Take Your Group Beyond Mount Rushmore
The opportunity to stand before the four granite faces of Mount Rushmore draws millions of visitors to our area each year. If your group has been there and done that, you might be wondering what else our area has to offer. To build an itinerary that goes beyond Mount Rushmore, we asked Travel Professionals to answer a series of questions to help us determine the perfect activities for your group in Rapid City and the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Where Should We Stay: Downtown Or Near The Interstate
Many know that the heart of Rapid City is found downtown. Dancing fountains, unique shops, some of the regions best street art and more are found in this vibrant, yet cozy part of town. There are several hotels to choose from in the downtown area that provide walking access to some of the best things Rapid City has to offer.
Explore: Local Shops Or Local Parks
Want your group to truly feel the culture of Rapid City? Stroll downtown and explore the one of a kind shops. At Main Street Square, readers can find their haven at Mitzi’s Books. This cute and intimate bookstore will satisfy all book worms! Cross the street to Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries and navigate through this block-wide, two story building filled with locally made items and stunning Native American art. Certain days of the week, visitors can even witness artists creating their work within the store itself. The world’s only Pawnseum – a museum and a pawn shop, can also be found Downtown Rapid City. Shop a great selection of Black Hills Gold jewelry, musical instruments and more while also admiring historical artifacts like a sequence glove worn by Michael Jackson.
Grab A Bite: Local Cuisine Or Live Entertainment
Rapid City offers a wide variety of unique dining experiences, making it easy to experience the local flavor. Try Engima, located inside The Rushmore Hotel, their Range and Reel menu allows your group to savor over dishes such Bison Osso Bucco or fresh Walleye.
(The Engima's Range and Reel menu is only available for dinners on Friday and Saturday)
Evening Plans: Try A Local Beverage Or Grab A Drink With A View
Grab A Drink With A View
Rapid City’s location makes enjoying a drink with a view a top priority for many who visit here. Que Pasa’s rooftop cantina is a great option for groups to quench their thirst and feast their eyes on some great downtown views. If your group is staying at the Hotel Alex Johnson they can enjoy the perks of free access to the rooftop bar, the Vertex Sky Bar, and enjoy 360 views of the city and surrounding Black Hills area.
Next Morning: Sleep In Or Sunrise Views
Other-worldly views are discovered during a visit to Badlands National Park. This eroding, desolate landscape is astonishing all hours of the day, but there is something truly special when the sun greets the layers with the first light of day. The early morning wake up will be quickly forgotten at the sight of these stunning cotton candy skies.
What Next: Scenic Cruise Or Check Out The Monuments
After taking in the morning sunrise it’s time for a scenic drive through the Badlands on Highway 240! Your group will love the twists and turns through this unique terrain, taking in peaceful moments at many of the scenic overlooks, learning the history of the area at the educational visitor centers and spotting the various wildlife that call the park home.
Lunch: Peaceful Patio Or Off The Beaten Path
Great patios aren’t hard to find in Rapid City. Twinkling lights, fire pits and games can all be found on the popular patio of Murphy’s Pub and Grill. Located in Downtown Rapid City, your group will not only love the environment, but also the famous Murphy’s Buffalo Meatloaf or the Dakota Pulled Pork Sandwich!
Next Activity: Local Adventure Or Local Relaxation
Take in local history and culture at one or both of these next two sites! The South Dakota Air and Space Museum can be found just outside of the main gate of Ellsworth Air Force Base located just outside of Rapid City. This free museum showcases the history and evolution of the aircraft and the technology used in the past, present and hopes for the future. Home to a large population of Norwegians, Rapid City holds a surprise for many visitors – Chapel in the Hills, an exact replica of the famous Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway. Take your group to discover this stunning Chapel, tour the peaceful grounds and admire the impressive Norwegian architecture.
Grab Breakfast: In A Quirky Coffee Shop Or At A Hometown Diner
At A Hometown Diner
Home to the best caramel rolls in town, and a favorite spot for many locals, Colonial House takes pride in serving top notch meals and making everyone feel like family. Your group will adore the cozy atmosphere and the large menu offering an array of breakfast options.
Discover: Native American Culture Or Norwegian Ties
Native American Culture
Native American culture is deeply rooted in the Black Hills area and there are many ways to provide groups an inside look to learn and appreciate the beauty of this culture. Attractions like Sioux Pottery allow viewing of the step by step process it takes to create stunning handcrafted pottery by Sioux Indian Artists. Dakota Drum Company specializes in creating traditional buffalo hide drums hand painted by Lakota Artist Sonja Holy Eagle. While visiting your group will have the opportunity to meet the artist Sonja, since she is usually hand painting drums or hides every day in the store.
Take A Walk: Through History Or Through Art
American history can be found in Downtown Rapid City. The City of Presidents walking tour features life-sized bronze statues of past American presidents. Found all around on the sidewalks of downtown, your group will love to meet, greet and pose with each and every one. A walk-through history can also take place at The Journey Museum & Learning Center. Within its walls lies the history of the Black Hills and Rapid City. Discover geology, paleontology and archaeology facts about the region including Native American culture and Pioneer history. It’s a walk-through time every group will love.
Witness: Largest Collection Of Black Bears Or Largest Reptile Zoo
Largest Collection Of Black Bears
A wild ride awaits through the gates of Bear Country USA. Home to the largest privately owned collection of Black Bears in the United States, this drive-through park provides front row seats of North American wildlife to everyone who enters. At the end of the drive, your group can enjoy the Wildlife Walk at their own pace and meet the offspring of the park and the smaller wildlife of Bear Country USA.