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Cosmos Mystery Area

Gravity seems completely out of balance in a unique wooded spot where balls roll uphill, volunteers sit on walls and people change heights on level ground. Located 17 miles south of Rapid City on Highway 16, Cosmos is open April through October.

International Vinegar Museum & Festival

Hidden in the tiny town of Roslyn is the International Vinegar Museum, the headquarters for the annual International Vinegar Festival. Vinegar tasting might sound weird, but it’s actually delicious, fascinating and very available at this festival.

World’s Largest Pheasant

This 28-foot, 22-ton pheasant made of fiberglass and steel has affirmed Huron as home of the World’s Largest Pheasant. From its beak to the tip of its feathered tail, this giant bird spans more than 40 feet!

Chislic

South Dakota’s official state “nosh” or appetizer. These bite-sized cubes of seasoned meat (usually beef or mutton) are either fried or grilled on wooden skewers and can be found on pub and restaurant menus across the state. Popular chislic variations are served at Urban Chislic in Sioux Falls and Meridian Corner in Freeman. Those visiting South Dakota at the end of July can join thousands of chislic enthusiasts at the annual South Dakota Chislic Festival in Freeman.

Chislic, bite-sized cubes of seasoned beef or mutton, is South Dakota’s official state “nosh.” Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

Chislic

The unofficial, and frankly delicious, state entrée of South Dakota is deep-fried, cubed pieces of beef or lamb. This mouthwatering appetizer is found in multiple Rapid City restaurants, but favorites include Minervas Restaurant & Bar and Dakotah Steakhouse. If you’d rather incorporate it into your main meal, try the Beef Bone Ramen from Bokujo Ramen, Rapid City’s new authentic ramen restaurant.

Buffalo burgers, steaks and more

South Dakota produces the largest number of bison for farming in the United States due to the animal’s nativity to the Great Plains. Chances are if your Rapid City dining location has burgers, they’ll also have a bison burger option like at Firehouse Brewing Co. Beyond burgers, head to Tally’s Silver Spoon for breakfast and enjoy buffalo hanger steak and eggs. For lunch or dinner, try Murphey’s Pub & Grill for savory buffalo meatloaf.

Pickle beer

Simply add a pickle spear to your favorite light draft beer to enjoy an iconic South Dakota drink – an odd combination (unless you’re from the state) that you can find at any sports bar. Or, if you’d rather try small-batch local brews, Rapid City is home to the largest collection of craft breweries on the western side of the state.

If your Rapid City dining option has burgers, chances are they’ll also offer a bison burger option (like here at Firehouse Brewing). Photo courtesy of Visit Rapid City

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.

50th Anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant (De Smet)

Dates: July  9-11, July 16-18 and July 23-25, 2021; July 8-10, July 15-17 and July 22-24, 2022
Website: http://www.desmetpageant.org/

50th Annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo (Mitchell)

Date: July 13-18, 2021
Website: https://www.cornpalacestampede.com/index.php

81st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Sturgis)

Dates: August 6-15, 2021; August 6-15, 2022
Website: https://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/index.php?page=home

Riverboat Days (Yankton)

Date: August 20-22, 2021
Website: https://riverboatdays.com/

South Dakota State Fair (Huron)

Date: September 2-6, 2021
Website: https://www.sdstatefair.com/

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival (Custer)

Dates: September 24-25, 2021; September 30-October 1, 2022
Website: https://gfp.sd.gov/buffalo-roundup/

Crazy Horse Memorial Volksmarch (Custer)

Dates: September 26, 2021; June 4-5 and September 25, 2022
Website: https://crazyhorsememorial.org/visit/special-events/volksmarch

Annual Black Hills Powwow and Art Market (Rapid City)

Date: October 8-10, 2021
Website: https://www.blackhillspowwow.com/ 

Christmas at the Capital (Pierre)

Date: November 24, 2021-January 2, 2022
Website: https://christmasatthecapitol.sd.gov/events.aspx

Annual Black Hills Stockshow & Rodeo (Rapid City)

Date: January 28, 2021-February 6, 2022
Website: https://www.blackhillsstockshow.com/

Take in carnival rides, food vendors, a chainsaw sculpting demo and much more at Riverboat Days in Yankton, South Dakota, set for August 20-22, 2021. Photo courtesy South Dakota Tourism

These events are annual and fall on similar dates each year. For additional information on each event, please visit the website or contact the Global Travel & Trade Team at the Department of Tourism.  For more South Dakota event listings, visit https://www.travelsouthdakota.com/things-to-do/events

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

*At this time, most locations do not have COVID-19 protocols. Contact each venue for up-to-date information.

