Sioux Falls Tourist Hotspots: An Insider’s Travel Guide

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a treasure trove of attractions for travelers looking for a blend of urban culture and outdoor adventures. From the iconic Falls Park to the engaging SculptureWalk and the historical Old Courthouse Museum, this guide will take you through the city’s top tourist hotspots. Whether you’re seeking family fun at the Great Plains Zoo, a dive into local flavors and nightlife, or a peaceful hike along the trails, Sioux Falls offers a diverse range of experiences. Here’s an insider’s travel guide to the must-visit attractions that promise to make your trip memorable.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the beauty and history of Sioux Falls at Falls Park, the city’s natural centerpiece.
  • Immerse yourself in the local art scene with a stroll through SculptureWalk Sioux Falls.
  • Step back in time at the Old Courthouse Museum to learn about the region’s past.
  • Encounter wildlife up close at the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum and the Butterfly House & Aquarium.
  • Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and cultural events at venues like the Washington Pavilion and the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Unwind and Explore: Sioux Falls’ Must-Visit Attractions

Falls Park: The Heartbeat of the City

Nestled along the Big Sioux River, Falls Park serves as the crown jewel of Sioux Falls, offering a natural oasis in the heart of the city. This expansive park is a favorite for both locals and visitors, providing a serene backdrop for picnics, photography, and leisurely strolls along its well-maintained paths. The park’s namesake waterfalls cascade with a gentle roar, a sight that’s particularly breathtaking during the spring thaw or when illuminated at night.

The park isn’t just about natural beauty; it’s also a hub for community events and gatherings. From the bustling Farmers’ Market to the vibrant sounds of the Sioux Falls JazzFest, Falls Park is a dynamic venue that reflects the city’s spirit. Here’s a quick guide to making the most of your visit:

  • Check out the Visitor Information Center: Housed in a restored 1908 building, it offers insights into the park’s history and significance.
  • Climb the five-story observation tower: For panoramic views of the falls and the city skyline.
  • Explore the remains of the Queen Bee Mill: A relic of the city’s industrial past that adds a touch of historical intrigue.

As a top contender on Tripadvisor’s list for ‘Nature & Parks in Sioux Falls‘, Falls Park is an essential stop for anyone looking to experience the city’s natural charm and community vibrancy.

SculptureWalk Sioux Falls: An Artistic Journey

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Sioux Falls with a stroll along the SculptureWalk. This open-air gallery showcases a diverse array of sculptures from artists around the world, transforming the city’s downtown into a dynamic exhibition space. Each year, new pieces are selected and installed, offering a fresh experience for repeat visitors.

The SculptureWalk is not only a feast for the eyes but also an interactive experience. Visitors can vote for their favorite sculpture, which contributes to the ‘People’s Choice Award’. Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of your visit:

  • Start your journey at 300 S Phillips Ave l104, the heart of the SculptureWalk.
  • Take your time to appreciate each piece, noting the intricate details and artistic expression.
  • Don’t forget to grab a ballot from any downtown business to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award.

Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, the SculptureWalk Sioux Falls is a must-visit destination that celebrates creativity and community spirit.

Old Courthouse Museum: A Dive into Local History

Stepping into the Old Courthouse Museum is like walking through the pages of Sioux Falls’ past. This beautifully preserved building, with its classic 1800s architecture, offers a tangible connection to the city’s rich heritage. Explore the museum’s three floors of regional history exhibits, each telling the story of the people and events that shaped Sioux Falls and the surrounding area.

The museum’s collection is both extensive and eclectic, featuring everything from Native American artifacts to pioneer-era tools. Visitors can delve into:

  • The early settlement period
  • The development of the city
  • The impact of the railroads
  • The cultural contributions of diverse communities

The Old Courthouse Museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year, ensuring that there’s always something new to discover. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a deeper understanding of the place you’re visiting, this museum is a must-see destination.

Adventures and Thrills: Outdoor and Family Fun Spots

Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum: Wild Encounters

Nestled at 805 S Kiwanis Ave, the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History offers a unique experience for families and wildlife enthusiasts. With a diverse collection of animals from around the globe, it’s a place where education and conservation meet adventure.

