Mishawaka was named after a Native American princess, the child of Shawnee Chief Elkhart. It is located on the St. Joseph River just upstream of South Bend.
Mishawaka was made industrial by the river that fed Lake Michigan. It is also known for its wool, rubber and agricultural windmills.
With a series of riverside parks connected by the Riverwalk trail, the St. Joseph River remains at the heart and soul of Mishawaka’s appeal.
You’ll find the University Park Mall here.
The St. Joseph River, which flows through Mishawaka at a gentle pace and then tumbles down to the Twin Branch dams, is Mishawaka’s strongest point.
A looping pedestrian/bike trail runs along the river’s banks, connecting the Mishawaka Dam to the east and S Logan St. Bridge to the west.
The Riverwalk has lighting, delicate landscaping, signage, signage, a footbridge connecting Battell and Beutter Parks, as well as constant views of the river.
2. Central Park
This beautiful riverside park was just reopened after a major renovation when we wrote the article.
Central Park can be found on the Mishawaka riverwalk. A footbridge crosses the river near the dam which creates whitewater.
This is where you can see the Mishawaka Fish Ladder that allows salmon and trout upriver access to their hatchery.
It is popular with families because of its splashpad. On Thursday nights, there are outdoor concerts at the modern bandstand.
Central Park also has lighted tennis courts and a children’s play area, as well as five pavilions, picnic tables, and grills.
3. South Bend
Mishawaka is located in the same area as Indiana’s fourth-largest City. This means that you will be within minutes of many major sights, museums, entertainment venues, and other attractions.
We will also discuss the University of Notre Dame in a separate paragraph.
South Bend has many attractions, including the National Studebaker Museum, Morris Performing Arts Center (1922), South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend Museum of Art, and the CircaArts gallery. The History Museum explores the history of Michiania, and preserves the 38-room Oliver Mansion (1895).
Like Mishawaka’s Mishawaka, South Bend’s history is tied to the St. Joseph River. Downtown, you can see the River Lights, a spectacular art installation that was erected in 2015. The East Race Waterway is also located on the river, which attracts paddlesports enthusiasts.
4. University of Notre Dame
It is also impossible to miss the University of Michigan, located just a stone’s throw away from Mishawaka’s northern end.
To take a campus tour, you don’t have to be a student. These tours start at the Eck Visitors Center.
The main tour provides a glimpse into the history and daily activities of the university. It includes the Grotto of Our Lady of Lordes (1896), Basilica of the Sacred Heart (1888) and Main Building (1879).
Fans of sports will be familiar with the Fighting Irish and can take a tour of the Notre Dame Stadium. It opened in 1930 and can accommodate more than 77.600 people.
5. Battell Park
A little further downstream from Central Park lies another beautiful waterfront park, which is also connected with The Riverwalk.
Battell Park was founded in 1881. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1996.
Two contributing monuments are the Soldiers’ War Memorial (1884), and an elegant, copper-domed, Classical Revival-styled bandshell, which was completed in 1927.
A five-tier cascading gardens with pools, arched bridges and waterfall, which was added during the Great Depression as a Works Progress Administration, is also beautiful.
6. Potawatomi Zoological Garden
It’s not located in Mishawaka but you can reach this well-known zoo within five minutes of Battell Park. The season at Potawatomi Zoo runs from April to October. It celebrated its centenary 2021 and is now the oldest zoo of Indiana.
This is a conservation-oriented attraction, engaged in more than 50 Species Survival Plans worldwide.
The zoo has a large section dedicated to African species. There are lions and warthogs, okapis, Diana monkeys as well as plains zebras and okapis.
Australian Outback is also prominent, which features a walk-through exhibit featuring kangaroos and wallabies as well as emus, kookaburras, and emus.
The Americas is home to bison, North American river Otters, capybaras, and American alligators. The Learning Center houses habitats for small primates, reptiles, and invertebrates.
Don’t forget the Cat House. It was built in 1930 by the Works Progress Administration and is home to Amur leopards as well as snow leopards.
7. Robert C. Beutter Riverfront Park
The main attraction of Beutter Park is the St. Joseph River. It’s a beautiful place to relax and be active near the water.
Beutter Park is a seven-acre park with beautiful landscaping.
A long river race is the main feature of this park, which is popular with waterbirds like ducks and geese. It is bordered by a well-tended perennial garden that runs along its length. The modern River Shards sculpture, designed by Jan R. Martin and installed in 2004, is at the head of this race.
