Have you been to a place where Sunday morning becomes mandatory to sleep in? Where restaurant staff serves food with a genuine smile. When the hotel staff makes sure you have a great time in their town. A place where the town embraces the outdoors and their heritage. You can find all of these great things in the Heart of America, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
When I was approached to visit Sioux Falls, South Dakota I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first thing I did was hit the Sioux Falls CVB website to see what they are known for. I quickly found out that there isn’t just one thing.
The town has done so much to highlight their natural resources. We found that you could spend your whole weekend enjoying the outdoors. We found that the community of Sioux Falls is a great place for inspiring artists, shopping, and fine dining. Here are my recommendations for some of the best places to check out on your visit. And make sure to check out how you can win a free trip for your family!
10 Reasons to Visit Sioux Falls South Dakota
1. Falls Park
The crown jewel of Sioux Falls is Falls Park. This waterfall beats out any waterfall I have seen and I’ve been to the North Shore. It wasn’t just one fall, but a series of many falls that seemed to go on forever. The park covered 123 acres to explore and pours over 7,400 gallons of water over 100 feet. In the park, you can explore the Queen Bee Mill ruins or enjoy a bite to eat at the Overlook Café. It’s closed during the winter season but will be back open in the spring. They provide a walking bridge, overlook tower and pathways to get your own view of the falls. During winter, Falls Park is light up into a Winter Wonderland. I had an amazing time getting up close to the falls.
Every year the town exhibits the largest annual display of public sculptures in the world. They are displayed around the downtown for the entire year. May through September the public votes on their favorite piece and the town purchases the piece for their permanent collection. Up and down most of the streets, you’ll find some amazing works of art.
3. Great Bear Ski Valley
As soon as we got to town, we checked out Great Bear Ski Valley. This park is a Ski Hill during the winter season. But during the summer they allow visitors to explore over 4 miles of hiking trails. We took the Overlook Trail. It takes you to a vantage point that gave us a 32-mile view of the town. They have trails that are a little flatter and some that are ADA accessible. But we just couldn’t pass up a view like that.
4. Zandbroz Variety Store
Zandbroz Variety Store downtown is a creative’s dream store. I am incredibly grateful that this store isn’t close to my home because I’d be spending all my money there. They have collected the best variety of household items, jewelry, books and so much more. It was like everything was hand selected just for me. I was in heaven. Make sure to check it out.
5. Washington Pavilion
The Washington Pavilion is an amazing complex that holds over 4 different museums in one. This includes two performance theaters where plays and orchestras perform. The Kirby Science Discovery Center entertains kids and parents alike with over 100 different hands-on science exhibits. They have the Wells Fargo CineDome which is a 6-foot screen that plays different Hollywood films and educational documentaries. My favorite part is the Visual Arts Center. It is a collection of 7 different exhibits. They range from contemporary, to sculpture to a whole collection from South Dakota artist.
The Pavilion sells combination passes that allow access to more than one museum. I recommend taking advantage of this option and seeing as many as you can!
6. Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
At Good Earth State Park, the visitor center has an amazing staff that greets you at the door. They quickly went over the features of the center. Inside the visitors center, they have an amazing display of Oneota Traditional People. They were the first inhabits of this region. The park has a collection of artifacts and a full-size replica of their living quarters. After exploring inside we were off.
The trail system has over 6 miles of different hiking paths. We picked up one of the complimentary walking sticks and started our adventure. The trails are made from crushed limestone and take you right through the middle of the prairie. The outlooks give you a view of the Big Sioux River and on the other side of the river is Iowa. Their paths were amazing. This would be an amazing place to take a morning run!
I absolutely love when people take their artistic skills, creativity and costuming to a whole new level. That’s why I was so ecstatic when I found that every October Sioux Falls hosts a zombie walk. Hundreds of people come out dressed in their most gruesome creations and walk the streets. It is a terrifying experience. The zombies ranged from hospital staff, to pop culture icons like a White Walker and my personal favorite Billy Butcherson from Hocus Pocus.
8. Haunted Corn Maze
If you’ve ever been frightened of the thought of being lost in a corn maze, unable to find the exit, imagine what it’s like when the sun goes down. The Heartland Country Corn Maze turns terrifying at night. Bring your flashlights and check out what else lies deep within the corn. It’s guaranteed to frighten almost anyone.
9. Fine Dining
Everywhere you look downtown, you will find some amazing places to eat downtown. From pubs and taverns to family establishments, they have something for everyone. For date night or a fun girls night, I recommend visiting McNallys Irish Pub, Carpenter Bar or TapHouse41. For families, stick with places like Famous Dave’s, Texas Roadhouse or Crave. For breakfast, my favorites are Josiah’s or Philips Avenue Dinner.
South Dakota has a strict 21+ rule for any establishments that are considered a pub or bar. If you are traveling with children make sure to call ahead to check their rules.
10. The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History
On a Sunday Morning, the Great Plains Zoo is one of the first places that open up so we headed out to check it out. The zoo has 137 species including my favorite trio; Rhinos, Tigers, and Giraffes. Most were very friendly to greet visitors. This was the most up close and personal I had ever come with a Rhino. With the exception of a few indoor enclosures, the zoo was entirely outdoors, so dress accordingly. The indoor section is home to the Natural History exhibits.
How to Visit Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Fall is located in the southeast corner of the state making it an easy Day Trip from Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. If you decide to spend the night, there are some amazing hotels. Because of how much we wanted to do there, we ended up staying the night.
If you are an early riser, I recommend planning any outdoor activities for Sunday morning. By the time lunch rolls around, everything will be rolling again.
Win a Trip
The Sioux Falls CVB is giving away Three Weekend Getaway Trips to check it all out in person! Just go on over to Sioux Falls Getaway. The first trip is a Fall Together Getaway, allowing you to experience all Sioux Falls has to offer during that season, the second giveaway is a Jolly Holiday Getaway to check out the Winter Wonderland, Downtown, and their amazing restaurants. The third package is a Thrills and Chills Getaway. It’s complete with skating, skiing, Sky Zone Trampoline Park and all kinds of other winter fun activities. This opportunity will only last for a short time so make sure to sign up. Even if you don’t win, you’ll have a fabulous time on your visit to Sioux Falls, South Dakota!