It’s not challenging to think of some common perceptions about certain destinations: like everyone in Los Angeles, California is clearly a surfer, you’ll hear “Get outta the way!” from every rushing New Yorker, and those in Nashville, Tennessee can’t stop singing country music. Then we have Rapid City, South Dakota. And let us tell you, we have a few.

Here are six misperceptions you need to know the truth about:

We still commute by horse and buggy.

Black Hills Buggies going through Downtown Rapid City

Yeah, and we just got electricity three years ago (please know that is a joke). Although the pioneer spirit still lives within us, this perception is clearly not true since Rapid City has been a classic American road trip destination since the 1930’s when families flocked here to see the creation of Mt. Rushmore. However, speaking of horse and buggy, you can rent one while here if interested! 

It’s always cold.

Kids playing in the Main Street Square Fountains

We have less snow than Denver, more sun than Miami and Honolulu, and warmer weather than Minneapolis. Our average temperature from May to October is around 73°, from November to April it’s around 42°. You don’t need to pack a parka, but if you’re coming during the months of November to April a winter coat or warm jacket is probably wise.

(Main Street Square)

Food is bland. 

Specialty Meal from the Blind Lion in Downtown Rapid City

Quite the opposite! You can try foods here you’ve probably never experienced anywhere else. From bison to pheasant, or the South Dakota famous Chislic, Rapid City offers authentic flavors packed into every meal! Treat yourself to any of the Downtown Rapid City restaurants for a delicious meal or check out Dakotah Steakhouse, right off the interstate. 

There’s nothing to do but go to Mount Rushmore. 

Murals in Art Alley Downtown Rapid City

We do love our rock stars, but they aren’t all our area is home to. When you stay in Rapid City, you’re within an hour’s drive of six national parks and monuments and surrounded by a local culture that’s rich with history and artistic expression. In this land where gemstones and natural wonders have been forming for eons, even the smallest roadside stand holds the promise of a big discovery. Curious? Explore area things to do here.

(Art Alley)

No night life. 

Night sky views in Badlands National Park

If welcoming breweries, live music, and rooftop bars aren’t the night life you’re dreaming of, then maybe a night sky bursting with light from distant stars in Badlands National Park is more of what you’re wanting. Either way, in our area you get it all. 

Buffalo cause traffic jams. 

Alright you got us, this one is true if you’re visiting Custer State Park or Badlands National Park. However, it’s the most exciting traffic jam you’ll ever be in.