8 Fun and Unique Places to Visit in Rapid City South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota, is well-known as the entrance to Mount Rushmore. East of the Black Hills National Forest, a significant area, offers something for everyone. I knew very little about South Dakota before visiting. As part of a collaboration with Visit Rapid City, I spent four days visiting the city. I returned home with a renewed appreciation for this city, which is thriving with adventure and urban culture.

Rapid City is noted for its closeness to six national parks. While on this journey, I got the opportunity to see the major two, Mt. Rushmore and Badlands National Park; you could spend a week exploring them both.

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8 Fun and Unique Places to Visit in Rapid City:


1. Downtown Rapid City

Every trip should begin in Downtown Rapid City. The majority of the action in town takes place along Main Street and St. Joseph Street, which run parallel. There are countless hidden beauties to discover while exploring downtown. From antique businesses like Garbage Tale Antique to cigar lounges, simply go for a walk and take it all in. While walking around, keep an eye out for presidents. Life-like proportions bronze statues of former US presidents can be found around the town, and you are even able to take an excursion to the “City of Presidents.” The two stores are right across from each other.

2. Windsor Block Bar

One of my favorite things we did in Rapid City was stop at the Windsor Block Bar for a beverage. It’s a trendy watering spot with a library of rare liquors and a large whiskey selection (600+). This is the spot for those looking for artisan drinks. If you want to go off-menu, tell the person serving you what liquor you want and they’re going to whip up anything delicious. On weekends, this location is popular, making it the place to be in Rapid City.

3. Food Network Champion

Who knew you could be transported to Japan with a lunch in Rapid City? Bokujo Ramen is the creation of Food Network Winner Chef Justin Warner. With a love of all things Japanese, the short and simple menu includes classic ramen like tonkatsu and a spicy miso broth. For me, one of the delights was the concealed karaoke room. If you want to sing the night away and eat great ramen, book this room. Justin Warner and his wife, Brooke Sweeten, have opened a natural wine bar next to Bokujo Ramen. BB’s Natural has a relaxed atmosphere and an excellent menu of pet nat and small meals.

4. Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, located less than an hour from Rapid City, is one of the foremost frequently visited places in the immediate vicinity, and for a valid reason. There is so much to do in the park that you could spend two days trekking all the paths. I do recommend visiting at first light to observe the sunrise and color the formations. Head straight to the Big Badlands Scenic Overlook for the greatest morning views.

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5. Down Art Alley

Art Alley is a must-see attraction in Rapid City. The alley, which runs between two streets and backs up to downtown shops, has become a living art gallery. It is loaded with graffiti and other artwork created by artists (permission required), making for a delightful stroll around town. I like seeing the various works of artwork here, and you might find something that appeals to you!

6. The History and Wonder of Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial is at the top of my list of destinations to better comprehend and learn about North American Indian culture. It is one of the most stunning works of sculptural art currently in progress. Here are some quick details. In 1948, Chief Henry Standing Bear visited with sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to share his ideas for this important project. Once finished, it will stand as the globe’s biggest rock sculpture. Crazy Horse is now home to the Indian University of North America, a cultural center, and a place of honor.

7. Armadillos Ice Cream Shop

Whether you spend the day hiking or exploring, it should end at Armadillos Ice Cream Shop. The lines are long on weekends, and for good reason: this small-city staple is wonderful. They provide a range of ice cream flavors, freezes, floats, and more. The inside seems like a vintage ice cream parlor, plus there’s also a patio to enjoy!

8. Eat Breakfast in a Second-Hand Store

One of the most fascinating things to do in Rapid City is to eat at The Mud Hole of the Black Hills. Not far from downtown, this modest diner is nestled inside a second-hand store and is a true hidden gem. You’re going here for breakfast staples like their famed biscuits and gravy, which are not to be missed. After that, take a browse through the antique and second-hand finds.

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