Destination South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota, was founded in 1876 by five failed gold miners with the intention of creating the "next Denver" at the base of the Black Hills. Since then, it has grown to become South Dakota's second largest city with a population of 70,000 and the gateway to Mount Rushmore, also known as Hay Camp.
The town's location at the junction of the fabled Black Hills and Badlands also make it the perfect launch point to outdoor adventure and pristine natural wonders, providing a charming Americana home base with a thriving art scene, dining that rivals restaurants in major cities, western and Native American history as well as enough quirks to keep things interesting.
Groups can opt for the convenience of pre-packaged itineraries offered by the area's many tour providers or work with the Rapid City CVB to craft a custom experience. Whether travelers prefer a sight-seeing tour of iconic landmarks such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial or active adventure scaling Devil's Tower or traversing Badlands National Park, Rapid City has a tour or operator to help create the perfect vacation package.
Another popular draw isn't found on the streets, but between them. Art Alley, tucked between 6th and 7th Street, offers an open-air, block-long artwork corridor and public canvas where anyone can leave their creative mark. Spot works by nationally-recognized names, local up-and-comers and graffiti artists.
Make your way to Main Street Square, the hub of Downtown Rapid City, for special events, live concerts, seasonal ice skating or to watch a movie under the stars. During the summer, bring a blanket to stake claim to your patch of grassy lawn and take in a play during the weekly Shakespeare in the Park performances or dance the night away to live music during Summer Nights, which take over Downtown each Thursday.
Take a tour or attend evening services at Chapel in the Hills, a meticulously hand-carved, exact replica of Borgund Stavkirke, an 850 year-old church in Norway. Be sure to stop by the gift shop, housed in a traditional grass-roofed Stabbur.
Rapid City's location, surrounded by untamed American frontier, puts it within an hour's drive of incredible sites and experiences worthy of a spot on your group's bucket-list. Wake up in Rapid City then take the day to visit Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and go on a wildlife safari through Custer State Park to spot buffalo and other free-roaming animals.
Conquer famous hiking trails such as Devil's Tower, Devil's Bathtub, Harney Peak and Mickelson Trail for a day of outdoor adventure. Learn about the region's history visiting sacred Native American sites, such as Bear Butte State Park, getting your hands dirty at an operational Mammoth archaeological dig site then hear how wild ponies came to the Black Hills during a tour of the Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Begin the evening with dinner at Delmonico Grill, owned by Chef Benjamin Klinkel, who trained at Michelin starred restaurants in Europe. The menu features an array of upscale steakhouse fare and also offers an upscale "Supper Club." Chef Klinkel takes pride in shopping for the restaurants' ingredients himself, sourcing from local farms whenever possible.
For dessert, indulge in Silver Linings Creamery's signature Mason jar sundae, created with handmade ice cream from locally-sourced ingredients or step back into the 1920's with a craft cocktail at Blind Lion Speakeasy housed in a historic rock and timber building, circa 1911, infused with jazz music and vintage stylings paying homage to America's Prohibition era.
Groups also love The Firehouse Brewing Company, South Dakota's first brewpub. Constructed in 1915 and located in the heart of downtown Rapid City, the pub is situated within the original city firehouse. Featuring a vibrant atmosphere with local entertainment, patrons can't get enough of the hand-crafted beers and English pub style fare. Then head next door to catch a unique performance most every Friday and Saturday night at The Firehouse Brewing Theater.
If your group seeks relaxation and seclusion in the great outdoors there are a number of off-the-beaten-path options to choose from. Tranquility is in ample supply at the beautiful Summer Creek Inn & Spa, which offers spa treatments and nightly wine tasting. Another great option is Lake Park Campground & Cottages boasts serene lake views from its vacation rental homes and cottages.
Rapid City, South Dakota, is the ideal place for outdoor adventure, a romantic vacation or group getaway, and the Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau is a great resource to help with planning your trip, providing hotel quote assistance, itinerary suggestions, locals' secrets and more. For more information on the destination, please visit www.VisitRapidCity.com.