Rapid City is in the Badlands and Black Hills region of South Dakota. It is a convenient base for travel on to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Badlands, and the Black Hills National Forest.
Rapid City is often referred to as just "Rapid" by the locals, and the name Rapid City originated from Rapid Creek. In 2020, it was home to 75,000 people.
It is known for its convenient tourist attractions located near city services. Reptile Gardens, Bear Country, and Cosmos are just a few.
Get in Edit
By plane Edit
- 1 Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP IATA). This modern regional airport offers fee-based long-term and hourly parking and free Wi-Fi.
Non-stop services offered:
- United Airlines (operated by SkyWest) Multiple daily flights from Denver, Colorado, multiple weekly flights from Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois, and seasonal flights from Houston, Texas.
- Delta Air Lines (operated by SkyWest) Multiple daily flights from Salt Lake City, Utah and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
- American Airlines has nonstop flights from Dallas/Fort Worth and seasonal service from Chicago.
- Allegiant Air (Budget airline) has nonstop flights from Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa.
Connecting an overseas flight to Rapid City is often relatively cheap. Flights to Amsterdam start at $500.
By car Edit
I-90 is the main highway that passes through Rapid City, South Dakota. The highway is more scenic coming from the west, however the Badlands lies east of Rapid City, which has a scenic highway for more aesthetic appeal.
By bus Edit
Rapid City can be reached from almost anywhere in the US with two or less connections. There are daily services aboard Jefferson Lines from the Twin Cities, Sioux Falls and on to Wyoming. Jefferson lines contracts with Greyhound, while offering a superior service to Greyhound one can book them in connection with Greyhound quite economically. Powder River Lines (Operated by Coach USA) offers service to Wyoming and on to Denver and the West Coast.
Get around Edit
To reach other places, such as the Rushmore Mall, one can use the Rapid Ride System from the Milo Barber Transit Center. There are four loop routes featuring buses going in both directions about every 70 min around each loop. Fare is $1 and includes a transfer.
If you want to travel before 6AM or after 6PM, you will have to take a taxi, there are plenty in Rapid City for your needs. Also, there are several travel services that are available for the "night life" to ensure a safe and inexpensive ride home, Scooters and Jonesy's Party Bus.
- 1 The Journey Museum & Learning Center, 222 New York St, ☏ . Interesting exhibits about Native American History.
- 2 Dinosaur Park. Concrete dinosaurs on a hill overlooking the city.
- 3 Hotel Alex Johnson. An old hotel
- 4 Reptile Gardens, Mount Rushmore Rd (about 6 mi from downtown), toll-free: . Hours vary by season. This is a serious herpetological park (as well as a "fun" place) with one of the best collections of lizards, gators and snakes in the country-quite possibly the best. "Gus" (short for "humongous"), the resident 14-foot-long American alligator, is a favorite. Price varies by season, children under 4 free.
- 5 South Dakota Air and Space Museum. The museum is open from 8:30AM to 4:30PM seven days a week and admission is always free. Witness the changes through time by experiencing the aircraft and technology that changed the world.
- 6 Berlin Wall Exhibit (In Memorial Park). Segments of the Berlin Wall. free.
- 7 Museum of Geology, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 9AM-6PM beginning Memorial Day, 8:30AM-4PM beginning Labor Day. A museum operated by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology that features various fossils and minerals. Free.
- 1 Art Alley, 599 7th St between St. Joseph & Main (Right by the Alex Johnson), ☏ . 24. Art Alley is an unusual art gallery in downtown Rapid. Graffiti, Paintings, Sculpture, Poetry, and even profile photos fill this alley that is always changing where the Black Hill's under thirty locals hang out. Artists paint on the building walls with the owner's permission. Free.
- 2 Badlands Sabres, 235 Waterloo St, ☏ . Enjoy an ice-hockey game at the Roosevelt Park Ice Arena. The Sabres play in the North American Tier III hockey league.
- 3 Elks Theater. A converted traditional theater, featuring the largest screen in South Dakota, the lowest prices in Rapid City, first run movies and a lot of fun kids-all right downtown.
