Must-See Marvels: The Top Attractions in South Dakota

South Dakota, often referred to as the “Mount Rushmore State,” is a treasure trove of diverse landscapes and attractions that offer a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial to the rugged Badlands National Park, there is an abundance of must-see marvels waiting to be explored. This article highlights the top attractions in South Dakota that you should not miss, whether you’re an avid traveler or just looking for a new adventure. With a variety of underrated small towns and landmarks, South Dakota provides a perfect itinerary for anyone looking to experience the excitement and thrills of the Midwest in 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • South Dakota offers a rich tapestry of attractions, from historical monuments to natural wonders, catering to a diverse range of interests.
  • The state’s small towns are underrated gems, each with unique offerings that make for a perfect travel itinerary.
  • National Parks near Sioux Falls provide families with opportunities to connect with nature and learn about the environment and history.
  • Cultural experiences abound, with a vibrant downtown scene, including art-filled walks and new sculptures added to Sioux Falls SculptureWalk.
  • 2024 is an exciting year to visit South Dakota, with many events and activities planned to enhance the tourist experience.

1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Memorial stands as a testament to the nation’s history and the presidential figures who have shaped it. This colossal sculpture features the 60-foot faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, each chosen for their significant contributions to the United States.

Visitors to the memorial can explore the museum and learn about the creation and significance of this monumental work. The Mount Rushmore Story is not only fascinating for its artistic and engineering achievements but also for its embodiment of American ideals and the inspiration it continues to provide for the continuance of our freedoms.

While in the area, tourists can also enjoy the scenic drives and the vibrant local towns, each offering a unique slice of South Dakotan culture and hospitality. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the spirit of the Midwest, Mount Rushmore and its surrounding attractions are an essential stop on any South Dakota itinerary.

2. Badlands National Park

Nestled in the rugged expanse of South Dakota, Badlands National Park offers a starkly beautiful landscape that beckons adventurers and history enthusiasts alike. Known for its striking geological formations and extensive fossil beds, the park is a testament to the natural forces that have shaped the earth over millions of years.

The park’s most visited area, the North Unit, is accessible via the Badlands Loop Road, which winds through the park’s dramatic scenery. Visitors can explore the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, where the untamed wilderness offers a glimpse into the past. The park’s trails lead to breathtaking vistas and provide opportunities to spot the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area, including bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs.

For those interested in the cultural history of the Badlands, the area was once sacred to First Nation peoples and later became a site of intense interest during the gold rush. Today, it serves as a poignant reminder of the Native American heritage and the challenges they faced. Whether you’re driving through the scenic byways or embarking on a hike, Badlands National Park is a place where the spirit of the American West is palpable and the adventure is endless.

3. Custer State Park

Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is a sanctuary of awe-inspiring landscapes and wildlife. It’s not just the size of the park that impresses; it’s the variety of experiences available to visitors. From scenic drives such as the Needles Highway to the annual Buffalo Roundup, the park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural events.

The park is renowned for its bison herds, which roam freely within its borders. But that’s not all; Custer State Park is also home to prairie dogs, elk, and the elusive mountain goat. For those keen on outdoor activities, the park provides ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping.

Here’s a quick look at what you can expect:

  • Wildlife Viewing: Spot bison, elk, and other wildlife.
  • Scenic Drives: Take a drive on the Needles Highway or the Wildlife Loop Road.
  • Outdoor Activities: Enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping.
  • Cultural Events: Experience the annual Buffalo Roundup and other park events.

Whether you’re looking to explore the rugged terrain on foot or simply enjoy the views from the comfort of your car, Custer State Park caters to all. It’s a must-see destination that embodies the spirit of South Dakota’s great outdoors.

4. Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial stands as a symbol of Native American culture and resilience. This monumental project in South Dakota is not only a tribute to the Native American leader Crazy Horse but also a testament to the ongoing efforts to carve history into the Black Hills landscape. Financed by visitors and donations, it’s the world’s largest mountain carving in progress, and its scale is a sight to behold.

Visitors to the memorial can expect a range of experiences, from viewing the impressive work on the mountain face to exploring the Indian Museum of North America located on the premises. The museum offers a deep dive into Native American history and culture, featuring an extensive collection of art and artifacts.

For those seeking a reflective experience, the site’s Harmony Hill is an uncommon locale offering tranquility amidst the northern Black Hills scenery. Here, the Seven Sacred Horses stand as symbols of unification and healing for the Lakota Nation tribes. The memorial also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including summer festivities that bring the local culture to life.

