There are not really special customs in the South Bend/Mishawaka area. But the area is close to the Amish Country in northern Indiana (Elkhart and surrounding towns points east and south). Those towns have more Amish traditions. There may be some special customs observed there. Please see the web site below for more information.
Located in the Amish Country, Essenhaus Village offers a great dining, shopping, and lodging experience... Amish style. The Essenhaus Village is located in Middlebury, Indiana, about 30 minutes east of South Bend on U.S. Highway 20.
Notre Dame campus
The campus is like a park where you can take a walk and see some of the buildings and monuments. The library building is probably the tallest structure on campus. Look at the huge art work on the walls of the buildings. There's also an art museum on campus.
Center of Northern Indiana
South Bend is an economic and commercial hub of northern Indiana. It's outside 'da Region', which is northwest Indiana (Gary, Hammond) and offers many differences in social, community and local spirit. It has the convenience of access to the Chicago and NW Indiana markets.
South Bend, Indiana
The South Bend/Mishawaka area, or Michiana, in northern Indiana is where I am located (at least during the summer months when I'm on summer break). I live in Mishawaka, but the better-known city is South Bend. It is the 4th largest city in Indiana. The county, St.Joseph County, is also the 4th largest county in Indiana. All I can say that this is a typical, middle-sized American city.
South Bend is home to the University of Notre Dame. Each football season the city is extremely festive. Another university located in South Bend is Indiana University-South Bend. I am less than a hundred miles east of Chicago, Illinois. The attractions offered in South Bend is pretty much listed on that sign in the photo on the left. This sign is located on Indiana SR 933 / U.S. 31 Business just off Exit 77 from the Indiana Toll Road (I-80/90), which most of you would use to get to South Bend.
Northern Indiana is home to a fairly large Amish population. Therefore, be sure to visit the beautiful Amish hometowns around the area. Most of these towns are located east of South Bend. The historic Amish Acres in Nappanee is where you can experience typical life in the Amish Country. Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury is where you can experience traditional Amish homemade cooking. The place also sells baked goods such as pies and bread as well as peanut butter, all made from scratch.
If you will be visiting Chicago and have some spare time, come over to visit northern Indiana and the South Bend area. Enjoy South Bend!