Brookings, SD

Quick City Facts

County: Brookings
Population (2019): 24,415
Population (2010): 22,056

Data provided by US Census Bureau (2019)

The fifth largest city in South Dakota, Brookings had more than 18,000 registered residents as of the 2000 census. Named for Wilmot Wood Brookings, who supervised the building of a main roadway that traversed Brookings County, the city saw its first organized settlement, Medary, in 1857. The official city of Brookings was established near Medary to accommodate a central railroad path that would serve all of the existing communities. Today, the city functions as the official county seat.

Home to South Dakota State University, Brookings enjoys a rich academic culture. The college is the city’s second largest employer and is a major contributor to its economy. Two of the city’s main attractions, the McCrory Gardens and South Dakota Arboretum, are located on a 74-acre plot on the university’s campus. The site offers dozens of lush botanical gardens, prairie grassland, and a natural hedge maze.

The Swiftel Center serves as a multi-purpose civic and convention center, used for a variety of cultural events, entertainment performances, and business meetings in Brookings. The city’s Recreation Department provides a wide range of athletic and recreational pursuits for youths and adults, including baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, horseback riding, and cultural activities.

Art enthusiasts are serviced by four art galleries, including the South Dakota Art Museum and the Community Cultural Center. Early settlements and agricultural cultivation of the area are commemorated by such local museums as the Elkton Community Museum and the Mellette County Historical Society. A variety of local theatres, such as the Prairie Repertory Theater and the Brookings Community Theater, provide high-caliber dramatic productions throughout the year.

Downtown Brookings offers more than 150 unique dining, retail, and entertainment businesses. Avid shoppers will delight in the eclectic antiques, fine art, home furnishings, local jewelry, and literary offerings. Diverse dining establishments cater to a variety of tastes, including American, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. Historical walking tours give visitors the opportunity to experience the rich heritage and architecture of downtown Brookings.

Popular Attractions

Skogen Kitchen

Skogen Kitchen

Custer

The Homestead Coffee Co.

The Homestead Coffee Co.

Salem

Hitch Studio

Hitch Studio

Brookings

Hay Camp Brewing Company

Hay Camp Brewing Company

Rapid City

Rapid Escape Rooms

Rapid Escape Rooms

Rapid City

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Brookings

Manolis Grocery

Manolis Grocery

Huron

Sage Meadow Ranch

Sage Meadow Ranch

Hot Springs

Lost Cabin Beer Company

Lost Cabin Beer Company

Rapid City

Mobridge Visitor’s Center

Mobridge Visitor’s Center

Mobridge

Baymont Inn & Suites

Baymont Inn & Suites

Spearfish

Aberdeen Aquatic Center

Aberdeen Aquatic Center

Aberdeen

Glacial Lakes Harley-Davidson

Glacial Lakes Harley-Davidson

Watertown

Cranky’s Bike Shop

Cranky’s Bike Shop

Rapid City

High Plains Western Heritage Center

High Plains Western Heritage Center

Spearfish

Black Angus Steakhouse

Black Angus Steakhouse

Canton

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Yankton

Muddy Mo’s Coffee House

Muddy Mo’s Coffee House

Yankton

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.