So, What is There to Do Around Here?

Author: Scholastic Staff

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Welcome to South Bend, Indiana!

With a population of just over 103,000, the Studebaker-studded industrial history and sprawling corn fields of South Bend look little like the major metropolises of New York or Chicago. Luckily, campus life provides plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. Here is a handy guide to getting the most out of your weekends at Notre Dame!


Marie P. DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC)

Opened in the fall of 2004, DPAC features five theaters, including the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre and an innovative 80-seat pipe organ hall. All theaters have been designed so five concerts may be held simultaneously without noise interference from one theater to another. Covering 150,000 square feet at a cost of $64 million, DPAC is the home of Notre Dame’s department of Film, Television and Theatre. The performance spaces serve as a venue for visiting artists, music department concerts, Metropolitan Opera screenings and more.

Browning Cinema

The Browning Cinema is the only THX-certified movie theater in Indiana. You can catch the best of Hollywood, independent and international motion pictures at DPAC every Thursday through Sunday. The Browning Cinema screens films of all kinds, from acclaimed movies like “Parasite,” to old classics like “Dr. Strangelove” and commercial successes such as “Pitch Perfect 2."

SUB Movies
The Student Union Board (SUB) also hosts special movie screenings. While you can catch older films at DPAC, SUB offers box office hits, like “I, Tonya,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “Booksmart.”

Student Film Festival

In January, notable films created by Notre Dame students are screened in the Browning Cinema. A must-see event, this is your chance to check out the newest flicks before they hit the indie film festival circuit! The student film festival promises rich artistic expression, laughter and more than a little controversy.


From classical tragedy to lowbrow comedy to foot-tapping musicals, Notre Dame’s theatre scene has it all! Washington Hall hosts a wide variety of performances from student groups throughout the year, while DPAC holds shows produced by the theatre department. One special performance featured professional improv troupe “The Second City,” which previously included performers like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Additionally, the student-led Pasquerilla East Music Company (PEMCo) presents several popular musicals to sold out crowds. Recent hits have included “Anything Goes,” “Bare” and “Bright Star.” A variety of other shows are hosted through additional groups like Notre Dame Opera, The Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company and Student Players.



Every Thursday night in Duncan Student Center’s Hagerty Family Café, SUB hosts an open-mic night for solo student musicians and campus bands. Whether you’ve got a craving for some Lumineers covers or want to check out original music produced by campus talent, AcoustiCafé is free for everyone. If you’re interested in performing, SUB has open sign-ups each week.

Concerts and Shows

One can always count on Notre Dame students to line up outside the Stepan Center and other venues for several shows each semester. Recent performers have included Noah Kahan, Tai Verdes, Peach Tree Rascals and Garth Brooks. Students consistently bring the energy, and both the performers and audience have a great time!

Collegiate Jazz Festival

This competition between college jazz bands from across the country is the oldest college jazz band festival and garners attention from jazz enthusiasts nationwide — including Brandon Marsalis! Don’t miss the special performance put on by the renowned judges of the competition at DPAC to conclude the festival.


Notre Dame Television is a student-run broadcast media station that you can watch on campus cable (channel 53) or on YouTube (“NDtv: Notre Dame Television). The station creates buzz with its original shows such as “Notre Dame’s Got Talent,” “Tea Time” and more.


Student Union Board (SUB)

SUB works tirelessly to bring exciting outside shows and speakers to campus, as well as sponsor various on-campus activities. Divided into several branches, SUB provides a wide range of multicultural and intellectual activities. Activities include prize raffles, final exam stress relievers and organized trips around the greater Mishawaka area. SUB also sponsors the Sound of SUB, the biggest music festival on campus, as well as a comedy act in the fall.


FlipSide provides fun weekend activities for people who do not want to drink alcohol. Expect a few video game nights and board game tournaments, as well as organized outings to local mini-golf courses and bowling alleys. If you’re interested in FlipSide’s mocktail recipes or more information about the club, make sure to look for a poster in your dorm’s bathroom, the regular source for campus wide information. 


The Visiting Writers Series

The Creative Writing Program, a graduate department at Notre Dame, also hosts a number of writers throughout the year. These visits don’t tend to get a great deal of press, so make sure to look around the hallways of O’Shaughnessy for posters, or check out the English department’s calendar of events at

The Juggler

The Juggler is Notre Dame’s on-campus creative writing publication. Each semester, The Juggler publishes poems, creative essays and personal memoirs written by students. It is Notre Dame’s second oldest publication, after Scholastic. They are always looking for submissions!