Adam and I have now been living in South Bend (pronounced: South BEND – I still often put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble) for about a month. The nearly universal response when people hear that we have moved to SB is: <face of confusion and distress> “South Bend?? Why there?!” Of course, some people initially confuse it with Bend, OR and are all excited, meaning that they are only MORE upset for us when we correct them.
But Adam and I have quickly become huge fans of this little hidden gem. So, given all the (skepticism and) questions I get about what it’s like to live here. I thought I would take a few minutes to dispel some myths and share with everyone a few reasons why South Bend is actually dabomb.com! First, a few basic facts to give you a sense of the city.
SOUTH BEND STATS:
- Incorporated as a city in 1865
- 4th largest city in Indiana (Metropolitan Statistical Area population of 318,586)
- Led by Mayor Pete Buttigieg (youngest mayor to be elected in a city of more than 100,000 residents)
- World's largest producer of wagons in the 19th century
- Home of University of Notre Dame (est. 1842)
Myth #1 - Other than Notre Dame, South Bend is depressed and dangerous.
While South Bend was hit fairly hard with the decline of manufacturing in the 1960s, South Bend’s economy is on the upswing. The Mayor has been driving economic growth with a focus on tech/innovation (could SB be the next global tech hub? Possible, according to this interesting article), and the city began seeing population growth this year the first time in nearly 50 years. The old Studebaker plant is now a pretty cool new tech center, Ignition Park, and South Bend has even been named one of techie.com’s top 10 “unexpected cities for high-tech innovation." The potential for growth has not gone unnoticed either, as investors and developers like Great Lakes Capital are stepping in and further spurring growth in the area. It’s an exciting time for the city!
While the crime rate in South Bend is admittedly higher than the US Average (41.4; SB’s is 68), it is better than Washington, DC, where I lived for three years after college without a problem. And I will say that I’ve never felt unsafe. The South Bend police do a great job of patrolling and there are always families and couples out walking, picnicking – even kayaking on the St. Joseph river! – when we’re out for workouts or doing errands.
I will also say that the cost of living is also pretty insane, which is great for triathletes just starting out! And there is a beautiful mix of historic homes (one of which we live in!)....
....as well as new construction (one of which we will live in… once we make some moolah!).
Myth #2 - South Bend can’t be good for triathlon training.
Oh man! Talk about a myth! I will admit that there are no mountains here. The best we get are rollers up by the Michigan border, but there are miles and miles of quiet country roads with beautiful views and minimal lights/stop signs – IDEAL for long bike intervals.
And awesome bike loops out by Chain lake.... which we have been swimming in everyday since I got here, I might add!
While we haven’t used it much of late, there’s also an easy access 25yd pool and weight/training center at Memorial Life & Fitness, which is only a mile from our house!
Myth #3 - There is nothing to do in South Bend
Ummm, FALSE! Well, between training, racing, working and moving/unpacking, Adam and I have been to tired/lazy to do much else. But my bucket list of restaurants/cafes to visit is quickly growing (front runners include Evil Czech Brewery, Breadsmith Artisan Bakery, and rein juice)!
There’s also minor league baseball (South Bend Cubs!), chocolate galore (South Bend Chocolate Company produces more than 3,000 lbs of chocolate daily in its factory, although we haven’t gotten to try even a bite yet!), and possibly the best 4th of July fireworks I’ve ever seen! The city is also pretty active/outdoorsy – the city’s East Race Waterway was the first artificial whitewater course built in North America and opened in 1984 – there is still kayaking every Sunday during the summer!
Long story short, I HEART SB! Adam and I have an open door policy, so if you’re ever in the area, feel free to stop by – I think you'll love it too!