The Local’s Guide to Sioux Falls Tourism: Hidden Gems and Must-Sees

Sioux Falls, a hidden treasure in the heart of the Midwest, offers a unique blend of historical charm, outdoor beauty, cultural richness, and gastronomic delights. This local’s guide will lead you through the city’s lesser-known spots and must-see attractions, providing an authentic experience that goes beyond the typical tourist path. From the echoes of history to the thrills of adventure, the tranquility of nature, the rhythm of the arts, and the taste of local cuisine, Sioux Falls is a destination ripe for exploration.

Key Takeaways

  • Sioux Falls’ historical tours offer a diverse range of experiences, including self-guided audio tours and private walking tours that highlight the city’s rich past.
  • For adrenaline seekers, Sioux Falls boasts indoor skydiving and escape games, as well as historic cave tours for underground explorers.
  • Nature enthusiasts can find solace in the numerous hiking trails, state parks, and natural wonders that Sioux Falls and its surroundings have to offer.
  • The city’s cultural scene is vibrant, with opportunities to follow in the footsteps of music legends, enjoy local theater productions, and visit art galleries and museums.
  • Foodies will delight in Sioux Falls’ culinary scene, with an emphasis on farm-to-table dining, local breweries and distilleries, and guided food tours to savor the flavors of the city.

Stroll Through History: Sioux Falls’ Best Historical Tours

Minnehaha Falls: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

Embark on a journey through time with the Minnehaha Falls: A Self-Guided Audio Tour. This immersive experience allows you to explore the historical significance of one of Minneapolis’ most iconic natural landmarks at your own pace. Priced affordably at just $8 per adult, the tour combines the freedom of self-guidance with the insights and anecdotes of a knowledgeable narrator.

The tour is accessible and perfect for history buffs and casual tourists alike. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Engaging narrative: Discover the stories behind the falls and the surrounding area.
  • Flexibility: Start the tour at a time that suits you and pause whenever you wish.
  • Affordability: Experience a rich historical tour without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a local rediscovering your city or a visitor seeking to uncover its past, this audio tour is a valuable addition to your Sioux Falls tourism itinerary. Don’t miss the chance to witness the cascading beauty of Minnehaha Falls while delving into its storied past.

Walking St. Paul Summit Ave. Victorian Homes Private Tour

Embark on a journey back in time with the Walking St. Paul Summit Ave. Victorian Homes Private Tour. This intimate 2-hour excursion offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the past, as you stroll along the nation’s longest stretch of preserved Victorian homes. Discover the architectural splendor and hear the stories of the influential families who once inhabited these opulent residences.

The tour is priced at $195 per group, accommodating up to 8 guests, making it an ideal outing for families or small groups seeking a personalized historical experience. Here’s what you can expect:

  • A detailed exploration of Summit Avenue’s architectural marvels.
  • Insightful commentary on the historical significance of the area.
  • A chance to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon, this tour promises to enrich your understanding of St. Paul’s heritage and the Victorian era’s lasting impact on the city.

The Essential St. Paul Walking Tour

Embark on a journey through the architectural marvels of St. Paul with The Essential St. Paul Walking Tour. This guided exploration offers a deep dive into the city’s rich history and stunning buildings. Priced at $99 per adult, the tour spans several key sites, making it both accessible and enlightening for history buffs and casual tourists alike.

The tour’s highlights include:

  • A detailed look at St. Paul’s historical landmarks
  • Insightful commentary on the city’s architectural evolution
  • Personalized attention in a small group setting

Whether you’re a local rediscovering your city or a visitor seeking an authentic experience, this tour promises a memorable stroll through St. Paul’s past and present. Don’t forget to reserve your spot to ensure a place in these often sought-after tours.

Adrenaline and Adventure: Unique Activities in Sioux Falls

Minneapolis Indoor Skydiving: High-Flying Fun

For those seeking a rush of excitement, Minneapolis Indoor Skydiving offers an exhilarating experience without having to jump out of an airplane. This state-of-the-art facility provides a safe and controlled environment where you can float on a cushion of air, simulating the free-fall aspect of skydiving. Perfect for beginners and seasoned flyers alike, each session includes a pre-flight training to ensure you’re ready to take flight.

