Top 18 Things To Do In Rapid City, South Dakota

things to do in rapid city sd
Rienz Althron
Rienz Althron 
Updated

If you’ve been to a lot of places and you’re thinking of a new vacation spot to spend a few days or so, have you ever considered going to Rapid City? Rapid City is one of the most populous cities in the state of South Dakota, with a population of about 74,000 as of the 2018 census. It is half an hour away to Mount Rushmore so you can easily go on a tour around the famous landmark. Some of the most famous tourist attractions are the South Dakota Air And Space Museum, Museum of Geology, and Crazy Horse Memorial, but there’s so much more in Rapid City just waiting to be discovered! If you’d like to pay the city a visit, read on. To enjoy your time to the fullest, we’re here to give you an idea of the things to do in Rapid City, USA.

1. Go wildlife spotting at the famous Bear Country USA

Getting close to bed time...see you tomorrow!

Posted by Bear Country USA on Monday, 11 June 2018

If you love animals, then there’s no reason for you not to visit the famous Bear Country USA! They have a lot of North American wildlife in their premises that you and your friends or family members can spot and get an up-close look. Make sure to bring your camera or smartphone to capture these majestic animals, too! Some of them are the grizzly bears, arctic wolf, badger, beaver, bighorn sheep, and a whole lot more! So if you are looking to relax and be fascinated with the wonders of nature, then you know the first tourist spot that you’ll visit in Rapid City.

Bear Country USA

Address: 13820 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Bear Country USA

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: From18 USD

2. Bring your children to see the dinosaurs at Dinosaur Park


If you are looking for a place to bring your children with you where they can learn and have fun at the same time, then head over to Dinosaur Park! Your children will surely be fascinated with the sculptures of the dinosaurs scattered around the park’s premises. Feel like you’ve stepped back in time and walk among giant dinosaurs - sculptures, that is - that haven’t changed much since the park was created. It’d be a good opportunity for you to educate them about different kinds of dinosaurs as well.

Dinosaur Park

Address: 940 Skyline Dr, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Dinosaur Park

Opening hours: 5am - 10pm (daily)

3. Browse through the Native American artworks at Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries


Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries is the shop to visit if you are looking for souvenirs to remind you of your vacation in Rapid City, or if you are looking to buy gifts for family members, relatives or friends who’re unable to come with you in the lovely city. Some of the products that they are offering are hat pins, native medicine bags, t-shirts, even herbal medicines! Aside from shopping, the gallery is a place to be fascinated by Native American artworks such as paintings and other American Indian crafts. It’s another great way to immerse in the culture of the place you’re visiting - and take a piece of it home, too.

Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries

Address: 606 Main St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 7pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm

4. Offer some prayers at Chapel in the Hills


Chapel in the Hills was built primarily as a place of worship. If you are a spiritual person, you can stop by on your Rapid City trip to offer your prayers in the beautiful and secluded chapel. Chapel on the Hills hold concerts and other Christianity-centered performances. The chapel’s architecture has Scandinavian roots evident in its rustic and elegant design. Apart from a spiritual visit, it is another architectural wonder that’s a great addition to your photo collection of wonderful places and buildings.

Chapel in the Hills

Address: 3788 Chapel Ln, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Chapel in the Hills

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)

5. Spend some time bonding with your family at Reptile Gardens

Prairie Dog Exhibit at Reptile Gardens, South Dakota
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tbennert used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are an animal lover, and if you’re especially fond of reptiles, then Reptile Garden is the place to be! They have a wide variety of reptilian species such as alligators, turtles, tortoises, frogs, and snakes that will fascinate you and your family! Besides their collection of reptiles, they also have birds, insects, and other kinds of animals. The admission fee changes depending on the season; winter having the lowest price at 15 USD per person and summer, the highest, at 20 USD per person. Seniors and kids from 5 to 12 years of age will also receive a special discount, while kids below the age of 4 are free to enter. A trip to Reptile Gardens will certainly make for an interesting afternoon of bonding with family.

