Sioux Falls might be a small city, but there are still lots of things to do if you know where to look. Here is our detailed list of the best places in Sioux falls that we recommend checking out on your visit.
Situated in the Midwest, Sioux Falls is an underrated gem that tourists often unfortunately overlook.
Sioux Falls has a long and interesting history that is worth knowing if you plan on visiting. Sioux Falls started out as a small trading post in 1856 and things have changed a lot since then.
South Dakota was a territory of the United States and was granted statehood in 1889, which created the current borders for this area. Sioux Falls became the largest city in South Dakota behind Pierre, which was its main competitor.
Sioux Falls is a modern city now that has managed to retain some of its histories. If you have come here for a vacation, then there is no better idea than to visit places like the Nelson Museum of Art and the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk.
The city boasts beautiful sceneries, unique wildlife, and a ton of activities for adventurous peeps.
Since it’s not so prominent on the radar, people often struggle with finding things to do in Sioux Falls. If you plan to stay for a day or two, get on Booking today to find a hotel near the best city attractions.
Whether you’re looking for romantic things to do in Sioux Falls SD, or places to explore with your kids, you’ll find the right recommendation for you in this guide.
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls
- 1. Falls Park
- 2. Butterfly House & Aquarium
- 3. Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science
- 4. Old Courthouse Museum
- 5. Sioux Falls Mighty Cathedral
- 6. Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls
- 7. Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
- 8. The Outdoor Campus
- 9. USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial
- 10. Observation and Science Center
- 11. Great Plains Zoo
- 12. Veterans’ Memorial Park
- 13. Craft Beers
- 14. Baseball Game at The Birdcage
- 15. Big Sioux Recreation Area
- 16. Wild Water West
- 17. Terrace Park
- 18. Dinner At The Carnaval
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What Are Things to do in Sioux Falls With Kids?
- What are the Best Tourist Attractions in Sioux Falls?
- What is There to do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?
Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls
Generally speaking, there are a lot of fun things to do in Sioux Falls. From cultural activities to natural views, you’d be spoilt for choice in the city.
Also, don’t forget to enjoy meals at the multicultural eateries downtown.
1. Falls Park
Falls Park is the main destination in Downtown Sioux Falls as it gives the city its name. The triple waterfall offers a beautiful view that will stay with you for a long time.
Most visitors tend to go to the falls during the summer months, but you can also enjoy the stunning scenery during the winter season. Besides the natural water flow, there are many other things you can do at the destination.
Among these, the most popular is the visitor information center that’s attached to the five stories of the observatory tower. Plus, there’s Queen Bee Mill overlooking the falls.
If you go to Falls Park at mealtime, head over to the Overlook Cafe to refuel. Here’s a pro tip: go on Fridays to enjoy live music.
To turn your visit into a full-day adventure, you should go to the Big Sioux River and Recreation Greenway.
The park is home to historical displays and many sculptures. If you’re taking the kids along, they’ll love the playground and water fountains.
Falls Park hosts farmers’ markets every Saturday, entertaining the customers with artisan crafts and scrumptious fresh produce from May to October. You can see why Falls Park is a top Sioux Falls attraction for both locals and visitors.
See Related: Best Things to do in Custer State Park
2. Butterfly House & Aquarium
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Sioux Falls this weekend, the 36,000 square foot butterfly house is the perfect place to relax after a hectic workweek.
The interior of the butterfly house is always kept at 80 degrees to provide the ideal atmosphere for 800 butterflies.
These butterflies come from all over the world, including South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
On the other hand, the Marine Cove is home to fish and corals. You can see everything from sea urchins to sea stars and anemones.
One of the best things to do here is to visit the Shark & Stingray Touch Pool. The pool offers a hands-on (quite literally) for kids and adults as you can touch southern stingrays, horn sharks, and bamboo sharks.
3. Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science
If you like to turn your vacays into informative sessions, you should put the Washington Pavilion on your itinerary. The Pavilion has two performing arts centers to enjoy recitals, live concerts, and Broadway shows.
Plus, you can go to the Wells Fargo CineDome to catch a movie.
Moving on to the Visual Arts Center, you can admire the remarkable exhibits on display. These artworks come from international, national, and local artists and are displayed in seven galleries.
While most art pieces are permanent and always-on display, some of them keep rotating, so you’ll have something new to admire the next time you visit.
For some interactive science experience, walk over to the Kirby Science Discovery Center. Here, you’ll have a hands-on experience with scientific displays and enhance your imaginative power.
Some fun things to see here are the underground mines, dinosaurs, and outer space.
4. Old Courthouse Museum
When you hear someone say that Sioux Falls is a multifaceted tourism hub, believe them because the city also has something to offer for historians. The Old Courthouse Museum was the Minnehaha County Courthouse back in the day.
It was used by the city until 1962, and then the authorities planned to demolish it. However, the citizens wanted to save the courthouse, making it a tourist attraction.
Completed in 1893, the courthouse is a wonderful project of Wallace L. Dow, a local architect.
If you have a love for architecture, you’ll particularly enjoy the stained glass windows, Sioux quartzite stone, tiles fireplaces, slate stairs, and granite pillars in the courthouse.
Moreover, the courthouse also boasts 16 murals of local nature and early city life.
5. Sioux Falls Mighty Cathedral
Visiting a cathedral might not normally be on your travel itinerary, but this is no ordinary cathedral. It was completed in 1881 and stands tall today as one of the most magnificent buildings in the city.
You’ll have a grand time marveling at it from outside and within. From the free-standing altar – inspired by the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome – to the french stained windows, there’s a lot to look at in the cathedral.
If you want to designate a day for free things to do in Sioux Falls, the cathedral should be on your list. On the whole, it’s a must-visit for people who love culture, architecture, and art.
See Related: Things to do in Deadwood, South Dakota
6. Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls
If you want to take a walking trip around the city, it must be the Sculpture Walk.
The city adds nearly 50 new outdoor sculptures annually, and their location rotates, so you’ll be up for a surprise every time you visit.
Plus, the city encourages people to cast a vote for their favorite sculptures.
While you’re touring the city marveling at these installations, make sure to stop over at the Minervas restaurant or the Khorasan Kabob House.
As for shopping, the downtown area also has many boutiques, home decor stores, antique shops, art galleries, and outdoor stores. Book the walk from GetYourGuide today.
If all that walking tires you, book a hotel through Kayak and stay the night for another adventure the next day.
7. Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
The Good Earth State Park is a section of the Blood Run National Landmark, about 10 miles southeast of the city. It’s one of the oldest places that were occupied by humans in the US.
Blood Run is known to be a gathering space for people from indigenous cultures and local tribes.
Today, it’s one of the best state parks in the country, showcasing a rich culture and enjoyment for people who have a passion for history and community. One of the best attractions in the area is the visitor center, spanning over 11000 square feet.
Here, you can learn all about Oneota traditional tribes. Plus, there are a ton of hiking trails that will take you all the way to the Big Sioux River for more magnificent views.
8. The Outdoor Campus
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Sioux Falls today and return by nightfall, take a trip to the Outdoor Campus. It’s a learning center in South Oxbow Avenue, run by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.
Here, you can learn all sorts of outdoor activities, like fishing, cross-country skiing, gardening, and much more.
Since there are a lot of activities for children as well, it’s one of the best things to do in Sioux Falls with kids.
Even if you’re a solo traveler, you can participate in community programs. The programs for kids include homeschoolers, elementary students, middle school students, and preschoolers.
The Outdoor Campus also falls under the best free things to do in Sioux Falls category since the campus holds an outdoor University event, which is a sponsored program. It’s an opportunity for the whole family to learn about activities, such as kayaking and fishing.
Plus, you can touch turtles, frogs, fish, and many other animals.
See Related: Best Things to do in Iowa
9. USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial
It’s not uncommon to go into a quiet town or city or stumble upon a memorial. The Sioux Falls Battleship memorial is located on 12th Street, displaying relics that culture enthusiasts will love.