- 4 Flags and Wheels Indoor Racing. - located in Rapid City
- 5 Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Show, Dances with Wolves film set (4 miles S. of Rapid City on Hwy 16W), toll-free: . Open mid-May thru mid-Sep. Movie-set buildings from Dances With Wolves are part of the fun of this traditional cowboy supper with music and comedy show. All you can eat 99¢ pancakes 6:30AM-11AM. Supper bell rings at 6:30PM nightly for a hearty meal of BBQ beef, chuckwagon potatoes, spice cake, baked beans, biscuits, applesauce and coffee or lemonade. Then is time for our foot-stomping music/comedy show by the Ft. Hays Wranglers.
- 6 Storybook Island. A kids' park.
- 7 Watiki Water Park, 1314 North Elk Vale (I-90 exit 61), toll-free: . The water park concept is wonderful.
- Go antiquing.
- Cool off at one of the water parks.
- Talk to the locals.
- Taste the wonderful coffee at any local coffee shop
- 1 Prairie Edge (6th and Main). American Indian goods.
- 2 The Rushmore Mall, 2200 N Maple Ave, ☏ . The only indoor mall within a 350-mile radius. It features many typical suburban stores. It is surrounded by Lowes, Kohls, Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, Chuckie Cheese, two multiplex cinemas, and other retailers.
- 3 Rushmore Crossing. A strip mall containing major brand stores: Furniture Row, Scheel's, Sam's Club, Target.
Rapid City is one of South Dakota's culinary centers.
There is a gelato stand on Mount Rushmore Road with excellent Italian ice cream. Baken Park (at the intersection of W Main St. and Mountain View Rd.) offer several fast-food chains. North Rapid, the area around Rushmore Mall, offers several sit-down chain restaurants as well.
- 1 Hana Korean Grill and Sushi Bar, 3550 Sturgis Rd, ☏ . 10AM-9PM daily. Sushi and a wide variety of beverages, as well as Korean favorites such as Bulgogi (Barbecue) and Gal Bee (Barbecue Short Ribs). $10-30.
- 2 Alternative Fuel, 512 Main St, Suite 110, ☏ . M-Th 7AM-3PM, F 7AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-5PM, Su 9AM-4PM. Wonderful staff, environment, and coffee. They also serve breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, and deserts.
- 3 Delmonico Grill, 609 Main St (across from the Fire House), ☏ . Delmonico Grill is one of several great choices for dining in Downtown Rapid City. $15-50.
- 4 Enigma Restaurant, 445 Mt Rushmore Rd (at Main St, inside the Radisson Hotel), ☏ . 6AM-2PM, 5-10PM daily. An upscale restaurant where you will experience a unique fashion of service with delicious foods that are the passion of fusion cuisine. $10-50 for 1-2 people respectively.
- 5 Armadillo's Ice Cream Shoppe, 130 Main St, ☏ . Many different flavors of delicious ice cream. Great place to eat and relax don't be surprised if there is a huge line. Totally worth the wait.
- 6 Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, 315 E North St, ☏ . It is one of the premiere oriental restaurants with authentic food that will tantalize taste-buds.
- 7 Ichiban Sushi Bar & Japanese Cuisine, 1109 W Omaha St A, ☏ . The only restaurant serving Japanese food in Rapid City. Watch the chef use the most freshest ingredients while they create your perfect dish.
- 8 Alpine Inn, 133 Main St, Hill City, ☏ . The warm atmosphere (which Wally refers to as Gemutlichkeit) of the Alpine extends beyond the surface Wally's kitchen and arms have always been open to those in need of a good ear and good advice. Several of her original employees have remained with her through the years out of the sense of "Family" that Wally and the Alpine have brought to them.
- 9 Colonial House, 2315 Mt Rushmore Rd, ☏ . 7AM-9PM daily. Good down home cooking. The C house serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. when you go for breakfast make sure to get the caramel rolls, they are homemade and to die for. All deserts are made in house by Master pastry chef Jeff Slather. Voted number 3 in all of Rapid City by trip adviser. This restaurant is a must stop while enjoying your stay in Rapid City. $3-30.
- 10 Shooters Steakhouse & Sports Grill, 2424 W Main St, ☏ . Broad variety menu from Mexican cuisine to steaks and pastas, but best known for their buffalo chicken wings. With their multiple television screens, Shooters is a great place to watch the Monday Night Football Game or any other sporting event.
