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25 Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

25 Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls might be a smaller city, but you can find 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. The city, which has a long and interesting history, started as a small trading post in 1856 — and things have changed a lot since then.

South Dakota was a territory of the United States that was granted statehood in 1889, creating the current borders for this area. Sioux Falls became the largest city in South Dakota, far outstripping Pierre, the state capital. While Sioux Falls is a modern city in every way now, it has managed to retain much of its history.

If you travel here for a vacation, then you can’t miss visiting places such as the Nelson Museum of Art and the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk.

Things to do in Sioux Falls

The city boasts beautiful scenery, unique local wildlife and a ton of activities for adventurous peeps.

Since it’s not so prominent on the radar, your choices of things to do in Sioux Falls may not be obvious — but once you get started, you’re likely to fall in love with the area. If you plan to stay for a day or two, get on Booking today to find a hotel near the best city attractions.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota | Attractions & Things to Do [4K]
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Whether you’re looking for romantic things to do in Sioux Falls South Dakota, or places to explore with your kids, you’ll find the right recommendations in this guide.

Fun & Best Things to Do in Sioux Falls, SD

You can find a lot of fun activities to experience in Sioux Falls. From cultural activities to natural views, you’ll be spoiled by the wide range of choices in and around the city. And don’t forget to enjoy meals at the many multicultural eateries downtown.

Here are our top 25 choices of things to do in Sioux Falls.

1. Falls Park

Falls Park Sioux Falls

Falls Park is one of the main destinations in downtown Sioux Falls, as the waterfall gives the city its name. The triple waterfall is a beautiful sight 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 viewing the natural water flow, you can do many other things at this destination.

Among these, the most popular is the visitor information center that’s attached to the five stories of the observatory tower. And don’t miss the historic Queen Bee Mill overlooking the falls.

If you go to Falls Park at mealtime, head to the Overlook Cafe to refuel. Pro tip: go on Fridays to enjoy live music.

To turn your visit into a full-day adventure, head 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, attracting customers with artisan crafts and scrumptious fresh produce from May to October. One visit will make it clear 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

Black and Blue Colored Butterfly on a Leaf

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 work week.

The interior of the butterfly house is always kept at 80 degrees to provide the ideal atmosphere for 800 butterflies that come from all over the world, including South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Take your exploring even further with the attached Marine Cove, which is home to fish, sea creatures 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) experience for kids and adults as you can touch southern stingrays, horn sharks, and bamboo sharks.

3. Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science

Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science

If you like to turn your vacays into educational sessions, you should put the Washington Pavilion on your itinerary. The Pavilion has two performing arts centers that offer recitals, live concerts and Broadway shows. Plus, you can go to the Wells Fargo CineDome to catch a movie.

At 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.

To check out some interactive science exploration, walk over to the Kirby Science Discovery Center. Here, you’ll enjoy hands-on experiences with scientific displays and enhance your imaginative power. Some of the most popular exhibits here are the underground mines, dinosaurs, and outer space exhibits.

4. Old Courthouse Museum

Historic Courthouse and Skyline

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. Start with a visit to the Old Courthouse Museum, which was the Minnehaha County Courthouse back in the day.

The courthouse was used by the city until 1962, at which point 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 architectural statement from Wallace L. Dow, a local architect.

If you have a love for ornamentation, you’ll particularly enjoy the stained glass windows, Sioux quartzite stone, tile fireplaces, slate stairs and granite pillars in the courthouse.

The courthouse also boasts 16 murals of local nature and early city life.

5. Sioux Falls Mighty Cathedral

Sioux Falls Mighty Cathedral

Visiting a cathedral might not normally be on your ordinary travel itinerary, but this is no ordinary church. 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 St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome) to the French stained glass windows, there’s a lot to look at in the cathedral. 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

Sculpture of Elephant and Bird on its Trunk

If you want to take a walking trip around the city, head for the Sculpture Walk.

The city of Sioux Falls adds nearly 50 new outdoor sculptures annually, and their location rotates, so you’ll be up for a surprise every time you visit. As a bonus, 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 for a bite at Minervas restaurant or the Khorasan Kabob House.

As for shopping, the downtown area also is home to many boutiques, home decor stores, antique shops, art galleries and outdoor stores.

If all that walking tires you out a bit, book a hotel through Kayak and stay the night so you can set off on another adventure the next day.

