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14 Best Things to Do in Yankton, South Dakota

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Are you searching for fun things to do in Yankton? Our list of things to do and places to visit in Yankton, South Dakota, will keep you busy all day! The fun is unending, from visiting local attractions like zoos to munching delicious local meals and drinks in restaurants around town!

Yankton is a city of incredible natural beauty and historical significance. Whether you’re a tourist looking for attractions and activities to do or a resident who wants to explore a beautiful city in South Dakota, Yankton is a great place. There are many fun things to do in Yankton for anyone, any day.

Founded in 1869, the city is located in the southeastern part of the state, at the confluence of the Dakota and Missouri Rivers. It is also the county seat of Yankton County. Yankton is called the “River City” because it is located on the Missouri River. The river has significantly impacted the city’s development and settlement. 

Yankton was also named after the Yankton tribe of Sioux Indians. Their Dakota name is “Ihaƞktoƞwaƞ Dakota Oyate,” which means “People of the End Village.”

There are numerous reasons why you should consider visiting Yankton. Yankton is rich in history and has many attractions. It is a perfect place to go if you are looking for adventure and fun.

If you still need to book accommodation, be sure to read our full guide on the best places to stay in Yankton to make the most of your trip.

Things to do in Yankton, South Dakota

1. Cross The Missouri River 

Meridian Bridge

Crossing the scenic Missouri River on the Meridian Bridge is one of the best things to do in Yankton. It is a unique experience and pretty adventurous. Constructed in 1960, the double-decker Meridian Bridge is 3029 feet in length and a width of 18 feet.

Use the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, connecting Nebraska and South Dakota, to enjoy the view better. At the bridge’s lower level, you’ll have time to read and absorb the history written on placards.

After you get to the Nebraska side, hike the trails in the woods for a further adventure. Then, have lunch or dinner at the Grand Cafe near the bridge.

If you go there in summer, go to the river for a swim. Then, relax at the small beach while enjoying the scenic views of the Missouri River. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy views of motorboats and kayakers traversing the waterways. The Missouri Bridge is one of the most popular places in Yankton. 

See Related: Best Weekend Trips from Omaha

2. Tour Lewis And Clark Lake Recreational Area

Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

Address: 43349 SD-52, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Lewis and Clark Lake is located at the South Dakota and Nebraska border. This 31,400-acre reservoir is an impoundment of the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota. Gavins Point Dam manages the water flow while the Nebraskas’ Game and Wildlife manages its recreational area.

The Lewis and Clark Lake visitor center is always open weekdays throughout the year and daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. At the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, you’ll get an interpretation of the Missouri River basin, including Pioneers and Native Americans.

If you love outdoor adventure, Lewis and Clark Lake Park and the recreational center are places for sightseeing and nature walks. There are many picnic areas around the lake to enjoy nature. This tourist destination is famous for scenery camping sites, hiking, bird hunting, fishing, swimming, and biking.

See Related: Things to Do in Dickinson

3. View Yankton’s Downtown Public Art

Ariel view of Yankton
Ariel view of Yankton / Shutterstock

You can’t miss checking out Yankton’s Downtown Public Art when looking for things to do in Yankton. Yankton’s downtown has many public art pieces, including several sculptures and murals. 

Posing for a photo next to the beautiful set of angel wings or the murals documenting Yankton city’s history should be part of the fun things to do. This public art program is one of the many reasons Yankton is such a great place to visit.

4. Visit the Dakota Theater or Yanktons’ Opera House

Dakota Theater
Erik Mclean / Unsplash

Address: 328 Walnut St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Opened in 1902, the Dakota Theater is a landmark in Yankton, South Dakota. The theater was built in 1887, the oldest opera house in South Dakota. 

The venue has a $10,000 pipe organ, gorgeous seats, and chandeliers. And while it might seem like a small local theater, it hosts many events, including plays, concerts, and other cultural events.

Visiting the Dakota Theater should be one of the things to do in Yankton. You can glimpse this beautiful place with your family and friends and marvel at this city’s fantastic architecture and culture.

