5 Must-See Attractions in Sioux Falls, SD You Can’t Miss

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a city teeming with diverse attractions that cater to every taste and interest. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art aficionado, a history buff, or a wildlife lover, Sioux Falls has something captivating to offer. Among the plethora of attractions, five stand out as absolute must-sees for any visitor to this vibrant city.

From the breathtaking natural beauty of Falls Park to the mesmerizing outdoor art gallery of SculptureWalk Sioux Falls, and from the enriching cultural experiences at the Washington Pavilion to the fascinating wildlife encounters at the Great Plains Zoo, and finally, to the immersive historical journey at the Old Courthouse Museum, each attraction promises a memorable and enriching experience that truly embodies the essence of Sioux Falls.

1. Falls Park

Falls Park - Sioux Falls SD

Falls Park stands as a natural centerpiece in the heart of Sioux Falls, offering visitors a glimpse of the city’s namesake waterfalls and much more. The park spans over 123 acres and is home to some of the city’s most picturesque scenery, with the Big Sioux River cascading down a series of stunning waterfalls. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply to enjoy the view.

The park is not only a feast for the eyes but also a hub for outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the historic Queen Bee Mill ruins, the observation tower, and the remains of the 19th-century Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building. For those interested in the arts, Falls Park is also the starting point for the SculptureWalk, an exhibit of outdoor sculptures that winds through downtown Sioux Falls.

Here’s a quick guide to the amenities you’ll find at Falls Park:

  • Observation Tower
  • Visitor Information Center
  • Open Air Shelter
  • Picnic Areas
  • Restrooms
  • Cafeteria

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or art enthusiast, Falls Park has something to offer. It’s a must-visit destination that captures the essence of South Dakota’s diverse attractions, from its rich history to its vibrant arts scene.

2. SculptureWalk Sioux Falls

SculptureWalk Sioux Falls is an evolving outdoor exhibit that transforms the city’s downtown into a vibrant, open-air gallery. Art enthusiasts and casual observers alike will be captivated by the array of sculptures that line the streets, showcasing the work of both local and international artists. This free, year-round exhibition not only enhances the urban landscape but also supports the arts community, making it a must-see attraction in the heart of the Midwest.

Each year, new pieces are selected and installed, ensuring that repeat visitors always have something new to discover. The sculptures range from the abstract to the whimsical, and visitors can vote for their favorite piece, which may be purchased by the city to become a permanent part of Sioux Falls’ public art collection.

  • Annual event: New sculptures are installed each year.
  • Diverse artwork: Pieces range from abstract to whimsical.
  • Interactive experience: Visitors can vote for their favorite sculpture.
  • Free and accessible: Open to the public year-round.

As you explore South Dakota’s attractions, don’t miss the chance to stroll through SculptureWalk and experience the creative pulse of Sioux Falls. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, this dynamic display is a testament to the city’s commitment to cultural enrichment and artistic expression.

3. Washington Pavilion

The Washington Pavilion stands as a beacon of culture and entertainment in Sioux Falls. With a dynamic lineup of Broadway classics and new shows, the 2024-25 Washington Pavilion Performance Series promises to captivate audiences of all ages. The Pavilion isn’t just a place for children; it’s a hub for adults seeking a creative escape or a touch of sophistication.

Beyond the stage, the Washington Pavilion offers a variety of programs and events that cater to diverse interests. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Engaging art exhibits that rotate throughout the year
  • Educational workshops and classes for personal enrichment
  • A science center that makes learning fun for everyone

Whether you’re a Sioux Falls local or just visiting, the Washington Pavilion is a must-see destination that enriches the cultural fabric of Eastern South Dakota. It’s a perfect complement to the city’s vibrant scene, where you can also explore outdoor activities and dining options after enjoying the arts.

4. Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a dynamic destination for families and wildlife enthusiasts. The zoo is continuously evolving, with a master plan that includes the introduction of a new exhibit showcasing the South Dakota prairie. This exhibit is a celebration of the state’s natural heritage, featuring animals like the black-footed ferret, a conservation success story.

In addition to the prairie exhibit, the zoo is planning to unveil a new aquarium within its administrative building. The space, previously occupied by the Delbridge Museum, is being repurposed following the discovery of arsenic in the taxidermy collection. The proposed layout for the Delbridge Collection includes a 4,000 square-foot area for a selection of the collection and an additional 2,500 square feet for animal dioramas.

Visitors can look forward to other potential enhancements, such as a giraffe feeding zone, which adds an interactive element to the zoo experience. The Great Plains Zoo’s commitment to regular updates and accreditation standards ensures that each visit offers something new and exciting, making it a must-see attraction in Sioux Falls.

5. Old Courthouse Museum

The Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls offers a unique glimpse into the region’s past, housed in a beautifully restored 1800s building. Step back in time as you wander through the museum’s three floors of exhibits that showcase the local history, from the early pioneer days to the present.

The museum’s collection includes historical photographs, artifacts, and interactive displays that tell the story of Minnehaha County. Visitors can explore South Dakota’s diverse attractions within the museum, including the original courtroom and a series of rotating exhibits that highlight different aspects of local culture and history.

Admission to the Old Courthouse Museum is free, making it an accessible option for families and history enthusiasts alike. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, ensuring ample opportunity for exploration. Here are the current visiting hours (*subject to change):

  • Monday: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Tuesday: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Wednesday: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Thursday: 9 AM – 9 PM
  • Friday: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM

Whether you’re interested in the judicial history of the area or the architectural beauty of the courthouse itself, this museum provides a comprehensive and engaging experience for all.

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Great Faces. Great Places.

South Dakota is an incredibly unique state in that each region offers a completely different experience then the others. Check out each of the regions to see what each has to offer!

Badlands

Western South Dakota

Featuring the Black Hills, Badlands, the Sturgis Rally. This region tends to be the most popular.

CENTRAL REGION

This region of South Dakota offers some of the best hunting and fishing in the entire central US. 

Eastern Region

The eastern region is home to the largest city in the state and provides visitors with a true "prairie" experience.