Rapid City On a Budget
SightsThe most popular sight in the Rapid City area is Mount Rushmore, the infamous monument of four presidents carved from the rocky mountain inside of the Black Hills Forest. After viewing the monument, you can wander through the Black Hills to Rushmore Cave where you'll find a stalactite filled cavern. Then, continue on to the Jewel Cave National Monument, the third longest cave in the world with over 180 miles of passageways that wind through the cave. After an adventure through the Black Hills, head into town to view Art Alley, a public art project that incorporates work from both local and visiting artists. Then, during summer, enjoy a movie in the park under the stars.
Neighborhoods and Nearby AreasRapid City's major neighborhood is the Downtown area where the majority of sights, activities, restaurants, and hotels are located. The other neighborhoods in Rapid City are mainly residential or commercial and of little interest to tourists.
West and South of the city is the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park, which is home to Mount Rushmore and countless hiking trails and outdoor activities. Here you can also find enormous amounts of wildlife. The famous Mount Rushmore draws lots of visitors who then stay on for the other nearby attractions.
The Crazy Horse Memorial is not far from Mount Rushmore and is a monument to the Native Americans, their history, and their culture.
Wind Cave National Park, just south of Custer State Park, is a great place to explore a very large underground system of caverns. Hiking, wildlife viewing, and camping are also plentiful here as well.
Southeast of the city is Badlands National Park, a popular spot for adventure enthusiasts thanks to its rugged landscape that is perfect for hikers, campers, and wildlife viewers.
ActivitiesRapid City acts as the perfect base camp for going on all sorts of outdoor adventures. Right outside the city is the Black Hills National Forest where you can go hiking, rock climbing, and cycling. For the adventure enthusiasts, go to the Badlands, a rugged natural area with twisted canyons, slanted walls, and rock domes that create the perfect place for exploring. For something more relaxed, you can go boating, fishing, or swimming in one of the 17 lakes in the area. Rapid City also hosts many annual festivals, including the Art and Wine Festival that features locally sourced wine and artwork from local artists. In summertime, you can relax downtown and enjoy the Main Street Square Summer Concerts or the Native People of the Plains arts and culture weekend in July.
Food and DiningRapid City has a wide range of restaurant options and cuisines, including American, Chinese, and Japanese. Many restaurants serve buffalo meat, with buffalo hamburgers being one of the most popular buffalo dishes. For something with a local feel, head to the Firehouse Brewing Company, which is located inside of the original Rapid City firehouse that was built in 1915. The restaurant serves American cuisine and features original memorabilia, the original fire pole, and even offers beautiful views of downtown Rapid City from the patio. Combine fine dining with a casual atmosphere at Wine Cellar Restaurant where you'll find a huge wine and beer menu nestled in a historic building.
TransportationRapid City is served by the Rapid City Regional Airport, a domestic airport that accepts flights from a select few major US airlines. From the airport, you can take a shuttle or a rent a car to get into the city. It is also easy to drive into the city or take a bus from larger cities. You can easily get around the city on foot, or take the Rapid Ride System which takes you to areas further outside of the city including Mount Rushmore. Keep in mind that the rail system closes between 6 PM and 6 AM, but there are plenty of taxis in the area that run when the rail system doesn't.
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