Many of Rapid City’s big attractions are open year round, making Rapid City a perfect winter getaway! With great dining and exceptional access to some of the nation’s most famed parks and seasonal events to warm you up, you can’t go wrong. Plan a winter getaway to Rapid City!
CELEBRATE THE SEASON
Winter brings plenty of seasonal fun to Rapid City along with great ways to create treasured memories.
- Ice Skating at Main Street Square: Whether you enjoy the romance or the workout, you’ll make the most of winter with a sparkling day of outdoor ice skating in Downtown Rapid City. Larger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink, the ice skating rink at Main Street Square is a favorite gathering place all winter long. Skating is open to the public November 19 - February 28.
- Dine and Shop Downtown: Downtown Rapid City excels year-round with dozens of reasons to enjoy the Black Hills’ favorite cosmopolitan oasis. Work up an appetite shopping boutiques and stores featuring artisan-made goods and unique finds, from fashion and home décor to gift items. Then reward yourself at celebrated restaurants offering a wide variety of menu choices and regional fare that makes your travel experience a delicious memory.
Plan your trip around these holiday events to make the most of the season:
- Christmas Nights of Light – With more twinkling lights than you could possibly count, this event is a perennial favorite at Storybook Island, where everyone feels like a kid again. No misfits here, just lots and lots of holiday joy.
- Holiday Express on 1880 Train – Who knew the North Pole was such a quick trip away? The Holiday Express is fueled by an authentic steam locomotive, a little hot chocolate and some elfin magic. This ride on the 1880 Train creates an unforgettable Christmas memory for the whole family, complete with an appearance by Santa himself!
- Downtown Countdown – Ring in the New Year with ice skating, family entertainment and fireworks at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City.
GO OUT AND PLAY
Whether you roam the Black Hills or stay close to the comforts of Downtown Rapid City, you’ll find thrilling ways to stay active on your winter getaway.
- Explore Our State & National Parks: Rapid City is close to several National Parks and Monuments, as well as the spectacular Custer State Park. Since they’re open year-round, the winter months give you prime access to these popular park destinations. That means enjoying the experience with fewer crowds and even more wonder revealed by nature’s dramatic winter landscape. Take advantage of the National Parks Service’s Fee Free Day on Martain Luther King Day. Highlights include free admission to Badlands National Park and select cave tours available for free at Jewel Cave National Monument.
- Hike, Bike and Be Active: With the addition of a few warm layers, South Dakota winters are made for staying active. In fact, Rapid City weather benefits from its location at the foot of the Black Hills with warmer winter temperatures than you might think – great for taking advantage of nearby trails and parks that are perfect for hiking. Let a local outfitter help you plan a winter bike ride – fat tires make the most rugged terrain accessible all season long.
Plan your trip around these recreational events:
- Rapid City Rush Hockey – The excitement of ECHL action comes to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena as the Rapid City Rush takes on division rivals throughout the season. For non-stop action on the ice and big fun in the arena, hockey in Rapid City is definitely the ticket.
- Lakota Nation Invitational Basketball Tournament – The most unique basketball in the world returns to Rapid City for its 40th year. Attend this event for a handful of athletic competitions combined with cultural experiences that showcase the best of Lakota youth.
- Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo – Horse and cattle shows, entertainment, the Ranch Rodeo, Sheep Dog Trials, Extreme Bull Riding, Bronc Match and more – everything you love about western life and cowboy heritage is on display at the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo. Even the World’s Smallest Rodeo is a really big deal at this popular event.
- Rush Mountain Adventure Park – Home of Rushmore Cave, Rush Mountain Adventure park is the newest Mountain Coaster in America. Now open on weekends through December, winter family adventure has never been so thrilling! Visit Rush Mountain Adventure Park and not only ride the Mountain Coaster, but also take a cave tour, soar like an eagle on the Zipline Ride and experience the Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride.
BEAT THE WINTER BLUES AT YEAR-ROUND ATTRACTIONS
No matter what time of year it is, you’re always at the frontier of great cultural influences and fascinating natural history in Rapid City. Let your curiosity lead you to new discoveries this winter.
- Take a Trek Through Time: Learn how the Black Hills came to be at the Journey Museum & Learning Center, where artifacts and exhibits tell stories of the natural history, people and events that shaped the region. The Museum of Geology's paleontology exhibits and rare mineral specimens reveal the area’s rich heritage. Visit the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs to learn about creatures that roamed the plains 26,000 years ago. At Dinosaur Park life-size replicas and a 100-mile view have thrilled visitors since 1936.
- Find Inspiration in the Arts: Rapid City’s creative community thrives year-round, thanks to local galleries featuring fine art, crafts, jewelry and more. From the exuberant work by artists of all abilities at the Suzie Cappa Art Center, to the ever-changing galleries and programs of The Dahl Arts Center, to the fine selections of Native American works at Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries, Downtown Rapid City will more than satisfy the art lover in you.
- Visit Wild, Wild Horses: Fill your Black Hills vacation with spirited inspiration this winter at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, where wild horses roam free across wind-swept prairies and work their magic on your soul. Here, where movie scenes from Hidalgo and Into the Wild were filmed, you’ll view majestic mustangs along with Native American ceremonial sites, early pioneer homesteads and a restored one-room schoolhouse.