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

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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

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Explore wooded trails, climb rugged peaks or walk through native prairie grasses. Countless trails lead to scenic landscapes, thundering waterfalls and invigorating overlooks. Conquer a hiking trail in South Dakota and the journey stays with you forever!

Situated behind a lake of the same name, the Horsethief Lake Trail is a genuine mountain wonderland. A hike back here makes you feel like you’re in the Pacific Northwest. Along this 3.5-mile trail, you will discover waterfalls, granite spires, mossy boulders and Old Man’s Beard dripping off some of the largest trees in the Black Hills. Horsethief Lake can be found on Highway 244 west of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Palisades State Park is one of the most unique areas in South Dakota. Split Rock Creek, which flows through the park, is lined with Sioux quartzite formations varying from shelves several feet above the water to 50-foot vertical cliffs. Scenic overlooks and rushing water make Palisades a popular area for hikers to explore this unique landscape.

Sica Hollow State Park is a place filled with rugged beauty and ancient mysteries. The park, part of the Prairie Coteau Hills, offers a wide variety of year-round activities. Hiking is particularly popular in this area when the beautiful fall foliage makes an appearance.

Hilger’s Gulch in Pierre includes a 1.1-mile lighted walking trail along with attractive flower gardens and a scenic view of the South Dakota State Capitol. During holidays and special events, the park is decorated with a United States flag display. Governor’s Grove is located on the west slope of the gulch and contains hundreds of trees and 28 monuments dedicated to former governors of South Dakota.

Sica Hollow State Park. Courtesy Travel South Dakota

Wildlife viewing

Spy on abundant populations of waterfowl and songbirds. Spot endangered species like the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and whooping crane. Encounter deer, elk, prairie dogs and more. With diverse terrain throughout the state, South Dakota is home to many species of wildlife.

Take a stroll through the unique LaFramboise Island Nature Area along the Missouri River in the capital city, Pierre. The island is covered in trees and meadows, which are home to a variety of wildlife and bird species.

Wind through Custer State Park on the Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway for a chance to see bighorn sheep, elk, coyotes, the begging burros, wild turkeys and the big stars of the show, the bison. Get out in the morning or evening for your best chances at catching the animals in action.

The center of activity for the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is the 25-mile Lewis and Clark Lake. The lake is one of four large reservoirs on the Missouri River in South Dakota, and creates a wonderful opportunity to view many species of birds while walking along the water.

Pelican Lake Recreation Area near Watertown is a popular stopping point for migrating waterfowl. Each fall, geese and ducks use the lake’s open waters as a resting area. A variety of shore birds spend their entire summer in or near the park. Most noticeable are the large white pelicans that frequent the lake. An observation tower on one of the hiking trails gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the area.

Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. Courtesy Travel South Dakota

Scenic drives

South Dakota’s diverse landscape, iconic monuments, national parks and natural wonders are the makings for the perfect road trip. Life’s about the journey, and here, scenic byways take travelers through the other-worldly formations of the Badlands to world-famous monuments like Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Through tribal lands steeped in rich Native American history where spiritual leaders like Sitting Bull now rest to Custer State Park, where the buffalo still roam free, we encourage you take the scenic route and let life happen between the mile markers.

Breathtaking views of the Missouri River, diverse landscapes, and tribal history and culture are showcased on the Native American Scenic Byway running north and south through central South Dakota. The route takes travelers through the lands of the Yankton, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes.

Gradually climbing from the town of Spearfish on the northern edge of the Black Hills, the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is one of the gateways into the heart of an ancient mountain range. Spearfish Creek flows along the canyon bottom, acting as a natural guide for the scenic byway that follows the creek’s contours. Although the drive is only 19 miles, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the ride and pull over for pictures or a hike. Spearfish Canyon is one of the most beautiful spots in the country, so this is no time to put the pedal to the metal.

Sometimes described as “surreal” or “otherworldly,” you won’t want to miss the twisting curves climbing through passes in the Badlands’ “wall” of rugged rock pinnacles, buttes and mounds on the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway. Motorcycle riders and sports car enthusiasts love this road so much that it has been featured in driving video games, but is an enjoyable cruise with any vehicle.

Spearfish Falls off the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Courtesy Travel South Dakota

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Dakota Drum Company

Dakota Drum Company has been in business for 20 years and specializes in traditional buffalo hide drums, powwow drums and traditional buffalo hide drums hand-painted by Lakota and Sioux artist Sonja Holy Eagle, who has won many major art show awards.