Whether you’re interested in the artistry of the mountain carving, the rich history preserved in the museum, or the serene environment of Harmony Hill, the Crazy Horse Memorial provides a multifaceted experience that resonates with visitors long after they leave.

5. Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park holds the distinction of being the first cave in the world to be designated as a national park. Discover the intricate maze of passages and the unique ‘boxwork’ formations that are rarely found elsewhere. Above the subterranean wonders, the park’s surface is a sanctuary of mixed-grass prairies and ponderosa pine forests, providing a habitat for wildlife such as bison and elk.

Visitors can engage in a variety of activities, both above and below ground. Ranger-guided cave tours offer an educational glimpse into the underground labyrinth, while nature hikes on the surface allow for wildlife viewing and enjoyment of the serene prairie landscape. For families, the park is not just a site of natural beauty, but also a place of learning and adventure. The Junior Ranger Program is particularly popular with kids, offering them the opportunity to earn badges while discovering the park’s secrets.

Here’s a quick guide to the tours available at Wind Cave National Park:

  • Natural Entrance Cave Tour: A moderate 1/2 mile hike through the cave’s entrance and the boxwork formations.
  • Fairgrounds Cave Tour: A strenuous 2/3 mile trek that showcases a variety of cave formations.
  • Garden of Eden Cave Tour: An easy 1/3 mile walk suitable for visitors of all ages, focusing on smaller and delicate formations.

Whether you’re a seasoned spelunker or a first-time visitor, Wind Cave National Park offers an unforgettable experience that connects you with the natural world in a profound way.

6. Historic Deadwood

Step back in time with a visit to Historic Deadwood, a town that encapsulates the spirit of the Wild West with its rich history and enduring legends. Deadwood is not just a town, but a living museum, where the echoes of the Gold Rush era are still palpable in the well-preserved architecture and the stories of infamous characters like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

With a population of just over 1,300 residents, Deadwood may seem quaint, but it draws in over 2.5 million visitors each year. The town’s historic Main Street is a hub of activity, featuring gambling shops reminiscent of the 1800s and reenactments of Old West shootouts that add to the immersive experience.

Here are some must-visit spots in Deadwood:

  • Historic Adams House: A beautifully preserved estate from 1892, adorned with hand-painted details and 18-karat gold leaf.
  • Mount Moriah Cemetery: The final resting place of many notable figures from Deadwood’s past, offering a unique glimpse into the town’s history.

Deadwood’s charm extends beyond its historical attractions. The town hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the anticipated "Mt. Rushmore Rodeo" and "Summer Flea Market". For those seeking a taste of luxury with a touch of the past, there’s a downtown steakhouse that perfectly blends elegance with the ambiance of the Black Hills. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or just looking for a unique travel experience, Deadwood’s blend of history, culture, and entertainment makes it an essential stop in South Dakota.

7. Jewel Cave National Monument

Beneath the Black Hills of western South Dakota lies the fascinating underground world of Jewel Cave. With over 200 miles of mapped passageways, it ranks as the third longest cave in the world, offering a rare glimpse into a vast subterranean network. The cave’s intricate system of chambers and narrow passages are adorned with calcite crystals, which give Jewel Cave its name.

Visitors to Jewel Cave National Monument can embark on a variety of tours, each providing a unique perspective of this natural wonder. The Scenic Tour is the most popular, showcasing some of the most spectacular and accessible parts of the cave. For the more adventurous, the Wild Caving Tour takes you off the beaten path to crawl and climb through undeveloped sections. Above ground, the monument’s surface trails offer breathtaking views of the surrounding Black Hills.

Here’s a quick guide to the tours available at Jewel Cave:

  • Scenic Tour: A moderate 1/2 mile trek through paved and lighted passages.
  • Discovery Talk: A short introduction to the cave’s natural history, perfect for those with limited time.
  • Historic Lantern Tour: A journey back in time as you explore the cave by lantern light, just as early explorers did.
  • Wild Caving Tour: A challenging adventure through unlit and undeveloped parts of the cave.

Whether you’re looking to explore the depths of Jewel Cave or enjoy the natural beauty of the Black Hills, this national monument is a must-see destination that delights, perplexes, and lures visitors from around the world.

8. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Just an hour’s drive from Rapid City and a stone’s throw from the rugged terrain of Badlands National Park, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site offers a chilling glimpse into the Cold War era. This site was once part of a vast network of nuclear missile silos, a stark reminder of the tense standoffs that defined the latter half of the 20th century.

Visitors to the site can embark on a journey through time, exploring the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility and the Delta-09 missile silo. The guided tours provide an in-depth look at the technology and procedures that were in place during the operational years of these ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles).

For those interested in the broader historical context, the visitor center showcases exhibits that delve into the geopolitical climate of the time, the arms race, and the eventual deactivation of the missile sites as part of strategic arms reduction treaties.

Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • Guided Tours: Dive into the heart of the Cold War with a guided tour of the control facility and missile silo.
  • Exhibits: Learn about the history of the Minuteman missiles, the arms race, and the steps towards disarmament.
  • Educational Programs: Engage with workshops and talks that shed light on this pivotal period in history.

9. Falls Park

Nestled in the heart of downtown Sioux Falls, Falls Park serves as a vibrant oasis where nature and city life converge. This urban park is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, which cascade over pink quartzite rocks, creating a picturesque setting that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic. The park’s history is as rich as its scenery, with the falls having powered the city’s first hydroelectric plant.

Visitors can explore the park’s many features, including the five-story observation tower that offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. For those interested in the local flora and fauna, the park’s greenway provides a serene backdrop for a day of exploration. The Sioux Falls Greenway, accessible via a well-maintained bike trail, is a highlight for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a unique view of the city.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, delve into the area’s history, or simply enjoy the outdoors, Falls Park is a must-visit destination. South Dakota offers diverse attractions, and Falls Park stands out as a gem in the Eastern region, providing a tranquil escape amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

10. The Mammoth Site

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, offers a unique glimpse into the ancient world, with well-preserved fossils that bring the Ice Age to life. Visitors can explore an active paleontological dig site where over 60 mammoths have been uncovered, making it the world’s largest concentration of mammoth remains. The site is not only a fascinating attraction for history buffs but also serves as an educational hub with interactive exhibits and workshops.

The Mammoth Site is more than just a museum; it’s an immersive experience. Guests can participate in guided tours that delve into the geology and paleontology of the region. For those looking to deepen their understanding, the site offers educational programs that cater to all ages. Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • Guided Tours: Walk through the dig site and exhibits with an expert.
  • Educational Workshops: Engage in hands-on activities and learn about the Ice Age.
  • Ice Age Exhibit Hall: Discover the full range of Ice Age fauna, not just mammoths.
  • Summer Excavation Programs: For the aspiring paleontologist, join actual dig projects (seasonal).

Whether you’re a science enthusiast or just looking for a unique outing, The Mammoth Site provides an unforgettable journey into the past. It’s a must-see destination that combines education with entertainment, ensuring that every visitor leaves with a greater appreciation for the natural history of the Earth.

11. Black Hills National Forest

The Black Hills National Forest, often referred to as "The Land of Stone and Light," is a sanctuary of the American West, embodying the spirit of wide-open spaces. This expanse of wilderness is not only a haven for wildlife but also a treasure trove of geological wonders and historical significance. The region is a testament to the diverse attractions South Dakota has to offer, from the iconic Mount Rushmore to the serene landscapes of Custer State Park.

The Black Hills are a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities ranging from scenic drives along the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway to wildlife encounters with bison and bighorn sheep. The area’s economy is bolstered by tourism, mining, and agriculture, making it a vital part of South Dakota’s identity.

For those interested in the cultural aspects, Hill City presents a rich tapestry of history with its museums, including the Black Hills Institute Museum, which showcases paleontological and geological exhibits. The South Dakota State Railroad Museum is another highlight, offering interactive displays and educational workshops that bring the 18th century to life.

Whether you’re an adventurer seeking the thrill of the outdoors or a history buff eager to delve into the past, the Black Hills National Forest offers an experience that is both enriching and unforgettable.

12. Corn Palace

Nestled in the heart of Mitchell, South Dakota, the Corn Palace stands as a testament to the region’s rich agricultural heritage. This unique structure is not only a symbol of pride for the local community but also a fascinating attraction for visitors from around the globe. The palace is adorned with murals and designs crafted entirely from corn and other grains, showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of the artists involved.

