What to See and Do - Rapid City

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(Free) after an entry refers only to the admission fee. Some venues sell products.
Art Alley (Free)
     

 

Badlands National Park

While not exactly part of the Black Hills, the Badlands are conveniently placed on the best route into the Hills (I-90). They bear mentioning because many visitors drive past them on their way here, and wonder whether they should stop. The answer is a resounding YES. The bizarre sedimentary formations in the park’s 244,000 acres are home to one of the world’s largest fossil deposits. Most of the soft rock is more than 28 million years old, but it only started eroding a few hundred thousand years ago. Today, 39 mammal species, 9 reptiles, 6 amphibians, 69 butterflies and more than 200 bird species call this fantasyland home. From bugs to bison, prairie dogs to pronghorn, they all contribute to a vibrant ecosystem. This was also the scene of human involvement – everything from Lakota Ghost Dance rituals to US Air Force bombing ranges. Native Americans have hunted here for 11,000 years. There are two campgrounds in the park, and a visitor center that hosts a quarter of a million tourists each year. Most of the more spectacular features are accessible via boardwalks and paths. A few of them involve climbing steps. Hikers must carry water: there are no potable sources.

In 2016, some of the admission fees are $15/car, $10 motorcycle, and $30 annual pass. There are some discounts available. The park is on the south side of I-90 at Wall. There’s a loop road between Exit 131, where the Ben Reifel Visitor Center sits near the Northeast gate, and Exit 110 in Wall, about five miles north of the Pinnacles Entrance. Near the latter, one can follow Sage Creek Rim Road to view a prairie dog town.

On the way out (or in), stop at the National Grasslands Visitor Center at 708 Main Street in Wall, and see displays of wildlife and plants, grazing management, and a history of the twenty National Grasslands and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. There’s even a natural mixed-grass prairie landscape behind the Center.

25214 Ben Reifel Pl, Interior, SD 57750

(605) 433-5361

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Badlands Petrified Gardens

If you’re planning a stop at the Badlands, you might also wish to schedule an hour or two at this attraction about twenty miles east of the park. Petrified wood is essentially timber where the organic structure has slowly been completely replaced by minerals (rock). It still looks like wood, but it has turned to stone. The Gardens also include a large collection of fossils such as ammonites, saber tooth tiger and dinosaurs, plus rock formations from sand crystals to fluorescent rocks. Begun in 1938 near Piedmont, the Gardens moved to their current location in 1956, and are still a family-run concern. Adult admission is $6, and kids 6 through 16 are just $3. There’s even a $1-off printable coupon on the website. Children under 6 are free. Open mid-April through mid-October, and high summer hours in June, July and August are from 7 AM to 7 PM. It’s right by I-90 Exit 152, on the south frontage road. There are a couple of acres of displays outdoors, and a large building housing the fossil collection.

23104 Hwy 248, Kadoka SD 57543

(605) 837-2448

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Bear Country USA

Located about halfway between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore on Hwy 16, Bear Country U.S.A. is “a unique drive-thru wildlife park featuring North American wildlife. Encounter bears, wolves, elk, buffalo, and other wildlife on your three mile drive. Enjoy the playful antics of bear cubs and other park offspring in the walk through Babyland. See where the animals roam free!” Built on the Safari park model, this is a 200-acre privately owned park where you drive your own vehicle through several enclosures and encounter black bear, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, dall sheep, pronghorn and buffalo.

13820 S Hwy 16, Rapid City, SD 57702

(605) 343-2290

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Black Hills & Badlands Visitor Center

As you pull into Rapid City from the east, stop for a few minutes at Exit 61 and visit this wonderful facility. Here you will find “brochures and free travel guides, free reservation phones, road reports, weather radar, snow conditions and a list of today’s events… a retail shop with a great selection of regional books, jewelry, pottery and one-of-a-kind gifts. Pick up state park passes, fishing licenses and free maps – area, state and region. Have a question or need detailed directions? Our travel experts have all the answers – and if they don’t, they’ll find the person who does.” They’re not kidding: these people really know the area and can answer just about any questions you might have. The Center also has a number of displays showing major features of the Hills, plus it has “sparkling clean restrooms, pet exercise areas and plenty of free parking”.

