How to Embrace the Warm Weather in Rapid City
The days are longer and the temperatures are warmer in Rapid City. If you’re planning an upcoming getaway, here's how you can spend multiple days exploring our beautiful city making every moment in the sun a memorable one.
Warm weather awakens the urge to spend as much time outside as possible. If you find yourself with patio fever like the rest of us, here are a few places to soak up the sun, or night sky, in Rapid City.
Firehouse Brewing Company boasts a great meal and occasional live music on their spacious covered patio. This historic building was Rapid City’s original fire station. Patio guests can admire colorful murals that nod to our frontline firefighters as well as other original firefighting equipment inside.
Check out Murphy’s Pub and Grill for a trendy atmosphere and unique twist on pub food. At night, relax around a firepit or play patio games under twinkling string lights.
Thirsty’s Burgers and Beers offers a more laid back, secluded feel with subtle Italy vibes as thick greenery twists and turns to form a canopy.
Let our local breweries bring the fresh air to you! Local breweries like Lost Cabin, Dakota Point, Woodland Republic and Zymurcracy offer a space that blends the best of both worlds. Large garage doors allow you to enjoy their different range of beverages with those warm summer breezes. Occasionally hosting live music and food trucks, it’s a great place to enjoy a crisp cool drink on a summer day.
Que Pasa’s rooftop cantina offers the perfect place to cheers to good times and enjoy even better views. Enjoy a full menu of modern Mexican cuisine and sip away on frozen beverages perfect for any warm day.
Vertex Sky Bar boasts the best views in the city. It sits atop the Hotel Alex Johnson and provides a gorgeous view of the surrounding area to its guests. Settle in around a toasty fire pit and watch the sun dip over the mountains to the west.
*Access to the Vertex Sky Bar is free to hotel guests, an entrance fee is charged for other visitors.
History is on full display as you explore Rapid City. You don’t have to look far to learn something fascinating and new – especially if you start off at these attractions.
*Travel tip: Tour the town onboard the City View Trolley! This narrated tour is filled with information and Rapid City history as it takes visitors throughout town to different points of interest. The trolley runs from May 25th through September 4th, 2023.
Known as the City of Presidents, Rapid offers a refresher on Presidential history that’s better than any textbook. As you walk the streets downtown you can spot famous bronze faces of past American Presidents. The best part – they’re life-size. A true shock when you stand next to James Madison.
Surrounding Main Street Square stands the granite pillars of the Sculpture Project. Called the Passage of Wind and Water, it’s comprised of 21 carved granite pieces that depict the natural history of the Black Hills and Badlands.
South Dakota might be the last place you expect to find a piece of the Berlin Wall, but we are full of surprises. The exhibit came through town in the 1990s, and was so popular it became a permanent display in Memorial Park. Around it visitors can read a few informational plaques and two tank traps. This exhibit is located within walking distance of the Holiday Inn Rapid City Downtown.
South Dakota’s official Warbird Sanctuary at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum is an impressive display for history buffs who love aviation. Throughout the museum, visitors will find an extensive collection of exhibits that display the history of Ellsworth Air Force Base and the achievements of military and civilian aviation, along with over 30 different airplanes.
At the Journey Museum & Learning Center visitors can learn about our area’s pioneer history and the settlement of Rapid City, which was once referred to as Hay Camp. This museum also offers exhibits spanning through the topics of geology, paleontology and archeology specific to our area, and is home to the Sioux Indian Museum.
Many are drawn to our area to witness the beauty of Native American culture. South Dakota has one of the largest percentages of Native Americans living in its state with many of the tribes residing in the Black Hills. Beyond the breathtaking vista of Crazy Horse and the legends of the Black Hills (Ȟe Sápa in Lakota), many opportunities to connect to the culture exist within Rapid City.
For over 30 years Lakota Artist Sonja Holy Eagle has been hand painting stunning Native American Art in Downtown Rapid City. A visit to her store Dakota Drum Company showcases traditional buffalo hide drums, Powwow drum, hand-scraped buffalo rawhide and more all hand painted. During a visit you might even have the opportunity to meet Sonja and watch her work as she is frequently in the store painting.
Tusweca Gallery is bringing awareness to indigenous art by providing Native American artists a place to sell their work off the reservation. The gallery is co-owned by two artists from the Pine Ridge Reservation, Joe Pulliam and Billy J. Janis, both of which have breathtaking artwork on display within the gallery.
A vast collection of locally made products and beautiful Native American art greet you as you step through the doors of Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries. From Star quilts to books about the Northern Plains tribes of North America, you’ll get swept away into every corner of this store.
Whether you’re traveling with kids or just one fun loving adult, Rapid offers attractions with entertainment for everyone.
The playful sounds of Main Street Square will draw you in before you even see it. This free outdoor space offers a dancing fountain splash pad to enjoy that’s surrounded by a green space to relax, shaded tables, and unique shops and treats. Lay back and listen to the music mixed with laughter on any warm summer day.
Roam amongst the dinosaurs of Dinosaur Park. Completed before Mount Rushmore, these statues are meant to represent what experts thought dinosaurs looked like at the time, they have since aged to have a more comical appearance now. For generations, visitors have considered it a must to stop to take in the parks stunning views and make memories posing with these friendly green giants.
Step inside the lizarding world of Reptile Gardens. Within this attraction you’ll find botanical gardens, giant tortoises, gators, and much, much more. The unique part about this attraction is they offer several opportunities for guests to have up close experiences with their (nonpoisonous) reptiles.
Everyone gets a front row seat to the wildlife viewing offered at Bear Country USA. As you drive through this park you’ll enjoy exhilarating up-close encounters to the North American animals like Black Bears, Bison and wolves as they free roam around your vehicle. Smaller critters like otters and the baby wildlife can be viewed during a leisurely stroll along the Wildlife Walk.
After the sun sets in Rapid City the good times keep rolling.
Hunt for heartwarming sounds at downtown businesses that host local musicians. Some classic spots to find great local and live music include Firehouse Wine Cellars, Tinderbox Cigar Lounge, The Blind Lion Speakeasy and the 445 Martini Lounge. Check out our events calendar to find live music while you’re in town.
South Dakota summer evenings are best spent downtown at Summer Nights. This free concert series takes place every Thursday night on 7th Street between Main and St. Joseph Street. Each week a new band takes the stage providing a range of music that’s always easy to dance to.