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Rapid City

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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.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Rapid City is served by Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP). This modern regional airport offers fee-based long-term and hourly parking and free WiFi.

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.

By train[edit]

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]

Many people choose to use a personal vehicle, but it is not necessary. All of downtown Rapid City's attractions are walkable.

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.

See[edit]

Triceratops
  • The Journey Museum. Interesting exhibits about Native American History.
  • Dinosaur Park. Concrete Dinosaurs on hill overlooking the city.
  • 1 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.
    Art Alley in Rapid City
  • Storybook Island. A kids' park
  • Hotel Alex Johnson. An old hotel
  • Reptile GardensMount Rushmore Rd (about 6 mi from downtown),  +1-800-335-0275. Daily 8-7 during summer, 9–4 April–May and Labor Day-day before Thanksgiving, limited hours from day after Thanksgiving through December, closed in winter. 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. $12.50 for adults, discounts apply.
  • Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Show, Dances with Wolves film set (4 miles S. of Rapid City on Hwy 16W), toll-free: +1-888-394-9653. 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.
  • Rushmore Water Slides. Plenty of "rapid rides" with plenty of seating. Convenient food vendor on site.
  • 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.
  • [dead link]watiki water park1314 north elk view (I-90 exit 61), toll-free: +1-866-WATIKIFUN (928454386). The water park concept is wonderful.

Do[edit]

  • Art Alley6th. & 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.
Downtown Rapid City
  • Cool off at one of the water parks.
  • Talk to the locals.
  • Taste the wonderful coffee at any local coffee shop
  • Ifrits Hookah Lounge725 Saint Joseph St. +1 605-716-6986. Vary. A hookah bar where customers can sample many different varieties of flavored tobacco. They also serve beer & wine. Price depends on products purchased.

Buy[edit]

  • The Rushmore Mall. 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, Toys'R'Us, Chuckie Cheese, two multiplex cinemas, and other fine retailers.
  • Rushmore Crossing. Newly developed strip mall containing major brand stores; i.e. Furniture Row, Scheel's, Sam's Club, Target.

Eat[edit]

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.

  • Hunan RestaurantMount Rushmore Rd. Offers such Chinese cuisine.
  • Botticelli's Restorante Italiano523 Main St. Has the best selection of authentic Northern Italian dishes and pizzas.
  • [dead link]Hana Korean Grill and Sushi Bar2328 W Main St (on main st across from west side MCD),  +1 605 348-0299. 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 Fuel620 Main St +1 605 341-2202. 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 Grill609 Main St (across from the Fire House),  +1 605 791-1664. 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 Restaurant445 Mt Rushmore Rd (at Main St, inside the Radisson Hotel),  +1 605 716-0600. 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 Shoppe202 Main St +1 605 355-0507. 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 House2501 Mt Rushmore Rd +1 605 342-4640. 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 & Pub306 7th St (at Omaha St),  +1 605 721-1463. 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 Grill2424 W Main St +1 605 348-3348. 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.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Firehouse Brewing Company610 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 Restaurant513 Sixth St +1 605-718-2675. 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).

Sleep[edit]

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.

Budget[edit]

  • [dead link]Best Western Town and Country Inn2505 Mt. Rushmore Highway +1 605 343-5383. Internet access; continental breakfast included, but a good restaurant for hot breakfasts, etc., is nearby. Large seasonal variations in room rates (from $109 mid-summer, $59 in winter).
  • Microtel Inn & Suites Rapid City1740 Rapp St +1 605 348-2523.
  • Econo Lodge625 E. Disk Dr +1 605 342-6400. Nice hotel room, questionable pool, helpful employees.
  • The Price Motel401 East North St (next to Jolly Lane Floral),  +1 605-343-1806. 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.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Radisson Hotel445 Mt. Rushmore Highway (corner of Mt. Rushmore and Main),  +1 505 348-8300. A "hotel" rather than a motel/motor lodge, with several hotel-type amenities. Starbucks on site.
  • Radisson Hotel445 Mt. Rushmore Highway (corner of Mt. Rushmore and Main),  +1 505 348-8300. A "hotel" rather than a motel/motor lodge, with several hotel-type amenities. Starbucks on site.
  • The Grand Gateway1721 N. La Crosse St (Just off of I-90 at exit 59),  +1 605-342-8853. 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.

Splurge[edit]

  • Comfort Inn and Suites1333 North ELK Vale Rd (Exit 61 Across from Watiki),  +1 605 791-2345. 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 Lodge18 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.

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
SheridanSturgis  W I-90.svgUS 14.svg E  WallSioux Falls
BuffaloKeystone  W US 16.svg E  END


This city travel guide to Rapid City is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.