See Related: Things to Do in Pierre, South Dakota

5. Fantle Memorial Park

Fantle Memorial Park
Management / TripAdvisor

Address: 2000 Douglas Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Fantle Memorial Park is among the best things to see in Yankton, SD. Located along Douglas Avenue between 19th and 21st Street, Fantle Memorial Park is an amazing 35-acre picnic destination.

It is an American History and Culture Park. In the park’s center is a memorial to pay tribute to the military veterans.

Visit Fantle Memorial Park with your family and friends. The park offers different sports for people of all ages. Younger kids can have fun at the playground with a swing set, while older kids and adults can play volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, and tennis. 

The park features walking trails where you can do a nature walk. Also, it features a large grassy area, playgrounds, picnic tables, an 18-hole disc course, and a water feature.

See Related: Best Small Towns in South Dakota

6. View Art at the G.A.R. Hall Gallery

G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery
Source: Tripadvisor

Address: 508 Douglas Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R). Hall Gallery is an art gallery located near Downtown Yankton, SD. The hall provides a unique art experience as it is home to rotating art exhibits that feature some world-renowned artists, as well as local and regional ones.

In the G.A.R, you’ll marvel at a collection of antique furniture related to the region’s history. This includes a table that Jack McCall’s trial used at the territorial courthouse. G.A.R. Hall Gallery is a great place to spend time with family and friends.

See Related: Things to Do in Hot Springs

7. Karttrax Go-Kart & Family Fun Park

Roller Coaster Fun
Roller coaster ride / Pixabay

Address: 4908 W 8th St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Karttrax Go-Kart & Family Fun Park is a must-feature in Yankton’s list of fun places. You can enjoy a thrilling ride on the Go-Kart, Roller Coaster, and many other rides at this fun park. 

This five-acre family-owned and operated park is safe and secure for your family and friends. The amusement park has a go-kart track, mini-golf, arcade games, laser tag, and other fun activities. 

The park also has an indoor package for kids. They can play video games while parents relax and enjoy a drink or a full-service snack. If you come with kids to Karttrax Go-Kart & Family Fun Park, they’ll enjoy the fun activities.

See Related: Things to Do in Wyoming

8. Check out the Mead Cultural Education Center

Mead Cultural Education Centre
Mead Cultural Education Centre / TripAdvisor

Address: 82 Mickelson Dr, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Mead Cultural Education Center is a cultural education center located in Yankton, South Dakota. It was constructed in 1909 under the direction of Dr. Leonard. C.Mead. Initially, it was part of the women’s ward for the Dakota Hospital for the insane. 

In 2008, the Yankton County Historical Society voted to rehabilitate and save the building. They proposed to make it a museum and an educational center. In 2018, it opened to the public.

Today, the historic mead building is home to the world’s most extensive private collection of art and artifacts from the American West. It features exhibits of local and regional history.

The facility contains more than 2,000 historical relics, including exhibits, paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and Native American artifacts. Mead Cultural Education Center artifacts are among Yankton’s best attractions. 

The center is located at 82 Mickelson Drive in the heart of Yankton and is a perfect place for cultural activities and events. The museum is open daily and offers various programs and activities for less than 10 dollars, and members get free admission.

See Related: Things to Do in Rapid City, South Dakota

9. Marvel at the Limestone buildings

Houses in Yankton SD

Yankton, South Dakota, is known for its limestone buildings. It was even once nicknamed the “Cement City” due to its early exploitation of the Fort Hays Limestone for cement manufacture and shipment during the construction of the Panama Canal.

The city has the most extensive collection of limestone buildings in the world. These limestone buildings are pretty impressive and are a sight to see. Most city buildings in Yankton are built on a limestone foundation. 

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10. Tour Historical Architecture at Cramer Kenyon Heritage

Cramer Kenyon Heritage

Address: 509 Pine St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Touring the Cramer Kenyon Heritage historical architecture should be part of your itinerary. Historical architecture is an integral part of the city’s culture. It tells about the community’s heritage and history. 

