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.
It is known for its convenient tourist attractions located near city services. Reptile Gardens, Bear Country, and Cosmos are just a few.
- 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 to Denver, Colorado, multiple weekly flights to Chicago (O'Hare), Illinois, and seasonal flights to Houston, Texas.
- Delta Air Lines (operated by SkyWest) Multiple daily flights to Salt Lake City, Utah and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
- American Airlines has nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and seasonal service to Chicago.
- Allegiant Air (Budget airline) has nonstop flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa.
Connecting an overseas flight to Rapid City is often relatively cheap. Flights to Amsterdam start at $500.
- The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad provides freight rail service to Rapid City.
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.
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.
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.
- Dinosaur Park. Concrete Dinosaurs on hill overlooking the city.
- 2 Art Alley (Between 6th and 7th Street Downtown Rapid City). Graffiti, Paintings, Sculpture, Poetry, and even profile photos fill this alley that is always changing.
- Storybook Island. A kids' park
- 3 Hotel Alex Johnson. An old hotel
- 4 Reptile Gardens, Mount Rushmore Rd (about 6 mi from downtown), ☏ . 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.
- 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-Sept. 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.
- 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.
- Watiki Water Park, 1314 North Elk Vale (I-90 exit 61), toll-free: . The water park concept is wonderful.
- 6 Berlin Wall Exhibit (In Memorial Park). Segments of the Berlin Wall. free.
- 1 Storybook Island. ,
- 2 Watiki Indoor Waterpark Resort. ,
- 3 Flags and Wheels Indoor Racing. - located in Rapid City
- Art Alley, 6th. & 7th. Between St. Joseph & Main (Right by the Alex Johnson). 24. Art Alley is an unusual art gallery in downtown Rapid. Art Alley and the area around it are where the Black Hill's under thirty locals hang out. The alley is always changing. Artists paint on the building walls with the owner's permission. Free.
- 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.
- Go antiquing.
- Cool off at one of the water parks.
- Talk to the locals.
- Taste the wonderful coffee at any local coffee shop
- Ifrits Hookah Lounge, 725 Saint Joseph St., ☏ . Vary. A hookah bar where customers can sample many different varieties of flavored tobacco. They also serve beer & wine. Price depends on products purchased.
- Prairie Edge (6th and Main). American Indian goods.
- 1 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, Borders, Kohls, Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, Chuckie Cheese, two multiplex cinemas, and other retailers.
- Rushmore Crossing. Newly developed strip mall containing major brand stores; i.e. 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 Roadwith the best Italian ice cream in the west. 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.
- Botticelli's Restorante Italiano, 523 Main St. Has the best selection of authentic Northern Italian dishes and pizzas.
- 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.
- Alternative Fuel, 620 Main St, ☏ . M-Th 7AM-9PM, F 7AM-10PM, Sa 7AM-6PM. Best coffee shop in Rapid City. Wonderful Staff, environment, and coffee. They also serve breakfast items, sandwiches, soups, and deserts.
- Delmonico Grill, 609 Main St (across from the Fire House), ☏ . Delmonico Grill is one of several great choices for dining in Downtown Rapid City. This is where locals and visitors will find whatever cuisine they are craving and will be fascinated by our unique and evolving city center! $15-$50.
- Enigma Restaurant, 445 Mt Rushmore Rd (at Main St, inside the Radisson Hotel), ☏ . 6AM-2PM,5PM-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.
- Armadillo's Ice Cream Shoppe, 202 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.
- Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. Located in Rapid City for over 15 years, it is one of the premiere oriental restaurants with authentic food that will tantalize taste-buds.
- Ichiban Sushi Bar & Japanese Cuisine. The only restaurant serving Japanese food in Rapid City. Watch the chef use the most freshest ingredients while they create your perfect dish.
- Fireside Inn. Located close to Rapid City, but nestled in the Black Hills. An up-scale restaurant with affordable food, a place very worth the experience.
- Alpine Inn. 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.
- Colonial House, 2501 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.
- Sanford's Grub & Pub, 306 7th St (at Omaha St), ☏ . Great food and drinks are served in a unique atmosphere. Don't be surprised if there is a wait if going on a weekend or during the Stock Show.
- 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.
- Prairie Berry. Just left Rapid City relocating to Hill City. They offer wines made from 100% South Dakota ingredients.
- Wine Cellar Restaurant, 513 Sixth St, ☏ . Tues - Wed: 3:30PM - 10PM; Thurs - Fri: 3:30PM - 11PM; Sat: 5PM - 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.
- [dead link] Microtel Inn & Suites Rapid City, 1740 Rapp St, ☏ .
- Econo Lodge, 625 E. Disk Dr, ☏ . Nice hotel room, questionable pool, helpful employees.
- 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.
- Radisson Hotel, 445 Mt. Rushmore Highway (corner of Mt. Rushmore and Main), ☏ . A "hotel" rather than a motel/motor lodge, with several hotel-type amenities. Starbucks on site.
- 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.
- 1 Hotel Alex Johnson, 523 6th St, ☏ . Historical downtown hotel, built in 1927.
- 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.
- River View Lodge, 18 miles north of New Underwood. Family-run rural getaway situated on a 100 year old working cattle ranch on the banks of the Belle Fourche River.
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|