Rapid City, SD

Quick City Facts

County: Pennington
Population (2019): 77,503
Population (2010): 67,956

Data provided by US Census Bureau (2019)

Gateway to the Black Hills

Rapid City SD

Rapid City is the second-largest city in South Dakota

Known as the gateway to South Dakota’s Black Hills, Rapid City is nestled against the eastern slope of the nationally renowned mountain range. With a population of more than 140,000 (including its metropolitan area), Rapid City is the second-largest city in South Dakota, second only to Sioux Falls. Located in the western portion of the state, it’s distinguished by its own central mountain range that bisects the city into two hemispheres. After visiting its many acclaimed attractions”including Mount Rushmore, acres of national forests, and authentic mining towns”tourists can satisfy their hunger at a wide variety of local dining establishments, from cozy country kitchens to glamorous European restaurants. The Ranch Amusement Park and the unique Dinosaur Park serve as family-friendly recreational attractions.

History

After the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1876, a small group of men led by John Brennan and Samuel Scott forged the original settlement of the area that would eventually become Rapid City. Its name is a nod to the swiftly flowing Rapid Creek that runs through the city. The new city grew quickly, amassing more than 100 residents in just six months’ time. Lumbering, ranching, and farming were some of the earliest industries from which the settlers drew their livelihoods. Today, Rapid City remains the city with the fastest, steadiest growth rate in the state of South Dakota.

Economy & Commerce

Although not an industrial hub, Rapid City is home to several manufacturing companies, including sawmills, ammunition dealers, a cement plant, and some farm equipment suppliers. The city is the site of nearly all manufacturing of Black Hills gold, a highly popular commodity among tourists. Other financially lucrative sectors include medical services, financial consulting companies, and higher education. Rapid City’s biggest source of economy, however, is its abundance of local, state, and federal government agencies, including the National Park Service, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and the Army National Guard, among others.

Culture & Recreation

A highly popular tourist attraction, Rapid City is very close to the national monument Mount Rushmore, which attracts more than two million visitors annually, and the famed Wild West town of Deadwood. The annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings an influx of tourists into Rapid City due to its close proximity. Other recreational and cultural attractions include live theaters, movie cinemas, athletic parks, plentiful fishing, skiing and snowboarding in the Black Hills, and scenic golf courses.

Popular Attractions

Covert Artisan Ales & Cellars

Covert Artisan Ales & Cellars

Sioux Falls

Black Hills Adventure Tours

Black Hills Adventure Tours

Rapid City

Fort Pierre Chouteau Site

Fort Pierre Chouteau Site

Fort Pierre

Aberdeen Aquatic Center

Aberdeen Aquatic Center

Aberdeen

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Keystone

Dew Drop Inn Cafe

Dew Drop Inn Cafe

Hot Springs

South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center

South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center

Pierre

La Luna Cafe

La Luna Cafe

Sioux Falls

High Plains Western Heritage Center

High Plains Western Heritage Center

Spearfish

2nd Street Diner

2nd Street Diner

Madison

Belle Fourche Country Club

Belle Fourche Country Club

Belle Fourche

McClelland’s Steakhouse

McClelland’s Steakhouse

Fort Pierre

Native West Trading Company

Native West Trading Company

Interior

Historic Homestake Opera House

Historic Homestake Opera House

Lead

Hills Inn

Hills Inn

Hot Springs

Mount Rushmore Tours & Fort Hays Chuckwagon

Mount Rushmore Tours & Fort Hays Chuckwagon

Rapid City

Winner Drive-In

Winner Drive-In

Winner

Black Hills Playhouse

Black Hills Playhouse

Custer

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.