What are the best things to see at Notre Dame in South Bend?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Caroline Patek

South Bend’s University of Notre Dame campus is home to some of the most recognizable structures in the country after having been showcased for many years during television broadcasts of sporting events and referenced in numerous movies and television programs. During a visit to Notre Dame, these sites are a must.

1. Notre Dame Stadium. Some of the most famous football players have graced its field and some of the game's most noteworthy contests have taken place here. On Saturday's during the fall when the Fighting Irish play at home, the parking lots around the stadium swell with tailgaters, while fans line the walkways to watch the team and the marching band enter. The stadium offers tours that give visitors a behind the scenes look or visitors can walk around the outside of the building where statues honor the legendary coaches that have led the football program.

2. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The on-campus Catholic church features neo-Gothic architecture and stunning murals that took 17 years to complete. With a plethora of stained glasses windows tinting the sunlight, the interior of the Basilica is breathtaking. A museum and tour guides help to put the church into historical context.

3. Main Building/Golden Dome. Possibly one of the most famous images associated with any university is the Golden Dome that hovers above the Notre Dame campus. The dome was added to the building — which largely houses administrative offices — in 1882. On top of the dome is a 19-foot statue of Mary, the Mother of God, which the school is named for (Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French).

4. Hesburgh Library. The mural on front of the 13-story library is named The Word of Life, but millions of Americans know it by its less formal moniker, "Touchdown Jesus." Clearly in view at one end of the football stadium, the Hesburgh's mural has become as much a part of the football tradition at Notre Dame as anything. Visitors to the campus can be seen on the quad in front of the library having their picture taken with arms upraised with the mural in the background. Those venturing inside the library can go up to the higher floors to look out at a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

5. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. A small-scale reproduction of the shrine to St. Bernadette in France, the Grotto has long been a favorite among the university's students. A small stone from the original Lourdes site is on display and visitors light prayer candles that line the stone structure. In addition, a prayer service is held at the site daily at 6:45 p.m.

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