The 2020 spring semester may have only just gotten underway in South Bend, but as anyone who’s been through commencement before will tell you: it’s never too early to start planning.
And with so much happening at Notre Dame throughout graduation weekend, it can be tough finding time to figure out things like the best places to take a photo, where to eat, and, most importantly, where to stay when you there…
Luckily, at Rent Like A Champion, we’re not just experts at finding you weekend home rentals for graduation, we’ve also been helping parents plan their trips to campus since 2006, so we know a thing or two about how to get the most out of your 2020 Notre Dame commencement trip.
Here are our top tips…
Stay close to the JACC
Every individual school within Notre Dame will have their own ceremonies, but the weekend is highlighted by one “all-encompassing” celebration at The Joyce Center (or “JACC” as most on campus refer to it), located right next to the football stadium on the southeast end of campus.
While you may think that any place that advertises “close lodging” near the Notre Dame campus will put you in the right area… in actuality, if you stay north or west of campus you could end up continuously needing to find parking near the actual commencement location, or needing to walk long distances during a weekend when every moment counts.
Our team suggests staying somewhere between the southernmost point of the JACC and downtown South Bend. That way, you’ll be able to walk right to campus, while also enjoying all of what makes South Bend so great for a weekend trip.
READ MORE: Where should I stay near Notre Dame?
Make dining reservations early
Over your family’s time visiting loved ones at Notre Dame, we’re sure you’ve come up with a few favorite dining spots - spots, we bet, you’ll want to make sure to visit one last time before the end of your Notre Dame journey.
Only problem? Your favorites are probably a lot of other people’s favorites, too.
So if you’re hoping to get reservations for your friends and family, our suggestion is to book now.
Some of our team’s favorites include Parisi’s, Corndance, or LaSalle Grille for a more upscale night out - or Rocco’s Pizza for a more relaxed, local classic. Whatever you do, however, just make sure to do it early.
READ MORE: Our 2019 Best Restaurants in South Bend list!
Want pictures near the Golden Dome? Make it your first stop of the day
If you thought dining reservations will be tough to get, just wait until you see the line to get pictures underneath one of Notre Dame’s most treasured landmarks.
Located at the Main Building, the Golden Dome is a staple of any photo op during commencement weekend in South Bend, but lines get long as the day wears on, so it’s vital that you make it your first stop of the day as soon as you arrive on campus.
And a pro tip: many students spend time on Saturday morning picking up their cap and gown, but you’re technically allowed to go pick them up on Thursday or Friday. So save yourself some time, get your outfit early, and be one of the first at the Golden Dome!
Stay at a home rental to save money, and get the most out of your weekend
As you can expect, with the high-demand of housing every year for commencement weekend, hotel prices around South Bend absolutely skyrocket… and even if you find something affordable, it could be miles away from campus...
But all around town, homeowners that live just walking distance to campus open their doors to parents and guests at more affordable prices - though that’s not the only reason to stay at a home rental for the weekend.
From your own kitchen to save money instead of constantly dining out, to grocery delivery and pick up when you arrive, to being able to easily get to campus instead of searching for parking or taking ride shares all weekend - home rentals are quickly becoming the preferred choice of parents and loved ones traveling into town.
Plus, you can keep everyone under one roof during this incredibly special weekend - instead of constantly needing to meet in lobbies, text to coordinate schedules, and all separate at the end of each night.
Speaking of home rentals…
At Rent Like A Champion, we currently have hundreds of weekend home rentals for Notre Dame graduation, ready to book right now! Click below to find your perfect place to stay...