The battleship was made in 1939 and commissioned in 1942. Everything from its concrete outline to the memorabilia pieces is displayed for view. Since the ship was leading the fleet in its class back in the second world war, there’s a lot to see.
After the war, the ship was sold, but the commoners saved some parts to build the memorial.
See Related: Best Things to do in Omaha, Nebraska
10. Observation and Science Center
If your kids (and you too) are intrigued about how Google Maps works or how your phone can track where you are, you’ll get your answers here.
The Observation and Science Center is commonly known as EROS and homes a geological research center. In fact, it’s the only national center that handles Landsat satellite data.
Experts chose it as the designated center among many cities due to limited radio and air interference. Tourists can go to the science center and see how the global data is managed, processed, and operated.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Des Moines
11. Great Plains Zoo
Another of the fun things to do in Sioux Falls with kids is to visit the zoo.
It’s on the west of the city and spans over 45 acres. Housing over a thousand animals, the zoo is an excellent place to be closer to nature and learn about different species, from black rhinos to Amur tigers.
While you’re there, you can also talk to the zookeepers and learn about the animals’ daily routines.
If you have any interest in museums, you can make your day more interesting by visiting the Sanford Carousel or watch the exhibits at the Delbridge Museum of Natural History.
If you want to catch a bite, the Maasai Market Cafe offers ice cream, cheeseburgers, pizza, and much more.
Since the zoo is open all year round, you can go there whenever you want. Plus, you can catch daily events at the zoo, such as animal encounters.
If you’re lucky, you might get to feed a giraffe too.
The zoo is open all year round. The Great Plains Zoo is a popular family destination and continues to be so because of affordable prices. Admission is $14 per person for ages 2+ with an additional fee for parking or you can get the discount rate at $6 if you have a receipt from off-site within 24 hours.
Hands down, it’s one of the things to do in Sioux Falls that won’t break your budget. And based on all the things there are to see and do, it’s worth every penny!
See Related: 10 Fun & Best Things to do in Pierre, South Dakota
12. Veterans’ Memorial Park
The memorial park is on West Bailey Street, commemorating the history of Sioux Falls’ people who served in the military.
The veteran organizations in the city started discussing the idea of creating a memorial after seeing the need for one. As a result, the local authorities formed a committee and chose a site in the US Army Air Corps for the memorial.
It was made open to the public in 200 and includes several amenities, such as history displays, walking trails, gardens, military memorials, and sculptures.
When you enter the memorial, you’ll be greeted by plazas, an amphitheater, and many flags – it’s a sight worth seeing.
13. Craft Beers
Here’s one of the things to do in Sioux Falls at night. The local beer-making scene has grown extensively in the past few years.
With six breweries opening in just one year, it’s almost customary to try one of the craft beers in the city.
The locals also prefer supporting regional beer crafters rather than interstate or commercial brands. So, when you’re in Sioux Falls, make sure to try out their beers.
Monk’s is a popular place to begin your beer-tasting tour. If you’re a bit too tipsy to drive back home, book an Airbnb for the night.
14. Baseball Game at The Birdcage
The Canaries are the local baseball team, loved by everyone in the city. You can find them playing in the Birdcage, one of the oldest American ballparks.
Although it’s not as flashy as some other stadiums, it definitely makes up for the lack of space with the competitive atmosphere and amazing vibe. If you have some extra time on your hands and a love for sports, get yourself a hotdog and find a seat in the stands.
If possible, try to get an evening game ticket. You’ll be mesmerized by how amazing the atmosphere is once all the seats are filled up.
The Canaries’ first game of the season is usually scheduled for April.
See Related: World Nomads Travel Insurance Review
15. Big Sioux Recreation Area
The Big Sioux Recreation Area is located on the Big Sioux River banks, east of the city. It offers you a sight of the region’s woodlands and rolling prairies.
Some common attractions in the area include the Big Sioux River and a golf course. If you’ve booked a hotel through Kayak, you can stay the night in the region.
For closer contact with nature, stay at one of the three cabins or 50 campsites in the recreation area.
