15 Best Things to Do in Mishawaka, IN

Mishawaka, IN
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Mishawaka is one irresistible stop in a tour of Northwest Indiana, with the scenic St. Joseph River meandering across this city, which is one of its many points of interest.

Dubbed as “The Princess City,” Mishawaka is named after the Shawnee Princess Mishawaka, daughter of the Indian chief, Elkhart.

The charm that Chief Elkhart’s princess lent to the city is coupled with other historic elements that make Mishawaka an interesting place to visit.

Located in St. Joseph County, Mishawaka was founded in 1831 by settlers drawn by the local bog iron deposits.

Agriculture, too, was one the foundations of the early development of Mishawaka, which became known in the late 1800s as the "Peppermint Capital of the World."

Mishawaka, which is wedged east of St. Joseph County’s seat South Bend, earned its spurs in the automotive industry in the ensuing years.

Between 1906 and 1915, the luxury car of those years—the American Simplex—was assembled in Mishawaka.

All told, this city has evolved a rich character mix that molded many interesting travel destinations, as this list of things to do in Mishawaka would show.

Stroll on the Mishawaka Riverwalk

Closeup view of the waterfall at Mishawaka Riverwalk
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The stretch of the 47-mile long St. Joseph River that cuts across Mishawaka is a community asset that the city has put to great use.

The city has developed several endearing parks and recreational structures on St. Joseph’s riverside, including the Mishawaka Riverwalk.

Accessible on North Spring Street, this riverwalk is officially named the "River St. Joseph of the Miamis Trail."

The Mishawaka Riverwalk provides a loop of trails for bikers and pedestrians on the St. Joseph River banks.

Taking a stroll on this Riverwalk promises not only some of the best views of the St. Joseph River.

The Mishawaka Riverwalk also features aesthetically designed landscaping and bridges linked to other riverside attractions, such as Kamm Island, Beutter Riverfront Park, and Central Park.

Beautiful greenery at Mishawaka Riverwalk during sunset
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Bring the Family to Central Park

This family-friendly park, at 12.8 acres, is one of the largest among the 26 public parks in the city of Mishawaka.

Central Park spreads on the north bank of the St. Joseph River and is accessible via the Mishawaka Riverwalk.

The park can also be conveniently accessed from East Mishawaka Avenue, just east of Main Street.

Kids will enjoy Central Park for its splash pad and well-designed playground equipment.

Adult visitors, on the other hand, can have fun at the park’s lighted courts for basketball and tennis.

Five pavilions, picnic tables, and grills are also among the facilities in Central Park.

Catch Salmon on Kamm Island

Fishing right in the middle of the city is an experience you can have in a visit to Mishawaka.

The Kamm Island Park, easily accessible via the Mishawaka Riverwalk, provides this rare opportunity.

This island park spreads over 7.5 acres and is just north of the 100 Center high-rise building on West Front Street, where a footbridge also opens access to Kamm Island.

You can drop a line on this park’s fishing spots along the St. Joseph River, which is touted as one of the best rivers in Indiana for fishing.

Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, Smallmouth bass, steelhead trout, and walleye are plentiful in the river during their seasons.

Enjoy a Show at the Battell Park

Rock garden at Battell Park.
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If you’re visiting Mishawaka during a holiday weekend, check out this park on West Mishawaka Avenue at the north side of the St. Joseph River.

Mishawaka’s special events, like theatrical productions and concerts, are typically held in the historic bandshell of Battel Park.

Established in 1881, this 11-acre park is notably the city’s first and remains the premier park of Mishawaka.

Rock garden falls of Battell Park.
Brent of All People, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Battel Park further exudes charm in its historic wall and terraced rock garden, which were set up during the 1930s.

The other facilities in this park accessible via the Mishawaka Riverwalk include playground equipment, a splash pad, lighted tennis courts, and a basketball court.

There's also a picnic area with tables and grills, a gazebo, a popular wedding venue, and a civil war statue.