Go north at Exit 61 for a couple of blocks past the Flying J, and take a left on East Mall Drive. The Visitor Center is on your left, on Discovery Circle.

1851 Discovery Cir, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 355-3700

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Black Hills Bluegrass Festival

If you’re in the Hills the last week of June, you’re in for a treat. There’s a huge traditional bluegrass and acoustic 3-day festival at the Elkview Campground in Sturgis (elkviewcampground.com). The campground has full hookup campsites, tent camping and unlimited parking close to the concert area. Food and beverages will be available (no alcohol). On Saturday and Sunday mornings, there will be biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Make reservations early, and come on Wednesday or Thursday to get a great start on the weekend. Jamming will be encouraged and the festival is a family event. To see who is playing, you can view or download a brochure on the website: go to the ‘Festival’ pull-down menu at the top of the page and click on ‘Brochure’ for the PDF. The venue is located 5 minutes from Sturgis. Take I-90 Exit 37 and go east on Pleasant Valley Road (that’s a right if you were in the westbound lane, or a left if you were heading toward Rapid City). The campground is about a mile up the road on the left.

13014 Pleasant Valley Rd, Sturgis SD 57785

(605) 348-1198

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Black Hills Caverns

Visitors to this cave system can see a number of rock formations including logomites, stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, rare frost crystal, flowstone, dogtooth spar crystal, box-work, cave flower, soda straw stalactites, columns, draperies, popcorn crystals and nail-head spar crystal. There are two different tours. The Crystal Tour is “an easy, 1/2 hour, 1500-ft walking tour in the first level of the cave. See millions of Calcite Crystals and hear about the cave’s process of formation. Moderate walking is required.” The Adventure option is “the complete tour of the Black Hills Caverns. It usually takes 1 hour to complete. It includes all 3 levels of the cave, approximately 3/4 of a mile. See the best variety of cave formations on this tour.” From downtown Rapid City take Omaha Street, which turns into Hwy 44 west. After about fifteen minutes you’ll pass Elkhart Road and then the Johnson Siding fire station. The next right is Cavern Road.

2600 Cavern Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702

(605) 343-0542

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Black Hills Maze

This is actually a pretty extensive family activities park that is centered on a giant maze (1.2 miles of it!) with wooden walls and lots of decks and towers. There’s also bank-shot basketball; a batting cage; a large climbing wall; kid-powered go-carts (no engines); a water balloon slingshot duel; and even mini golf. Located just 3 miles south of Rapid City on Highway 16, on the way to Mt. Rushmore. You can pick and choose which activities to do, and pay accordingly. The Deluxe Package (2016) includes everything and runs $19.81. There are picnic tables and snacks (hotdogs, chips etc.) available.

6400 Hwy 16, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 343-5439

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Chapel In The Hills

In 1180 in the remote village of Borgund, Norway, a new ‘Viking’ style stave church was built. The Black Hills chapel is an exact reproduction of that ancient Stavkirke, which is the best preserved of Norway’s twenty-eight extant stave churches. The original building is part of the Borgund parish in the Indre Sogn deanery in the Diocese of BjŅrgvin, and although it is no longer used regularly for church functions, it is used as a museum run by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments. The Black Hills chapel was built in 1969 as a home for the Lutheran Vespers radio ministry. “Arriving visitors are greeted at the ‘Stabbur’, which is an authentic grass-roofed storehouse, built in Norway and assembled on site. It serves as the visitor center and gift shop. Literature about the chapel and its ministry is available at the gift shop, along with an extensive assortment of items of a Scandinavian theme.  Also on the grounds is an authentic log cabin museum. Built by a Norwegian prospector who came to the Black Hills during the gold rush, it houses articles brought over from Norway or made by Scandinavians in this country during the 1800s. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to wander the chapel grounds, taking their time as they experience the presence of God in this beautiful natural setting.” Worship services are conducted each evening at 7:30 in the chapel during the summer months, to which everyone is invited. Dress is informal. Admission is free, donations are welcome.