The experience is available for individuals and groups, making it an ideal activity for family outings, team-building events, or a unique date idea. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Pre-flight training and gear-up
  • Two one-minute flights in the wind tunnel
  • Personalized flight certificate

Prices start at $97 per adult, which includes the necessary equipment and instruction to make your indoor skydiving adventure unforgettable. South Dakota offers diverse attractions, and this is one of the most thrilling ways to experience the rush of skydiving without the heights.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, don’t miss the chance to defy gravity at Minneapolis Indoor Skydiving. It’s a must-see for adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers exploring the Eastern region of South Dakota.

St. Paul Historic Cave Tour: Underground Exploration

Delve into the depths of St. Paul’s past with the Historic Cave Tour, an underground journey that reveals the city’s hidden history. Starting at just $15 per adult, this tour is both affordable and enlightening, offering a glimpse into the sandstone caves that once served as speakeasies during the Prohibition era.

The tour is not just a walk through the caverns; it’s a step back in time. Guides share tales of the caves’ storied past, including their use as storage for local breweries and as a venue for jazz musicians. It’s a perfect blend of history and mystery that will captivate visitors of all ages.

Here’s what you need to know before you go:

  • Duration: Approximately 1 hour
  • Age Limit: Suitable for most ages
  • Accessibility: Some areas may be challenging for those with mobility issues
  • What to Wear: Comfortable shoes and a light jacket, as temperatures can be cooler underground

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique activity, the St. Paul Historic Cave Tour is a must-see. Remember to book in advance, as these tours can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons.

The Escape Game Minneapolis: Solve Puzzles, Beat the Clock

For those seeking a thrilling indoor adventure, The Escape Game Minneapolis offers an exhilarating experience that challenges both mind and teamwork. Locked in a room with a group of friends or fellow enthusiasts, you’ll have 60 minutes to solve puzzles, decipher codes, and work together to escape. It’s a race against the clock that requires quick thinking and effective communication.

The game is perfect for team-building events, family outings, or just a fun day out with friends. With a variety of themed rooms, each escape scenario is uniquely designed to immerse players in a different world. Whether you’re uncovering secrets as a detective or trying to save the world from an imminent threat, the game promises an unforgettable experience.

Pricing for this adventure starts at $44 per adult, making it an accessible option for those looking to add some excitement to their Sioux Falls tourism itinerary. Remember, South Dakota offers a variety of attractions including arts, entertainment, museums, parks, and historical sites. Explore the state’s rich history and natural beauty through cultural venues and outdoor activities.

Nature’s Bounty: Outdoor Escapes in and Around Sioux Falls

Hiking Trails Galore: Find Your Path

Sioux Falls and the surrounding regions of South Dakota are a hiker’s paradise, offering a tapestry of trails that cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. South Dakota offers diverse outdoor experiences with hiking trails in state parks, such as Custer State Park and Adams Homestead. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a challenging trek, the trails in Western, Central, and Eastern SD provide unique attractions and breathtaking scenery.

The state boasts an impressive number of hiking trails, with over 111 marked paths that invite you to explore the natural beauty of the area. From the rugged Badlands to the serene Black Hills, each trail offers a distinct experience. Here’s a quick guide to some of the top trails:

  • Harney Peak Trail: Conquer South Dakota’s highest peak for panoramic views.
  • Sunday Gulch Trail: A more challenging hike with boulder-strewn paths.
  • Big Sioux Recreation Area Trails: Perfect for a family outing with easy to moderate trails.

Before you set out, make sure to check trail conditions and weather forecasts. Always remember to leave no trace, keeping the trails pristine for fellow adventurers and wildlife.

