Home to the largest collection of life-sized bronze president statues, called the City of Presidents, Rapid City is the perfect place to refresh on history and learn something new about past American leaders. Tour all 43 statues and then head to these recommend stops to tour our city like a president would.
Thomas Jefferson: Museum of Geology & Carver’s Cafe
America’s 3rd President has two recommended stops for you. The first is right in Rapid City and showcases one of his many interests: fossils. The second features his famous penmanship in the form of a recipe. Carver’s Café at Mount Rushmore serves the original Thomas Jefferson vanilla ice cream recipe – the first known by an American.
James Monroe: Central States Fairgrounds
The 5th President of the Unites States had a love for riding, hunting, and farming. We have a feeling that if he were to visit Rapid City, his favorite stop would be the Central States Fairgrounds. Home to rodeos throughout the year, the biggest being the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo®.
John Quincy Adams: Reptile Gardens
The 6th President of the United States, and son to the 2nd President, was also known for keeping an alligator in the White House bathtub for several months. Because of this, his recommended stop in Rapid City is the World’s Largest Reptile Zoo, Reptile Gardens.
Andrew Jackson: Wine Cellar or Juniper at the Vertex
The 7th President of the United States was once gifted a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese from a New York dairy farmer. Jackson left it in the White House to age for two years before he invited the public to come and eat it. For that reason, he would send you to enjoy a cheeseboard of your own at either Juniper at the Vertex or the Wine Cellar.
Franklin Pierce: Mitizi’s Books
America’s 14th President attended college with some recognizable names: authors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In fact, Hawthorne and Pierce became lifelong friends. Which is why Franklin Pierce recommends a visit to Mitzi’s Books where you can shop for great books from a variety of talented authors.
James Buchanan: Windsor Block
The 15th President of the United States was known to buy ten gallons of whiskey every week. And while we wouldn’t recommend you consume it at the level he did, we bet he would recommend a whiskey on the rocks or specialty cocktail at Windsor Block.
Grover Cleveland: Rushmore Candy Company
The Baby Ruth candy bar was named after the daughter of Cleveland who served as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. We know he would send you straight to the best candy store around, Rushmore Candy Company, to enjoy this delicious candy bar and more.
William Howard Taft: Pure Fox
As the 26th President of the United States, William Howard Taft experienced many firsts while in the White House. One of the most famous stories told is how he supposedly got stuck in the White House bathtub. This story, however, has no proof. What we do know for sure is that during his time in the White House, he ordered the largest specially crafted porcelain tub ever made for an individual. This is why his recommended stop in Rapid City is Pure Fox where you can shop a variety of non-toxic self-care products.
Theodore Roosevelt: Wind Cave National Park
Two worlds are preserved inside the boundaries of one park, thanks to the 26th President of the United States. He was a conservationist who set aside 200 million acres of national forests, reserves, and wildlife preserves. Roosevelt’s recommended stop would be Wind Cave National Park, which he made the 8th national park to be established and the first protecting a cave system.
Warren Harding: Bar K-9
While America’s 29th President wasn’t the only animal lover to ascend to the Oval Office, his Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy was the first presidential pet to receive regular news coverage and national identity. Which is why this president would be spending some time at Bar K-9.
Calvin Coolidge: Presidential Pawn
“Silent Cal” was America’s 30th President and was famous for his odd habits. From playing the harmonica on the front porch of the White House to walking his pet raccoon, Rebecca. His out of the ordinary lifestyle tells us he would love visiting the world’s only museum and pawnshop, or a Pawnseum.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Rapid Creek or Outdoor Campus
Our 34th President would have you wading the waters of Rapid Creek catching brook trout and enjoying the views. Never fished? Head to Outdoor Campus West where they provide free, hands-on experience with a variety of outdoor skills including fishing, fly fishing, and even ice fishing.
John F. Kennedy: Harriet and Oak
America’s beloved 35th President had a love of his own – waffles. Which is why he would tell you to enjoy his favorite breakfast at the local coffee shop Harriet & Oak.
Lyndon B. Johnson: War Memorial in Memorial Park
The 36th President of the United States joined the Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and earning the Silver Star award, the third-highest military combat decoration. Johnson was also president during the Vietnam War; his recommended stop is paying tribute to the soldiers recognized in the Memorial Park War Memorial.
Gerald Ford: Rapid City Marshals Football Game
The 38th President of the United States was quite the athlete. Ford attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship, and after graduating received offers to play for both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. He turned them down, but he would still love attending a Rapid City Marshals game while in Rapid City.
Jimmy Carter: Nerdy Nuts Peanut Butter Experience
Before becoming the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer. Which is why we know he would send you straight to Nerdy Nuts Peanut Butter Experience for a tasty treat or to make a delicious creation of your own.
Ronald Reagan: Elks Theatre
America’s 40th President made 53 movies before switching careers into politics. During his time in Rapid City, he would definitely sit back and relax in the historic seats of the Elks Theatre.
George W. Bush: Stratobowl Rim Trail
The 43rd President of the United States leaned into America’s history of exploring new frontiers by committing to a long-term space exploration program with NASA. We know he would love experiencing the location that was the birthplace of the space age, the Stratobowl.
Barack Obama: Heroes and Villains
As a fan of comic books, even making an appearance on the cover of The Amazing Spiderman #583, our 44th President would recommend a stop into Heroes & Villains. A locally owned shop that allows fans to step into the lore of the world's most iconic fictional worlds.
Launching the end of February, the City of Presidents tour will expand beyond a visual tour with an audio tour. Dial in or scan a QR code on the president to hear their stories and discover more recommended stops throughout the region. For updates on the audio tour and more exciting things in the Rapid City area, sign up for monthly Travel Tips Newsletter.