A civil war monument at Battel Park.
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Meditate at the Shiojiri Garden

This is a small public park on the southwest corner of East Mishawaka Avenue and North Indiana Avenue.

The Shiojiri Park was developed as a friendship garden to symbolize Mishawaka’s sister-city ties with Shiojiri City of the Nagano Prefecture in Japan.

Arguably the most peaceful public place in Mishawaka, this 1.3-acre authentic Japanese garden is one of the few in Indiana.

Its designer, Shoji Kanaoka, also conceptualized the Japanese gardens of the Epcot Center in Florida.

The Shiojiri Garden features 20 different varieties of flowers and trees, including a grove of cherry trees.

The garden also flaunts four bridges, two snow lanterns, and a traditional Japanese teahouse pavilion.

Directly adjacent west of the garden, more recreational facilities are available at the 12-acre Crawford Park.

Its facilities include lighted basketball courts, a splash pad, playground equipment, picnic areas, and an open-air rental pavilion.

Enjoy the Waters at the Merrifield Park

Swimming is not recommended in the St. Joseph River because of its powerful current.

However, you can still enjoy the waters in Mishawaka at its 13-acre riverfront Merrifield Park.

Located on Prospect Drive off north of Mishawaka Avenue, this park features an Olympic size swimming pool with a diving platform.

It also provides a 160-foot water slide, a figure-of-eight wading pool with a water umbrella, and a water basketball net.

On the north side of Merrifield Park, there is also a boat launch as well as playground equipment.

In addition, this northern part of the park holds an ice skating rink, a football/soccer field, baseball diamonds, a sand volleyball court, and a sand play area.

Go Boating on the St. Joe River

Rafting at St. Joe River
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The St. Joseph River, also affectionately called “St. Joe,” is navigable, and boating on its Mishawaka stretch will reveal much of the urban character of the city and its beautiful riverfront homes.

For this water adventure, one great starting point is the Prickett Marina Park on East Jefferson Blvd. west of Penn High School.

Among the features of this 15-acre public park is a dual boat launch, and right beside it is the commercial outfit Wyland’s Marina.

The facilities in the Prickett Marina Park also include fishing piers, playground equipment, an off-leash dog run, an open-air rental pavilion, picnic tables, and barbecue grills.

Play Golf on Both Banks of St. Joe

Mishawaka is home to the Eberhart-Petro Municipal Golf Course, a unique layout covering the southern and northern banks of St. Joe River.

Named after its founders, this course opened in 1929 for just nine holes of play on the south side of the St. Joe River.

This public course, accessible via Prospect Drive, was expanded in 1949 to 18 holes, with the new nines off the north banks of the river.

As a result, golfers playing a round on Eberhart-Petro Municipal Golf Course will need to cross the river four times.

Play on this well-manicured municipal 89-acre golf course is set at par-70 over 6,000 yards from its longest tees.

Get Inspired at the Beutter Riverfront Park

This park is on the southern bank of the St. Joseph River and spreads over 7 acres off North Spring Street.

Beutter Park was developed on the grounds of an abandoned factory that had been an eyesore for years.

The development of this park saw a dramatic and inspiring change to the site, which now features an abstract, reflective sculpture titled “River Shards.”

The aesthetics in Beutter Park is likewise in full display at the fast-running river channel with two bridges featuring fiber-optic underwater lighting.

The park, named in honor of Mishawaka 1984–2003 Mayor Robert C. Beutter, also boasts an 800-foot perennial garden to draw inspiration from.

Visit the Quaint Neighborhood of a Historic Brewery

Tall smokestack building of Kamm and Schellinger Brewery.
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Take a look at some architecturally and historically significant structures at the Kamm and Schellinger Brewery.

Located on a large acreage on Lincolnway West, this brewery was established in 1853.

The brewery was closed in the early 1950s, and its complex of quaint brick buildings became a multi-use property comprised of retailers, restaurants, and other businesses.

