21 Fun Things to Do in Rapid City (SD)

Rapid City, South Dakota, is a beautiful city replete with historical and scientific artifacts, and this article highlights some of the things to do in Rapid City, SD.

Rapid City, SD, is a tourist haven for several reasons, including its proximity to famous sites, such as Mount Rushmore and many other equally captivating sites.

It is also known as the city of presidents. Several things can be done when in Rapid City, and we will be sharing some of them with you.

Where is Rapid City, South Dakota?

Rapid City, South Dakota, is the second-most populous city with a population of seventy-four thousand seven hundred and three, as revealed by the 2020 census.

Rapid City, South Dakota, is Pennington County’s County seat.

Rapid City, South Dakota, also known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills” and  “City of Presidents.”

With its vibrant culture and friendly population, little wonder the City of Presidents attracts many tourists each year.

Fun Things to Do in Rapid City, SD

As we said earlier, there are several fun things to do in Rapid City, South Dakota, for adults, families, couples, kids, and for the weekend, below are some of them!

1. The Journey Museum & Learning Center

It is usually open from Thursday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

This museum offers educational opportunities for all ages.

Explore over 2.5 billion years of history arranged chronologically as you learn about geology, paleontology, archaeology, stories of the pioneers, Native American culture, and the history of the Black Hills.

Address: This museum is at 222 New York St., Rapid City, SD  57701.

See Also: Fun Things to Do in Watertown (SD)

2. Chapel in the Hills

Photo by Holly Hayes via Flickr

One of the fun things you can do while in Rapid City, South Dakota, is pay a visit to the Chapel in the Hills.

The Chapel in the Hills replicates the famous Borgund Stavkirke in Norway.

The Chapel was built in 1969, and it’s surrounded by a peaceful wilderness in Rapid City and offers a museum, gift shop, and meditation trail.

You can tour the grounds when the Chapel is closed and admire the architecture.

Address: This attraction is at 3788 Chapel Ln. Rapid City, SD 57702.

3. The Main Street Square

This is one of the most attractive places to visit in Rapid City, South Dakota.

This fun-filled public space hosts close to 150 events a year. During the summertime, the square comes alive with the dancing waters of the fountains.

The square transforms into a lively ice-skating rink with rentals available on-site in the winter months.

Address: The Main Street Square is at 512 Main Street, Suite 980 Rapid City, SD 57701.

4. 1880 Town South Dakota’s Original

This is a town that existed in the 1800s. You can walk down the main street of this town and explore over thirty buildings furnished with various relics.

It gives you a picture of how life was in the 19th century. The peak season, which is June till August, is usually open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm every day of the week and off-season, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Address: This 1880 town is located at I 90 Exit 170, Murdo, SD 57559.

5. 1880 Train Black Hills Central Railroad

This Railroad offers you the chance to take a ride on a proper steam engine train from Hill City and Keystone, South Dakota.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery on this two-hour trip and see what it’s like to travel on a steam-powered train like it used to be in the 19th century.

They don’t make steam engines anymore. It is one of the most fascinating things to do in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Address: The railway is at 222 Railroad Ave. Hill City, SD 57745.

6. Angostura Recreation Area

The Angostura Recreation Area is open all year round. This reservoir is one of the largest in the entire western South Dakota.

The reservoir has sandy beaches, crystal waters, fine fishing, et cetera. Visitors and locals enjoy over 36 miles of shoreline following this magnificent reservoir.

This is also one of the most enjoyable activities to indulge in when in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Address: The Angostura Recreation Area is at 13157 N. Angostura Road, Hot Springs, SD 57747.

7. The Apex Gallery                                 

Admission into this gallery is free, and it is usually open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sundays.

The gallery features several educational arts and scientific exhibits.

The knowledgeable staff members are always available to answer any questions.

Address: The Apex Gallery is at 501 E. St. Joseph St. Rapid City, SD 57701.

8. Axe it Out

The establishment is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Ax it Out is an ax-throwing venue and Rapid City’s only ax-throwing venue.

It is an effective way to let out some frustration. It is open to people aged 11 and above.

It is an excellent way to let off steam or hang out with friends. Paying a visit to this establishment during your trip to Rapid City, South Dakota, is worth it.

Address: This attraction is at 811 Disk Drive Suite #6, Rapid City, SD 57701.

9. Bear Country, USA

This is a drive-thru park where you can witness North American wildlife in real-time.

The bear country has wildlife such as bison, wolves, elk, and so much more. This park also boasts the most extensive collection of privately owned black bears.

Paying a visit to this park on your trip to Rapid City, South Dakota, is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you witness this fantastic wildlife up close and personal.

Address: This attraction is at 13820 S. Hwy. 16, Rapid City, SD 57702.

10. Big Thunder Gold Mine

It is closed during the winter for a good reason. It is usually open from mid-March to October every day of the week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

This is an excellent opportunity to tour an original 19th-century gold mine and learn about its unique history.

You also get to take home some free gold ore samples. This is also another exciting place to visit in Rapid City.

Address: This gold mine is at 604 Blair Street, Keystone, SD 57751.