Known for their traditional buffalo hide drums made from hand-scraped buffalo rawhide with cottonwood frames, as well as one-sided drums, they pride themselves on the quality of their products and their Native American art.

They also carry hide paintings by Sonja, along with traditional beadwork and quillwork by artists from the Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. You can also find beautiful buffalo robes, sweetgrass and sage, along with many other traditional arts.

Dakota Drum Company

Star of the West Hat Company

Star of the West Hat Company is known for hat refurbishing and custom felt hats that will ship all over the world! In their 20-year history, they have had the privilege of building hats for everyone from ranchers and rodeo cowboys to musicians and movie sets.

The store is pretty small, but they are able to show the kinds of equipment and materials that go into building hats as well as the process of building hats. With a small work area, there could be some hands-on experience for interested groups!

Star of the West Hat Company

Suzi Cappa Art Center

Suzie Cappa Art Center is a downtown non-profit studio and gallery where artists of all abilities create, exhibit and market their work. It offers an inspirational atmosphere for artists and visitors alike and is a division of Black Hills Works, which provides services and support to more than 630 adults with disabilities. Creations by their artists are sold nationwide and may be viewed and purchased on their website.

Suzie Cappa Art Center

For more information on Rapid City, visit

Chislic Festival

July 25, 2020

Freeman, South Dakota


Chislic is a South Dakota tradition – especially in southeastern South Dakota. Legend says it was brought to that corner of our state in the 1800s by German/Russian immigrants. Today, chislic (beef or lamb on a stick) has grown from humble origins to a dish that was declared the official “nosh” of South Dakota in 2018. One year later, the first-ever Chislic Festival in Freeman attracted more than 8,000 people! Come enjoy this flavorful festival and celebrate with cooking competitions, live entertainment and more.

Chislic Festival. Credit: South Dakota Tourism

80th Anniversary of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

August 7-16, 2020

Sturgis, South Dakota


The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the world’s oldest and largest motorcycle gatherings, offering incredible riding, exhibitors, motorcycle shows, demo rides, racing, concerts and much more. Find out why this international phenomenon draws motorcycle legends, superstars and hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts to the Black Hills each year. It’s also listed as one of the “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Main Street at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Credit: South Dakota Tourism

Black Hills Powwow

October 9-11, 2020

Rapid City, South Dakota


The Black Hills Powwow (or He Sapa Wacipi Na Oskate) is a preeminent Black Hills event featuring three days filled with Native American singing, dancing, drum groups, art displays, hand games, athletic competitions, and a variety of other events. Over the decades, the Black Hills Powwow has become one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States, attracting hundreds of dancers, singers, artisans as well as thousands of spectators from across North America.

Black Hills Powwow. Credit: South Dakota Tourism


For more information on the Great American West state of South Dakota, visit

Black Hills Powwow

As one of the premier cultural events and one of top three powwows in the nation, the Black Hills Powwow features a variety of dancers and events. This event attracts hundreds of spectators from around the world. Dancers come to this event from Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. Most dancers at The Black Hills Powwow were winners from regional dances and fill the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. From the youth jingle dancers to elders, the beautiful dancers go around and around for all to see. This is a must-see event.

Learn more

Black Hills Powwow. Credit: South Dakota Tourism

Crazy Horse Volksmarch

Crazy Horse Memorial hosts a Volksmarch in the Spring and Fall. Hikers get the opportunity to climb to the arm of Crazy Horse Memorial for a close-up view of the largest mountain carving in progress. This opportunity is only offered twice a year. The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch is a 10K or 6.2-mile hike that follows dirt trails and gravel work roads up to the Crazy Horse Mountain Carving.

Learn more

Crazy Horse Volksmarch. Credit: Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo

The Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo® is the second largest event in the state of South Dakota following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. An estimated attendance of 331,000 people attend the ten-day event held annually from the last weekend in January to the first weekend in February. The stock show features 96 different agriculture driven events. Events such as the Ranch Rodeo and Sheep Dog Trials are crowd favorites.

Learn more

Black Hills Stock Show & Ranch Rodeo. Courtesy of: Visit Rapid City

For more information on the Rapid City, South Dakota area, visit

Delight in a frosty frolic while skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skating, or ice fishing. With more than 1,500 miles of trails statewide, South Dakota is one of the nation’s top snowmobiling destinations and the perfect setting for your winter getaway.