7. Good Earth State Park at Blood Run

Good Earth State Park at Blood Run

Good Earth State Park, which includes the Blood Run National Historic Landmark, is located about 10 miles southeast of the city of Sioux Falls. It was originally home to the Oneota culture for more than 8,000 years.

Blood Run has long been known as a gathering space for people from indigenous cultures and local tribes. Today, it’s one of the best state parks in South Dakota, showcasing the rich culture of the Oneota and appealing to people who have a passion for history and community.

At the visitor center, which spans over 11,000 square feet, you can learn all about the Oneota and their tribal descendants. Choose from hiking trails that will take you all the way to the Big Sioux River, where you can enjoy more magnificent views.

Though no Priority Pass or City Pass is available for Sioux Falls, you can get more information about the park through its official website.

8. The Outdoor Campus

Sioux Falls Outdoor Campus

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Sioux Falls where you can head out for the day and return by nightfall, take a trip to the Outdoor Campus. This learning center on South Oxbow Avenue is run by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department.

Here, you can learn all sorts of outdoor activities, including fishing, cross-country skiing, gardening and much more. Even if you’re a solo traveler, you can participate in community programs here.

The Outdoor Campus features a lot of activities for children as well, making it one of the best things to do in Sioux Falls with kids. The programs for kids include special programs aimed at homeschoolers, elementary students, middle school students and preschoolers.

The Outdoor Campus also falls under the category of best free things to do in Sioux Falls, since the campus’s outdoor University event is a sponsored program. It’s an opportunity for the whole family to learn about activities such as kayaking and fishing. You can also get up close and personal with  turtles, frogs, fish and many other animals.

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9. USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial

Battleship  Cannon

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 military history enthusiasts will love.

The battleship was laid down in 1939 and commissioned in 1942. Everything from its concrete outline to the memorabilia pieces is displayed for view.

Since the ship led the fleet in its class back in World War II, there’s a lot to see. After the war, the ship was sold, but some parts were saved to build the memorial.

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10. Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS)

Tour Guide Sharing Information to Tourists

If your kids are intrigued about how Google Maps works or how your phone can track where you are (and you’re allowed to be intrigued by these things, too), you’ll get your answers here.

The Earth Research Observation and Science Center, commonly known as EROS, houses a geological research center. In fact, it’s the only national center that handles Landsat satellite data from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Experts chose this to be the designated center out of many cities due to limited radio and air interference in the area. Tourists can go to the science center and see how global data is managed, processed and operated.

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11. Great Plains Zoo

Great Plains Zoo

Another fun thing to do in Sioux Falls if you’re traveling with kids is to visit the zoo. On the west of the city, it spans over 45 acres. Housing over 1,000 animals, the zoo is an excellent place to get 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. Make your day even more interesting by visiting the Sanford Carousel or viewing 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 continues to be a popular family destination because of its affordable prices. Admission ranges from $11.50 to $15.50, depending on your age, with reduced admission rates offered to all participants in South Dakota’s SNAP, TANF and WIC programs.

The Great Plains Zoo definitely won’t break your budget. And based on all the things there are to see and do here, it’s worth every penny!

See Related: 10 Fun & Best Things to do in Pierre, South Dakota

12. Veterans’ Memorial Park

Veterans' Memorial Park

Veterans’ Memorial Park, located on West Bailey Street, commemorates the history of Sioux Falls’ people who served in the military.

Veterans’ organizations in the city started discussing the idea of creating a memorial after seeing the need to recognize local veterans. The local authorities formed a committee and chose a site previously used by the U.S. Army Air Corps for the memorial.

It was made open to the public in 2006 and includes 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. Sample Some Local Craft Beers

Craft Beers

Looking for one of the best adult things to do in Sioux Falls at night? Check out the craft brews the city has to offer. The local beer-making scene in Sioux Falls has grown extensively in the past few years, with six breweries opening in just one year. It’s almost mandatory to try one of the craft beers in the city.

The locals prefer supporting regional brewers rather than 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’ve booked an Airbnb for the night in the neighborhood, you won’t have to worry about being too tipsy to drive home.

14. Baseball Game at The Birdcage (Sioux Falls Stadium)

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 in the country.

Although it’s not as flashy as some other stadiums, the Birdcage definitely makes up for its lack of space with history, a competitive atmosphere and an amazing vibe. If you have some extra time on your hands and a love for sports, get yourself a hot dog and find a seat in the stands.

If possible, try to get an evening game ticket. You’ll be mesmerized by the atmosphere once all the seats are filled up.

