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Howard Park, South Bend

#4 of 8 in Parks in South Bend
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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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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Howard Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
19 reviews
  • A lovely morning spent at the Park. As a former resident of South Bend - my hometown. I was prompted by family and friends to check out the renovated Howard Park. It is lovely. My husband and I... 
    A lovely morning spent at the Park. As a former resident of South Bend - my hometown. I was prompted by family and friends to check out the renovated Howard Park. It is lovely. My husband and I...  more »
  • The park is pretty clean looking. Not a lot of trash or anything. The Chocolate Cafe is by there and you can buy ice cream and other things. When it's winter time, there's a few fireplaces that turn on and the area from the first picture becomes ice for ice skating. There are very nice paintings inside in the actual park area, too. There is also a small splash pad that turns on in the summer.
  • A very well maintained park There is a water feature for kids to run through. The playground is fun for people of all ages, and wide open space for so many gatherings. The day I was there, a food truck sat on the lawn and was about 20 families deep at any time. This would be a great place for a relaxing walk or to sit and read a book. The Howard Park Public House restaurant is located near here and is also a myst visit for when you've worked up an appetite.

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