Black Hills & Badlands

  • Ice Rink in Main Street Square (Rapid City) – Come on down, bring some friends, and make lifelong memories while you skate on an outdoor rink larger than Rockefeller Center’s.
  • Snowmobiling – Just south of Spearfish, climb aboard a horse-powered sleigh and go dashing over 350 miles of marked, mapped, and groomed snowmobile trails.
  • Terry Peak – The family-friendly ski resort is located in the northern Black Hills near historic Deadwood. The summit stands at 7,100 feet tall and features the highest lift service between the Rockies and the Alps.
  • Evans Plunge (Hot Springs)- Established in 1890, Evans Plunge is the oldest tourist attraction in the Black Hills. You can swim, splash, and soak in the 87-degree mineral water. A natural thermal spring provides the pool’s crystal-clear, scentless water.
  • Custer State Park – Winter in the southern Black Hills offers a truly unique experience. Wildlife is far easier to spot without the cover of green vegetation, so enjoy the show as bison, bighorn sheep and others become more active in their natural habitats!
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial- Enjoy the majesty of four snow-covered stone faces along with the beauty of the Black Hills’ winter transformation.The memorial remains open all year round!
  • Badlands National Park – Take the Badlands Loop (Highway 240) for dreamy winter views of this 244,000-acre (97,600 ha) national park.

Travel Tip:  The interactive exhibits and free 20-minute movie at the Custer State Park Visitor Center make it the perfect place to start your adventure.

Missouri River/ Glacial Lakes & Prairies

  • Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center (Chamberlain) – It’s an experience that provides visitors with a living lesson on the Native American way of life both past and present.
  • Ice Fishing with Guides- Catch some walleye, smallmouth bass, or catfish with an experienced guide showing you the best spots and tricks that add up to one unforgettable fishing trip!
  • Terry Redlin Art Center (Aberdeen)- The famous landscape artist captured on canvas images of nature and small-town America. Enjoy free admission to see more than 160 original oil paintings and shop three exclusive gift shops.
  • South Dakota Art Museum (Brookings)- Explore the state’s artistic gem! Galleries feature Native American art, Harvey Dunn paintings & illustraions, Paul Goble illustrations, Marghab Linens, and dynamic exhibits by regional and national artists.
  • Dakota Nature Park (Brookings)- With rental equipment available on-site, it’s easy to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing through the outdoor beauty of Dakota Nature Park

Travel Tip: The South Dakota Art Museum has been repeatedly named one of the top 25 museums & galleries in the U.S. by American Art Awards.


  • Great Bear Recreation Park (Sioux Falls)- Great Bear Recreation Park features more than 200 acres of outdoor fun just minutes from downtown Sioux Falls. The Ski Valley features skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing.
  • Snowmobiling – The eastern side of South Dakota offers its own stunning snowmobiling locations—1,168 miles of trails, to be exact.
  • Palisades State Park – Cuddle up in one of the heated cabin rentals nestled amongst the park’s pink quartzite rock.
  • Newton Hills State Park– The area along Sargent Creek is considered one of the best places in the state to do some cross-country skiing.

Travel Tip: The Sioux quartzite formations at Palisades State Park are estimated to be 1.2 billion years old!

For more information on winter activities in South Dakota, visit

Photos: South Dakota Tourism

As the home of iconic destinations and a variety of must-see landscapes, South Dakota ends up on plenty of bucket lists. But with summer’s end comes a unique time to experience the state’s most beautiful locations. Here are three distinctly SoDak fall pleasures that belong on your bucket list.

Find the perfect spot to take in the colors of fall

Being home to six National Park Service sites and 56 state parks & recreation areas means there are plenty of peaceful outdoor spaces to take in the changing seasons. Sica Hollow State Park is home to both mysterious legends and some of the most beautiful foliage in the state. Palisades State Park combines changing leaves with quartzite cliffs. Why do visitors from around the world come to Spearfish Canyon every September and early October? It’s because the 20-mile Black Hills drive features more than 1,260 colorful plants that explode with color every autumn, producing sights so moving that one man provides annual color updates to anyone that asks. Check the latest report by clicking here.

