best things to do in mishawaka indiana

Things to do in Mishawaka, Indiana

Looking for the best things to do in Mishawaka? 

As travelers, we always love to know where the locals shop, eat, & play.

Thus, we've compiled a no-frills guide to "America's Best Hometown" Mishawaka, Indiana - the city where our shop is located. 

The bulk of our recommendations are near Downtown Mishawaka and are small locally owned businesses. 

Best Places to Eat


Breakfast


Classic stick to your ribs American diner breakfast can be found at locally owned Raelynn's Cafe (pictured above) or Kristin's Cafe.

Craving a little bit of New Orleans in Indiana? Don't miss The Chicory Cafe. Be sure to admire the jazz mural near their outdoor patio while you enjoy their famous beignets. 

Gourmet coffee & espresso is served up at newly opened Embassy Coffee near Main Street & Lincolnway Highway (one of the first transcontinental highways in the US).

No trip to Mishawaka is complete without a visit to long standing Belgian bakery West End Bakery in the historic West End neighborhood. Dozens of donut, cookies, & cakes options await. 

Another locally owned bakery Lola's Pastry Bread & Jam, is conveniently located inside of our shop, InRugCo.

Known for our danishes, scones, & cookies, we bake in small batches with artisan flour and use no preservatives. 

tampicos mexican restaurant mishawaka indiana

Lunch

For lunch, locals love the sandwiches at Scoobies, carne asada tacos from Tampico's Mexican Grill (pictured above), & burritos from Puerta Vallerta Express.

When the sun is shining, it's best to enjoy the outdoor patios near the St. Joseph River & the Mishawaka Riverwalk at places like Sun King Brewery Mishawaka, Mishawaka Public House, or Social Cantina. 




Dinner

Locally owned Craft|One|Half (pictured above) is bringing innovative cuisine & masterful cocktails to Downtown Mish.

Located in the Carnegie Library, Jesus Latin Grill & Tequila Bar is also a local favorite for mezcal margaritas & South American classics like Gaucho style steaks. 

Vinyl Tap & Table is known for killer burgers, wings, & craft beer. Speaking of craft beer, Indiana's #1 craft beer bar is located not far from Downtown at Hop Station

Celebrating the city's Italian heritage, incredible pizza & pasta can be found at Pasquale Rulli's & Oliva's Bar & Restaurant.

Sushi & hibachi options can be found at locally owned Zing Japanese Fusion. Up street, you can't miss the bright yellow classic mural of Doc Pierces. Make sure to admire their stained glass collection as you dine. 

Further up the street around the corner, you'll find local BBQ favorite The Prized Pig. 

 

Bars

The Midway Tavern (pictured above) is a down-home 1920s blues club famous for its signed photo of Al Capone behind the bar. Catch live music, play pool, drink local beer & enjoy lively conversations with locals. 

Located in an old & some say haunted mansion, the famous trio of chips, salsa, & margaritas at the 100 Center Hacienda is definitely worth experiencing. 

Other popular drinking locations include the previously mentioned Sun King Brewery Mishawaka, Mishawaka Public House, or Social Cantina. 

 

Cultural Attractions 

mishawaka museum Pete de kever

Make the most of your visit to Mishawaka and learn about our city's fascinating past at the Mishawaka Historical Museum (pictured above).

Inside this quaint museum, you will learn all about the Princess City's famous industries and businesses, schools, churches, landmarks, military heritage, famous citizens, and much more. 

Take yourself on a self-guided tour of Mishawaka with Peter De Kever's book Walking Mishawaka: Self-Guided Tours of Historic Sites in the Princess City. 

Inside the book, De Kever details the stories behind 72 significant locations in Mishawaka and 32 graves in the historic cemeteries on the city's north side.

These seven convenient walking tours bring to life prominent people, places, and events from Mishawaka's past. 


Scenes from the Mishawaka Market at Ironworks Plaza.

From June to September, make sure to visit the outdoor Mishawaka Market.

Located by the Mishawaka Riverwalk near Beutter Park, this vibrant outdoor marketplace features local vendors who come together to offer fresh produce, artisanal goods, and a variety of handcrafted items. You'll find a lively atmosphere filled with delicious food, unique finds, and community spirit.

The 2024 Season runs every Sunday from June 9th – September 15th from 10am-2pm. There are no markets on July 7th and September 1st.

The Summer Concert Series presented by the Mishawaka Parks Department offers free live music all summer long! The concerts are family friendly and feature local artists. 

Mondays - Battell Park Band Shell - 7pm-8:30pm
Wednesdays - Ball Band Biergarten - 6:30pm-8:30pm
Thursdays - Central Park Stage - 6pm-8pm

soliders and sailors civil war monument Battell Park mishawaka indiana

Mishawaka's oldest & most historic park Battell Park is home to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument (pictured above). This bronze statue was erected in September 1884 and is worth pausing to admire. 

Across from the statue, the all new Veteran's Walkway honors fallen Mishawaka soldiers who have fought for our country. The walkway ends at an eternal flame, burning as a symbol of everlasting gratitude. 

Local Shopping

inrugco studio & gift shop mishawaka indiana
Inside view of InRugCo

More small shops are opening in Downtown Mishawaka including gift shops Arts & ElementsFull of Grace Gifts, & Mishawaka Antiques. You can also find local handmade items at the Mishawaka Market in the Summer. 