The Corn Palace serves a dual purpose, functioning as both a tourist destination and a venue for community events, including concerts, sports games, and the annual Corn Palace Festival. Its history dates back to the late 19th century, and it has been rebuilt and redesigned multiple times to maintain its splendor and relevance.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what you can expect when visiting the Corn Palace:

  • Historical Significance: Learn about the palace’s origins and its role in celebrating South Dakota’s agricultural success.
  • Artistic Murals: Marvel at the intricate grain murals that are updated annually to reflect new themes.
  • Community Events: Check the calendar for ongoing events during your visit.
  • Local Culture: Experience the warmth and hospitality of Mitchell’s residents.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique experience, the Corn Palace is a must-visit destination that embodies the spirit of South Dakota.

13. Wall Drug Store

Nestled in the charming town of Wall, South Dakota, Wall Drug Store is more than just a place to pick up prescriptions. It’s an iconic roadside attraction that has been drawing travelers since 1931 with its unique blend of kitsch, history, and free ice water. Known for its quirky billboards and eclectic array of merchandise, Wall Drug offers a shopping experience like no other.

The store has evolved from a small pharmacy to a sprawling complex covering 76,000 square feet. Visitors can explore a variety of shops, dine at the Western-themed restaurant, and even take a ride on a jackalope. Here’s a quick list of what you can expect to find:

  • A vast selection of souvenirs and gifts
  • The famous Wall Drug doughnut shop
  • A backyard area with animated T-Rex
  • Western Art Gallery featuring local artists
  • A chapel for a moment of peace

South Dakota offers a variety of attractions including museums, parks, and regions. Explore the state’s rich history and heritage through its numerous museums. Whether you’re passing through or making it a destination, Wall Drug Store is a slice of Americana that’s not to be missed.

14. Spearfish Canyon

Nestled within the Black Hills of South Dakota, Spearfish Canyon offers a breathtaking display of nature’s artistry. This scenic byway is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers alike, with its towering limestone cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant foliage that shifts with the seasons.

The canyon is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a hub for a variety of recreational activities. Hiking trails like the 76 Trail provide a challenging ascent with rewarding views, while Roughlock Falls serves as a serene spot for birdwatching and enjoying the tranquil sounds of nature. For those interested in angling, the area’s numerous lakes are a haven for fishing, often teeming with trophy fish.

Cultural experiences are also part of Spearfish Canyon’s allure. The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives presents visitors with a glimpse into the region’s aquatic biodiversity and historical significance. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a touch of history, Spearfish Canyon is a must-visit destination that encapsulates the diverse attractions South Dakota has to offer.

15. South Dakota Air and Space Museum

The South Dakota Air & Space Museum is a treasure trove for aviation and space enthusiasts. Located just outside the gates of Ellsworth Air Force Base, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of aerospace with a rich collection of military aircraft, missiles, and space artifacts. Visitors can explore the distinguished history of aviation and space exploration through the museum’s extensive exhibits.

The museum’s collection is not only vast but also steeped in the history of the region’s military aviation. From vintage aircraft to modern-day jets, the exhibits cover a wide range of eras and technologies. The museum also provides educational programs and guided tours, making it an ideal destination for families and history buffs alike.

Whether you’re interested in the mechanics of flight, the evolution of air combat, or the advancements in space technology, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum is a must-visit. It’s a place where history takes flight, and the stories of American aerospace come alive.

16. Big Sioux Recreation Area

Nestled near the bustling city of Sioux Falls, the Big Sioux Recreation Area offers a tranquil escape into nature’s embrace. This verdant oasis is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike, providing a plethora of activities to engage in throughout the year.

The Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway is a highlight of the area, winding its way through scenic landscapes and offering uninterrupted paths for biking, hiking, and leisurely strolls. The trail is a perfect example of how urban and natural environments can coexist harmoniously, providing residents and visitors with a green corridor that connects parks, wildlife, and historical sites.

Accommodations within the recreation area cater to all preferences, from rustic camping to comfortable cabins. Here’s a quick glance at what you can expect:

  • Permits & Gift Cards
  • Cabins
  • Camping
  • Yurts
  • Common Questions

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in outdoor adventure or seeking a peaceful retreat, the Big Sioux Recreation Area is a must-visit destination in South Dakota. With the Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science just a stone’s throw away, you can easily combine your nature experience with a touch of culture and education.

17. Dinosaur Park

Perched atop a hill overlooking Rapid City, Dinosaur Park is a prehistoric playground that has captivated visitors since 1936. This unique attraction is home to life-size concrete dinosaur sculptures that offer a glimpse into the ancient world where these colossal creatures roamed. The park is not only a delight for dinosaur enthusiasts but also provides panoramic views of the surrounding Black Hills.

