21 Best & Fun Things to Do in Brookings (SD)

Planning on visiting Brookings, South Dakota, for work or a vacation with the family, and you were wondering about some fun things you can do while there?

Look no further; you’ve come to the right place. Brookings, South Dakota, has so many fun things you can do while there.

There are museums (including an art museum and children’s Museum), the McCrory gardens, et cetera.

It is impossible to run out of fun things to do in Brookings, South Dakota.

This article focuses on fun things you can do while in Brookings, South Dakota. We will list at least 21 things to do in Brookings, South Dakota.

Where is Brookings, South Dakota?

With a population of over twenty-two thousand people, Brookings stands as the fourth largest city in South Dakota.

The town is located off of Interstate 29, which is about fifty-five miles north of Sioux Falls.

The name Brookings was derived from Judge Wilmot Brookings, an avid promoter of the settlement of this Dakota territory. It was founded in 1879.

Brookings, South Dakota, is littered with several large companies such as Larson Manufacturing, Twin City Fan, Bel Brands, Daktronics, and 3M.

In addition, the city offers several side attractions and different forms of entertainment.

It is surrounded by cities such as Arington, Aurora, Volga, Estelline, Elkton, and White.

It also has several restaurants to eat delicious meals and generally have a good time with your family.

Fun Things to Do in Brookings, SD

There’s never a dull moment in Brookings, South Dakota, because, in Brookings, there’s always something to do.

These are some of the things you can do while in Brookings, South Dakota;

1. The Children’s Museum of South Dakota

Ignite the fire of imagination and adventure in the minds of children of all age categories by taking them to the children’s Museum of South Dakota.

Hands-on exhibits, classes, the Outdoor Prairie, and Cafe Coteau combine to make this a must-stop for anyone visiting Brookings.

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota (CMSD) is a one-of-a-kind building in South Dakota that features 44,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and 4 acres of prairie.

The Museum welcomes more than half a million guests from every state in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Museum sparks the imagination of young children and even adults through play, creativity, and discovery.

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota was created from the Central Elementary School, originally built in 1936.

The imagination of kids and adults alike has been known to run wild both inside and outside of the facility.

A full-size, permanent animatronic T. Rex, the Mama, is also on display with baby Max.

Address: The Museum is at 521 4th St. Brookings, SD 57006.

2. The McCrory Gardens

The McCrory Gardens is a botanical garden about 25-acre in size, plus a 45-acre arboretum perched on the edge of campus, which is one of the first things people see when they visit Brookings.

The gardens are named after SDSU Professor S.A. McCrory, who headed the horticulture department from 1947-1964.

The main formal display botanical garden is filled with various trees, shrubs, grasses, herbs, flowers, and native plants.

In addition, the sprawling arboretum features trees and shrubs adapted to South Dakota’s climate.

Address: The McCrory Gardens is located at 631 22nd Ave, Brookings, SD 57007, United States.

3. The South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum

It is South Dakota’s official Museum devoted to the state’s history and science of agriculture and its rural life.

The Agricultural Museum is housed in the 1925 Stock Judging Pavilion, a building that ironically is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Museum has several collections, including thousands of agricultural and mechanical tools, equipment, and building furnishings.

It also displays several personal and recreational items, communications, maps, prints, photos, et cetera.

The Museum, which opened in 1884, started with a zoological collection, which was later expanded to include farming equipment from 1880 to 1950.

Address: This Museum is on 11th Street at the South Dakota State University campus.

4. South Dakota Art Museum

This Museum was opened in 1970 and features, among other exhibits, the works of famous visual artists of South Dakota.

It is situated on Medary Avenue at South Dakota State University’s campus and boasts seven spacious galleries.

The Museum’s most famous exhibit is the 146-piece collection of the works of Harvey Dunn, who was idolized for his impressive art pieces detailing the great plains of America’s Midwest.

The Museum’s permanent collection comprises almost 7,000 items, including paintings.

The Museum also showcases several artworks on paper, textiles, jewelry, Native American pieces, sculpture, and ceramics.

Address: This attraction is located at 1036 Medary Ave, Brookings, SD 57007, United States.

Will you be visiting other parts of South Dakota? Why not check out things to Do in Whidbey Island?

5. Arrowhead Park

This multi-purpose park on Indian Hills Road sits on over 16.1 acres of land and is nestled inside a residential neighborhood.

Residents and tourists often enjoy Arrowhead Park’s ample green space for outdoor team games like tag football.

In addition, the park provides an outdoor basketball court, a tennis court, and playground equipment.

Arrowhead Park also has picnic tables, restrooms, and a recreational trail for biking and walking, which makes it an ideal place to hang out with the family.

This pathway links the Brookings trail system with the Indian Hills trail.

Address: The arrowhead park is located at 451 Arrowhead Park Rd. Huntsville P1H 2J4.

6. Larson Park

The 20-hole disc golf course redesigned in 2020 is among the top attractions in Larson Park on 22nd Avenue.

The course boasts several pin placements and concrete tee pads, with different challenges at each hole.

One of such difficult sections is on the southeast side of the golf course, where you’re likely to need a few extra discs as you have to shoot over the lagoon.

But, for the most part, the course is easy to navigate, and you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Larson Park while playing.

Besides the disc golf course, this multi-purpose park also provides a bike trail, a basketball court, and playground equipment. Larsen Park also has spacious grassy fields for picnics.

Address: The Larson park is situated at 520 W Kirkham Ave, Webster Groves, MO 63119, United States.

7. The Dakota Nature Park

The Dakota Nature Park is a 135-acre park that was formerly a landfill.

It is an excellent example of a successful environmental restoration project.

After it was capped, the site was developed as a park which has met the ecological monitoring standards of the South Dakota authorities.

Instead of being a landfill, the park now features lush vegetation and mature trees, which provide habitat to native birds and animals.

This is an excellent spot to observe nature in its purest form by partaking in fun activities such as bird watching.

The park also has small connecting ponds, which adds to the park’s scenic beauty. These water bodies, connected by a metal bridge, are also an excellent spot for kayaking and fishing.

The park also has a 5,300-square-foot facility known as the Larson Nature Center.

Visitors can rent outdoor gear like fishing rods, canoes, kayaks, snowshoes, adaptive bikes, binoculars, and GPS units.

Address: The Dakota Nature Park is located at 1705 32nd St S, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

8. Enjoy the Downtown at Sundown Music Festival

Brookings, South Dakota, isn’t all about visiting iconic places alone; there are also fun festivals you can attend, such as the Downtown at Sundown.

This is a five-week outdoor summer music festival held in Brookings annually from July to August.

Admission is free to this nightly concert series held on 5th Street and Main Avenue in Downtown Brookings.

The activities each night start with vendors’ shops opening at 5:30 p.m. and then the performance of the headliner band by 6:00 p.m.

Besides the food and music, locals and visitors can enjoy shopping, yard games, and other engaging activities during the Downtown at Sundown.

Address: This music festival is hosted at 427 Main Ave Brookings, SD, 57006, United States

9. Enjoy the Brookings Summer Arts Festival

The Brookings Summer Arts Festival takes place every July, so planning your trip to Brookings to coincide with the festival would be a splendid idea.

Several artists from across the country, representing various art disciplines, take part in this juried art festival.

There is also an Edibles and Naturals area featuring artisans offering packed cottage food items for gourmet tastes and natural skin products.

In addition, the Brookings Summer Arts Festival celebrates the city’s heritage in booths with several historical displays.

The Brookings’ Pioneer Park on 6thStreet hosts the festival and often includes a children’s area that offers educational activities and fun to kids.

Entertainers also perform at the park’s bandshell and side stages during the festival.

Address: The arts festival is hosted at Pioneer Park, 104 6th St W, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

10. The Southbrook Softball Complex

This sports facility on 22nd Avenue South hosts state softball tournaments, among other events.

