Rapid City, SD

Travel Guide
Rapid City which includes a gorge or canyon, mountains and tranquil scenes
Serving as the Midwest’s gateway to outdoor adventure, this South Dakota city is also regarded as a hub of arts and culture.

Located in southwestern South Dakota, Rapid City is a popular destination because of its close proximity to several famous landmarks. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is only 25 miles (40 kilometers) away, Crazy Horse Memorial 35 miles (55 kilometers) and Badlands National Park 60 miles (95 kilometers). Black Hills National Forest is nearby as well. These outdoor destinations are all accessible day trips.

The city and surrounding area are laced with walking and hiking trails. Cyclists travel from across the country to bike along Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway and Needles Highway. Iron Mountain Road, which stretches between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore, is widely regarded as one of the state’s best scenic drives. Enjoy other popular activities including golf, rock climbing, horseback riding and fishing.

Treat your family to a thrilling experience at Reptile Gardens, a park where children can pet tortoises, watch a snake show or stroll through the Sky Dome. Next, step back in time at Dinosaur Park, where you can learn about archaeology and climb atop some of the center’s massive dinosaur statues.

Originally called “Hay Camp," Rapid City was a resting spot for mid-1800s explorers headed to the Black Hills in search of gold. Although the city is now a comfortably modern destination, vestiges of its “Wild West” past remain in its historical downtown. Learn about the city’s past at the Journey Museum, which is filled with interactive exhibits everyone will enjoy.

Main Street Square, the heart of Rapid City, features year-round events ranging from free concerts to ice skating. After visiting the area’s galleries, shops and breweries, stroll down Art Alley, a nationally renowned public art space. Pose next to your favorite president in the City of Presidents community artwork, life-size bronze statues scattered throughout downtown.

Rapid City’s downtown is compact so it’s easy to walk between attractions in the area. City View Trolley is another way to get around, offering an old-time ride to the area’s top sites. Domestic flights arrive and depart daily from Rapid City Regional Airport. Interstate 90 runs alongside the city, making it easily accessible if you are traveling by car.

Where to stay in Rapid City

Grand Gateway Hotel
Grand Gateway Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1721 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City, SD, 57701
The price is $83 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 30
Stay at this 3.5-star family-friendly hotel in Rapid City. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and an outdoor pool. Our guests praise the bar and the helpful staff ...
3.8/5 Good! (1,201 reviews)
Water slide was so fun
"We were a little apprehensive when we first pulled in the parking lot but the stay turned out way better than expected. The pool and waterslide was fun. We had just left a water park the day before and the kids spent 3 hours going up and down the slide having so much fun. Having a bar and perkins ..."

Reviewed on Aug 10, 2022

Grand Gateway Hotel
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites, BW Premier Collection
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites, BW Premier Collection
3.5 out of 5
445 Mount Rushmore Rd, Rapid City, SD, 57701
The price is $159 per night from Aug 15 to Aug 16
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly hotel in Rapid City. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and breakfast. Our guests praise the clean rooms in our reviews. ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (1,002 reviews)
"Thank you for a wonderful stay we used to stay at the Alex Johnson but the service slipped and decided to try Rushmore suites in so glad we did this will definitely be our annual stay spot when we visit Sturgis rally"

Reviewed on Aug 9, 2022

The Rushmore Hotel & Suites, BW Premier Collection
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Rapid City, SD
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Rapid City, SD
3 out of 5
2321 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City, SD, 57701
The price is $89 per night from Sep 5 to Sep 6
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Rapid City. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (1,248 reviews)
"Clean comfortable hotel centrally located to all the main tourist sights in the region."

Reviewed on Aug 13, 2022

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Rapid City, SD
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Black Hills Best Value Inn-The Blue Room
Black Hills Best Value Inn-The Blue Room
Rapid City, SD
The price is $75 per night from Aug 25 to Aug 26
Stay at this vacation home in Rapid City. Enjoy free WiFi, a water park, and a fitness center. Popular attractions Main Street Square and Central States Fairgrounds ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (12 reviews)
Clean and comfortable
"The property was just as advertised—a small but comfortable bedroom with a good bed, shared common area, and a small shared bath. Everything was clean and there were nice amenities like snacks and soft drinks, and Netflix and Prime. I had almost no interaction with the owner upstairs or the other ..."

Reviewed on Jun 29, 2022

Black Hills Best Value Inn-The Blue Room
GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
2.5 out of 5
660 Disk Dr, Rapid City, SD, 57701
The price is $104 per night from Aug 28 to Aug 29
Stay at this business-friendly aparthotel in Rapid City. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (1,577 reviews)
"Overall very nice. Just didn't like the shower head."

Reviewed on Aug 11, 2022

GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
Main Street Lofts
Main Street Lofts
4 out of 5
910 Main St, Rapid City, SD, 57701
The price is $230 per night from Aug 17 to Aug 18
Stay at this 4-star apartment in Rapid City. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a kitchen. Popular attractions Main Street Square and Art Alley are located nearby. ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (13 reviews)
"Terrific unit. Parking is on the street and usually available. There are meters in some spots which presented a bit of an issue if planning to be home over two hours. Owners offered compensation if any tickets were received, which was great but it's still a bit of an inconvenience (obviously tried ..."

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2022

Main Street Lofts
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Rapid City

In order to explore the wilderness around Rapid City with ultimate freedom, rent a car. There are numerous rental companies in town. Public transportation in the downtown area includes the Rapid Ride network, a fleet of buses with bike racks attached so you can combine cycling and bus travel. For a vintage travel experience, ride the City View Trolley, a classic streetcar which includes a narrated tour. Visit the South Dakota Department of Transportation website.Browse Rapid City rental cars.

Best time to visit

A trip to Rapid City should include a visit to the famous Mount Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills, and the weather will play a part in when you choose to go. Spring through fall is the perfect time for outdoor adventures, while the height of summer can get very hot. Winter is often very cold, but is the season for skiing in the Black Hills area.

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Things to do

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