The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals, including some of the rarest and most endangered species. Visitors can get up close with majestic creatures and learn about the importance of wildlife preservation. The Delbridge Museum of Natural History complements the zoo with its impressive array of over 100 mounted animals, providing a deeper understanding of the natural world.

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

  • Engaging exhibits and interactive displays
  • Educational programs for all ages
  • Seasonal events that celebrate the animal kingdom

Ranked as one of the top things to do in Sioux Falls with kids, the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum is a must-visit for an unforgettable family outing. Just a short drive from other attractions like the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial and Pettigrew Home and Museum, it’s easy to make a day of exploring Sioux Falls’ rich offerings.

Butterfly House & Aquarium: A Tropical Escape

Step into a vibrant tropical oasis at the Butterfly House & Aquarium in Sioux Falls. This unique attraction offers an immersive experience that brings you face-to-face with the beauty of nature. Discover an underwater world teeming with colorful fish and exotic marine life in the aquarium section. The serene environment is perfect for all ages, providing both educational and entertaining insights into aquatic ecosystems.

The Butterfly House is equally enchanting, with hundreds of butterflies fluttering in a carefully maintained habitat that replicates their natural environment. Visitors can witness the delicate life cycle of these fascinating insects, from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally, to butterfly. It’s a magical experience that captures the essence of South Dakota’s commitment to preserving nature’s wonders.

Here’s what you can expect during your visit:

  • A chance to see a variety of butterfly species in a lush, garden setting
  • Interactive exhibits that educate on marine conservation
  • Opportunities for close encounters with both marine and butterfly life

Located at 4320 S Oxbow Ave, the Butterfly House & Aquarium is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty and rich history of South Dakota. It’s a perfect example of the diverse attractions the state has to offer, from arts and entertainment to outdoor activities and historical sites like Mount Rushmore.

Wild Water West: Splashes and Slides

For a day packed with fun and excitement, Wild Water West is the ultimate destination for water enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. Located at 26767 466th Ave, this water park is a summer staple for both locals and visitors, offering a variety of attractions to beat the heat.

From adrenaline-pumping water slides to the relaxing lazy river, there’s something for everyone. The park features a wave pool that simulates ocean swells, perfect for body surfing or floating on a tube. For those looking for a challenge, the water park’s go-karts and mini-golf provide a delightful break from the water.

Here’s a quick look at some of the park’s main attractions:

  • Tornado Alley: Experience the thrill of being swept away by the current.
  • Caribbean Falls: Get drenched under a massive bucket of water.
  • Baby Pool: Safe and shallow waters for the little ones.

Ranked as one of the Top Water & Amusement Parks in South Dakota, Wild Water West is a must-visit for an unforgettable family outing. Remember to check their seasonal schedule, as the park is open from late May through early September, making it a perfect summer vacation highlight.

Local Flavors and Nightlife: Where to Chill After Dark

WoodGrain Brewing Company: Craft Beers and Good Times

Nestled in the heart of Sioux Falls, WoodGrain Brewing Company stands as a beacon for craft beer enthusiasts. With a focus on quality and community, this local brewery offers a rotating selection of handcrafted beers that showcase the rich flavors and innovative spirit of the region. Savor the taste of South Dakota as you enjoy a pint in the laid-back atmosphere of WoodGrain’s taproom.

The brewery prides itself on its collaboration with local producers, echoing the ethos of establishments like Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, which has reinvested millions into the local food scene. At WoodGrain, you’ll find a commitment to supporting the local economy and a passion for creating a sustainable brewing process.

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

  • A diverse lineup of beers, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts
  • Seasonal specials and experimental brews
  • Friendly staff with extensive knowledge of the brewing process
  • Regular events, including live music and trivia nights

Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or new to the craft beer world, WoodGrain Brewing Company is a must-visit spot in Sioux Falls. It’s not just about the beer; it’s about the experience and the memories you’ll create. And if you’re looking to explore the diverse regions of South Dakota, WoodGrain makes an excellent starting point for your journey.