788 Chapel Ln, Rapid City, SD 57702

(605) 342-8281

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City of Presidents

Life-sized bronze statues of our nation’s past Presidents greet visitors to downtown Rapid City and “give those who are shopping, dining or walking a historic reminder of the legacy our nation’s presidents have created.” Meticulously sculpted by nationally renowned artists, these lifelike figures really bring a sense of reality to history. Kids can learn a lot while they have fun posing for pictures. There’s a President on every corner in the historic downtown district. You can enjoy and view these remarkable statues and tour the City of Presidents visitor center for free – it’s a one-room museum on Main Street that’s open from June to October.

l631 Main St, Rapid City

(800) 487-3223

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Cosmos Mystery Area

This is a great place to take kids from about 5 to 10 years old. Teenagers might get a kick out of it, and older adults with weak stomachs will probably want to wait in the gift shop. It’s a series of experiences where level and plumb are thrown to the wind, and your mind is tricked into a strange sense of gravity bending. The walls and floors are out of kilter, and even though you know a ball can’t roll uphill, you’ll watch one do it. Tours run about 20 minutes, adults are $11 and 5-11 year-olds are $6 (2016).

24040 Cosmos Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702

(605) 343-9802

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Dinosaur Park

This is a free attraction on top of a hill with magnificent views over the city. The seven dinosaurs are concrete, and were built in 1936 by the WPA. It’s a strenuous walk up a long stairway from the parking lot to the summit, but absolutely worth the effort for the views. There’s a café (it’s pretty good) and gift shop at the edge of the parking lot, and a large deck out back that overlooks the eastern half of the city. Even if you don’t want to tackle the stairs, the drive up there is worth doing. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From I-90 Exit 57 (Mount Rushmore Hwy 16), go south until you cross Omaha where the street becomes West Boulevard. Go five blocks to Quincy Street, hang a right and after about seven blocks the road becomes a paved switchback (ok for motorcycles). The parking lot is on your left, and the dinosaurs are on the right.

940 Skyline Dr., Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 343-8687

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Flags & Wheels Indoor Racing

Indoor go-cart racing, bumper cars, laser tag, paintball, batting cages and arcade. If go-carts aren’t macho enough, try racing around their 27,000 square foot track in an Extreme Racing Kart. These American-made karts are Flags & Wheels’ premier indoor attraction, and can reach speeds of over 40 mph! They require a U.S. driver’s license and parental waiver signature if under the age of 18. Driver weight limit is 250 lbs. Helmets are provided.

405 12th St, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 341-7585

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Fort Hays Chuck-wagon & Tours

This is a reconstruction of an Old West town where every morning from Mother’s Day through mid-October the cowboys and cowgirls rise with the sun and start cooking breakfast for their visitors. Their Mount Rushmore tour package is “the most popular tour in the Black Hills because it’s such a good deal. We leave every morning after breakfast for the whole day and come back for our famous Chuck-wagon Supper & Show. All admissions and two meals are included!” The facility is open all day, every day, and you can stop in for a Cowboy Breakfast every morning and make Reservations for the tour or a chuck-wagon supper and cowboy music variety show. There is no admission fee to browse the Dances With Wolves film set, and see the original buildings used in the Oscar-winning movie. Plus, kids can make a brick at the brick factory, a plate at the tin shop, a rope at the rope shop, or buy a knife at the blacksmith’s shop. In 2016, the chuck-wagon supper starts at $29 (kids 5-12 are half price and under 4 are $5), breakfast begins at 99Ę for all-you-can-eat pancakes, and the guided bus tours run from $80.

