Downtown Rapid City is a place where history, art, and culture intertwine to create an unforgettable experience. If you're seeking a day that’s filled with exciting activities and lesser-known attractions than those that surround Rapid City, like Mount Rushmore, you've come to the right place.
1. Breakfast at a Local Café:
Start your day by indulging in a delicious breakfast at one of the charming downtown cafes. Savor the aroma of freshly brewed coffee as you fuel up for the adventures that lie ahead. Whether you prefer a hearty breakfast of biscuits and gravy like those found at the Mud Hole or an Aussie style breakfast from Essence of Coffee, Downtown Rapid City has the perfect spot to satisfy your cravings and start your day off right.
2. Go On An Art Walk:
Greet the fresh morning air and embark on an art walk through downtown to enjoy a visual feast. Pose with the City of Presidents, a remarkable collection of life-size bronze statues depicting U.S. presidents. Stroll through the colorful walls of Art Alley, a creative space where those who obtain a permit can leave their mark. Admire the details of “Miyakuye Oyasin” or “We Are All Related” and “Hunkayapi” or “Tying on the Eagle Plume”, two large Native American sculptures found across from each other on intersection of Main Street and 6th Street. And stop at the Sculpture Project to take in the hand-carved details found on 21 pieces of granite surrounding Main Street Square.
3. Galleries and Shopping:
Downtown Rapid City is a haven for art enthusiasts and shopaholics alike. Explore the numerous art galleries showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums. Admire breathtaking paintings and thought-provoking installations created by local artists at galleries like Tusweca, the Dahl, and the Suzie Cappa Art Center. Support the art community by taking home a unique piece that captures your heart and a piece of the Black Hills.
Indulge in a shopping spree at local boutiques and specialty shops. Discover one-of-a-kind treasures, from handmade jewelry to locally crafted souvenirs at stores like the Art House and Prairie Edge Trading Company. There are numerous stores downtown that reflect the spirit of Rapid City, making it easy to find a souvenir that will make your visit truly memorable.
4. Historic Buildings and Architecture:
Immerse yourself in the charm of Downtown Rapid City's historic buildings and architecture. As you tour through the downtown district keep an eye out for the Historic District signs that talk through the fascinating history of different buildings and their architecture. Marvel at the grandeur of the Historic Hotel Alex Johnson, an architectural gem and one of Rapid City’s grandest landmarks that has stood the test of time. Find the Buell Building on St. Joseph Street which features a Russo-Byzantine dome (shaped like a Hersey’s kiss), or Rapid City’s first fire hall on Main Street which is now home to Firehouse Brewing Company, or the Elks Building on 6th Street now home to the Elks Theatre but was originally a lavish opera house.
5. Refresh With Local Flavors:
Now that you’ve feasted your eyes it’s time to feed your appetite with a local lunch. During the summer season or into early fall the patio spaces of Downtown Rapid City are the perfect place for a delicious and relaxing meal. Try out Que Pasa’s rooftop cantina or Thirsty’s patio which feels like a secret secluded space right in the middle of downtown. Or grab lunch to go from somewhere like Bashful Bison or Philly Teds and cross the street to Memorial Park for a peaceful picnic spot.
6. Visit A Museum:
Two museums can be found extremely close to the main downtown district in Rapid City, and both deserve your time. The first is The Journey Museum & Learning Center which brings together four major collections to tell the story and history of the Black Hills area. The other is the Museum of Geology found on the campus of South Dakota School of Mines. This museum showcases mineral and fossil discoveries from all over the world, but the coolest are the locally relevant items that were found in areas like the Badlands.
7. Try A Local Beverage:
Savor the vibrant flavors of Downtown Rapid City by exploring its breweries or local winery. Indulge in a handcrafted beer at one of the local breweries, where skilled brew masters are creating beverages bursting with flavor and character. Breweries found right downtown include Hay Camp, Woodland Republic, and Firehouse Brewing. Or delight your taste buds with a visit to Firehouse Wine Cellars, where you can sample award-winning wines.
8. Grab Dinner:
Drool worthy dinners are easy to find downtown. Seek out the hidden gems like Sumo Japanese Kitchen for excellent sushi and rice bowl options. Fill up on pasta made from scratch at Sabatino's Italian Ristorante or bite into a juicy slice of Italian style pizza at their pizzeria right next door. If you want South Dakota cuisine head to Delmonico Grill for a perfectly cooked steak or burger.
9. Nightlife Fun:
After you fill up on something delicious enjoy an evening of cocktails, live music or maybe even trivia! Sip sky high with one of the best views in the city at the Vertex, or step back in time and below ground at Rapid City’s prohibition style speakeasy the Blind Lion. Puff one of the specialty cigars at the only Diamond Crown Lounge in the region at the Tinder Box, or join the line for a late night treat from Armadillos Ice Cream Shoppe.
Catch An Event or Festival:
Downtown Rapid City comes alive with an array of festivals and events throughout the year. From free concerts to art festivals, there's always something happening. Check our events calendar and plan your visit to coincide with one or more of these lively celebrations. During the summertime one of the most popular events to attend is Summer Nights, a weekly concert series that fills the air with music and a lively energy.
From art walks and historic buildings to festivals and unique adventures, this vibrant district will exceed your expectations. Embrace the spirit of exploration and immerse yourself in the wonders that await in Downtown Rapid City, South Dakota.