Denny Sanford Premier Center: Catch a Concert or Game

Located at 1021 N W Ave, the Denny Sanford Premier Center is a beacon for entertainment in Sioux Falls. This state-of-the-art venue hosts a variety of events, from high-energy sports games to must-see concerts. With a seamless connection to local hotels, it’s a breeze for visitors to catch an event here after a day of exploring the city.

For those looking to plan their visit, here’s a quick glance at some upcoming events and ticket deals:

Date Event Price Range
Feb 16, 2024 Sioux Falls Stampede vs. Green Bay Gamblers $15 – $48.50
Feb 17, 2024 Sioux Falls Stampede vs. Green Bay Gamblers $15 – $48.50

Whether you’re cheering on the Sioux Falls Stampede or singing along with your favorite artist, the Premier Center guarantees an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on the action; secure your tickets in advance and enjoy the thrill of live entertainment.

The Blood Run Nature Area: Starlit Strolls and Evening Hikes

As the sun dips below the horizon, The Blood Run Nature Area transforms into a serene escape for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Sioux Falls under the starry sky. This hidden gem offers a unique opportunity for evening hikes and strolls, where the only sounds are the rustling leaves and the distant call of nocturnal wildlife.

The area is not only a haven for nature enthusiasts but also a perfect spot for amateur astronomers and couples seeking a romantic backdrop. The trails are well-maintained and marked, making it easy to navigate the terrain even as daylight fades. Here’s what you can expect on your visit:

  • A peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle
  • Clear views for stargazing on cloudless nights
  • Diverse wildlife that emerges in the twilight

While the park is a delight for visitors, it’s important to come prepared. Ensure you have a flashlight, wear appropriate footwear, and always stay on the designated paths for safety. Remember, the park’s beauty is matched by its seclusion, so plan accordingly.

After your nocturnal adventure, consider exploring the local flavors that South Dakota has to offer. With a variety of dining options ranging from casual eateries to fine dining, breweries, and entertainment venues, regions like Aberdeen, Brookings, and Sioux Falls cater to every palate and preference.

Cultural Beats: Performing Arts and Live Entertainment

Washington Pavilion: A Hub for the Arts

The Washington Pavilion stands as a beacon for the arts in Sioux Falls, offering a diverse array of cultural experiences under one roof. Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of visual and performing arts, with the venue hosting everything from thought-provoking art exhibitions to live theatrical performances.

The Pavilion is not just a place to watch and admire; it’s a place to participate and learn. With educational programs and interactive workshops, it caters to all ages and skill levels:

  • Art classes and workshops for budding artists
  • Science and discovery programs for curious minds
  • Musical performances ranging from classical to contemporary

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Washington Pavilion provides a unique opportunity to engage with the arts in a meaningful way. Its dynamic schedule ensures there’s always something new to discover, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enrich their cultural palate.

Performances at 315 N Phillips Ave: Live Shows Galore

Nestled in the heart of Sioux Falls, the venue at 315 N Phillips Ave is a cornerstone for live entertainment. With a lineup that spans from local theater productions to national touring acts, there’s always a show to catch. The intimate setting ensures an engaging experience, whether you’re there for a concert, comedy night, or a dramatic play.

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

  • Diverse Performances: From indie bands to classical ensembles, the variety is thrilling.
  • Intimate Venue: The close-up views make for a memorable night out.
  • Central Location: Situated downtown, it’s easy to combine a show with dinner or drinks nearby.

South Dakota offers diverse attractions, including arts at venues like this one, parks, and regions like Mount Rushmore. Explore natural wonders, museums, and hunting opportunities in this unique state. Make sure to check the schedule in advance and book your tickets early, as popular events tend to sell out quickly.

Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center: Events and Expos

The Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center stands as a premier venue for events and expos in the region. With its direct connection to the Denny Sanford Premier Center, it offers unparalleled convenience for attendees looking to catch a concert or sporting event. Just a stone’s throw from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport, the center ensures stress-free travels for both local and international guests.