2255 Fort Hayes Rd, Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 394-9653

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Ivan’s Hunting and Fishing B&B

This is an interesting set-up: Ivan Burandt has a suburban home in Black Hawk, just west of Rapid City at I-90 Exit 48, where he provides guided deer hunting on private land (he’ll help you get the deer out and process it); unguided but inexpensive turkey hunting during the 7-week season in April and May; and walleye fishing: “Enjoy a relaxing fun day on the lake. Just bring your lunch… and everything is supplied for fishing in my custom 20 foot Lake Assault fishing boat, plus your fish are cleaned. We fish Orman Dam near Belle Fourche.” It’s not just a B&B: all meals are included., and a washer and dryer are available.

12800 Larene Dr. Black Hawk SD 57718

(605) 791-3273

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John Lopez Sculptures

This world-renowned sculptor is celebrated for his metal ‘found parts’ creations that recycle farm and ranch metals into breathtaking art forms. He is “a product of a place. His people’s ranches are scattered along the Grand River in South Dakota, not far from where Sitting Bull was born and died.” John has several pieces on public display throughout the Black Hills. His coffee table book is also available through the website, and it in itself is a magnificent work of art.

(605) 209-0954

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Journey Museum

The Journey Museum & Learning Center brings together four major prehistoric and historic collections to tell the complete story of the Western Great Plains - from the perspective of the Lakota people and the pioneers who shaped its past, to the scientists who now study it. Interactive learning experiences such as the Wells Fargo Theater, Paleontology Tent and Learning Lab give you the chance to learn and play every day.

222 New York St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-6923

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La Grand Station/Call of the Wild

This is a small, free, taxidermy museum of wild animals from North America, Africa and Asia. “The taxidermy mounts are skillfully crafted to show each animal in its truest sense, depicting a realistic pose and expression within the habitat diorama.”

3851 Eglin St, Rapid City SD 57703

(605) 791-1947

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Museum of Geology

This is a magnificent small museum on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. It’s on the upper floor of the Administration Building, and admission is free. Kids will really enjoy the large mounted skeletons of dinosaurs, mammals, marine reptiles, and fish. There are rare fossils from the White River Badlands, all arranged in time-specific dioramas, and mineral displays including the Hall of South Dakota Minerals, plus meteorites and a fluorescent mineral room. The gift shop toys, books, models and more, and the prices are very reasonable. This is one of the best family attractions in the Hills, especially for kids with a love of learning. There are some hands-on displays that will captivate younger students, and dramatic items that teens and adults will enjoy. We are privileged to have this resource in our community.

501 E Saint Joseph St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-2467

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Old McDonald’s Petting Farm

Meet over 100 popular farm animals in a clean, relaxed hands-on environment. This beautiful farm on the road to Mount Rushmore is a great place to play with, feed and even bottle-feed some of the many friendly animals. Kids can play with baby animals, hug a rabbit, go for pony rides and hold a brand new chick. 2016 rates (for a three-day consecutive pass) are $13.50 for adults, $11.50 for seniors and $10.50 for children. Bring some quarters, too, to feed pigs, goats, fish and lambs…

23691 Busted Five Ct, Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 737-4815

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Petrified Forest of the Black Hills

Open since1929, this is one of the largest outcroppings of fossilized petrified wood in the area. There’s a short video, and outdoor hike, and a visit to the museum which houses petrified wood, rocks and fossils that are 120 to 130 million years old.  I-90 Exit 46, then go 1 mile east.

8228 Elk Creek Rd. Piedmont SD 57769

(605) 787-4884

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Putz N Glo

This attraction offers three family attractions: indoor Black Light Mini Golf, Gemstone Panning, and the Human Maze Adventure.

23694 Strato Rim Dr., Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 716-1230

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Rapid City Rush Professional Hockey

Hockey fans visiting the Hills between early October and early April can book tickets to watch the Rush play at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s ice arena. This is a professional ice hockey team in the ECHL, which is currently affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes and the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons.

444 Mt Rushmore Road, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-7825

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Reptile Gardens

Founded in 1937, this is one of the most popular attractions in the Hills. It is “the largest reptile zoo in the world, housing more species of reptiles than any other zoo or wild animal park”. Visitors can enjoy a chance encounter with a notorious saltwater crocodile, visit the legendary collection of venomous snakes, or pet gentle giant Galapagos and Aldabra tortoises. There are also a few non-reptilian residents, including a majestic bald eagle named Cheyenne and a prairie dog village. The gardens are beautiful, there are shows all day long: watch the alligators and crocodiles do their thing, learn about snakes, or meet birds from around the world. There’s some food available. This is a very clean, upbeat facility and the staff are professional and caring. There’s a huge gift shop, too.