Waterfalls and Geologic Formations: Sioux Falls’ Natural Wonders

Sioux Falls is a treasure trove of natural beauty, with its waterfalls and geologic formations offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The falls themselves are a centerpiece of the region, drawing visitors from near and far to witness the power and grace of nature’s handiwork. With over 13 waterfalls to explore, each visit promises a new discovery.

The geologic formations around Sioux Falls tell a story millions of years in the making. Visitors can marvel at the 15 different formations, each with its unique characteristics and history. Whether you’re an avid geologist or simply appreciate the grandeur of natural landscapes, these formations provide a fascinating backdrop to any outdoor adventure.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular natural attractions:

  • Minnehaha Park: Known for its picturesque falls and historical significance.
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park: A multi-level waterfall experience, perfect for trout fishing and scenic views.

Remember to respect the natural environment during your visits. Keep to designated paths, and always carry out what you carry in. Sioux Falls’ natural wonders are not just a feast for the eyes but also a vital part of the region’s ecosystem.

State Parks: A Breath of Fresh Air

Sioux Falls and the surrounding region of Eastern South Dakota offer a seamless blend of urban and natural attractions. While the city itself is a hub for culture and cuisine, a short drive out leads to an array of state parks that serve as sanctuaries for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Gooseberry Falls State Park is a prime example, boasting a stunning four-level waterfall and scenic overlooks that are perfect for trout fishing and simply soaking in the beauty of the region.

Visitors to these parks can expect well-maintained facilities, including visitor centers with educational displays and gift shops. Detailed maps and trail descriptions are readily available, ensuring that everyone, from casual walkers to seasoned hikers, can find a trail that suits their preference. The tall trees, diverse wildlife, and mesmerizing waterfalls create an immersive experience that’s both rejuvenating and inspiring.

Whether you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or eager to engage in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, the state parks near Sioux Falls are not to be missed. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect at two of the most popular parks in the area:

Cultural Immersion: Arts, Music, and More

In the Footsteps of Prince: A Musical Pilgrimage

Embark on a self-guided audio tour that takes you through the heart of Minneapolis, where the legendary Prince left his indelible mark. This immersive experience not only celebrates his musical genius but also provides a glimpse into the places that shaped his artistry. Discover the iconic Paisley Park Studios, where many of Prince’s groundbreaking hits were recorded, and feel the city’s vibrant energy that fueled his creativity.

The tour is available for just $8 per adult, making it an accessible option for all fans and history enthusiasts. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect:

  • A journey through key sites related to Prince’s life and career
  • Stories behind the music and the man
  • Insights into the Minneapolis sound that Prince pioneered

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a curious traveler, this tour is a unique way to explore the city’s musical heritage and the legacy of one of its most famous residents.

Local Theater: Catch a Show at Sioux Falls’ Venues

Sioux Falls’ vibrant local theater scene offers a variety of performances that cater to all tastes, from classic plays to modern experimental works. Experience the thrill of live theater at venues that are not only stages for entertainment but also hubs of cultural activity. The Sioux Falls Convention Center, for instance, is a prime spot for catching a show, with a lineup that often includes touring Broadway productions, concerts, and local theater company performances.

When planning your theater outing, consider these steps:

  • Check the show schedules at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and other local venues.
  • Purchase tickets in advance to secure the best seats.
  • Arrive early to enjoy the ambiance of the theater and any pre-show activities.

Remember to explore the reviews and experiences of other theater-goers to make the most of your visit. One recent review from a visitor to the Guthrie Theater highlights the exceptional experience: "Superb!! My daughter and I saw Dial M for Murder… The show was amazing!! We had a blast. The theatre was wonderful. I cannot wait to go back for more shows!" Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the theater scene in Sioux Falls is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Art Galleries and Museums: A Touch of Creativity

Sioux Falls’ art scene is a vibrant tapestry that weaves together history, culture, and innovation. Discover the city’s artistic spirit by exploring its diverse array of galleries and museums. From contemporary masterpieces to indigenous crafts, the city’s art institutions offer a window into the creative soul of the region.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of visual arts at the iconic Minneapolis Institute of Art, known for its expansive and inclusive collection. The free admission and permanent exhibitions make it an accessible treasure for all art enthusiasts. For a more interactive experience, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden presents an outdoor gallery of whimsical and thought-provoking pieces, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

To help plan your cultural itinerary, consider these top-rated art destinations:

  • Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries
  • Redlin Art Center
  • Termesphere Gallery (Call to Visit)
  • Terry Redlin Museum
  • Art Alley

Each venue offers a unique perspective on the artistic heritage and contemporary creativity of South Dakota. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply curious, Sioux Falls’ galleries and museums are sure to enrich your visit with a touch of creativity.

