Top Free Things To Do In South Dakota
Falls Park (pictured) Take the elevator to the top of a five-story viewing tower for the best views of the park, where the Big Sioux River drops 100 feet in a series of dramatic waterfalls.
Old Courthouse Museum The design of the 1893 pink quartzite building, including stained-glass windows and tile fireplaces, intrigues as much as regional history exhibits.
Pettigrew Home and Museum Tour the 1889 Queen Anne-style home of South Dakota’s first senator, Richard Pettigrew, and learn what life was like in Sioux Falls during the late 1800s.
City of Presidents (pictured) Forty-two bronze statues of U.S. presidents line downtown streets; pick up a map at visitor information centers.
Museum of Geology The fossils on display span the history of South Dakota and include dinosaurs, marine reptiles and plants. If mineralogy intrigues, check out agates and other finds in the Hall of South Dakota Minerals.
The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water Twenty-one granite pieces reflect the natural and cultural history of the region. Artist Masayuki Nagase started carving three years ago, but you can watch the pieces continue to take shape in Main Street Square over the next two summers.
South Dakota Air and Space Museum World War II bombers, a Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and other pieces of aviation history fill this indoor-outdoor museum. Free guided tours available.
South Dakota State University museums
South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings (pictured) See South Dakota native Harvey Dunn’s prairie paintings amid a diverse collection by American, Native American and international artists.
The Agricultural Heritage Museum, Brookings Displays include a 1915 farmhouse kitchen, a late-1800s claim shanty, a restored 1915 steam engine and changing exhibits on the state’s agricultural history and culture.
Spirit Mound Historic Prairie, Vermillion Lewis and Clark braved Native American warnings against stopping here. Walk to the top of this grassy hill to see the prairie as they did and read signs about the story of the mound, the expedition and wildlife.
More in South Dakota
The Corn Palace, Mitchell (pictured) See a Corn Palace video and tour this landmark dating to 1892, when town residents gathered to celebrate the harvest with a festival. Now, the half-block-long building hosts stage shows and sporting events. The exterior gets redecorated every year with murals of corn, other grains and grasses.
South Dakota State Capitol, Pierre The 1910 building in Pierre features paintings of agriculture, livestock, mining and family.
Akta Lakota Museum, Chamberlain Artifacts, artwork and interactive exhibits share the story of the Lakota people. Life-size dioramas show how they skinned bison and prepared for long winters.
Redlin Art Center, Watertown Hometown artist Terry Redlin imbues his paintings with a distinctive light to pack emotional punch in his depictions of wildlife and nostalgic American scenes.