8955 S Highway 16, Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 342-5873

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Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

This is the largest (150,000-square-foot) exhibition center in the Black Hills and it offers a constant stream of national and regional top-notch entertainment – from music concerts to magic shows, circus events, comedians, monster truck demos, dance, rodeos, endure bikes and more. From Disney to Dunham, BB King to Taylor Swift, this is the place to be. To see what’s happening while you’re here, click on ‘Tickets’. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

444 N Mount Rushmore Rd, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-4115

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South Dakota Air & Space Museum

This free attraction showcases over 30 vintage military aircraft ranging from World War II bombers to the modern-day B-1. The indoor galleries are filled with aerospace exhibits that showcase engineering, innovation, science, and history. Outside, you can walk around and touch everything from the B1B Lancer to an H-13 Helicopter. A bus tour of Ellsworth Air Force Base includes a visit to a Minuteman II missile silo.

2890 Davis Dr., Rapid City SD 57706

(605) 385-5189

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Storybook Island

This is an admission-free children’s theme park that is open Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9 AM to 7 PM daily, weather permitting. The park allows kids to run, explore, slide, hang out with life-size statues of their favorite storybook characters and even ride a little train. There are castles and bridges and ponds and it’s perfect for kids under ten. From downtown, take Omaha or Main and go west to Mountain View Road. Take a left and go south until this meets Hwy 44. Take a right and go to Sheridan Lake Road. Go right (north) and the park is on your left.

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1301 Sheridan Lake Rd, Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 342-6357

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Wall Drug Store

Visitors traveling to the Hills on westbound I-90 absolutely MUST stop at Wall Drug! This is kitsch gone wild, a marvelous mayhem that is one of the world’s best tourist traps. The food is good: there are the famous homemade donuts and hot beef sandwiches, buffalo burgers and 5-cent coffee! This complex houses several specialty stores and a few pretty cool surprises, such as a water show and lots of crazy photo opportunities in the Backyard. In the shops you’ll find trinkets, art, clothing, Christmas ornaments, leather goods, jewelry, cowboy boots, buckles and belts, lots of books – and truckloads of souvenirs.

510 Main St, Wall SD 57790

(605) 279-2175

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WaTiki Indoor Waterpark

This is a 30,000 square foot indoor facility with 3 slides, an activity pool, a lazy river, a kiddie pool with a tip bucket and mini slide, and a hot tub. There’s also a bar & grill.

Admission (2016):  7- $24.99 plus taxes and fees. 3-6 - $17.99 plus taxes and fees. Parents and grandparents can buy an all-day spectator pass that includes the hot tub, for $9.99 plus taxes. If you stay in the adjoining hotels, there are good discounts.

1314 N Elk Vale Rd, Rapid City SD 57703

(877) 545-2897

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City View Trolley

This service operates from June through the end of August and offers passengers “informative tours filled with recent and historical information about Rapid City and the surrounding area”. It begins and ends at the downtown bus transfer facility, with the last trip beginning at 4 PM. It makes 15 stops during each tour including stops at popular Rapid City attractions such as the Journey Museum, Storybook Island, Dinosaur Park, and the Dahl Arts Center. You may board the City View Trolley at any of the stops along its route. In 2016, adults are $2 and kids $1.

333 6th St Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-6631

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Main Street Square

Located in the heart of Downtown Rapid City, Main Street Square is “a fun-filled public space that features special events, arts and culture, live concerts, seasonal ice skating and interactive fountains”. For a schedule of events during a date range you can specify, go to mainstreetsquarerc.com/calendar.html. The fountains are an all-day highlight that light up after dark. Visitors can enjoy and touch the water features without entering the cascade area, except the interactive fountain, which is for public use. (Kids, bring your swimsuits!)

