Sioux Falls, SD
Covering approximately 74 square miles in the eastern region of South Dakota, Sioux Falls offers residents and visitors attractive big-city amenities, such as shopping and cultural attractions. Home to approximately 162,000 people, the city continues to grow, as does the roster of fun things to do in Sioux Falls. That may be why this community located on the banks of the Big Sioux River is nicknamed the “Best Little City in America.”
Falls Park is a showpiece of the city, highlighted by a continuous gush of water cascading over stone falls. On holidays and special occasions, the falls are lit with color, casting a radiant glow over the water. The landscaped park invites crowds to indulge in outdoor leisure but never feels crowded, with nearly 20 miles of paved pathways beginning at the park and circling through the city and along the river.
Downtown is the nexus of the metropolitan area and home to the leading attractions in Sioux Falls. The natural surroundings have been preserved and integrated into the not-so-mean streets, setting it apart from other cities and keeping it alive with folks who are drawn to the refreshing environment. Here, you will find neatly laid-out boulevards decked with user-friendly features such as pedestrian thoroughfares and free-flowing waterways.
Walk, drive or take the seasonal trolley from Falls Park to downtown. Things to do in the heart of Sioux Falls include dining and shopping, particularly along Phillips Avenue and Eighth Street, where clothing boutiques and retailers selling one-of-a-kind items are clustered. Bars and restaurants, some with sidewalk seating, are also plentiful.
Performance and fine art thrive in the downtown district, notably at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. The renovated former high school is a striking building faced with pale-pink quartzite, a common building material in Sioux Falls during the late-19th century. The pavilion houses the South Dakota Symphony and the Visual Arts Center, with six galleries of rotating exhibits from local and nationally recognized artists. Also included in the pavilion is the city’s major performing arts center, as well as Kirby Science Discover Center, which features interactive exhibits for kids.
Those interested in history can head to The Old Courthouse Museum. An ornate, late19th-century building with murals lining the interior, the museum documents regional history with exhibits ranging from how natives adapted to Dakota winters to how the modern hot-air balloon was invented in Sioux Falls.
Shoppers can head south of Downtown to The Bridges at 57th to browse the outdoor collection of shops or grab a bite to eat. Indoors at the 8th and Railroad Center in the East Bank, galleries, independent shops and restaurants share space in a chain of renovated industrial buildings.
Urban centers are few and far between in South Dakota, making Sioux Falls a regional shopping hub. The expansive Empire Mall is one of the leading attractions in Sioux Falls, drawing window shoppers and impulse buyers to its huge lineup of over 140 stores.