If you’re looking for a basecamp to explore some of our most iconic national park sites in South Dakota, stop and stay in Rapid City, S.D., while you’re in the Black Hills.
Start your day off by having breakfast at a local legend, Tally’s Silver Spoon. It’s been a Rapid City staple since the 1930s, but its menu offers modern twists on diner classics. The cinnamon swirl french toast is not to be missed. Head here for dinner to sample the Indecision Menu where the chef dreams up a multi-course meal for you and your table.
A block away is Main Street Square where there’s splash pads for kids and 150 events per year. Between 6th and 7th and Main and Saint Joseph streets, you can walk Art Alley where local artists have painted vibrant murals. Afterwards, take a stroll past the 43 life-sized bronze statues of U.S. presidents lining downtown in what is known as the City of Presidents. Turn it into a scavenger hunt to find the president holding a baseball or the one feeding a bird by downloading a walking guide at VistiRapidCity.com.
To learn more about the Black Hills and its Lakota, geologic and pioneer history, head to The Journey Museum & Learning Center. You can step inside a tipi, go into an archaeological pit, see a pioneer general store and more.
From virtually every point in Rapid City, you can see a life-sized dinosaur standing on a ridge west of town. You’re not hallucinating. Get up-close to it when you head to Dinosaur Park, an iconic spot where seven life-sized green dinosaurs stand. Created in 1936 as a way to lure future tourists to Rapid City from Mount Rushmore, this iconic attraction enables kids to scramble on the dinosaurs while adults can enjoy expansive views of the Badlands to the east and Black Hills to the west. Enjoy ice cream from the visitor center and then hop on the Skyline Wilderness Trail here to bike or hike.
There are also great trails four minutes north to Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park, known as M Hill by locals. You can explore 20-plus miles of hiking and mountain biking trails here.
If you’re wanting to step into a scene from Frozen’s Arendelle, head to Chapel of the Hills, a Norwegian-style chapel made entirely of wood- minus the metal door hinges. Nestled in a forest of pine trees on the city’s west side, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered a fairy tale. Built in 1967, it is a replica of an iconic chapel in Laerdal, Norway. Stroll the Meditation Trail, step inside the chapel and explore the grass-roofed visitor center and gift shop.
At night, head to Firehouse Brewing Co. for happy hour on its outdoor patio. It’s in Rapid City’s original firehouse that was built in 1915. Highlighting its historic roots, you’ll find a firepole in the middle of the restaurant and kids can put on fireman hats while dining. East of downtown, you’ll find Dakotah Steakhouse that features iconic South Dakota fare with dishes featuring walleye, pheasant, bison and elk. You’ll also find a regional favorite, chislic, on the menu, which is cubed beef or lamb that’s deep fried and served with a dip.
Learn more at VisitRapidCity.com