512 Main St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-7979

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Rapid City Bicycle Sharing

This is an automated bike sharing system designed for short trips around town. There are currently two stations: at Main Street Square in downtown, and on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Bike rental costs $5 for 24 hours and includes unlimited 60-minute bike checkouts. However, you will be charged an extra fee for checking out any one bike for longer than 60 minutes ($3 an hour). To avoid that, just return your bike to any station within 60 minutes and get another one. (It’s just designed to prevent theft.)

512 Main St., Ste. 980, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-7979

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Black Hills Community Theatre

BHCT’s season includes five main stage productions, a Dinner Theatre fundraiser, shows by the Cherry Street Players (the BHCT children’s troupe), and the Well Done Players (BHCT’s troupe of well seasoned actors), and a number of other special projects, classes and workshops throughout the year. Black Hills Community Theatre also operates a Costume Shop, which is open to the public for costume rentals throughout the year. All shows are staged at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City, located at 601 Columbus St., unless otherwise noted on the website. Tickets are quite reasonable and the production values are high.

713 7th St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-1786

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Canvas-2-Paint

This business offers “crazy, fun, creative classes for both the artistic and well… the not so artistic”. Show up for a little bit of paint, a little bit of wine, and whole lot of fun. They’re bridging the gap between fine art and fun art. Learn the basics of acrylic canvas painting while enjoying the company of friends, and go home with a one of a kind painting that you created. In 2016, the cost is $25 - $40 (kids and adults), which includes studio time, a 16x20 canvas, use of their paints and brushes, an apron to wear, and lots of inspiration. Reservations are not required.

632 St. Joseph St., Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-3325

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Rapid City Walking Tours

These are guided 90-minute tours downtown with local historian Holly Kennedy. You can explore the City of Presidents on the Presidential Trivia Tour or embrace your inner adrenaline junky with ghastly tales on the Strange and Ghostly Tour. Adults (2016) are $15, seniors and 7+ are $10. Cash only. It’s a leisurely walk.

500 St Joseph St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 430-6445

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Performing Arts Center of Rapid City

This venue is based in Rapid City High School and is home to Black Hills Community Theatre, Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, Rapid City Children’s Chorus, and Black Hills Showcase Chorus. There are two stages: two venues: the 830-seat Historic Theater, or the more intimate 175 seat Studio Theater.

601 Columbus St., Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-1786

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The Potter Family Theatre

This is a very talented family group that performs music from the 30s through today. Check the website for venues: they are moving from their current location in 2016.

the-potter-family.com

632 1/2 St. Joseph St., Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 415-5593

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Meadowbrook Golf Course

This is an 18-hole championship facility, voted “Black Hills Best” golf course by the Rapid City Journal Reader’s Choice Award in 2012 and 2013. This David Gill designed course features a classic parkland-style layout with cottonwood, spruce, pine and apple trees. It runs over 6,900 yards, with Rapid Creek winding through the course and water coming into play on 9 holes. Meadowbrook was honored to host the 1984 USGA Women’s Public Links Championship, and the 2009 and 2010 NAIA College Women’s National Golf Championships. 2016 course rates are $44/18, $27/9. Carts run $17 per rider. Various discounts and punch cards are shown on the website. Call for a tee time.

3625 Jackson Blvd, Rapid City SD 57702

(605) 394-4191

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Executive Golf Course

Centrally located near downtown, this course is designed to accommodate every level of player from beginner to single-digit handicappers. It is a nine-hole facility with seven par threes and two par fours among giant cottonwoods, with Rapid Creek running along two of the nine holes, it’s an excellent opportunity to hone your iron game. 

200 Founders Park Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 394-4124

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Rapid River Art Gallery

This is a free museum-like gallery where owner Patrick Roseland’s collection is not for sale, but other local artists showcase and sell. The beautifully restored space exhibits a fine collection of historic Rapid City-related art.