The Dinosaur Park Visitors Center, open May through September, features unique gifts and souvenirs. You’ll find your fair share of dinosaur memorabilia, but the center also offers educational materials that enhance the experience for curious minds. Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • A self-guided tour of the dinosaur sculptures
  • An opportunity to learn about the different dinosaur species
  • A scenic spot for picnics with a view
  • A gift shop with a variety of dinosaur-themed items

Whether you’re a history buff or looking for a fun family outing, Dinosaur Park is a must-visit destination. It’s a place where imagination meets education, and the legacy of the dinosaurs is kept alive for all to enjoy.

18. Storybook Island

Nestled in the heart of Rapid City, Storybook Island offers a magical experience for children and adults alike. This enchanting theme park brings to life the whimsical world of classic fairy tales and children’s stories through a series of interactive displays and play areas. Admission is free, making it an accessible attraction for families to enjoy a day of fun and imagination.

The park features over 100 storybook and fairy tale sets where kids can see their favorite characters in larger-than-life form. From climbing aboard the pirate ship to visiting Cinderella in her castle, the adventures are endless. Storybook Island also hosts special events throughout the year, including a Christmas Nights of Light during the holiday season.

For those looking to commemorate their visit, the gift shop offers a variety of souvenirs, from storybooks to unique toys. The park is typically open from the end of May through early September, weather permitting, ensuring that your visit to South Dakota is filled with enchanting memories.

  • Operating Season: Late May – Early September (weather permitting)
  • Admission: Free
  • Special Events: Christmas Nights of Light and other seasonal celebrations

South Dakota offers diverse attractions from museums to outdoor adventures in different regions like Western, Central, and Eastern SD. Explore unique experiences in each region.

19. Bear Country USA

Nestled in the scenic Black Hills, Bear Country USA offers a unique drive-through wildlife park experience. This South Dakota gem allows visitors to observe North American wildlife in a natural setting from the comfort of their own vehicles. The park is home to a variety of species, including black bears, elk, reindeer, cougars, and more, providing an up-close encounter with these majestic creatures.

The journey through Bear Country USA is not just about viewing animals; it’s an educational adventure. The park features several exhibits and informative displays that shed light on the habits and habitats of the wildlife. For those looking to extend their visit, the Wildlife Walk area offers a chance to stretch your legs and see smaller animals and baby bears in a more traditional zoo-like setting.

Here are some quick facts about Bear Country USA:

  • Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Size: Over 200 acres
  • Founded: 1972
  • Species: Over 20 North American wildlife species

Remember, while the drive-through experience is thrilling, it’s important to respect the animals’ space and follow all park rules for a safe visit. Bear Country USA is a must-visit for animal lovers and families, providing an immersive experience that’s both entertaining and enlightening.

20. Rush Mountain Adventure Park

Rush Mountain Adventure Park offers a unique blend of excitement and exploration for all ages. Nestled in the scenic Black Hills of South Dakota, this family-friendly destination is a hub for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Experience the rush of the Mountain Coaster, a gravity-driven ride that zips through the beautiful landscapes, or test your agility in the aerial adventure park. For those who prefer subterranean adventures, the park also features guided cave tours that reveal the intricate beauty of the region’s geology.

  • Mountain Coaster: A thrilling ride through the hills
  • Aerial Adventure Park: High-flying obstacles and zip lines
  • Cave Tours: Explore the underground wonders

Whether you’re looking to satisfy your adrenaline cravings or eager to learn about the geological formations of the area, Rush Mountain Adventure Park is an essential stop on your South Dakota itinerary.

21. Adams Museum

Nestled in the heart of the Black Hills, the Adams Museum offers a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Deadwood’s history. Established in 1930 by pioneer businessman W.E. Adams, this treasure trove is Deadwood’s oldest history museum, chronicling the gold rush era and the cultural evolution of the region.

Explore a collection that spans from the Black Hills gold rush to the present day, featuring rare artifacts and engaging exhibits. Notable displays include Potato Creek Johnny’s gold nugget, the Thoen Stone, and a plesiosaur (marine reptile) fossil. The museum’s commitment to preserving local history is evident in its carefully curated exhibits that tell the stories of the Indigenous peoples, miners, and early settlers.

