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23+ Free Things to do in Rapid City, SD

Updated on November 12, 2015
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Chapel In The Hills

If you haven't been to Norway, this is your chance to see an exact replica of the Borgund stave church in Norway.

The Scandinavian-inspired Chapel in the Hills is an ecumenical Christian chapel inspired by Norse Lutheran architecture. A half-hour evening prayer service is held every night, and the Chapel is available for weddings.

For more information info@chapel-in-the-hills.org

3788 Chapel Ln. Rapid City, SD 57702 605-342-8281

Badlands National Park, SD
Badlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park

The Badlands of South Dakota are one of the most interesting drives through a awe-inspiring area just east of Rapid City. To get the best colors drive through in early morning or in the evening that's when you will see the many colors of the earth.

Badlands National Park is located 75 miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota off I-90 Exit 131 for the interior route of Exit 110 at Wall Drug, South Dakota. Or you take Hwy 240 Badlands Loop Road. Highway 377 in town of Interior. Follow 377 two miles north to the Interior Entrance.

It has 244,000 acres of untouched wilderness and has hiking and biking trails so that you can enjoy it’s surprising and interesting surroundings.

For more information type in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Storybook Island

This free children’s theme park is dedicated to all 'our children' and filled with sets that portray characters from various children’s stories, fables, and nursery rhymes.

Open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. At Christmas see this with the fabulous Christmas Lights, a display that is a must see.

1301 Sheridan Lake Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702

Alex Johnson Hotel

It was founded in 1927 by Alex Johnson, Vice president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. This hotel is pet-friendly, non-smoking and is located in central downtown Rapid City. It has a rooftop terrace, fitness center and multilingual staff, complimentary access to airport shuttle, restaurant. See more at www.alexjohnson.com/

523 6th Street, Rapid City, SD 57701 605-342-1210

Beautiful Black Hills
Beautiful Black Hills

Biking, Hiking and Outdoor Sports

If you like to hike, bike, snow-mobile South Dakota is ready to help you enjoy and experience a wonderful outdoor setting.

Our Black Hills comes in a variety of different trails, strenuous mountain climbs, leisurely rides on old railroad beds, fun fat-tire outings and serious road rides. There are hundreds of trails and paths to explore and bike through.

Visit: http:11visitrapidcity.com/things-to-do-outdoor-recreation

Black Hills Area

Driving through the beautiful Black Hills area area is something you don't want to miss, you will experience close up wild life, curvy roads, beautiful scenery and see Mount Rushmore. You can hike, bike, camp, fish and so much more.

Try this part of beautiful South Dakota. Driving on U.S. Highway 385 takes you through the heart of the Black Hills. Don’t forget the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Drive through Lead and Deadwood and be sure to stop and check out Deadwood.

Along the way break up your drive, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, Jewell Cave to mention a couple.

Call of the Wild Museum

This is an opportunity to get close to the animals through taxidermy to see the fine details free of charge.

LaGrand Station intersection of Eglin and Beale Streets

Fill up with fuel and convenience store, gift shop and browse through the museum.

3851 Eglin St. Rapid City, SD 57703 Exit 61 off I-90 605-791-1947

For more information: callofthewildmuseum.com

Harney's Peak
Harney's Peak

Harney’s Peak

Ready for a bit of hiking? Hike up Harney Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota and the Black Hills.

It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. The peak lies 3.7 mi WSW of Mount Rushmore.

Buffalo Roundup, Custer State Park, SD
Buffalo Roundup, Custer State Park, SD

Buffalo Roundup

If you have not seen buffalo in their natural setting or want to experience a real buffalo roundup every year in September, this is the exact place you want to be.

This 71,000 acre state park is one of the world’s largest buffalo herd.

You will see vendors that sell arts and crafts, and come for the pancake feed.

See more at: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/events/buffalo-roundup/#sthash.IyC9GUr7.dpuf

Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota

The Outdoor Campus-West

The Outdoor Campus in Rapid City is located along Sturgis Road, just past the Meadowwood Bowling Alley on Sturgis Road. There are over 32 acres of trails and habitats available to explore seven days a week, from dawn until dark.

Visit their web site to see current events available during your visit.

http://gfp.sd.gov/outdoor-learning/outdoor-campus/west/

4130 Adventure Trail, RC SD 57702 605-394-2310

Black Hills Gold

You can see black hills gold made and you can get the jewelry at a much lower cost. The tours are free at Rushmore Black Hills Gold, Riddle’s Jewelry and Landstrom’s.

Berlin Wall Exhibit

Want to see what a part of the Berlin Wall looked like?