910 Main St., Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 721-7555

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Rapid City Summer Nights

This is a free, very popular event (average attendance is about 8,000) that occurs every Thursday during the summer from 6-9 PM. The stage is located at 7th Street and St. Joseph. Must have ID to purchase alcohol. The event is kid-friendly and there are lots of food vendors. Service animals only (no pets). The bands are classic rock, ‘80s, modern country and more! Click on each band’s link on the Schedule page to learn more about the performers.

700 St. Joseph St., Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 343-1823

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Memorial Park Promenade & Legacy Commons Playground

The promenade is a wide walkway that was designed to be “a fun place, a destination and a convenient and identifiable connection between Downtown and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center”. It wanders through a truly beautiful city park, located north of Omaha Street near the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The park and promenade link the downtown area to Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City Central High School and the Journey Museum. The park is 27.5 acres and includes Memorial Pond, the Flood Memorial fountain, picnic areas, a formal rose garden, the Legacy Statue, the Leonard Swanson Memorial Pathway, restrooms, the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Veterans Memorial and a band shell.

Legacy Commons is adjacent to the park and was designed for people to spend some time there, rather than just stroll through. It includes a climbing area with an art garden, an accessible and inclusive play area with an elevated accessible garden, a nature climbing area with adjacent Black Hills prairie and medicinal gardens, an age 2-5 play area with a children’s garden, and an active play area with an adjacent sustainable landscape.

301 N. Fifth St., Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-7979

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Pirate’s Cove Miniature Golf

“Come and see why this facility received the Rapid City, SD Beautification Award and was voted Best in the State for miniature golf courses. Putt your way through the world of 18th century pirates, carousing buccaneers, sunken ships, cascading waterfalls, dreaded pirate dungeons and romantic pirate lore from the 1700s.” As much fun for adults as it is for kids, this feature is on the left as you go south on LaCrosse from I-90 Exit 59. In 2016, adults were $8.50, Children 4-12 $7.50, 3 and under free.

1500 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 343-8540

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Art Alley

Located between 6th and 7th Avenues, and Main and Saint Joseph Streets, this is an unusual feature in a well-ordered city. Artists paint directly on the building walls, and there is a large following: many people make it a must-do stop when they visit the Hills. The Arts Council not only tolerates it, but actively encourages this mode of expression, and even issues permits to artists. Who knew you’d find government-sponsored graffiti in such a well-behaved town… The quality of some of the artwork is quite impressive.

599 7th St, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 394-4101

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APEX Gallery

The gallery is located at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in classroom building 211, and hosts a new exhibit every four to six weeks. It was established in 1989 and is open to the public, offering educational arts and science exhibitions for both enjoyment and enrichment. One catch: it’s only open during the school year, M-F from 10 AM to 5 PM. It’s closed all summer, and on holidays and long weekends.

501 E. Saint Joseph St., Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 394-2511

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Black Hills Symphony Orchestra

With an 80-year pedigree, this magnificent orchestra employs about 90 musicians, including some 60 strings. In addition to a concert season that , the orchestra works with the Dakota Choral Union, Music in the Schools, Black Hills Dance Theatre, Black Hills Community Theater, and numerous individual musician outreaches. Click on ‘Concerts’ on the website to see the current schedule. Tickets are usually in the $12 to $30 range. The season runs October through April.

601 Columbus St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 348-4676

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Historic Elks Movie Theater

Cinema Treasures says that “the main screen is huge and the sound quality fabulous”. Now more than a century old, the Elks is an iconic feature in Rapid City, beloved by generations of movie-goers. Designed by Sioux City architect John P. Eisentraut, it began in 1912 as an opera house and the stage is still used for functions today – including private parties/screenings, concerts, corporate training seminars and other presentations. To see what’s playing tonight, click ‘Movies” at the top of the homepage. General admission (2016) is $5 adult, $4 children 3-12, under 2 free.