For those interested in the broader context of Western culture, the museum is a must-visit. It’s a hub for history buffs and casual visitors alike, providing a comprehensive understanding of the area’s past. The Adams Museum is a cornerstone of South Dakota’s cultural heritage, making it an essential stop for anyone exploring the state’s historical attractions.

22. National Music Museum

Nestled in the charming town of Vermillion, the National Music Museum stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of musical history. With a collection that spans across various cultures and historical periods, the museum offers a unique glimpse into the evolution of musical instruments and the stories they tell. Visitors can immerse themselves in the sounds of the past and present, exploring exhibits that showcase everything from Renaissance lutes to modern electric guitars.

The museum is not just a treasure trove for music enthusiasts; it’s a hub for cultural events as well. In 2024, the museum is set to host an array of musical events, including the ‘Humbletown Duo’ bluegrass venue, which will be a treat for fans of clawhammer banjo and traditional folk music. Whether you’re a history buff or a music lover, the National Music Museum offers an experience that resonates with every note.

While exploring South Dakota’s parks, from the natural splendor of Good Earth State Park to the iconic Mount Rushmore, the National Music Museum adds a harmonious interlude to your journey. Delve into the state’s diverse natural beauty and historical sites, and let the museum’s underrated instrument collections strike a chord with your adventurous spirit.

23. Sioux Falls SculptureWalk

As you meander through the heart of downtown Sioux Falls, prepare to be captivated by the Sioux Falls SculptureWalk, an exhibit that transforms the city’s sidewalks into a year-round outdoor art gallery. Over 60 new sculptures are added annually, offering a fresh and dynamic experience for both locals and visitors alike.

The SculptureWalk is not just about viewing art; it’s an interactive journey. Each sculpture comes with a plaque detailing the artist’s name and the story behind the piece, inviting onlookers to engage with the art on a deeper level. The collection is diverse, featuring works from both established and emerging artists, and spans a range of styles and materials.

Here’s a quick guide to making the most of your SculptureWalk experience:

  • Start your walk at Falls Park, the crown jewel of the city, and follow the trail of sculptures through downtown.
  • Take a moment to vote for your favorite piece. Each year, the public’s favorite is purchased by the city to become a permanent fixture.
  • Combine your art tour with a visit to the restored Sioux Falls State Theatre for a dose of culture.
  • Check out the local events and promotions that often coincide with the SculptureWalk, adding an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

24. The Journey Museum and Learning Center

The Journey Museum and Learning Center offers a unique blend of history, science, and culture in a fascinating interactive environment. Discover the rich heritage of the Black Hills and explore the stories of the Native American tribes, the pioneers who settled the region, and the natural history that shaped the landscape. The museum’s exhibits are designed to engage visitors of all ages, making it a perfect destination for families and history enthusiasts alike.

The museum’s programming includes a variety of educational workshops and events that cater to a broad audience. From interactive memorabilia that brings 18th-century contributions to life to contemporary art that resonates with historical periods, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend special events like the "Black Hills Cabins Stories," where historians bring local lore to life.

For a complete experience, consider visiting nearby attractions such as the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives and the Termesphere Gallery. The region is rich with cultural and historical sites that complement your visit to The Journey Museum and Learning Center. To stay updated on the latest events and exhibits, be sure to sign up for the museum’s newsletter.

25. Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science

The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science is a cornerstone of culture and education in South Dakota. Housing both visual and performing arts, it’s a hub for creativity and discovery. With an array of exhibits and interactive features, the Pavilion caters to a diverse audience, from art enthusiasts to science buffs.

The Pavilion’s dynamic environment includes the Kirby Science Discovery Center, which offers hands-on science exhibits for all ages. The Visual Arts Center, another key feature, showcases regional and national artists across seven galleries. The Husby Performing Arts Center hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to local theater productions.

For those looking to dive deeper into the arts, the Pavilion offers educational programs and workshops. Whether you’re interested in exploring the mysteries of the cosmos or unleashing your inner artist, the Washington Pavilion provides a wealth of opportunities to learn and grow.

  • Kirby Science Discovery Center
  • Visual Arts Center
  • Husby Performing Arts Center
  • Educational Programs and Workshops

As a cultural landmark, the Washington Pavilion stands out as a must-see destination. It not only enriches the local community but also attracts visitors from across the region, including those who come to South Dakota to experience attractions like Badlands National Park and the iconic Mount Rushmore.

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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.