OT: D.C. to South Bend for Notre Dame Game - Ideas? Lessons Learned? Tips and Tricks?

So our boys are traveling back to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in one of the cathedrals of college football. I missed out on being able to attend the last time they went, and knowing how the ACC incorporates ND in scheduling, we might not go back for 50 years.

Anyone go to South Bend last time?

I am looking for helpful tips/lessons learned/and recommendations for getting from D.C. to South Bend.

I am weighing options of flying to Chicago and renting a car or taking the train; or just paying a little more and flying into South Bend directly.

Anyone recommend fun things to do in town, areas to avoid, things that might be worth it/not worth it to see.

My main goal is to place as many stock photos of Sean Austen into as many churches as possible, and then attend the game.

Any help is appreciated.

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Comments

We flew from SC to Chicago then rented a car. We stayed the night in Chicago was a fun no kids weekend. For us we wanted to see some of the unique things ND had to offer, the grotto, the cathedral, the band etc. also I might recommend the steak sandwiches the students sell around campus outside their dorms. We parked at a youth center just off campus and they drove us in a fan all the way to the grotto.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Flew from dc to Indianapolis and stayed there. The drive to and from Indy to south bend wasn't bad and luckily we were staying with ND fans who had a parking spot.

Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

My friend is scared to fly and is driving. Indy looked like a good point to meet since Chicago is past South Bend. Thanks.

The Dude Abides

Scared to fly and is scared of driving? Am I the friend cause I hate both as well

I feed off of nightmares

is scared to fly and therefore is driving to south bend instead of flying

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Ohhhh

I feed off of nightmares

I was there. First of all, it was really cold and it's a month later this year. Like, blowing snow cold. So bundle up.
Can't help you with where to stay locally, other to suggest you do what Fireman suggests and spend a nice evening in Chicago and find a great restaurant the night before and drive it. Traffic wasn't bad at all. Park in the St. Mary's lot and have a golf cart (plenty of them) shuttle you to the game.
Went with my kids, so didn't partake of the adult beverages or tailgates... so can't help you there. Sorry!
Point is, don't take the lousy train... drive it. If memory serves, I think the Chicago alumni chapter partied at at Tobacco Road Tap Room (ACC bar) in Chicago then had a shuttle? Sounded like fun.
See you there!

Not funny. Not funny. And now the baby is upset.

Thanks

The Dude Abides

Game was later when we played there in 2016 -- it was Nov 19 that season and it's Nov 2 this year. Not sure how much of a difference that will make though - weather is hit or miss kind of like Blacksburg. It was definitely f'ing freezing on gameday. One of the coldest games I've been to when you factor in wind chill. The crazy part it was beautiful the day before the game. I was wearing shorts walking around campus on Friday.

The Chicago alumni group organized busses and a catered tailgate spot, which is what my wife and I did. Worked out well as we were able to stay in Chicago and didn't have to drive or find parking and had a tailgate with a short walk to the game. I think it was 4 busses of Hokies, good time and I would recommend it.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

We had 8 buses and about 430 Hokies in 2016. We'll be doing it again this year.

I drove from Blacksburg and have vowed to never do that long flat drive through Ohio and Indiana again. I had some buddies who flew from Roanoke to Chicago and then did something like this and they couldn't recommend it enough.

https://www.irishexpress.com/

The Chicago Hokies do a bus trip as well, expect everyone is a Hokie. I recommend checking it out if you are planning on coming into Chicago.

I moved from Blacksburg to Chicago once, and moved back a year later, and also made two trips back for football games. Yes, it is flat and boring from about a hundred miles into Ohio until you're almost in Chicago, but it's not nearly as flat or nearly as boring as, say, driving through Missouri or Oklahoma.

Dad and sister (GT alum) went to GT/ND several years back, and they stayed in Chicago and took a train to South Bend. Seemed to be a good option.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Ok I got this. The best option in my opinion is to fly to Chicago and stay there. It's a really cool city with tons to do. Just take the train everywhere. For the game, several bars do a bus trip to South Bend for games. We took the Irish Express and it was awesome.

So you start at the bar where they feed you breakfast, beer and bloody mary's. Then you board the bus which has bartenders and an open bar. Then you get to the tailgate where the feed you lunch and have an open bar. Then game (obviously). Then you get back to the tailgate where they feed you more and have an open bar. Then you get on the bus with more open bar. You wrap up with a drink coupon for the bar where you started. Did I mention there were open bars?

I want to say it was somewhere around the $100 to $120 range per person.