512 6th St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 341-4149

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Suzie Cappa Art Gallery

This is an art gallery downtown that sells very reasonably priced works, and offers a lot of the pieces as prints, canvas wraps, greeting cards and so on, making them even more affordable. It’s a nonprofit Art Center that believes disability is not a boundary, and all people can be creative in a supportive environment. Judging by the work on exhibit, they’re onto something. A lot of the pieces express the simple joy of living, while others offer a very personal glimpse into the artist’s view of life. The gallery underlines the fact that ‘creative expression fosters personal growth and self-esteem’. It was founded in 2001 and named in memory of artist Suzie Cappa. It began with the vision of providing a supportive, inspiring environment for artists of all abilities. The downtown location opened in March of 2013 with 20 full-time artists. Since opening, that has grown to 24 full-time and 4 part-time artists who work in a wide variety of media. If you can’t make it to the downtown gallery, a lot of the artists’ work is available online: just click on ‘Catalog’. Some of the pieces that caught our eye were Nancy Weiss’s ‘Goat’ and ‘Moonlight’, Heather Morris’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Paris’, and Hoksila Long’s ‘Horse’.

722 Saint Joseph St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 791-3578

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The Sculpture Project

The Sculpture Project, Passage of Wind and Water, is a massive and magnificent public art project underway in the heart of downtown. It features twenty-one large granite rocks being hewn into depictions of the Badlands and Black Hills, exploring “a vast expanse of the region’s history of continuous and often rapid transformation”. A selection committee of arts and community leaders chose stone sculptor Masayuki Nagase to be the project’s artist from an international pool of 88 artists. Nagase trained in Japan, is based in Berkeley and has a long career as a stone sculptor and public artist. Using traditional stone carving tools, he began the five-year project in 2013, carving by hand on-site during the summer months. The $2-million endeavor is entirely privately funded through a partnership between Destination Rapid City and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation.

600 Main St, Rapid City SD 57701

(605) 716-7979

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Hiking in Rapid City

If you like to hike, visit the AllTrails website for listings of both Rapid City and general Black Hills reader-recommended routes with notes and comments. This company was founded in 2010, and is headquartered in San Francisco. In August 2015, the LA Times had this to say about the free AllTrails app for iOS and Android: it’s “a comprehensive app with a broad database. A search filter allows you to find dog-friendly trails as well as trails conducive to a variety of activities, from camping and canoeing to fishing, skiing and horseback riding. You can save trail info and maps for offline use.” Note: the publisher is not endorsing the product, and is just letting hikers know of a possibly useful resource that seems reputable and has some affiliation with National Geographic magazine.

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Vita Sana Olive Oil Company

This is an olive oil tasting room where the owners import seasonally according to the crush date of the olives. Vita Sana offers the freshest single varietal extra virgin olive oils from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, as well as flavored extra virgin olive oils, Modena Italy balsamic vinegars, and specialty oils.

627 St. Joseph Street, Rapid City 57701

(605) 721-6555

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The Dahl Arts Center

This is a magnificent facility located two blocks south of Main Street and half a block east of Rushmore Road (Hwy 16). There is ample parking. The Dahl Arts Center "has served as a premier western South Dakota arts center for contemporary visual arts, arts education and performing arts since it opened in October 1974. It is a public facility, gifted to Rapid City by Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Dahl, owned by the City of Rapid City and is managed by the Rapid City Arts Council. The Dahl houses a flexible use event center, five visual arts galleries, an interactive children's gallery, the Cyclorama Mural of American History, a gift shop, classrooms for artists of all ages and abilities, and an Emerging Artist performing space".

713 7th Street, Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 394-4101

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Armed Forces Display, Wasta

This is a private military museum in the little town of Wasta, which lies at the bottom of the Cheyenne River valley just a few minutes west of Wall. The collection has been assembled over the past three decades by the Rancour family. It's open daily from May 15 to October 1st from 8 AM to 5 PM, and the last we heard the entrance fee was $4 for adults. There is a gift shop. The collection receives rave reviews, there doesn't seem to be a website (we provided the Tripadvisor link above), and by all indications it is absolutely worth stopping for. It's right at the exit, so it's very quick to get on and off the Interstate. Just look for the military jet in the parking lot of the gas station!

51 C Avenue, Wasta, SD 57791

(605) 993-3007

 

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