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Rapid City In A Day

Short on time to fully explore Rapid City? We’ve got you. There’s a lot to see in our charming city, but with this one day mix-and-match itinerary you can experience some of the amazing activities it offers. After all, every day in Rapid City presents a chance to Do Big Things®!

Mix-and-Match Tips:
For a full day packed with adventure, select around four or five attractions. We recommend pulling something from each category featured to maximize your experience! Be sure to also reference the approximate time we recommend spending at each attraction. More time can be spent at each depending on shows, events and other special offerings you wish to participate in.

 

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture can be found throughout Rapid City in various forms. Enjoy a day discovering galleries filled with local artwork all the way to admiring the architecture of a wooden chapel!

The Journey Museum & Learning Center

Recommended Time: 2 hours
The Journey Museum & Learning Center will take you on an incredible trek through time, from the formation of the Black Hills over 2.5 million years ago to today’s continued story of the Western Frontier. The Native American culture also has a strong presence at this museum, as well as historical events in and around Rapid City.

Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries

Recommended Time: 1 Hour
Explore local shops like Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries which spans half a block and stands two stories tall. Inside you’ll browse a collection of unique locally made items along with captivating Native American artwork. 

Main Street Square

Recommended Time: 1 Hour
Rapid City’s beloved public space that comes to life with music, interactive fountains or skating, and a variety of events throughout the year. Relax outside and depending on the time of year, enjoy an ice cream or hot cocoa from the nearby Main Street Square Shops. Be sure to walk around and take in the 21-piece sculpture known as Passage of Wind and Water that reflects on the regions natural and cultural past, present and future.

Art Alley

Recommended Time: 30 Minutes
Located in the alley between 6th and 7th Streets Rapid City’s artists have left their mark. Known as Art Alley, these walls blend murals, street art and graffiti into a magical display of creative expression. 

Dahl Arts Center

Recommended Time: 2 Hours
The Dahl Arts Center holds five visual art galleries that house rotating exhibits for local and regional artists, an interactive children’s gallery and a flexible event center. Visitors can also view the Cyclorama Mural of American History which showcases over 200 years of U.S. economic history, shop in their gift shop for unique finds, or participate in an art class to get hands-on. 

Suzie Cappa Art Center

Recommended Time: 1 Hour
Suzie Cappa Art Center supports and displays the inspirational artwork from artists of all abilities. Enjoy a self-guided walk-through of the gallery and discover a place that believes having a disability is not a boundary and that all people can be creative in a supportive environment.

Dakota Drum Company

Recommended Time: 30 Minutes
Dakota Drum Company specializes in hand-painted traditional buffalo hides and drums by local Lakota Artist Sonja Holy Eagle. Sonja is in the store almost everyday painting so visitors can meet the artist behind these beautiful creations. 

Chapel in the Hills

Recommended Time: 2 Hours
Explore outside of downtown with a visit to the Chapel in the Hills, located on the west side of Rapid City near Canyon Lake Park. This stavkirke is an exact replica of the Borgund Stavkirke in Laerdal, Norway. You can admire the Norwegian architecture and explore the beautiful grounds for free. 

Mt. Rushmore Black Hills Gold

Recommended Time: 1 Hour
Tour the inner workings of the Mt. Rushmore Black Hills Gold Factory! This free one-hour tour showcases the unique craftsmanship that takes place to bring each piece of hand-crafted Black Hills Gold to life. Witness the steps of the creation process then browse the gift shop for your own, reservations are required. 
 

History

Seeking out historical stops during your time in Rapid City? These museums and attractions will teach you something new in unique ways!

Museum of Geology

Recommended Time: 2 Hours
The Museum of Geology, located on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, offers a fascinating display of skeletons from dinosaurs, marine reptiles, and fish along with rare fossils and a large variety of minerals. 

South Dakota Air & Space Museum

Recommended Time: 3 Hours
At the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, visitors can walk through the history of aviation. They have over 30 vintage military aircrafts on display that range from World War II bombers up to the B-1 that is used today. Marvel in the size and innovation that takes place over the years as you tour both the indoor and outdoor exhibits of the educational and captivating museum. 

Berlin Wall Exhibit | Memorial Park

Recommended Time: 30 Minutes
A unique and unexpected exhibit in Rapid City stands in Memorial Park near The Monument event center – a piece of the Berlin Wall. Spectators will find two tank traps and a few informational plaques. 

City of Presidents

Recommended Time: 2 Hours
Tour the downtown district as you find the faces of the City of Presidents. This self-guided walking tour brings you face-to-face with the life-sized bronze statues of America’s past presidents. Make sure to pick up your City of President map from the Visit Rapid City office so you can take part in the scavenger hunt! 

Fort Hays 

Recommended Time: 2 Hours
Discover the historically accurate shops of Fort Hays. A visit to this Old West town, which is home to the Dances with Wolves film set, is like stepping back in time. Learn about a variety of historical process like spinning a tin plate, making a rope, and forging hot iron! 
 

Wildlife

Mountain lions, bison, and bears, oh my! Spend some time on the wild side with these attractions. 

Bear Country USA

Recommend Time: 3 Hours
It’s not every day that you experience Black Bears surrounding your vehicle. Unless you’re enjoying Bear Country USA! Visitors to this drive-through wildlife park get front row seats  viewing over 20 species of North American wildlife. 

Reptile Gardens

Recommended Time: 3 Hours
Tour the largest reptile zoo in the world – Reptile Gardens. Home to crocodiles, lizards, giant tortoises and a stunning botanical gardens, a visit to Reptile Gardens is not only thrilling but educational for all!

Outdoor Campus – West

Recommended Time: 1 Hour
Learn more about the wildlife that call our area home with a visit to the Outdoor Campus – West. Here, you can get hands-on experience in hunting, fishing and other outdoor skills along with free educational classes. Inside the facility they showcase exhibits of a variety of western South Dakota habitats and wildlife including a 4,600-gallon freshwater aquarium!
 

Outdoor

Rapid City thrives on outdoor activities and so do many of its visitors. Great nature escapes can be found right in town for a variety of outdoor fun. 

Rapid Creek

Rapid Creek flows right through the middle of town offering close, convenient, and top-notch fly-fishing opportunities to everyone with a license. 

Skyline Wilderness Area 

Take in the views and the fresh air hiking or biking right in city limits. You can find a great trail network at Skyline Wilderness Area, located right next to our favorite green friends at Dinosaur Park. 

Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park

Across the divide from Skyline Drive stands Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park, home to the largest collection of trail networks in the city. Here you can bike, hike, or boulder climb the day away five minutes from Downtown Rapid City.