Foodie Favorites: Sioux Falls’ Culinary Scene

Farm-to-Table Eateries: Fresh and Local

Sioux Falls’ culinary landscape is a vibrant tapestry woven with the freshest local produce, and the farm-to-table movement is at the heart of this gastronomic revolution. Savor the seasonal bounty as local chefs craft dishes that highlight the region’s agricultural heritage. These eateries not only support sustainable farming practices but also offer a true taste of the Midwest, with menus that change to reflect the freshest ingredients available.

The farm-to-table concept isn’t just about eating well; it’s about knowing the journey of your food from soil to plate. Restaurants like Grille 26 and Minerva’s have set the standard for locally-sourced dining, earning accolades such as ‘Best American Restaurants in Sioux Falls‘ by OpenTable. Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

  • Grille 26: A favorite for its innovative menu and cozy ambiance.
  • Minerva’s: Renowned for its fine dining experience and commitment to local producers.
  • Parker’s Bistro: Offers a unique twist on classic dishes with a focus on organic ingredients.
  • Crawford’s Bar & Grill: Known for its rustic charm and hearty, farm-fresh meals.

By choosing to dine at these establishments, you’re not only treating your taste buds but also contributing to a sustainable food system that benefits local farmers and the environment.

Breweries and Distilleries: Sip the Local Flavors

Sioux Falls’ burgeoning craft beverage scene is a paradise for connoisseurs of artisanal drinks. Discover the city’s passion for brewing and distilling through an array of local establishments that pride themselves on unique flavors and high-quality ingredients. From hoppy IPAs to smooth, aged whiskeys, the variety is as rich as the stories behind each batch.

  • Fernson Brewing Company: Known for their inventive brews and a cozy taproom atmosphere.
  • WoodGrain Brewing Co.: Offers a rotating selection of beers crafted with local ingredients.
  • Prairie Berry Winery: Not just about grapes, they also feature a line of locally distilled spirits.
  • Miner Brewing Company: Combines traditional techniques with modern flavors.

Whether you’re a beer aficionado or a spirits enthusiast, a visit to these spots is a must. Engage with the master brewers and distillers, learn about their craft, and, of course, sample the fruits of their labor. To truly appreciate the depth of Sioux Falls’ beverage culture, consider joining a guided tour that will take you behind the scenes of the city’s best breweries and distilleries.

Food Tours: A Taste of the City

Embark on a culinary journey through Sioux Falls with an array of food tours that promise an authentic taste of the city. Savor the flavors of local cuisine as you explore diverse neighborhoods and meet the chefs and artisans behind the city’s food scene. These tours not only offer a chance to sample delicious dishes but also provide insights into the history and culture that shape Sioux Falls’ culinary identity.

From farm-to-table experiences to ethnic eateries, the food tours cater to all palates. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:

  • Complete Minneapolis Walking Tour: Dive into the heart of the city with a guided tour that includes multiple food stops, priced at $99 per adult.
  • Minneapolis Food Tour – Walking: A more focused foodie adventure, offering a variety of tastings for $115 per adult.
  • Uncover St. Paul’s Iconic Bars: For those interested in the local bar scene, this tour is available at $99 per adult.

Each tour is designed to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the local tourism landscape, enriched by South Dakota’s diverse outdoor activities, lodging options, and shopping experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply looking to indulge in new flavors, Sioux Falls’ food tours are a must-add to your itinerary.

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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.