The Canaries’ first game of the season is usually scheduled for April.

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15. Big Sioux Recreation Area

Lake Surrounded with Yellow Trees

The Big Sioux Recreation Area is located on the Big Sioux River banks east of the city. From here, you can see the region’s woodlands and rolling prairies.

Some popular 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 close by. For even 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, with access to hot showers and restroom facilities.

The recreation area is also the perfect place to have a picnic. The surroundings set a calming mood, and lunch under the trees ranks as one of the best romantic things to do in Sioux Falls.

See Related: 16 Best Things to do in South Dakota | Top Attractions

16. Wild Water West

Wild Water West Park

Situated on 466th Avenue, Wild Water West opened more than 30 years ago and is the biggest water park in South Dakota.

Exciting features of the park include a 55-foot tube slide, the Wave pool with its 6-foot-high waves and a 65-foot Waterslide Complex.

While the kids enjoy the water activities, adults can relax at the swim-up bar and enjoy a few drinks. If you have babies or toddlers with you, the baby pool is an awesome place for them to beat the heat.

Non-water activities include paintball, golfing, batting cages, go-karting and sand volleyball.

Wild Water West is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and closed from October to February.

The cost of the water park ranges from $11 to $30 plus tax per person, depending on your height, your age and what time of day you visit the park.

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17. Terrace Park

Terrace Park

The Terrace Park is a popular place among locals 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 a royal garden.

Afterward, head over to Covell Lake to enjoy the scenic view of the water hitting the shore.

Overall, you’ll find a lot to do in the park, from having picnics to visiting the aquatic center or 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.

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18. Dinner At The Carnaval Brazilian Grill

Dinner At The Carnaval

While Sioux Falls is home to an interesting and appetizing food scene, Carnaval is the only Brazilian eatery in the city. It’s a popular tourist refueling spot with soft lighting, a fun vibe and beautiful décor.

The restaurant offers a memorable experience with its festive atmosphere, neon blue ceiling, vibrant art pieces and green plants – a vivid homage to Brazilian carnivals.

If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Sioux Falls, don’t miss out on taking your significant other to this restaurant. You’llbe welcomed by over 55 salad choices, an à la carte menu highlighting seafood and the famous Gaucho Meal.

If you’re visiting on the weekend, catch live music on the patio. And ask about the restaurant’s wine and food pairings.

Looking for more dining options? Check out the Downtown Sioux Falls Food Tour, where you can visit a number of delicious local restaurants!

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19. Great Bear Recreation Park

Great Bear Recreation Park, Sioux Falls

No matter what the time of year, visitors will always find plenty to do at Great Bear Recreation Park.

Located just minutes from downtown Sioux Falls, you’ll find 220 beautiful acres that are used for both seasonal and year-round activities.

When visiting Great Bear Recreation Park in the winter, you can enjoy 14 downhill skiing and snowboarding trails, snowshoeing and cross country trails, a terrain park, and the Kirby Family Tubing Park.

During the summer months, Great Bear offers a 4-mile trail system that provides hikers with a spectacular view of both Sioux Falls and the secluded Burr Oak canopied creek bottoms.

While you can purchase both season passes and one-time tickets for Great Bear Recreation Park, there are no fees for hiking!

  20. Pettigrew Home

Pettigrew Home & Museum, Soiux Falls

The Pettigrew Home & Museum, located on Duluth Ave. in Sioux Falls, was purchased by Senator Richard Franklin Pettigrew in 1911 for $12,000. Pettigrew used his home to tell and preserve the story of Sioux Falls, turning a portion of his home into a museum that he opened to the public in 1925.

It was here that he displayed his collections of items relating to the settlement of Sioux Falls, as well as Native American clothing, natural history specimens, tone tools, guns and projectile points.

When Pettigrew passed away, he left his home for the city of Sioux Falls. In the 1930s, people began to make additions to his collections, and the Pettigrew Home has been used as a museum to this day.

Although restored by the city, Pettigrew Home has been preserved to look very similar to the original decor. Galleries have been added to tell the story of Pettigrew’s two terms in Congress, where he was a champion for women’s rights, the rights of farmers, as well as the rights of the common working man.

Best of all? Admission to the Pettigrew Home is free!