This exhibit is located in Memorial Park, by Rapid Creek in Rapid City and features two 12 feet segments of the original Berlin Wall (which is one of America’s largest Berlin Wall exhibits)

See more at www.VisitRapidCity.com

444 Mt. Rushmore Rd. N Rapid City, SD 57701

John F. Kennedy and son
John F. Kennedy and son

City of Presidents

If you want to experience life-size statues of each of the presidents, now is your chancel.

Pick up the guide-book at 7th and Main and experience reading and seeing these beautiful statues in beautiful downtown Rapid City.

The project began in 2000 as a tribute to honor the legacy of each of the American presidency. Each of the statues are privately funded.

Historical Deadwood
Historical Deadwood

Deadwood

This is where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery along with Clamity Jane.

There is entertainment during the summer evenings. This entire city is a national historic landmark, the only city in the United States to be named this.

Watch for the daily re-enactment of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok held on main street. Walk through Mount Moriah Cemetery. For more info go to deadwood.com/

Dinosaur Park, located on a hill overlooking Rapid City
Dinosaur Park, located on a hill overlooking Rapid City

Dinosaur Park

You can see these dinosaurs upon the hill in west Rapid City.

Take a drive up Dinosaur Park and walk around to see these life size dinosaurs scattered throughout it's grounds, then stop in the gift shop for souvenirs.

The park is open daily and offers plenty of shade in the spring and summer months. The sculptures are impressive in size and the spot offers a gorgeous view of Rapid City. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10514.

940 Skyline Dr, Rapid City, SD 57702

Main Street Square

Spend a fascinating evening in the beautiful and interesting Downtown Rapid City.

Main Street Square is a fun-filled public space that features special events, arts and culture, live concerts, seasonal ice-skating and interactive fountains.

See more at: http://mainstreetsquarerc.com/#sthash.HOXQoGiw.dpuf


Museum of Geology

Be sure to stop at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, they have an excellent collection of prehistoric fossils, minerals and rocks located at the Museum of Geology. There is Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, and spectacular marine reptiles.

501 East St. Joseph Street, Rapid City, SD 57701

Entrance to SD Air and Space Museum
Entrance to SD Air and Space Museum

The South Dakota Air and Space Museum

This is one museum you don't want to miss. It is 'Free' and exhibits different planes.
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum is open 7 days a week from March to the end of December. The museum currently operates from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It features a large airpark with aircraft static displays

Famous Wall Drug
Famous Wall Drug
Bear Butte
Bear Butte

Wall Drug

You have seen the signs all over the world - that tells you exactly how many miles to "Wall Drug". Now is your chance to see this 'world famous Wall Drug' which was founded way back in 1931 and has remained in the same family ever since. Today, it has become something of a major tourist destination with a café, an ice cream fountain, numerous shops and a mini mall. There are also galleries with historic photographs, a chapel and wooden effigies representing real-life western heroes. Located on I-90, 50 miles east of Rapid City, SD

Bear Butte

You have heard about Bear Butte, now you have the chance to see Bear Butte!

Was establishe as a State Park in 1961. This is a laccolith or a body of igneous rock, uplifting the earlier sedimentary layers which have since eroded away. The peak rises 1,252.5 feet above the plains and it is 4,416 feet above sea level.

See more at: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/bear-butte/#sthash.CBMTqmX8.dpuf

20250 Hwy 79 PO Box 688 Sturgis, SD 57785 605-347-5240


Museum of the American Bison

Museums are where you get to see actual 'buffaloes' and read about the history. Don't miss this interesting collection and stories relating our American history and the amazing survival of our American bison.

607 St. Joseph St. RC SD 57701 605-430-6479

Prairie Homestead

This is located in the Badlands

The Prairie Homestead, an original sod home of Mr. & Mrs. Ed Brown, was built in 1909. It is typical of the homes and outbuildings that pioneers built.

Devils Tower, Wy
Devils Tower, Wy

Devils Tower

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, this is your chance to actually see where this movie was made. Walk the paths and see this amazing force of nature up close.

President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower National Monument the first national monument in 1906. The formation is 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, just across the South Dakota border in Wyoming.

An Indian legend holds that the rock sprang up to save two boys from a bear. The fluted nature of the rocks formed from the bear pawing at the rock.

Located 107 miles northwest of Rapid City on US Hwy 14 and WY Hwy 24

PO Box 10 Devils Tower, Wy 82714-0010 307-467-5283

Touring Black Hills

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    • profile image

      Maggie 3 months ago

      Call of the wild museum does cost to get in unfortunately. This is a great list though thanks for sharing!

    • promisem profile image

      Scott Bateman 2 years ago

      One of my favorite memories of driving across the country was driving from Sioux Falls to Rapid City in the middle of the night without a light to be seen anywhere. We arrived at Rapid City at 3 a.m. in the morning.

      We had a chance to see the city for a while that day and enjoyed it quite a bit.