A Guide to Rapid City, South Dakota
Here are the top things to do in a city that puts you close to the best of the Black Hills.
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 Black Hills Bagels, a Rapid City favorite with two locations. If you’re in a hurry, go to the one on Haines Avenue which has a drive-thru. You’ll find classic bagels and cream cheese, with some fun twists, along with breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and espresso drinks.
Don’t miss 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. This city loves its dinosaurs. Learn more about the creatures that once called Rapid City home, along with geology and mineralogy at the free Museum of Geology.
Get out and explore the trails on the Skyline Wilderness Trail, with great options for hiking or biking. There are also great trails four minutes north at 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