  21. Visit the Phillips Avenue Diner

Phillips Avenue Diner with Retro Decor

Is there anything cooler than a retro-style diner? This classic corner restaurant’s food is rated super-highly by diners. The Phillips Avenue Diner offers all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You’ll be able to find both classic diner specialties and chef-inspired creations at Phillips Avenue Diner, along with some seriously cool, retro decor.

Diners rave about the banana bread French toast, the jambalaya and the meatloaf to name a few dishes — not to mention the incredible service!

  22. Enjoy Live Classical Music at the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra

South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Sioux Falls

With its primary residence in the beautiful Washington Pavilion on S. Main Street, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is the musical pride of Sioux Falls.

With tickets averaging just $10, you can take in both pop and classical concerts. The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra also tours throughout South Dakota and performs chamber music in local Sioux Falls churches.

Don’t feel like changing into formal attire after a full day out in Sioux Falls? Don’t worry! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to dress in a ballgown to attend a symphony concert. Business casual attire will be just fine.

Children are welcome at all performances, but it’s generally recommended that only kids 5 years of age and up attend orchestral performances.

  23. Take in a Free Concert at Levitt at the Falls

Free Concert at Levitt Shell, Sioux Falls

This outdoor amphitheater, which is located in Falls Park West, focuses on building the community through music.

Luckily for the community, this means putting on a total of 50 professional concerts per summer, completely free of charge, with the amphitheater having room for 5,000 people.

Those who wish to attend a concert can bring their own lawn chairs or pay a small fee to rent some on-site. And you don’t have to worry about going anywhere for food, as you can find some delicious food trucks and refreshing beverages right at the venue.

Featuring talented musicians from all genres, 2022’s lineup includes country, contemporary, jazz and swing music.

See the full event calendar for 2022 here!

  24. Eastbank Block Parties

Eastbank Block Parties in Sioux Falls During Summer

Summertime in Sioux Falls means Eastbank Block Parties on the first Friday of every month throughout June, July and August.

Held in downtown Sioux Falls Eastbank at the 8th & Railroad Center parking lot, you can expect an attendance of 2,000 to 3,000 people for live music, yummy food trucks and a variety of yard games for kids.

Plus, the first Friday of every month is celebrated all year long with sales in surrounding stores, so you can’t go wrong with being in Sioux Falls on what is clearly the best day of the month.

  25. Take a Dip in a City Pool

Sioux Falls City Pool

Pretty much every community has a city pool or two – but how many cities do you know that have eight? Considering the size of Sioux Falls, that’s a lot of swimming pools!

These are not your average city pools either. With aquatic centers, wading pools, several waterslides, traditional pools and a spray park, you’ve got a lot of options to find your perfect pool.

While admission rates are according to age, they’re generally not more than $6 for a one-day pass. Plus, if you plan on visiting often, you can get a swim pass to make frequent swimming even cheaper.

Final Thoughts

No matter what your interests are, Sioux Falls has something for you. Whether you’re looking for things to do or things to see, you can find an attraction suited perfectly for you and your family.

Hopefully, this guide will help make planning for your next trip much easier with all these attractions at your fingertips!

If you want more information on each of these places, visit their website or call ahead of time and ask any questions about accessibility or other issues.

We hope this helps take some stress off your plate when it comes time to plan, because sometimes traveling can get hectic — especially when kids are involved!

If all this is making you want to fly off to Sioux Falls on the next plane, get yourself a deal from Scotts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 What Are Things to do in Sioux Falls With Kids?

Things to do in Sioux Falls with kids include Wild Water West, Terrace Park, Carnaval Brazilian restaurant, and The Children’s Museum of South Dakota.
 
At places such as the Sanford Sports Complex, you can watch sports or play sports. Terrace Hills Golf Course also delivers a great sports experience.

What Can You Do in Sioux Falls for Free?

There are several things you can do in Sioux Falls for free! A visit to the Sioux Falls Mighty Cathedral, the Pettigrew Home, and the Outdoor Campus won’t cost you a dime.

During the summer months, you can enjoy a free outdoor concert at Levitt at the Falls. With 50 free concerts every summer, you can bring your own lawn chairs or rent some on-site!
 
You can enjoy several hiking trails in the Sioux Falls area for no charge, and the beautiful Falls Park is also completely free.

Why Do You Call it Sioux Falls?

The name Sioux Falls refers to a name given to the Dakota and Lakota Native American tribes, as well as to the waterfalls of what came to be known as the Big Sioux River.
 
These very waterfalls are the ones that are located in Falls Park, making it a must-see attraction for visitors.

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