Yankton has a strong community spirit and a history that dates back to 1869. Several buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries still stand as relics of the town’s past.

Many of these buildings are now museums that display the history of Yankton and South Dakota. You can experience Yankton’s history at the Cramer Kenyon home. 

The Cramer Kenyon building, completed in 1886, provides insight into the area’s economic and social history. The building is a three-story Queen Anne house containing;

  • Original furnishings 
  • Fine woodwork 
  • Old oil paintings
  • Heavy double doors in the front entry 
  • Replicated wallpapers in the parlor
  • Electric and gas chandeliers

The home is always open for guided tours from Memorial Day through Labor Day, from 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday. However, the house is open to tour only by appointment during the off-season. The suggested donations are $7 for adults, while students under 12 years part with $3.

11. The Boat House – Yankton

Address: 301 E 3rd St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

The Boat House in Yankton is a place that oozes history. This premier family-owned entertainment center is located in the Meridian District on the Missouri River and was started in March 2020.

The Boat House is a perfect place to relax and unwind in the beautiful scenery of Yankton. It offers a great atmosphere, and guests can enjoy axe throwing, mini bowling, golf simulation, pool shuffleboard, and the taproom.

The center has the best beverages while playing, including craft beer and wine. You can have private hangouts, enjoy pizza and chili, or party in the open areas. The Boat House is located at 301 E 3rd Street in Yankton. It is one of the most famous places in Yankton, recently restored.

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12. Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center

mini bowling

Address: 3010 Broadway Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

If you want something different to do in Yankton, visit the Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center. The center is located on Broadway Street, on the edge of the Yankton River, and offers a beautiful atmosphere for a family. 

With 20 bowling lanes and numerous arcade games, the Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center is a fun place to visit with your family. The bowling alley offers a full menu of games for all ages, including the new Ultra Strike Laser Tag.

Besides the incredible selection of games, the bowling alley offers a wide variety of food, such as pizza, burgers, fries, and drinks, for everyone to enjoy. With various activities, this bowling alley will keep you busy for hours. 

This amusement park features bowling leagues for children from ages 3 to 20 from late September to February. It also hosts high-school bowling teams.

See Related: Things to Do in Cheyenne, Wyoming

13. Enjoy a Pizza at Charlie’s Pizza House

Charlies Pizza Yankton

Address: 804 Summit St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

Charlie’s Pizza House is a local favorite, serving up quality pizza and pasta dishes in a casual atmosphere. Their pizza is made with fresh dough and offers various toppings.

Located at 804 Summit Street, Charlie’s Pizza House is a family-owned and operated pizza shop that has been serving delicious pizza to customers for more than 60 years. 

The restaurant prides itself on providing a warm, friendly atmosphere conducive to great food and conversation. This pizza house provides drive-in, drive-through, and delivery options.

14. Spend a Night at the Historic Argo Hotel

Front of the Historic Argo Hotel in Nebraska
Source: Tripadvisor

Address: 211 Kansas St, Crofton, NE 68730, United States

The Historic Argo Hotel is a small motel located in the town center. It is famous for its historical significance and, as a result, has been featured in several movies. 

The Argo Hotel is a historic building that has been around for over a century. It is known for its large and elegant lobby and beautiful, exquisite dining room. 

This hotel offers an array of amenities and services, including free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a picnic area, and a golf course. It also offers a bed and a complimentary full breakfast with a grand piano served in the dining area. And except on Sundays, they provide daily cocktails. 

It has upgraded rooms with private bathrooms. All suites have a sitting area, and most have jacuzzi tubs. Some suites have full-living rooms with private balconies where you can sit and relax, enjoying the cool breeze.

You can come with your family and spend it at the Argo Hotel after a busy day of touring Yankton. The Argo Hotel is smoke-free and kids-friendly, with a play area and a set of swings. Your kids can play and have fun while you relax at the Argo Hotel.

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