You are here

Winter In Rapid City

Plan a winter getaway in Rapid City, where many of our big attractions are open year round. With great dining and exceptional access to some of the nation’s most famed parks and seasonal events to warm you up, you can’t go wrong.

Ice Skating at Main Street Square


Winter brings plenty of holiday fun to Rapid City along with great ways to create treasured memories.

  • Go Ice Skating at Main Street Square: Whether you enjoy the romance or the workout, you’ll make the most of winter with a sparkling day of outdoor ice skating in Downtown Rapid City. Larger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink, the ice skating rink at Main Street Square is a favorite gathering place all winter long. • Open November 21 through February 28 More about Ice Skating at Main Street Square
  • Dine and Shop Downtown: Downtown Rapid City excels year-round with dozens of reasons to enjoy the Black Hills’ favorite cosmopolitan oasis. Work up an appetite shopping boutiques and stores featuring artisan-made goods and unique finds, from fashion and home décor to gift items. Then reward yourself at celebrated restaurants offering a wide variety of menu choices and regional fare that makes your travel experience a delicious memory. More about Downtown Rapid City
  • Escape to Storybook Island: With more twinkling lights than you could possibly count, a perennial favorite is the Christmas Nights of Light at Storybook Island, where everyone feels like a kid again. No misfits here, just lots and lots of holiday joy. • November 27-29, December 4-6, 11-23 and 26-31 More about Christmas at Storybook Island
  • Take a Ride on the Holiday Express: Who knew the North Pole was such a quick trip away? Fueled by an authentic steam locomotive, a little hot chocolate and some elfin magic, this ride on the Black Hills Central Railroad 1880 Train creates an unforgettable Christmas memory for the whole family, complete with an appearance by Santa himself, bearing small gifts for the kids! • November 27, 28 and December 12, 19, 20, 23 More about the Holiday Express
  • Gather Round for the New Year: Ring in the New Year with ice skating, family entertainment and fireworks at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City. •December 31 More about the Downtown Countdown


Winter in Badlands National Park

Whether you roam the Black Hills or stay close to the comforts of Downtown Rapid City, you’ll find thrilling ways to stay active on your winter getaway.

  • Explore Our State & National Parks: Rapid City is close to several National Parks and Monuments, as well as spectacular Custer State Park. Since they’re open year-round, the winter months give you prime access to these popular park destinations. That means enjoying the experience with fewer crowds and even more wonder revealed by nature’s dramatic winter landscape.
  • Hike, Bike and Be Active: With the addition of a few warm layers, South Dakota winters are made for staying active. In fact, Rapid City weather benefits from its location at the foot of the Black Hills with warmer winter temperatures than you might think – great for taking advantage of nearby trails and parks that are perfect for hiking. Let a local outfitter help you plan a winter bike ride – fat tires make even the most rugged terrain accessible all season long. More about Outdoor Recreation in Rapid City
  • Take in a Hockey Game: The excitement of ECHL action comes to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena as the Rapid City Rush takes on division rivals throughout the season. For non-stop action on the ice and big fun in the arena, hockey in Rapid City is definitely the ticket. More about Rapid City Sporting Events
  • Check Out the Big Stock Show & Rodeo: Horse and cattle shows, entertainment, the Ranch Rodeo, Sheep Dog Trials, Extreme Bull Riding, Bronc Match and more – everything you love about western life and cowboy heritage is on display at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo. Even the World’s Smallest Rodeo is a really big deal at this popular event. More about the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo


Dinosaurs at the Journey Museum & Learning Center

No matter what time of year it is, you’re always at the frontier of great cultural influences and fascinating natural history in Rapid City. Let your curiosity lead you to new discoveries this winter.

  • Take a Trek Through Time: Learn how the mystical Black Hills came to be at the Journey Museum & Learning Center, where artifacts and exhibits tell the stories of the natural history, people and events that shaped the region. Rock out at the Museum of Geology, where paleontology exhibits and rare mineral specimens reveal the area’s rich heritage. Visit the Mammoth Site at Hot Springs to learn about creatures that roamed the plains here 26,000 years ago. Imagine what it was like when dinosaurs roamed the region at Dinosaur Park, where life-size replicas and 100-mile views have thrilled visitors since 1936. View Rapid City’s Top Ten Museums & Galleries
  • Find Inspiration in the Arts: Rapid City’s creative community thrives year-round, thanks to local galleries featuring fine art, crafts, jewelry and more. From the exuberant work by artists of all abilities at the Suzie Cappa Art Center, to the ever-changing galleries and programs of The Dahl Arts Center, to the fine selections of Native American works at Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries, Downtown Rapid City will more than satisfy the art lover in you. More about Arts & Culture in Rapid City
  • Visit Wild, Wild Horses: Fill your Black Hills vacation with spirited inspiration this winter at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, where wild horses roam free across wind swept prairies and work their magic on your soul. Here, where movie scenes from Hidalgo and Into the Wild were filmed, you’ll view majestic mustangs along with Native American ceremonial sites, early pioneer homesteads and a restored one-room schoolhouse. More about the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary