Should You Visit Rapid City?

Is Rapid City worth visiting?

Yes, Rapid City is worth visiting for a number of reasons. This is a city that everyone should explore, and we loved our time here. During our first trip to Rapid City in 2017, we fell in love with its diverse range of nearby activities. We've been back several times since then to experience it even more.

Whether you're a traveling as a family, a couple, or a backpacker, this city has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the fantastic museums and spectacular hiking.

Rapid City is in western South Dakota and it makes a great base for exploring the many national parks, state parks, and other landmarks in the area. The city offers convenient access to Mount Rushmore, but you'll also find Badlands National Park and Custer State Park nearby. Within town there are many museums and activities that highlight the region's unique geology and wildlife.

Mount Rushmore, near Rapid City, South Dakota Mount Rushmore, near Rapid City, South Dakota

4 Reasons to Visit Rapid City

1. Museums

You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

2. Hiking

The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

3. Food

You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

4. Shopping

Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Things to Consider Before Visiting Rapid City

Nightlife: Most people don't associate Rapid City with a lively nightlife scene. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.

Getting Around
The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost
Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Rapid City might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Rapid City here or see if Rapid City is expensive here.


What is Rapid City most famous for?

Rapid City is most famous for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. People visit this impressive city for its great museums. It's also known for hiking. And many travelers come for the food and shopping, as well. It is often described as fascinating, activity-filled, and friendly.

What is the most famous sight in Rapid City?

The most popular sight in Rapid City is Mount Rushmore. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Rapid City on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Mount Rushmore and other attractions here.

How touristy is Rapid City? Is it a popular city to visit?

Rapid City is a popular city for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

    • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
    • NEW! Half Day Tour of the Black Hills: $289
    • Badlands Sunset and Wildlife Adventure: $289
    • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
    • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
    • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
    • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239

    How long should I spend in Rapid City?

    The ideal length of time for a trip to Rapid City is two to four days. Since Rapid City has a variety of activities such as museums, most people need this much time to see and do everything here.

    If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Rapid City? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Rapid City?.