"Gateway to the Black Hills"
Population: 61,000 Elevation: 3200
Nestled on the eastern foothills of the Black Hills, Rapid City shines as the hub of this legendary region's vacation activities. Five year-round museums, 17 movie theaters, eight area golf courses and more than 4,000 guest rooms in local hotels, motels, bed & breakfast inns, resorts and campgrounds accommodate visitors seeking fun and adventure. To the east lie the mysterious Badlands; to the north stands Devils Tower; turn south to Wind or Jewel Cave National Parks, Custer State Park, or Crazy Horse Mountain carving now in progress; or head 23 miles to majestic Mount Rushmore.
City Tour, Historic Districts
Rapid City has put together a you-drive City Tour and Historic Districts activity that will take you smoothly through the city to 14 local family attractions — most free. The tour makes it easy for a newcomer to discover Rapid City's fun spots. Tour includes the Black Hills Visitor Information Center, Memorial Park, Storybook Island, Cleghorn Springs Fish Hatchery, Stavkirke Church, Canyon Lake Park, Dinosaur Park, The Dahl Arts Center, The Museum of Geology, Apex Gallery, City of Presidents, The Journey Museum, and the Downtown Historic District.
The City of Presidents
If you've ever wished you could meet the President of the United States, the "City of Presidents" project in downtown Rapid City is about as close as you can get. Seated or standing on busy street corners, life-size bronze statues of 35 U.S. Presidents surprise downtown pedestrians and motorists. By the year 2010, it is expected that all 42 past presidents will be in place. Thereafter, once a president leaves office, his likeness will join the others. The statues serve as a patriotic reminder of our nation's most prestigious officials, here in the shadow of Mount Rushmore National Memorial just a few miles away. Stop in the visitor center at 631 Main Street, corner of Seventh and Main, to view a gallery of the original sculptures displayed with a brief treatise on each president's term of office. You'll also find a locator map for a self-guided walking tour.
Black Hills Visitor Information Center
Make your vacation to our area more fun with a stop at our modern complex. Free brochures, maps, exhibits, displays and counseling will help smooth your way and max your fun in the Black Hills and Badlands. Book store and gift store on-premise. Weather radar and road reports. Picnic area and pet exercise area. Open year-round. Located on Interstate 90, Exit 61.
The Journey Museum
Take an incredible journey through time, from the formation of the mystical Black Hills over 2.5 billion years ago to the continuing saga of the Western frontier. The Journey Museum houses four unique prehistoric and historic collections which allow you to actually see, hear, and touch history. Open seven days a week and centrally located at 222 New York Street.
South Dakota Air & Space Museum
Take Interstate 90 seven miles east of Rapid City to the South Dakota Air & Space Museum at Exit 67. See historic bombers, fighters, utility aircraft, missiles, plus many indoor exhibits of aviation memorabilia. Free admission year-round. Official base tours, including a Minuteman Missile Silo, offered for a nominal fee mid-May through mid-September.