8. University Park Mall
Simon Property Group owns a super-regional, upscale shopping mall located just north of the Notre Dame campus.
University Park Mall serves Mishawaka and Elkhart as well as South Bend and Southern Michigan. It has over 120 stores and is anchored JCPenney and Macy’s.
Here are some of the most well-known brands: Apple, Foot Locker and Sephora. Crew, Forever 21 American Eagle, Vans, and Loft.
There are many chain restaurants along Grape Rd like LongHorn Steakhouse or Wendy’s, and the mall also has Five Guys and Chick-fil A. The food court features include Charley’s Cheesesteaks, YiHi Japan, and Chick-fil A.
9. Evil Czech Brewery and Public House
Mishawaka’s brewpub is a popular spot for American comfort food, as well as a wide selection of craft beers.
Evil Czech’s flagship beers include General George Patton (Lager), Evil Czechmunk(IPA), Bigsby white Stout, Stalin’s Dark Side (Russian Imperial IPA), Jesus Mexican Beer, Static Chipmunk, Static Chipmunk, Static Chipmunk, Static Hoppia, Three Six Hoppia, IPA, and Voodoo.
The spacious pub has a window that overlooks the brewhouse. Here you can enjoy unique combinations of beer and tacos, poutines, mac & cheeses, sandwiches, woodstone pizzas, burgers, and many other dishes. You can sample many menu items by sampling small plates at the Sunday brunch.
10. Merrifield Park
Merrifield Park is tucked away on the south bank of the St. Joseph River and boasts one of the most beautiful stretches.
Prospect Drive is the main road that leads to the waterfront, offering scenic views of the large homes on the other bank.
Mishawaka’s community pool is located in the park. We’ll discuss it later. There are also a number of amenities such as a children’s playground and baseball/softball diamonds. A football/soccer field can be found here.
Merrifield Park houses an outdoor ice rink that is open from early December through the beginning of February. It is open weekends and during winter breaks.
11. Strikes and Spares Entertainment Center
Strikes and Spares Entertainment Center is a multi-attraction complex that can be used as a family outing, date night, or just for fun with friends.
You have a bowling alley with blacklight cosmic bowling, an indoor track for go-karts, junior karts and nine holes of mini-golf, bumper cars, Ninja Warrior-style agility courses, bounce houses, and a bounce pad.
All this is combined with arcade games and a snack bar, as well as a lane-side grill and bar & grill where you can order homemade pizzas, burgers and wings.
12. Putt-Putt Fun Center
This large mini-golf club is located in Mishawaka. Putt-Putt Fun Center is generally open from spring to fall. It has three 18-hole golf courses.
There is enough variety to keep you interested in the course for multiple times. You will also find no wacky obstacles. This means you can be skilled and precise.
Specials for multiple games are available if you are a large group or can’t get enough. An arcade is available to complete the experience with ticket redemption games.
13. Shiojiri Niwa
One of Indiana’s few Japanese-style gardens is located near Merrifield Park.
Shiojiri Niwa, a Japanese sister city in Mishawaka, was established in 1987 in order to honor the close relationship between these two cities. This authentic strolling garden, complete with a teahouse pavilion was designed by Shoji Kannaoka (Landscape architect at Disney World’s Epcot Centre).
Shiojiri Niwa is rich in symbolism. The Garden Bridge symbolizes the link between paradise and this world, while the zigzag bridge, according to legends, allows those who cross it to escape evil spirits.
The garden contains over 200 boulders, many partially buried to give the impression that they have been there for a while.
These rocks are grouped in odd numbers as a convention. This is to contrast the garden’s man-made elements and natural irregularity.
14. Merrifield Pool
The Olympic-sized outdoor pool of Mishawaka is located in the same park. It is open from early June through mid-August. There are designated hours for lap swimming if you’re looking for some exercise.
Merrifield Pool has a few amenities, including a basketball hoop, two diving boards and a 180-foot water slide. There is also a concession stand. Season passes are available for residents and non-residents. There’s also a learn-to swim program.
15. Blueberry Ranch
Blueberries are often described as a superfood. There is an organic farm in Mishawaka that offers U-Pick during summer.
This usually begins in early July and goes on through mid-August.
For more information, visit Blueberry Ranch’s website or Facebook pages. You can also purchase pre-picked blueberries, blueberry jam and blueberry bushes from the farm store.
Frozen blueberries are also available, with regular pop-up sales throughout each year.