TOP 10 EVENTS
Many who visit Rapid City try to schedule their stay around one of our big events! These events include a motorcycle rally, Rodeos and western trade shows, seasonal and festive events as well as free events in Downtown Rapid City.
1 - Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis® Motorcycle Rally is the largest event that takes place in South Dakota. For ten full days, motorcyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts travel to the Black Hills region to enjoy the area and the festivities that take place at the rally.
Event Tip: Book your accommodations well in advance (we suggest up to a year). This event is extremely popular and accommodations are limited during this time of year.
2 - Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
The Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup offers spectators a taste of the wild west. It’s a captivating experience to watch as horseback riders round up around 1,450 buffalo. This annual event takes place at the end of September and helps keep the herd population in balance since the park can only sustain a certain number of bison.
Event Tip: Arrive early, bring chairs and dress in layers as the weather can be unpredictable and change throughout the morning! Cell service can also be spotty during this event, plan on kicking back, relaxing and enjoying into the moment.
3 - Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo®
The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo® takes place in Rapid City the end of January and the first part of February. As the second largest event in South Dakota, it brings a whole lot of entertainment to town. From ranch rodeos, concerts, a beer festival, and over fourteen different horse events, it’s an extravaganza of western fun for everyone.
Event Tip: Over three-hundred local and regional vendors set up for this event. Wear comfortable shoes so you can walk around and shop them all.
4 - Black Hills Powwow
The premier cultural event, Black Hills Powwow, draws thousands to Rapid City every October. Dancers, singers and artistians from all over come to showcase their talents and culture in an event that’s both mesmerizing and magical. Spectators can shop different vendors, witness the different dance styles, tour the fine arts expo and more.
Event Tip: Attending Saturday night is a must – dancers of the same style come together and flood the floor, it’s beautiful to watch.
5 - Crazy Horse Volksmarch
Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, Crazy Horse Memorial allows the public to hike up to the top of the mountain for just three dollars a person. The trail route is changed each volksmarch, offering a new hike for repeat visitors and stunning views for all to enjoy.
Event Tip: Arrive early! The event starts at 8 a.m. and goes to 1 p.m., but you can register starting at 7am . More people arrive later in the morning so the trail can be a little more congested.
6 - Central States Fair
Indulge on fried food, thrilling rides, live music, carnival games and more when you attend the Central States Fair in Rapid City. The fair takes place every year in August, and all week long there is a new fun event taking place.
Event Tip: Purchase the Grandstand pass to save money instead of purchasing tickets for individual events.
7 - Summer Nights
Warm summer nights are best celebrated with a cold beverage in hand, live music and great company! Downtown Summer Nights is the place to be and it takes place every Thursday night during the summer. This summer fun can be found on 7th Street in between Main Street and St. Joseph Street downtown.
Event Tip: The outdoor event runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is weather dependent. Check for event updates and information about who will be performing on their Facebook Page!
8 - The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival
Fall in Rapid City is a favorite for many. Crisp air, beautiful colors, and of course the annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival! Spanning from Downtown Rapid City over into Memorial Park this event takes over and its pump-tastic. Pumpkin painting, pumpkin weigh-offs, pumpkin catapulting – is a whole day full of fall fun.
Event Tip: Make sure to check the schedule of events! Different things are happening throughout the day and you don’t want to miss any event you wish to attend.
9 - Christmas Nights of Light
The holiday season comes alive at Storybook Island’s Christmas Nights of Light. Storybook Island is a free children’s theme park that operates admission free all summer thanks to this one fundraising event they hold every season. Enjoy a festive stroll through the 8-acre park covered in twinkling Christmas lights. They sell hot chocolate and cider, pump out holiday jams on the park speakers, and even host Santa and a few of his reindeer on special nights!
Event Tip: Come ready to enjoy the extra fun tidbits this event offers! Families love boarding the train for a ride through the lights and taking a spin around the carousel (these activities aren’t included in the general admission cost).
10 - Hills Alive Festival
Every summer, Memorial Park in Rapid City hosts an admission free, two day, Christian music festival that thousands of people come to enjoy. The festival features two stages that showcase over twenty different top Christian artists. Event goers can enjoy the free music, shop at the area vendors, try out different food trucks and more.
Event Tip: This event is outside in July, so you’ll want to make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a chair or blanket to sit on.