Reptile Gardens

Address: 8955 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Reptile Gardens

Opening hours: 9am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 15 USD

6. Marvel at the rare fossils at Museum of Geology

Sulfates, Museum of Geology, South Dakota
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tbennert used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re a geology, paleontology, or mineralogy enthusiast, the Museum of Geology is the rightful place to be! With their wide collection of rare dinosaur and other prehistoric animal fossils that kids and adults alike will surely find fascinating. They also have a dedicated place for children where they can play while learning a thing or two about the ancient wonders of our world. The best of it all is that admission is free!

Museum of Geology

Address: 501 E St Joseph St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Museum of Geology

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8:30am - 4pm (closed on Sun)

7. Unwind yourself at the peaceful Canyon Lake Park


If you are looking for a place where you can chill out with your family, friends, or even as a solo traveler, there’s a ton of places to be in Rapid City. One such place is Canyon Lake Park. The park is a perfect place for a morning jog, bicycling, reading a book, or playing sports such as tennis or golf. It has green spaces to just relax amid the peaceful surroundings or get active with some games. Just a reminder, if you plan on bringing your pet with you, you can do so provided that it is properly leashed.

Canyon Lake Park

Address: 4181 Jackson Blvd, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Canyon Lake Park

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

8. Tour the unique Downtown Rapid City


If you don’t have a particular plan in mind and you just want to go out and be spontaneous, your best bet is Downtown Rapid City. This lively, bustling area of the city is a spot where museums, restaurants, and other recreational establishments are situated so you can do whatever it is that comes to your mind and spend an idle afternoon discovering all that Rapid City has to offer. Whether you just want something to eat or learn a new thing or two, or go shopping, or even if you just want to stroll around, Downtown Rapid City can accommodate you.

Downtown Rapid City

Address: 512 Main St #980, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Downtown Rapid City

9. Breathe in some fresh air in the lush greenery of Buffalo Gap National Grassland

things to do in rapid city sd | breathe in some fresh air in the lush greenery of buffalo gap national grassland

An ideal location for family picnics, walking your dogs, or just relaxing, Buffalo Gap National Grassland is a place abundant in green grasses and small animals. It is an expansive area where you can chill out with mother nature. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is always free to whoever wants to enjoy lying in the grass and unwinding. It could also be a romantic dating spot where you can gaze at the stars with your significant other!

Buffalo Gap National Grassland

Address: Rapid City, SD

Website: Buffalo Gap National Grassland

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

10. Have fun with your children at Storybook Island


Storybook Island is an economical way to bond and have fun with your kids because of the park being absolutely free of admission! Yes, you’ve read that right! The park offers itself for free for children and even the young at heart to enjoy! The special events cost a few dollars though, but overall, spending time here is still very affordable. Some of the amusement park’s upcoming events are Safe N’ Sweet Trick N’ Treat and Christmas Night of Light. Check out their website if you wish to know more about such events.

Storybook Island

Address: 1301 Sheridan Lake Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: Storybook Island

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

11. Catch up on your reading at Rapid City Public Library


If you love reading books, you can safely express that geeky side of you at Rapid City Public Library! They’ve got a wide range of physical books, e-books, periodicals, and they even have gaming and movie DVDs! Whether your the type of bookworm who loves to hold a physical book or you’re okay reading them on a computer screen, Rapid City Public Library won’t fail your ‘bookie monster’ within! This place should be a must on your list if you’re a bookworm looking to get some reading done on vacation.

Rapid City Public Library

Address: 610 Quincy St, Rapid City, SD 57701; 10 Van Buren St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Rapid City Public Library

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 7pm; Fri - Sun: 10am - 6pm

12. Tour Firehouse Wine Cellars and learn about wine-making


If you want to learn how wines are made, or you simply want to see, feel, and be in a real-life winery, then Firehouse Wine Cellars is the place to be! They have huge selection of wine you’d love to taste if you’re a wine connoisseur at heart. In addition to selling wines, they also sell pizzas, host events, and even sell various merchandise such as caps, bottle openers, and even tumblers.

Firehouse Wine Cellars

Address: 620 Main St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Firehouse Wine Cellars

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 8pm; Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

13. See and feel a real flintlock rifle at America's Founding Fathers Exhibit

On this date, Friday, June 28, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress heard the first reading of the draft Declaration of...