Summer Nights (May-August): Weekly downtown concert series with live music and street vendors.

Mount Rushmore Evening Lighting Ceremony (May-September): View America’s Shrine of Democracy after sunset and listen to a park ranger speak about the monument’s history.

Crazy Horse Memorial Volksmarches (June and September): Bi-annual 10K to the arm of the world’s largest mountain-carving-in-progress.

Hills Alive Summer Music Festival (July): Music festival featuring the best of Christian artists on two stages over two days.

Kool Deadwood Nights (August): Rock ‘n’ roll Main Street experience with classic cars, classic music and a parade.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August): The world’s largest motorcycle rally, including scenic rides, concerts, entertainment and street food.

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival (September): Cowboys, cowgirls and park rangers round up a herd of over 1,300 buffalo. Pair with Custer State Park’s three-day Arts Festival.

Pumpkin Festival (September): Downtown Rapid City’s biggest festival, featuring pumpkin catapults and weigh-offs, vendors and more.

Bierbörse Festival (October): Beer stock exchange, activities and polka music.

Black Hills Powwow (October): Native American dancers and drum groups gather for one of the nation’s largest powwows.

Native American dancers and drum groups gather for one of the nation’s largest powwows at the Black Hills Powwow each October in Rapid City. Photo courtesy South Dakota Tourism

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.

South Dakota is proud to share agriculture – the state’s #1 industry – with visitors. Travelers will love exploring fields of corn, soybeans, wheat and sunflowers that stretch for miles.

In the Sioux Falls area, learn about the field-to-glass approach to brewing at A Homestead Brew, where visitors can tour a hop farm before tasting the delicious final product. Not only can travelers stretch their legs at beautiful Falls Park, they can also taste the delicious Stensland Family Farms farm-to-table cheese and ice cream at the Overlook Café before an engaging visit to the Stockyards Ag Experience.

In western South Dakota, travelers can relax in cozy cabin accommodations while enjoying the company of farm animals at the Yak Ridge Cabins & Farmstead (located near Rapid City). Farm tours are available, and visitors can learn about the sustainability of chickens, honeybees and Himalayan yaks!

With more great locations like the World’s Only Corn Palace, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, Ingalls Homestead and more, South Dakota is primed and ready to give travelers a fun and delicious agricultural experience they’ll never forget.

With locations like the World’s Only Corn Palace, South Dakota is primed and ready to give travelers a fun and delicious agricultural experience they’ll never forget. Courtesy Travel South Dakota

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

Unique and unexpected, Rapid City’s Sioux Pottery features handmade collectibles created by local Native American Sioux Indian artists. Intricate pottery pieces and specialty items are formed from red clay dug up just outside of Rapid City, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Paha Sapa (Black Hills) have provided food, shelter and substance for the Great Sioux Nation for decades, and the area continues to produce red clay today. Visitors to Sioux Pottery can not only purchase one-of-a-kind pottery, but also see the entire process from start to finish. Each piece is poured, shaped, fired in a kiln, sanded for finishing, painted and carved with designs and symbols important to the Lakota culture.

In 2020, Sioux Pottery was selected to participate in the Made In American Product Showcase at the White House – an annual show that highlighted American-made products from each of the 50 states.

Intricate pottery pieces and specialty items at Rapid City’s Sioux Pottery are formed from red clay dug up in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Courtesy Visit Rapid City

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.

Black Hills & Badlands

  • Spearfish Canyon Nature Area – Enjoy waterfalls, hiking trails and jaw-dropping views along one of the best drives in the country.
  • George S. Mickelson Trail – Bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders can all enjoy the 109-mile-long trail through the Black Hills National Forest.

Glacial Lakes & Prairies

  • Lake Poinsett Recreation Area – Located between Watertown and Brookings, this oasis offers travelers the chance to camp, hike, disc golf and fish.
  • Sica Hollow State Park – This park’s streams, rustic bridges, waterfalls, wildflowers and 8-plus miles of trails are just part of Sica Hollow’s rugged beauty.