11. The Black Hills Aerial Adventures

You can also decide to go on an aerial adventure of Rapid City and the Black Hills environment with the Black Hills Aerial helicopters.

The Black Hills Aerial Adventures have in the business of taking tourists or locals on amazing rides to explore the city.

You can witness majestic sites such as Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, et cetera from the skies. You must get this experience when you visit Rapid City, South Dakota.

Address: The black hills are at 24564 US Hwy. 16/385 Custer, SD 57730.

12. Dinosaur Park Gift Shop & Visitors Center

Admission is free and open daily from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Free family fun at one of the Black Hills’ original tourist attractions has been accessible to the public since 1936.

You can walk around the park in order to see all the 7 life-size replicas of dinosaurs made with concrete.  

The Visitors Center also has unique gifts and souvenirs. Its food service includes 12 flavors of ice cream and lunch items.

Address: This visitors center is at 940 Skyline Dr. Rapid City, SD 57701.

13. City View Trolley

The City View Trolley operates seasonally, from June till August every year.

Hop on a ride of the City View Trolley to visit 15 of Rapid City’s attractions, including The Journey Museum & Learning Center, Storybook Island, and Downtown Rapid City.

You can also learn about Rapid City while taking this exciting tour.

Address: The City View Trolley is located at 333 sixth street, Rapid City, SD 57701, and

14. AMC Rapid City 10

The opening hours of AMC vary, but you can always check their website to verify.

It is such a fun way to experience movies. AMC Rapid City 10 brings you innovative ways to see movies.

When you’re in Rapid City, don’t just visit any theater; instead, take the opportunity to experience the AMC Rapid City 10’s premium formats that bring you excellent acoustics, richer imagery, and a choice between Real 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX technologies.

You can also taste a special menu of cinema favorites and enjoy the classy flavors of the superior quality movie snacks available.

So pay a visit to enjoy the best of cutting-edge entertainment, and you’d be glad you did.

This is high on the list of things you should do in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Address: This fantastic theater is at 230 Knollwood Dr. Rapid City, SD 57701.

See Also: Fun Things to Do in Brookings (SD)

15. Black Hills Speedway

For the past sixty years, the legendary Black Hills Speedway has continued to evolve and adapt by handing it down to generation after generation.

The Black Hills Speedway for dirt track racing is more than just dirt or concrete; instead, it is Legacy.

The history of dirt racing is incomplete without acknowledging the contribution of this legendary establishment to the sport.

Race times vary, but you can always confirm from the website. It is one attraction of Rapid City you don’t want to miss on your trip there.

Address: The black hills speedways is at 2467 Jolly Lane, Rapid City, SD 57703.

16. Canvas 2 Paint

Canvas 2 paint is always closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but it is opens every other day of the week at varying hours.

Canvas 2 Paint offers you the unique opportunity to bring out the inner Picasso in you by giving you paint and a brush to work on a canvas.

It is therapeutic and fun at the same time. Canvas 2 Paint intends to bridge the gap between fine art and fun art by teaching you the basics of acrylic canvas painting while enjoying the company of friends. You also get to go home with your artwork.

To pay a visit to the Canvas 2 Paint studio, visit the website and reserve a spot on a day that suits you.

You can also come along with some friends. This is one of the exciting things to do in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Address: This establishment is at 632 St Joseph St Rapid City, SD 57701.

17. Black Hills Stock and Rodeo

This event is the second-largest event in the entire state of South Dakota after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Over three hundred and thirty-one thousand people attend this event that holds annually.

The festival features over a hundred and twenty different livestock, rodeo events, and close to three hundred vendors to shop from.

You might want to plan your visit to coincide with this fantastic festival.

Address: The Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo is at 800 San Francisco Street, Rapid City, SD 57701.

18. The Canyon Lake Park

This park is accessible to the public every day from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm.

The Canyon Lake Park is one of the oldest city parks in Rapid City.

It covers over twenty-nine acres and features a fishing bridge and several picnic areas. This park is also part of the Rapid City Historic District Tour.

Address: This park is at 4181 Jackson Blvd Rapid City, SD 57702.

19. Flags and Wheels

It is usually closed on Mondays but opens every other day of the week with varying opening hours. You can always check the website for confirmation.

It is locally-owned and also a family-run business. It is an indoor facility for those who love racing. It is a fun place to visit with the family.

There are loads of fun for everybody within the walls of Flags and Wheels.

Address: If you’re considering going, Flags and Wheels is at 405 12th Street, Rapid City, SD 57701.

20. Elks Theater

Photo by Four Square

It is accessible to public members weekly from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

It was built in 1912 as an opera house but later converted to a movie theater. It houses one of the largest screens in South Dakota.

Address: The Elks Theater is at 512 6th St. Rapid City, SD 57701.

21. Museum of Geology

Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr

Admission into the museum is free. It opens to the public  every day of the week except Sundays.

The museum displays skeletal fossils of mammals, dinosaurs, fish, et cetera, some as old as five hundred million.

This is a fantastic place to experience with the kids to ignite their curiosity.

Address: This museum is at 501 E. St. Joseph St., Rapid City, SD 57701.