two and a half hours away.
While most people know South Bend as the home of Notre Dame, it was part of a network of small industrial cities. There is still a core of manufacturing jobs, but healthcare, business and education are the cities three largest economic sectors. Honeywell, Memorial Hospital, the University of Notre Dame, and Bayer Healthcare are among the areas largest employers. Unemployment is 3.8%, in line with the US average.
The cost of living is lower than the US average, with median home cost at $69,400. Average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $800. Taxes and utilities are lower than the US average, too. The Twyckenham Hills neighborhood features ranch and Cape Cod houses, while Erskine Park has older homes with large porches. making it a good place for young families starting out. Downtown neighborhoods feature new mixed use developments. While South Bend is a spread out city, neighborhoods are walkable, and bike trails connect downtown, the colleges, and neighborhoods. Next door Mishawaka also offers walkable neighborhoods and affordable housing.
The University of Notre football games dominate fall weekends, but Indiana University South Bend and Saint Mary’s College also draw students to South Bend and give it that vibrant, college town feel.
Low cost of living is a draw for young families and retirees, but if you’re coming to South Bend from southern and western states, beware: Winter here is serious. Lake effect snow off of Lake Michigan brings more than six feet of snow every year. That’s three times the US average. January lows are a bone chilling 17 degrees; July averages are in the mid-80s, and humid.
If you can stand the winter, South Bend may be a good place to retire. The low cost of living means retirement dollars will go further, and quality health care is readily available. The performing arts center and museums provide entertainment and volunteer opportunities.
Moving with a family? The city goes out of its way to be appeal to young families. The parks department maintains hiking and biking trails, skating rinks and a full range of athletic programs for kids. Schools are generally well regarded; private options are primarily Catholic. Neighborhoods are generally safe, although crime rates are higher than elsewhere in the Midwest.
For outdoors enthusiasts, South Bend offers lots of opportunities. Go white water rafting on the East Race Waterway downtown. South Bend is about 30 miles south of Lake Michigan, making it easy to escape to the beach on hot summer afternoons, go sailing or paddling, or explore beach towns. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore provides hiking, and with all that snow, snow shoeing and cross country skiing. But if weekend trips to Chicago are more your style, the South Shore Line will drop you in the Loop in about an hour and a half.
Welcome to South Bend!
South Bend has a lot to offer, so pack your snowshoes and practice the Notre Dame Victory March. You’ll want a great partner for your move to South Bend, IN, so find an agent.