Southeast

  • Palisades State Park – Scenic overlooks and rushing water make Palisades a popular getaway for campers, photographers, sightseers, picnickers, rock-climbers and hikers.
  • Lewis & Clark Recreation Area – Marinas, camping options and sandy beaches bring beach-lovers to one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Missouri National Recreational River.

Missouri River

  • Spring Creek Recreation Area – Conveniently located near South Dakota’s capital city, the lake has more than 2,000 miles of shoreline to explore.
  • Farm Island Recreation Area – Located east of Pierre, this island offers 8 miles of hiking trails where you can find peace and plenty of nature to observe.

Sitting on the shores of beautiful Lake Oahe, Spring Creek Recreation Area is a an adventurer’s paradise. The lake has more than 2,000 miles of shoreline, and its clear waters are ideal for boating, sailing, fishing, water skiing and diving. Campers, history buffs, mountain bikers and hikers will find new adventures in this rugged land first explored by Lewis and Clark. Courtesy Travel South Dakota

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

In the Rapid City area, traveling to your destination is part of the experience. Take in the brilliant display of granite spires, eroding buttes and captivating waterfalls on these top 10 scenic drives. (Friendly reminder: Our beautiful scenic drives have sharp/tight corners. Drive with care!)

One of the most famous scenic drives in the Black Hills is along Highway 16A. This highway offers amazing views of Mount Rushmore (perfectly framed), the Black Hills, Needles Highway and Custer State Park. This drive also gives groups the opportunity to drive through a handful of scenic tunnels. These beautiful granite passageways are known to be narrow, but don’t let that shy you away from this epic experience.

Forget the long commute. Stay in Rapid City and you’ll be within an hour’s drive from some pretty spectacular places.

A motorcoach bus squeezes between some rock walls on the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Courtesy Visit Rapid City

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.

Chef Chris Hanmer

Top Chef of the Bravo TV Show “Top Chef – Just Desserts,” Chef Chris Hanmer tells the story of bringing his craft to South Dakota and his passion for welcoming visitors. You can find his desserts at CH Patisserie and Parlor Ice Cream House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Top Chef of Bravo’s “Top Chef – Just Deserts,” Chef Chris Hamner brought some sweet treats to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Courtesy

 

Prairie Berry’s Sandi Vojta

Sandi Vojta explains the history behind five generations of making wine with local South Dakota fruit, leading to a successful tourism industry. You can find the production facility and large tasting room in Hill City, South Dakota, along with an additional tasting room in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Sandi Vojta explains the history behind five generations of making wine with local South Dakota fruit, leading to a successful tourism industry. Courtesy

 

Custer State Park’s Lydia Austin and Chad Kremer

Follow along with Lydia Austin, Custer State Park’s interpretive programs manager, and Chad Kremer, Custer State Park’s bison herd manager, as they detail their favorite sites and activities in the park and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Chad Kremer, Custer State Park’s bison herd manager, details his favorite sites and activities in the park and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Courtesy

 

Mount Rushmore’s Cheryl Schreier and Blaine Kortemeyer

Cheryl Schreier and Blaine Kortemeyer recall their memories seeing Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Black Hills for the first time.

Cheryl Schreier recalls seeing Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Black Hills for the first time. Courtesy

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

Stephen Yellowhawk was born in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was inspired to dance and learn more about his culture primarily from some situations that arose in his schooling. His grandfather then created his first regalia, and he started dancing at 14 years old.

“Traditional dancing and my Christian belief have strengthened my self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect and love for all my relatives,” Stephen said. “It has opened many doors and created many paths for my family and I.”He has been the board president for the Black Hills Powwow Association for 10 years and has seen this powwow become one of the largest in the world.

“This leadership opportunity is a blessing for me. My grandfather has told me stories of coming to visit Rapid City in the 1950s, and things were quite different here then,” Stephen said. “He says he remembers seeing signs on some of the store fronts that said ‘No Indians allowed,’ but now to have one of the largest powwows in the world in this same community shows how far we have come as a community, working on building bridges within our diverse community.”

The Black Hills Powwow has become one of the largest in the world. Courtesy

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.