Our family owned gift shop InRugCo is located across the street from Central Park, a short walk from Downtown. We carry a wide variety of local & national items for men, women, & children. 

Parks & Playgrounds

mishawaka riverwalk
The St. Joseph River & the iconic Mishawaka Suspension bridge between Beutter & Battell Park. 

 
The Mishawaka Parks Department does a tremendous job providing our community with beautiful parks. Modernized playgrounds, thoughtful landscaping, picturesque views of the St. Joseph River, pickleball courts, plus countless community events each month. 

The annual Slide the Hill at George Wilson Park (pictured above) is a can't miss summertime event courtesy of the Mishawaka Parks Department.

The best way to stay up to date with Mishawaka Parks & their events is via their Facebook page. 

Central Park rope tower
Climbing the rope tower in Central Park

If you are visiting Mishawaka with kids, you have SO many great options for playgrounds. 

Central Park is home to an impressive rope tower, a splash pad, & pickleball and tennis courts. Heroes Park (a short drive from Downtown) has an American Ninja Warrior inspired obstacle course, plus a sand beach volley court & ga-ga ball pit, a dodgeball-type game. 

battell park opening day
The playground at Battel Park on opening day, don't worry, it's normally not that packed. Credit Mishawaka Parks Dept. for photo. 


 Battell Park is home to a brand new playground and splash pad. 

Both Battell & Central Park are located on the Mishawaka Riverwalk which offers stunning views along the St. Joseph River. The entire Mishawaka Riverwalk walking loop is a little over 3 miles. 

If you need to cool off in the summer heat, Merrifield Pool features a 180-foot water slide, two diving boards, water basketball and concession stand.

 

Central Park splash garden
The splash pads at Central Park. Credit Mishawaka Parks Dept. for photo. 

Other places to cool off at include splash pads at: Rose Park, Twin Branch Park, and Crawford Park

shiojiri garden mishawaka indiana

Representing the sister-city relationship between Mishawaka and Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan is the Shiojiri Garden.

This Japanese Garden offers an idyllic setting to slow down & enjoy the rhythms of the natural world.

If you've been out sightseeing and exploring, this is a great place to take a break. Sit under the teahouse pavilion, listen to the birds chirp and the wind rustle the trees. 

shiojiri garden Japanese garden

The red garden bridge (pictured above) is a symbolic link between this world and paradise; the arch represents the difficult path to be followed.


the mish pocket park

Now no trip to The Mish is complete without a photo at the new Pocket Park. Pose as the letter "I" in The Mish next to the life sized letters.

This little mini-park is located at the corner of 1st Street and N. Main Street in Downtown Mishawaka.

For the full list of Mishawaka Parks, please click here. 

 

Outdoor Adventures 

potato creek state park
An autumn hike in Northern Indiana with golden colors.


Experience a hike in the woodlands of the St. Joseph River valley, checkout my Hiking Trails near Mishawaka, IN guide for recommendations near & far from The Princess City.

Mountain Biking is steadily flourishing in Michiana, favorite local trails include Rum Village, Potato Creek, & Bendix Woods. For more information, visit the Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association. 

Thanks to the St. Joseph River, you'll find local fishermen reeling in steelhead, smallmouth bass, King and Coho salmon & trout. 

Popular boat launches include Miami "Monkey" Island and Prickett Marina Park. For more information, checkout Visit South Bend's Fishing Around the Bend. 

If you aren't fishing, you can enjoy kayaking or canoeing on the St. Joseph River. A short drive east of Mishawaka is Baugo Creek County Park, a good place for inexperienced kayakers. 

For frisbee golf, George Wilson Park receives high praise. 

Indoor rock climbing can be enjoyed north of Downtown at Apex Climbing Gym

In neighboring city South Bend, you can experience the first artificial white water course in North America at The East Race Waterway.

Winter & Holiday Specific

winterfest ironworks ice rink

Mishawaka does not hibernate as the temps dip! The hub of winter activity takes place at the Ironworks Ice Rink, a 17,500-square foot ice ribbon and plaza.

At the Ironworks Ice Rink, you can enjoy ice skating, bumper cars, curling, outdoor fire pits, & patios. 

Annual traditions like Winterfest (pictured above) bring Santa and a parade of festive lights & outdoor vendors all around Beutter Park. 

When the snowpack is there, the classic winter activity is tubing at George Wilson Park and then sipping hot coca fireside in the lounge.

Check with the Mishawaka Park's Facebook to see conditions & hours. 

Wondering how to layer up for chilly winter activities like tubing, ice skating, or XC skiing? Check out my How to Dress for Michiana Winter Activities Guide. 

Lodging

Beiger mansion inn mishawaka indiana

 

North of Downtown Mishawaka on Main Street are various chain hotels like Hyatt Place & Residence Inn, but why not stay somewhere with character like the historic Beiger Mansion Inn

Styled after the neoclassical New Port Rhode Island's mansions, construction started in 1903 and finished in 1908. Upon completion, it was the largest home in Mishawaka at 21,790 square feet.

It was built by Martin Valentine and Susie Higgins Beiger, founders of the Mishawaka Woolen Manufacturing Company, known for their famous Red Ball Band shoes. 

Today this bed & breakfast is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's convenient location offers easy walkability to the Mishawaka Riverwalk & downtown restaurants. 

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Written by Clark Richardes

Questions or comments? Please drop them below. 

 

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