Top part of the Kamm and Schellinger Brewery smokestack.
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The most impressive structure on the brewery’s complex is a towering smokestack overlooking the St. Joseph River, Kamm Island, Lincoln Park, and Kate’s Garden.

The nearby Lincoln Park is worthy of a visit as well, where there’s a monument to Princess Mishawaka.

Kate's Garden, on the other hand, flaunts an Educators sculpture, an Instagram-worthy gazebo ringed by a brick pathway, plus thousands of annual and perennial plants.

Exterior of the Kamm and Schellinger Brewery's smokestack.
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Go Malling at University Park

University Park Mall is a super-regional commercial hub serving not only Mishawaka.

Mall-goers from the nearby cities of South Bend and Elkhart, as well as shoppers from southern Michigan, also troop to this mall because of its wide selection of retailers and restaurants.

Moreover, this mall is conveniently located at the intersection of State Road 23 and Grape Road.

The University Park Mall boasts a climate-controlled interior housing 120 stores, including iconic name brands like Michael Kors, Victoria's Secret, Sephora, and Apple.

For dining options, the mall offers its popular food court, as well as Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Flat Top Grill.

Bowl at the Strikes & Spares Entertainment Center

Bowling that’s the flagship for this family-centric fun house, delivers all the thrills with black lights and music on its lanes.

Strikes & Spares also offers a mini-bowling experience in its Highway 66 Lane, where bowling shoes aren’t required.

Play under black lights promises as exciting in Strikes & Spares’ nine-hole Magic Circus Mini-Golf.

Likewise, this entertainment center provides automatic bumper cars for kids and an indoor go-kart track.

Then, there are Ninja obstacle courses challenging their players’ agility, endurance, strength, coordination, and balance.

Stay in a 1900s Mansion

Front exterior of Beiger Mansion
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In your visit to Mishawaka, you can stay in the Beiger Mansion, a historic house built in the 1930s and converted into a luxurious bread-and-breakfast inn.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this mansion was built in 1903 as the residence of Martin and Susie Beiger, the founders of Mishawaka’s Ball Band footwear.

The curb appeal of the Beiger Mansion is at once impressive with its front yard’s vintage planters and fountain.

Staying in this mansion, especially between April and October, opens access to its heated pool and hot tub nestled in its gardens.

A well-equipped workout facility is also one of the amenities that the Beiger Mansion B&B offers.

Indulge in the Games of Mega Play

Mega Play is a home for family entertainment occupying 39,000 square feet of floor space.

It is one of the anchor establishments at Mishawaka’s Town & Country Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Highway Road and West McKinley Avenue.

At Mega Play, you will find a large array of real-world and digital fantasy games.

It features an arcade with classic video games like Pac-Man, Galaga, Fossball, Airhocky, and Pole Position.

Mega Play also offers an 18-hole indoor mini-golf, a pad jousting arena, and the 800-square-foot Playland, featuring a ball pit with climbing rope bridges, slides & tunnels.

Experience Fear Itself at the Legend Park

This scream park off McKinley Highway is definitely one of Indiana’s favorites during Halloween when it holds special fright shows.

But even during ordinary months, Legend Park is a crow-drawer among thrill-seekers of macabre experiences.

Legend Park maintains a regular Fear Itself tour of five haunted houses in its year-round repertoire.

These offerings for screams and goosebumps include Ward 13—Zombie Asylum, Dark Circus, Rat Trap—World's End, Rock Monkey Caves, and Taken.

Final Thoughts

Mishawaka is a travel destination where you can enjoy its prime attractions quite conveniently.

This is particularly so for the city’s parks masterfully interlinked by a Mishawaka walkway meandering around the scenic vicinity of the St. Joseph River.

The wheels of commerce and industry that have been turning efficiently in Mishawaka are likewise strong boosters on plans to explore the exciting things to do here.