The Southbrook Softball Complex flaunts five lighted softball diamonds for adult and youth sports and tournament play.

In addition to these fields, the complex has a full complement of support facilities, including aluminum bleacher seating, concessions, and restrooms.

You can bring the whole family to this complex, as it has numerous picnic shelters plus a large, gravel, off-street parking lot.

The complex, moreover, nestles among lush trees providing shade to players and spectators.

Address: This attraction is located at 22nd Ave S, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

11. The Wooden Legs Brewing Company

The Wooden Legs Brewing Company, a South Dakota original, was founded in 2010.

The brewery also holds different nightly events, sometimes tagged as open mic night.

Address: The Wooden Legs Brewing Company is located at 309 5th Street, Suite 100, Brookings, SD 57006.

12. Edgebrook Golf Course

The Edgebrook Golf Course is accessible via 22nd Avenue. It has two layouts; one is a short 9-hole plan, and the other is an entire 18-hole route.

The 18-hole course was opened in 1972 and played par 70 over 6,200 yards from the longest tees, while the 9-hole layout was opened in 2010. The

The 9-hole layout is often regarded as one of the best in the area. So, if you enjoy golfing, this is the perfect place.

Address: The Edge golf course is located at 1415 22nd Ave S, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

13. The Brookings Country Outdoor Adventure Center

This outdoor center offers a 12-lane state-of-the-art shooting range. It also boasts of an Olympic-length archery range.

The gun range is only open to shooters above the age of 21. This climate-controlled gun range also boasts a cutting-edge ventilation system.

The Olympic-sized archery range, on the other hand, has a less strict age limit.

It boasts 32 lanes of up to 30 yards with 3-D targets and mobile props on wheels.

The center also offers those who want to try a different firearm. Like most other exciting places in Brookings, the Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center is on 22nd Avenue.

Address: This attraction is located at 2810 22nd Ave S, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

14. Riding a Bike at the Pump Park

This mountain bikers’ haven stretches for nearly two miles starting from the south end of the Southbrook Softball Complex.

Pump Park can also be accessed via the recreational trail, which loops the Dakota Nature Park.

Address: This attraction is located at 186-248 Indian Village Rd, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301, U.S.

15. The SDSU Dairy Bar

SDSU ice cream is one treat you’ll probably remember for a long time made by South Dakota State University students.

There are over 60 flavors of rich, homemade ice cream.

When you visit this establishment, you get to witness the entire cow-to-cone process before your eyes and taste the incredible flavors the students come up with.

Address: The SDSU Dairy Bar is located at 1225 College Ave, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

16. Nick’s Hamburger Shop

This is another fun place to visit in Brookings, South Dakota. This hamburger shop has been in existence since 1929.

Address: This attraction is located at 427 Main Ave, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

17. Brookings Art Council

The Brookings Art Council (BAC) encourages the connection of different communities through the arts. It’s been in existence for more than forty years.

Address: This attraction is located at 524 4th St, Brookings, SD 57006, United States.

18. Hillcrest Aquatic Center

The Aquatic center hosts four big swimming pools with diving boards and water slides.

Address: The Hillcrest Aquatic Center is situated at 1450 6th Street, Brookings, SD 57006.

19. Pioneer Park

This is another fun thing to do in Brookings, South Dakota.

This park can be used by both the kids and adults for outdoor activities such as picnics. It has a volleyball and a basketball court.

Address: This attraction is located at 525 1st Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006.

20. State Theatre Company Office

This complex contains five movie theatres showcasing new and classic films. You can go with the entire family and have a good time.

Address: This attraction is located at 505 ½ Main Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006.

21. Prairie Lanes

This establishment has a bowling alley, a restaurant where you can catch a quick meal, a lounge area, et cetera.

It’s also another fun place to spend time with the family.

Address: This attraction is located at 727 Western Avenue, Brookings, SD 57006.

As you can see, going to Brookings, South Dakota, for your annual vacation seems like an excellent idea. So, why not start planning your trip already?