9 Worthwhile Places To Experience During Your Rapid City Winter Vacation

October 17, 2023

Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy Rapid City without crowds. Mild temperatures set the stage for new adventures and exciting experiences at local attractions open year-round. When you linger a little longer, there’s more to discover. Here’s a list of nine top spots to get you started.

1.    City of Presidents

City of Presidents in downtown rapid city with family looking at statue of thomas jefferson
City of Presidents

Take a walk through Downtown Rapid to see the bronze statues of past presidents on each city block and snap some selfies. You might notice winter gear worn by the City of Presidents this time of year, including hats, coats, scarves and more. It’s a local tradition to dress the statues in warm clothing and offer these items to our community members in need. 

2.    Journey Museum & Learning Center

Sioux Indian Museum exhibit found inside the Journey Museum in Rapid City, SD
Journey Museum & Learning Center

Unearth dinosaurs, take a trip to outer space, or find rare artifacts from our country’s storied past at The Journey Museum & Learning Center. Learn about Native American traditions from the Sioux Indian Museum exhibits and listen to the stories of the Lakota people throughout the museum. This astounding museum offers 2.5 billion years of Black Hills history through these captivating exhibits, a STEAM powered lab filled with experiential activities, and much more. 

3.    The Monument

Rapid City Rush Hockey Game with Fans Cheering them on
Rapid City Rush Hockey @lindsey_myers1

Entertainment comes with options in Rapid City when you visit The Monument. Join locals in cheering on Rapid City’s professional ice hockey team – the Rapid City Rush. Their hockey season starts in October and goes on through April. Under the same busy roof, this multi-purpose entertainment center offers everything from concerts, pop-up markets, festivals, and events during the cooler season. Check out their current schedule here

4.    Main Street Square

People ice skating at night in Main Street Square the heart of Rapid City, SD
Main Street Square

Have some winter fun at Main Street Square where you can rent skates or bring your own gear and spin circles around our city’s charming ice rink. If you’d rather skip the skates, step inside to browse the local shops, or grab a delicious midday snack. Before you leave the square, check out the stunning granite sculptures inspired by the Badlands. This public art project is just one example of the big things on display downtown.

5.    Museum of Geology

exhibit with fossils at the museum of geology in rapid city south dakota
Museum of Geology

Tour an impressive collection of fossils and minerals with a visit to the Museum of Geology on the campus of the School of Mines and Technology. This free museum is expertly curated and showcases some very impressive displays that you'll be fascinated to learn about. Plus, if you are traveling with kids, they offer a great interactive space for young ones.

6.    Black Hills Escape Rooms

people problem solving inside the escape room at black hills escape rooms in rapid city
Black Hills Escape Rooms

Looking for new ways to challenge yourself while on vacation? Enter Black Hills Escape Rooms to choose your adventure, like solving a murder mystery at Saloon #10 or fighting off zombie prairie dogs in a sci-fi scenario. Test your skills and reserve a private booking for 2 - 8 guests per room. From start to finish, this unique experience offers big fun with a locally themed twist.

7.    Dahl Arts Center

Viewing art display at the Dahl Arts Center in Downtown Rapid City, SD
Dahl Arts Center

Visit the Dahl Arts Center to see western South Dakota’s premier collection of contemporary art free of charge. All ages are welcome to enjoy five galleries showcasing visual arts and traveling exhibitions, as well as an interactive art studio for creative expression. Don’t miss the gift shop, which features the work of Black Hills area artists and offers plenty of high-quality, handmade souvenirs.

8.    Performing Arts Center of Rapid City

Crowd watching a performance at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City
Performing Arts Center of Rapid City

Spend an evening at the theater! In addition to hosting national and international productions, The Performing Arts Center of Rapid City is the home base for the local talents of the Black Hills Community Theatre, Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, Shrine of Democracy Chorus, and more. Find tickets for dance, music, comedy, and drama at this cultural beacon of the Black Hills. 

9.    Watiki Water Park

family sitting at sliders bar at watiki water park with water slide going through it in rapid city south dakota
Watiki Water Park

Experience the ultimate aquatic adventure at Watiki Water Park, a tropical paradise nestled in Rapid City. Whether you prefer lounging along the lazy river or seeking thrills on the larger slides, there are water-themed options for fun of all ages at this indoor playground!

Bonus: Our Surroundings

hikers exploring trail around sheridan lake in the black hills of south dakota
Sheridan Lake

A quick drive outside of the city limits will take you to some unbelievable places. With the transformation of winter, it might become your favorite season. From exploring the trails of the Black Hills with a winter hike or snowshoe, to standing before the iconic faces of Mount Rushmore with no one else around. You’ll be out playing with the locals or have the honor of what feels like a private experience when you have the area's parks and monuments to yourself.

Don’t wait until winter ends to travel and try out new experiences! These Rapid City must-see attractions are just the start of a memorable getaway to the Black Hills region. Looking for more inspiration? Sign up for our e-newsletter to learn more about fun things to do, nearby parks and monuments, and more, so you can make the most of your time while you’re here. Safe travels!