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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

Serena Inn & Suites- Rapid City
Serena Inn & Suites- Rapid City
2.5 out of 5
2124 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City, SD
The price is $89 per night from Sep 1 to Sep 1
Situated in Rapid City, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf and Rushmore Mall. Journey Museum & Learning Center and Central ...
3.3/5 (537 reviews)
"Dust on lamps, phone, dust Bunnies I. The floor. Hair in the bathroom. Tears in the furniture"

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2021

Serena Inn & Suites- Rapid City
Grand Gateway Hotel
Grand Gateway Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1721 N Lacrosse St, Rapid City, SD
The price is $109 per night from Aug 29 to Aug 29
This family-friendly Rapid City hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf and Rushmore Mall. Central States Fairgrounds ...
3.9/5Good! (1,274 reviews)
"Very nice room"

Reviewed on Aug 5, 2021

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
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $169 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 16
Located in Historic Rapid City, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Art Alley and Main Street Square. Dinosaur Park and Chapel in the Hills are also within ...
4.1/5Very Good! (932 reviews)
"Easy access to local restaurants. Rooms updated."

Reviewed on Aug 1, 2021

The Rushmore Hotel & Suites, BW Premier Collection
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.
Elk Creek Resort
Elk Creek Resort
2 out of 5
8220 Elk Creek Rd, Piedmont, SD
The price is $142 per night from Aug 23 to Aug 23
Situated in a rural location, this cabin is 2.3 mi (3.6 km) from Petrified Forest of the Black Hills and within 12 mi (20 km) of Wonderland Caves and Fountain ...
4.3/5Excellent! (124 reviews)
"Positives: Beautiful area; clean rooms; near popular SD "things to do" (i.e., Mt. Rushmore, Petrified forest, climbing, hiking, nearby city stuff), laundry. Negatives: the town of Piedmont is limited in food options; there is spotty internet coverage at the Resort; old beds."

Reviewed on Jul 27, 2021

Elk Creek Resort
GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
2.5 out of 5
660 Disk Dr, Rapid City, SD
The price is $159 per night from Aug 22 to Aug 22
Situated in Rapid City, this aparthotel is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Rushmore Mall and within 6 mi (10 km) of Central States Fairgrounds and Monument Health. Dinosaur ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (1,359 reviews)
"Nice clean place for the night after a long day of driving."

Reviewed on Jul 27, 2021

GrandStay Residential Suites - Rapid City
Home2 Suites by Hilton Rapid City
Home2 Suites by Hilton Rapid City
2.5 out of 5
621 Watiki Way, Rapid City, SD
The price is $159 per night from Aug 15 to Aug 15
Situated near the airport, this aparthotel is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Dakota Fields Sports Complex and within 6 mi (10 km) of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf and Central ...
4.4/5Excellent! (899 reviews)
"Rooms were clean and kitchenette was fully stocked with dishes, utensils, even a dishwasher with detergent. Staff were very friendly. Water park was great, just note that it is an extra $20pp for the water park (there is no free pool) and it’s being your own towel."

Reviewed on Jul 3, 2021

Home2 Suites by Hilton Rapid City
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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