The only downside to the whole thing is that they grossly underestimated how much bourbon Hokies would drink and they had to stop twice at liquor stores to get more bourbon.

Honestly it's pretty awesome that they stopped twice to replenish the bourbon. I wouldn't expect most companies to do that.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I agree. I was joking about that being a downside. We were all very proud of ourselves.

I flew into Indy last time. It is a little further than Chicago but still driveable. If you can get a reasonable priced flight into South Bend, it's def worth considering but ORD, MDW, and IND are driveable (plus several other airports similar distance but they are probably smaller and unlikely to offer better prices). I spent the weekend in South Bend. It was cool to walk around campus. I was very underwhelmed at the restaurant/bar scene. Hotels were pricey but there were good Airbnb options not far from campus. We had a ton of people going in our group so we rented out two houses. We catered our own tailgate. We ordered fried chicken trays from Martin's (local grocery store) which was reasonably priced and decent quality.

I'd echo the comments above about considering to stay in Chicago and doing a bus. I have friends from other schools that have done that and recommended it as well. If I go back this year, I may go that avenue, esp since I doubt I'll have a group of 20 going again.

Flew into Chicago, took the train to SB, and trained back the next day. That worked pretty well assuming you find an Airbnb in SB.

If you're not driving (haven't done that) definitely fly into Chicago and rent a car for the weekend

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I flew from Regan Airport to Chicago for the 2016 game with about 15 Hokies. The Chicago Hokie Alumni Association rents 8-10 charter buses and takes a bunch of Hokies to South Bend. I would check out the Chicago Hokie club and see if you guys can buy bus tickets. I think it was $80 bucks round trip and it included food and booze. We ended up rolling in over 200 people deep and were the drunkest group leaving that night after the Win.

Pour some Beer on it

Joe,

Glad you had a good time last trip. The Chicago Hokies are putting the buses together again this year.

I learned my lesson with the weather (JK, it was awesome). A group of us are going to Miami again this year. It's become a little bit of a tradition. You would be shocked at how cheap it is to get Miami tickets/travel for the game. Have fun and I really hope we don't have to dig our way out of another 17-0 hole.

Pour some Beer on it

Ah yes the South Bend - Chicago train, better known as the Vomit Comet.

In all seriousness Chicago is like 1:45 from South Bend

-Stick it in

Hey all,

I'm actually planning the Chicago Hokies bus trip this year. Like some have mentioned, the buses leave from Downtown Chicago the morning of the game, once in south bend we'll have a tailgate with food all set up. After the game you hop back on the bus and are back in Chicago that night.

In 2016 we had 430 people join us on our buses and tailgate and it was a blast, it also helps fund our scholarship. I'll be opening signups in the next month on our website, but until then shoot Chicagohokies@gmail.com a message if you are interested, and want to be kept in the loop.

Let me know if yall have any questions.

I loved it. I'm really glad I got to go before they added their huge video board because it seemed like it was like watching a game in 1978. The people were fantastic. I gave one strong recommendation: eat at Fiddlers Hearth. It's downtown and it's not a big place, but tte food was fantastic. We ended up at a communal table and the ND dad and his two grown sons were so nice, even after a tough loss. They shared their appetizers with my son. Great people. Great food. Great night.

DCA to Midway and then South Shore Line train from Millenium Park to South Bend airport. I did it 2016 and will be repeating it again this year.

Luckily for you, you wont have to wait 50y for them to return to ND. Future schedules has VT's next slated game @ND in 2027. Which, after this upcoming season, is the next time ND comes up in VT's rotation.

Recommendations: don't follow through on your Rudy prank. It's lame.

Having a conversation with you is like a Martian talking to a Fungo.

#JustinTime

I appreciate the candor. I was only kidding about the Sean Austen pictures.

Although I will stand in my seat and say "Whose the wild man now!" when VT gets their first sack.

The Dude Abides

That will likely get you some odd looks, but that's half the fun. Great place to visit and see a game. Well worth the trip.

Having a conversation with you is like a Martian talking to a Fungo.

#JustinTime

I went last time we were there. Notre Dame really opens up the facilities to guests and their fans are super welcoming.

I flew into Chicago and drove to South Bend but I wouldn't do it again. I had an AirBnB that was right on campus so we could walk everywhere, which was convenient. It was damn cold, I wore three layers and was still frigid by the end of the game. I sat behind the student section and the Notre Dame fans all around me kept getting hit by marshmallows but I escaped unscathed.

If I were to go back, I'd probably try the bus trip people are talking about, or I'd fly direct into South Bend (though I bet this option would be hugely expensive).