Posted by America's Founding Fathers Exhibit on Friday, 28 June 2019

If you have a love for arts and history, you might want to pay the America’s Founding Fathers Exhibit a visit. Here, you’ll learn about how America got its independence. You will also see life-size sculptures of the iconic figures who helped shape the history of America. You’ll also have the chance to fire a flintlock rifle, ring the Liberty Bell, and buy a few souvenirs from their gift shop after your visit.

America's Founding Fathers Exhibit

Address: 9815 US-16, Rapid City, SD 57702, United States

Website: America’s Founding Fathers Exhibit

Opening hours: By appointment only between Oct 1 - Apr 30

Price: From 12 USD

14. Stroll along the beautiful Memorial Park


Here’s another park in Rapid City where you can stroll without worrying about anything - Memorial Park Promenade. It was built to commemorate the people who lost their lives in the 1972 flood, and also for the locals and tourists to have a place to relax and unwind, or maybe bond with friends and family members. The park has several food stalls where you can eat your favorite street food. It also has street performers to entertain its visitors.

Memorial Park

Address: 600-684 Omaha St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Memorial Park

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

15. Attend an event at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center


If you don’t have any particular event that you’d like to attend to in Rapid City, why not check out the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s website? They have a ton of upcoming events that might interest you. This grandiose venue features different performances - there’s bound to be something for you. There’s events such as Simon and Garfunkel Story, Byu Ballroom Dance Company, and more! From sports, concerts, theatrical performances and everything else in between, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center has got your entertainment covered!

Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

Address: 444 N Mt Rushmore Rd, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

16. Satisfy the art connoisseur in you at Suzie Cappa Art Center


Learn about and appreciate the many different forms of art at Suzie Cappa Art Center. By visiting the art center, you’re supporting different-abled artists’ magnificent works, and you can even learn how to create your own artwork, too! If you like one of the art pieces in their gallery, you can purchase one, and know that by doing so, you are contributing something positive to the lives of people who are doing something they are passionate about.

Suzie Cappa Art Center

Address: 722 St Joseph St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Suzie Cappa Art Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

17. Gorge on American delicacies at Tally's Silver Spoon


Your vacation in Rapid City wouldn’t be complete without having a taste of the area’s good food! And if you agree, you’d want to visit one of the most famous restaurants in the area: Tally’s Silver Spoon! Serving American dishes, don’t you want to compare how the taste of the food here fares against your favorite restaurant in your home town? Tally’s Silver Spoon has been serving up delicious eats since the 1930s, and they have a wide menu with dishes such as pork and pinot, beef wellington, and the American version of famous oriental cuisines such as bibimbap and pho.

Tally's Silver Spoon

Address: 530 6th St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Tally’s Silver Spoon

Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)

18. Sample the nightlife at Murphy's Pub and Grill

things to do in rapid city sd | sample the nightlife at murphy's pub and grill

Beer, cocktails, mocktails, and food! Yes, Murphy’s Pub and Grill is all about partying and good time and good vibes! This pub has been serving happy drinks and feel-good food since the 1930s, and it is still standing tall and famous up to this day, which says a lot about their quality of food, drinks and customer service! So if you and your pals are looking for a place to unwind, you guys won’t go wrong at Murphy’s Pub and Grill!

Murphy's Pub and Grill

Address: 510 9th St, Rapid City, SD 57701, United States

Website: Murphy’s Pub and Grill

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11am - 12am; Thu - Fri: 11am - 2am; Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 10.30am - 9pm (closed on Thu & Fri)

Discover more of Rapid City

Rapid City Historic Commercial District
Source: Photo by user Jeff Meister used under CC BY-SA 4.0

As you can probably tell, Rapid City has got a ton of places where you can hang out and have fun either by yourself or with the company of other people. And these are but a few of the things to do in Rapid City, USA! So, pack your things up and discover more!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Rienz is a former office-based employee who entered the world of travel writing. His ultimate dream is to be able to travel the world and experience as much of it as he can. By pursuing his dreams,...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Rapid City
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!