The center boasts a variety of spaces suitable for any type of gathering, from corporate meetings to large conventions. Its state-of-the-art facilities are complemented by the Sheraton Fitness center, ensuring that guests can maintain their workout routines even while traveling. For those looking to explore the area, the hotel’s proximity to top sites like the Butterfly House & Aquarium and the Great Plains Zoo adds to the appeal of staying at this location.

Here’s a quick glance at what the Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center offers:

  • Direct access to the Denny Sanford Premier Center
  • Close proximity to Sioux Falls Regional Airport
  • On-site Sheraton Fitness center
  • Easy access to local attractions

Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, the Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center provides a comfortable and convenient base for all your activities. To ensure a seamless experience, consider using the Marriott Bonvoy™ App to unlock your stay.

Pedal and Trek: Exploring Sioux Falls by Trail

Sioux Falls Bike Trails: Cycle the Scenic Routes

Sioux Falls offers an extensive network of bike trails that provide both locals and visitors with a unique way to explore the city’s natural beauty. The trails are well-maintained and suitable for cyclists of all skill levels, ensuring a pleasant ride whether you’re looking for a leisurely pedal or a more challenging excursion.

The bike trails in Sioux Falls are a testament to the city’s commitment to outdoor recreation and active lifestyles. Spanning over 29 miles, the paved paths meander along the Big Sioux River, offering picturesque views and a serene escape from the urban environment. Along the way, cyclists can enjoy numerous parks, cafes, and attractions, making it easy to take a break and savor the local culture.

For those seeking to extend their adventure beyond the city limits, South Dakota offers diverse outdoor experiences with hiking trails in state parks like Custer, Mickelson, and Newton Hills. Explore the unique regions and attractions of Western South Dakota, where the landscape shifts from rolling prairies to rugged hills, providing a stunning backdrop for any outdoor activity.

Black Hills National Forest: A Hiker’s Paradise

Nestled in the rugged terrain of South Dakota, the Black Hills National Forest offers a diverse array of trails that cater to hikers of all skill levels. From the breathtaking vistas atop Black Elk Peak to the serene waters of the Devils Bathtub Trail, this hiker’s paradise is brimming with natural beauty and adventure.

The Black Hills are steeped in history and legend, with trails that take you through areas where the likes of Lewis and Clark once stood. Whether you’re looking for a challenging trek or a peaceful stroll, you’ll find it here. To help you plan your hiking adventure, here’s a list of the top trails:

  • Little Devils Tower + Black Elk Peak
  • Devils Bathtub Trail
  • Roughlock Falls + Spearfish Falls Loop, Spearfish Canyon
  • Crow Peak, Spearfish

Each trail offers a unique experience, from the historic significance of Deadwood to the geological wonders of the area. Remember to pack your essentials and leave no trace as you explore the majestic landscapes of the Black Hills.

Terrace Park and Tuthill Park: Nature in the City

Nestled within the urban landscape of Sioux Falls, Terrace Park and Tuthill Park offer a serene escape for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. These parks serve as a green oasis, providing a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. With their lush landscapes and ample recreation options, they are perfect for a day of exploration or relaxation, whatever the season.

Terrace Park, known for its Japanese Gardens and historic Queen Bee Mill, is a picturesque spot for picnics, strolls, and photography. Tuthill Park, on the other hand, boasts a more extensive area with sports facilities, a disc golf course, and scenic walking trails that meander through the park’s natural beauty.

Here’s a quick guide to what you can find in these verdant spaces:

  • Japanese Gardens: A tranquil setting for meditation and quiet walks.
  • Queen Bee Mill ruins: A touch of history amidst the greenery.
  • Sports facilities: Stay active with tennis courts and open fields.
  • Disc golf course: Challenge friends to a fun and engaging game.
  • Walking trails: Discover the parks’ flora and fauna at your own pace.

Whether you’re looking to engage in active sports or simply want to enjoy a leisurely day surrounded by nature, Terrace Park and Tuthill Park cater to all preferences. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Black Hills area in South Dakota, which offers various attractions like the 1880 Train, Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Rushmore Borglum Story, state parks, caves, and more.

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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.