- 1 Firehouse Brewing Company, 610 Main St. The Firehouse is a restaurant and brewery built in the old downtown firestation. There is a great variety of food offered from Mexican, to German, to traditional hotdogs and hamburgers. In the summer, the outdoor patio features a full menu and bar in addition to live music and plays. They have large windows where you can view the brewing process. The beer menu changes seasonally to offer a variety of brews throughout the year. The options range from very light IPA's and ales to dark rich beers and even a house favorite red brew. You will not be disappointed with the menu, although the service can be hit or miss. Plan on going early in the summer to get a spot outside for the entertainment. In the winter, you can enjoy dinner theatre with new performances monthly.
- 2 Prairie Berry, 23837 US Highway 385, Hill City, toll-free: . Daily 10AM-6PM. They offer wines made from 100% South Dakota ingredients.
- 3 Wine Cellar Restaurant, 513 6th St, ☏ . Tu W 3:30-10PM; Th F 3:30-11PM; Sa 5-11PM. Casual fine dining, extensive wine list & beer menu, late night menu weekends. Located in one of downtown's historic buildings in the newly renovated 6th Street District. European and Californian cuisine made to order with the freshest ingredients. Enjoy casual fine dining amongst candles and fresh flowers in the main dining room, enclosed back alley or the seasonal outdoor sidewalk patio. Extensive wine list & imported & domestic beer menu. Food styles: American (New), burgers, French, Greek and Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican, pizza, seafood, Spanish/Basque, tapas bars, vegetarian. Takes reservations, walk-ins welcome, take out, waiter service, outdoor seating. $10-30.
For easy access to I-90, look up the many hotels off LaCrosse St in North Rapid. Hotels and motels in Rapid City tend to have substantial seasonal variations in room rates, as Rapid City is a busy jumping-off point for the Black Hills in summer but frozen into torpor in the winter.
Campgrounds are strewn all along Mount Rushmore Highway.
- 1 Microtel Inn & Suites, 1740 Rapp St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 2 Econo Lodge, 625 E. Disk Dr, ☏ . Nice hotel room, questionable pool, helpful employees.
- 3 The Price Motel, 401 East North St (next to Jolly Lane Floral), ☏ . An older motel that supplies you with the basic necessities. It holds a simple relaxed atmosphere. It also has a great location close to restaurants, shopping, gas stations, as well as the interstate.
- 4 Country Inn & Suites, 2321 N Lacrosse Street (corner of Mt. Rushmore and Main), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A "hotel" rather than a motel/motor lodge, with several hotel-type amenities. Starbucks on site.
- 5 The Grand Gateway, 1721 N. La Crosse St (just off of I-90 at exit 59), ☏ . The Grand Gateway has a 130-foot waterslide, 132 guestrooms, meeting and banquet rooms, fitness center, the Cheers Sports Bar & Casino, and is connected to Perkins. $40-120.
- 6 Hotel Alex Johnson, 523 6th St, ☏ . Historical downtown hotel, built in 1927.
- 7 Comfort Inn and Suites, 1333 North ELK Vale Rd (Exit 61 across from Watiki), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Clean hotel with friendly service and upscale rooms. Rooms can hold 6-10 people. Price depends on season.
- 8 River View Lodge, 18 miles north of New Underwood. Family-run rural getaway on a 100-year-old working cattle ranch on the banks of the Belle Fourche River.
Go next Edit
Rapid City is the gateway to all the attractions and beauty of the Badlands and Black Hills. Simply start driving south.
- Black Hills National Forest
- Deadwood is possibly America's most storied small town from the wild frontier days.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a short drive away, as is the larger (though incomplete) Crazy Horse Memorial.
- Sturgis, roughly 12 miles to the East of Deadwood, is the home of the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.
- Wall has Wall Drug, whose ubiquitous signs will be more than familiar to any visitor driving on Interstate 90.
- Keystone if you love trinket shopping, or looking that perfect piece of jewelry, visit Keystone, SD. Close to all the Black Hills attractions, a town that you cannot pass by without wanting to stop.
|Routes through Rapid City|
|Sheridan ← Sturgis ←||W E||→ Wall → Sioux Falls|
|Buffalo ← Keystone ←||W E||→ END|