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Howard Park, South Bend

#4 of 8 in Parks in South Bend
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The redeveloped Howard Park boasts a four-season venue with fully accessible indoor and outdoor amenities. The urban park is designed to encourage use by a network of shared-use riverwalk trails suitable for both pedestrian and cyclists. There is an approach to the park’s major amenities from all four directions.

Replacing the previous ice rink is the 16,000-square foot ice feature that transforms into usable park space in warmer seasons. During winter months, an ice skating pond and trail gently extends along contours and over a bridge into the park, giving visitors a one of a kind skating experience. Surrounding the ice skating area are several firepits with seating and landscaping. In warmer weather, the ice feature will be integrated in the park landscape as a patio space and path for public use.

As signature as the ice is in the winter, a primary summer draw is a 1,500-square foot interactive series of water fountains and jets featuring a colorful lightshow that turns the fountain into a nighttime attraction. Nearby will be an accessible 13,000 square foot state-of-the-art contoured playground which is “contained” within the surrounding ice trail. The park is served by a support facility which contains restrooms, skate rental, concessions and maintenance. Architectural lighting will artistically adorn areas of the park along with a modern yet modest sound system will be enjoyed in select recreational areas. Finally, directly in view of the iconic South Bend River Lights, is the new event lawn – capable of accommodating major festivals, concerts and events that exceed 3,000 in capacity.

Accompanying the skate trail, water fountain and playground is a mixed-use community center. The new building is situated at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and St. Louis Boulevard, modeling the urban area surrounding the park by bringing the building to the street edge for a vibrant, active space. Illustrating our commitment to sustainability, the building will be LEED v4 certified, perhaps the first in the state to claim this designation. It features standard setbacks, quality streetscaping and generous plaza space around the building to create spaces for outdoor dining, reading, relaxing and conversation. The facility provides spaces for all seasonal activities, from educational to fitness to social events. Located at the west end of the facility is a restaurant/café space, which boasts commanding views of the park and the St. Joseph River, from both indoor and outdoor seating options.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
16 reviews
  • Local park renovated in early 2020. Due to COVID, the playground & skating rink are closed but my quiet riverwalk views in Howard Park are fantastic!  more »
  • We went with children to Howard Park for ice skating and were stunned by the entire facility. Everything from the skating area to the innovative playground to the indoor facilities is top notch. The.....  more »
  • Currently under construction with wonderful updates including a new multipurpose building, interactive water feature, and ice trail! Opening November 29,2019.
  • They are doing a complete remake of the Park. All trees have been removed. They have several of walking pathways poured with new concrete. It's going to be a handicapped-accessible place. Not sure how long it will take to complete the project. It should be a very nice green space when finished.

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