Arriving at Notre Dame Campus: Your Travel Guide

Before jetting off to the U.S. and setting foot on the beautiful grounds of Notre Dame, it’s crucial to have your travel plans all mapped out. The journey to the Notre Dame area may prove a bit tricky given the limited public transportation options available, but fear not! We’ve got you covered.

South Bend International Airport (SBN)

Your most convenient gateway to Notre Dame is the South Bend International Airport, a mere 15-minute drive from the campus. Although this spot is the epitome of convenience, the flight options might be a tad limited and possibly steep. To remedy this, consider booking early with flexible dates to catch the best deal.

  • Consider the potential savings of booking a single flight to Chicago or Detroit (or another city flying into SBN), then a separate flight from Chicago or Detroit to South Bend.
  • If the South Bend-bound flight’s cost doesn’t exceed $500 more than flights to Chicago, it might be worth the extra cash to touchdown in South Bend without having to navigate the scarcity of public transport to reach campus.

Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW)

Chances are, most students will be making a beeline to Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW) and hopping on an Uber or the South Shore Train from downtown Chicago to the South Bend airport. Furthermore, adjust your expected arrival time to account for the time difference between Chicago (CST) and South Bend (EST), adding an hour to your schedule. It’s worth noting that Chicago O’Hare is on Central Time, while Notre Dame is on Eastern Time.

Summer Transportation from O’Hare to Notre Dame

New international students heading from Chicago-O’Hare Airport (ORD) to campus can benefit from limited transportation sponsored by ISSA. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Graduate & professional students – typically on the Friday preceding the August 20 Orientation
  • Undergraduates – Wednesday before ISO

Alternative Transportation Options

If South Bend flights are a no-go, we highly recommend directing your flight path towards Chicago, as Indianapolis, IN, and Detroit, MI, don’t offer consistent transportation options to South Bend. Now, if you find yourself at Chicago O’Hare and decide to rent a car, brace yourself for a two-hour drive to Notre Dame—it’s pricier and likely requires a U.S. or international driver’s license.

Should you land at Chicago O’Hare sans wheels, fret not; we’ve got a few options up our sleeve, albeit less convenient:

  • Consider teaming up with a fellow new student to split the cost of an Uber/Lyft from Chicago to South Bend, which typically falls in the $200-300 bracket, depending on the time.
  • Alternatively, hop onto the Chicago Metro and catch the South Shore Line or Amtrak trains. Upon arriving in South Bend, you’d require a taxi to reach campus—this option will set you back around $60, but could be a hassle if you’re lugging more than two suitcases.

If you opt to stay in downtown Chicago, you can board the South Shore Line or Amtrak train bound for South Bend, then make the final trek to campus via taxi. Now, for those touching down at the South Bend International Airport, a quick 15-minute taxi ride can whisk you to campus for approximately $15-30.

Quick Reference Travel Guide

Travel Table

For a more comprehensive guide, consider downloading our Quick Reference Travel Guide.

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