Feel the thundering of hooves at the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

The normally serene Custer State Park erupts in cheers when cowboys and cowgirls conduct their annual roundup of the world’s largest publicly owned bison herd. One weekend every September, 1,300 bison are gathered in front of an audience of more than 20,000 excited onlookers. The roundup began as a way to monitor population and conduct medical checks, but it’s transformed into a celebration of the country’s national mammal. There’s nothing quite like feeling the ground shake as the entire herd charges down the beautiful hills of western South Dakota. Admission to the event is free, and attendees can also enjoy the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival held over the entire weekend. For more info, click here.

Enjoy some of the world’s best hunting and fishing in South Dakota

When the cornstalks turn brown, South Dakota turns “hunter orange,” welcoming hunters from across the world every autumn. Some come for their first hunt. Others enjoy a much-anticipated reunion with friends and family. In addition to pheasants, hunters can also pursue big game, waterfowl, turkey, and more. Whatever your game, lodge options and nearly five million acres of public land make it easy for residents and non-residents alike to make some memories.

There’s also the fishing! Nearly 98% of the state’s waters are publicly accessible and open for fishing, meaning you can fly-fish for trout in a flowing Black Hills stream, reel in trophy walleye from the Missouri River, or land bass and crappie at a northeastern glacial lake. Plenty of fishermen will tell you that there’s something special about casting your line in the fall in South Dakota.

Gorgeous leaves, galloping bison, the thrill of hunting and fishing — fall is the time to check off at least one box on your bucket list. Make sure to make the most of the changing seasons by experiencing autumn in South Dakota.

Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

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Sculpture Project in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo credit: Visit Rapid City

The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind & Water

As a large-scale, long-term, on-site work in granite. The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind & Water at Main Street Square aims to connect with the region’s significant sculptural tradition.

Additional premier cultural experiences in Rapid City include downtown’s Art Alley, the Berlin Wall Exhibit in Memorial Park, and the Dahl Arts Center.

Art Alley in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo credit: Visit Rapid City

Art Alley

Located between 6th and 7th Streets downtown, artists’ exuberant and colorful expressions captivate from building to building. The free spirits who have offered their talents to this unique public arts project aren’t afraid to dream big.

Berlin Wall Exhibit in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo credit: Visit Rapid City

Memorial Park / Berlin Wall Exhibit

Cold War relics tell their tale in the Berlin Wall Exhibit, located in Memorial Park alongside Rapid Creek in the center of Rapid City, along with a number of sculptures and memorials, a rose garden near Memorial Lake and band shell.

Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo credit: Visit Rapid City

Dahl Arts Center

The Dahl Arts Center on downtown Rapid City offers a variety of cultural exhibits, as well as classes, seminars and free art adventures, It has severed as the premier western South Dakota center for contemporary visual arts, arts education and performing arts since its opening in 1974.

To learn more, contact:
Visit Rapid City

512 Main Street Suite 240
Rapid City, SD 57701 USA
Phone: 605-718-8482

Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead. Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

Pioneer through Little House on the Prairie

For a pioneer experience, it doesn’t get any better than in De Smet, homestead to the famous author Laura Ingalls Wilder and her novel “Little Town on the Prairie.” Two of the Ingalls’ actual homes are open for tours, hands-on fun can be found at the site of the original Ingalls Homestead, and an outdoor pageant held every summer recreates one of Laura’s books in a setting overlooking the homestead.

Ride the covered wagon across the prairie to a one-room schoolhouse session. Make corncob dolls and ropes, see demonstrations of hay twisting and wheat grinding, drive a pony cart, and interact with farm animals. Camping is available at a variety of spots including covered wagons, a bunkhouse, and RV and tent sites.


Prairie Edge Trading Co & Galleries in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

Learn about the 9 American Indian tribes home to South Dakota

There are nine American Indian tribes that call South Dakota home, and each has a unique story to tell. Working together, they welcome visitors into their communities to educate and share. When visiting Native communities, you will experience genuine hospitality, discover authentic art, and hear about the fascinating history and unique culture of the American Indian people.


Museum of Geology in Hill City, South Dakota. Photo credit: South Dakota Tourism

Step back in Prehistoric time to the Land of Dinosaurs 

Millions of years ago, the Black Hills, Badlands, and western prairie were home to countless species of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Since then, the areas have made names for themselves as enticing and interactive destinations that will appeal to anyone with a proclivity for paleontology.

For more information, contact:
South Dakota Department of Tourism
711 E. Wells Avenue, Dolly Reed Plaza
Pierre, SD 57501 USA