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

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Watertown

Old Style Saloon #10

Old Style Saloon #10

Deadwood

Econo Lodge

Econo Lodge

Rapid City

Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews

Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews

Sioux Falls

Sioux Pottery

Sioux Pottery

Rapid City

Trail of Governors

Trail of Governors

Pierre

Chapel in the Hills

Chapel in the Hills

Rapid City

Rockin R Trail Rides

Rockin R Trail Rides

Custer

Someday Cafe

Someday Cafe

Baltic

Wylie Thunder Road

Wylie Thunder Road

Aberdeen

Press Start Retro Arcade Bar

Press Start Retro Arcade Bar

Rapid City

Rush Mountain Adventure Park, Home of Rushmore Cave

Rush Mountain Adventure Park, Home of Rushmore Cave

Keystone

The Purple Cow Ice Cream Parlor

The Purple Cow Ice Cream Parlor

Waubay

Cafe Coteau

Cafe Coteau

Brookings

All Day Cafe by Minervas

All Day Cafe by Minervas

Sioux Falls

Frontier Photo

Frontier Photo

Custer

John C. Green Art Gallery & Studio

John C. Green Art Gallery & Studio

Madison

Lil Harvester’s Pumpkin Patch

Lil Harvester’s Pumpkin Patch

Rapid City

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.