If you’re stopping in Sioux Falls on your RV trip, you can also park your vehicle here as it’s one of the best campgrounds in the country, with access to hot showers and restroom facilities.
The recreation area is also the perfect place to have a picnic. With the surroundings setting a calming mood, lunch under the trees ranks as one of the best romantic things to do in Sioux Falls SD.
16. Wild Water West
Situated on 466th Avenue, Wild Water West was made 25 years ago and is the biggest South Dakotan water park.
Some exciting features of the park include a 55-foot tube slide, the Wave pool with six-foot-high waves, and a 65-foot Waterslide Complex.
While the kids enjoy the water activities, adults can sit at the swim-up bar and enjoy a few drinks. If you have babies or toddlers with you, the baby pool will be an awesome place for them to beat the heat.
Some non-water activities include paintball, golfing, batting cages, go-karting, and sand volleyball. If all this is making you want to fly off the Sioux Falls on the next plane, get yourself a deal off Scotts.
Wild Water West is open in the summertime! They are open Memorial Day-Labor Day 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; June, July, September 3 p.m.-close; August 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Wild Water West is closed October-February.
The cost of the water park ranges from $13.00-$14.00 plus tax per person, depending on when you go and what time of day it is.
See Related: Best Travel Accessories
17. Terrace Park
The Terrace Park is a popular place for locals to frequent and also serves as a tourist spot. Start by taking a stroll in the Japanese Garden in all its majesty and magnificence.
The trimmed hedges and ornate arches are sure to make you feel like you’re in the royal garden.
Afterward, go over to Covell Lake and enjoy the scenic view of the water hitting the shore.
Overall, there’s a lot to do in the park, from having picnics to visiting the aquatic center and joining the locals for a game at the basketball court.
If you’re traveling to the city in summer, visiting Terrace Park is one of the best free things to do in Sioux Falls.
See Related: Top Tips for Stress-Free Travel
While Sioux Falls has an interesting and appetizing food scene, Carnaval is the only Brazilian eatery in the city. It’s a popular tourist stopover with soft lighting, an ambient vibe, and beautiful décor.
The restaurant offers a memorable experience with a festive atmosphere, neon blue ceiling, vibrant art pieces, and green plants – a vivid resemblance to Brazilian carnivals.
If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Sioux Falls SD, don’t miss out on taking your significant other to this restaurant. Apart from the décor, you’ll also be welcomed by over 55 salad choices, ala-carte menu, seafood, and the Gaucho Meal.
If you’re visiting on the weekend, you can catch live music on the patio. For a lifetime experience, reserve a table for the popular once-a-month event at the restaurant, including wine and food pairing.
See Related: Best Family Travel Insurance
No matter what your interests are, Sioux Falls has something for you. Whether that’s things to do or things to see, there is an attraction suited perfectly for you and your family.
Hopefully, this will help make planning for your next trip south much easier with all these attractions at your fingertips!
If you want more information on each specific place visit their website or call ahead of time and ask any questions about accessibility they may have.
We hope this helps take some stress off when it comes time to plan because sometimes traveling can get hectic if not planned properly beforehand- especially when kids are involved!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Are Things to do in Sioux Falls With Kids?
The things to do in Sioux Falls SD with kids include the Wild Water West, Terrace Park, Carnaval Brazilian restaurant, and The Children’s Museum of South Dakota.
There are many places such as the Sanford Sports Complex where you can watch sports or play sports; there are also golf courses like Terrace Hills Golf Course which will give you an experience, unlike any other course in the area.
What are the Best Tourist Attractions in Sioux Falls?
In Sioux Falls, the most well-known tourist attractions are Falls Park, the Sculpture Walk and the Old Courthouse Museum.
What is There to do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?
Falls Park, The Sculpture Walk, and the Old Courthouse Museum are three attractions that are worth visiting when you’re looking for things to do around Sioux falls; there is also Terrace Park and Sanford Sports Complex for those looking for great things to see in Sioux Falls as well.
- 30 Cheap Places to Travel [Ultimate Guide]
- 14 Best Day Trips from Des Moines
- 12 Best Things to See in Wyoming
Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.
You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.