Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy Rapid City without big 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. Dinosaur Park
*Starting October 1, Dinosaur Park will be closed for construction to create accessible pedestrian routes, update safety features, and upgrade visitor amenities including site interpretation. The project is expected to last approximately seven months.
On a nearby hilltop overlooking Rapid City, you’ll discover seven giant dinosaurs. These seemingly silly sculptures can be an acquired taste, but we’re drawn to the charm of this historic site. And we’re not the only ones. Locals and visitors love returning year after year to create new memories. Built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration, Dinosaur Park offers an interesting local history lesson, free fun for all ages, and incredible 100-mile views so you can take in the Black Hills and Badlands in the distance. Although the Visitor Center is closed in the winter months, you won’t want to miss these snowy scenic views.
2. 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. Rapid City Rush
Join locals to cheer on Rapid City’s professional ice hockey team – the Rapid City Rush. With seating in The Monument’s state-of-the-art facility and an excellent selection of food and drink available, sitting on the sidelines has never been this exciting!
4. 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, then 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. 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.
6. Black Hills Escape Rooms
Looking for new ways to challenge yourself while on vacation? Enter Black Hills Escape Rooms to choose your own adventure like solving a murder mystery at Saloon #10 or fighting off zombie prairie dogs in a sci-fi scenario. Test your team-building skills and reserve a private booking for 2 - 8 guests per room. From start to finish, this unique experience offers big fun in local settings and great memories.
7. Dahl Arts Center
Visit the Dahl Arts Center to see western South Dakota’s premier collection of contemporary arts free of charge. All ages are welcome to enjoy five galleries showcasing visual arts and traveling exhibitions as well as an interactive art start 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
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. South Dakota Air & Space Museum
Get up close to legendary airplanes to learn how military history and aviation technology changed with time at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum. Enjoy this free attraction in any winter weather with exhibits at the outdoor air park and inside galleries. A trip to this museum will make your next adventure one to remember in Rapid City.
Not waiting until winter ends to discover new places and try new things? Then, be sure to add a few of Rapid City’s must-see attractions to your travel plan.
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!