The Big Sioux River running through Falls Park
Gathering along the waterfront for the Downtown Riverfest
Toasting with locally made wine at Prairie Berry
Exploring the biking trail circling the city
Sampling craft beers at the Fernson Brewery taproom
Picturesque and mesmerizing views of cascading water at Falls Park
'Clean Water Brings Life,' a 2017 SculptureWalk entry in front of Philips Avenue Diner
Merriment at the summer JazzFest at Yankton Trail Park
More than 1,000 paper cranes at Washington Pavilion
Listening to music at the Strawbale Summer Porch Series
Eclectic exploring in the heart of the USA
History in the Great Outdoors
Urban adventures are plentiful, thanks to the Downtown River Greenway with parks lining the banks of the Big Sioux River, a natural attraction for recreation that flows through the heart of the city. The best-known park is Falls Park, home to the Falls of the Big Sioux River, a focus of life in the region throughout history. The park covers nearly 50 hectares, and overlooks provide spectacular views of the cascading water. Visitors also will find a bike trail that is part of a 42-kilometer system, five-story viewing tower and historic relics, just a few of the features helping the park reach the status of one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 parks in the USA.
The pink quartzite rock at Falls Park, which is native to the area, is the second hardest rock to diamond and was used in the construction of the many of Sioux Falls’ first buildings and roads. The first inhabitants here were the Sioux tribe, and the city is home to a Native American burial ground that is more than 1,600 years old.
At Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, a National Historic Landmark that became South Dakota’s first new state park since 1972, see why the area became a crossroads of Native American civilization from 1300 to 1700. Learn how the Oneota Indigenous Peoples depended on the river, wildlife and fertile flood plains.
Fun Ways to Tour the City
In between all the outdoor activities, take advantage of lively musical entertainment, downtown festivals and other cultural pursuits. Admire dozens of pieces entered in SculptureWalk while trying to guess which one will win Best of Show honors. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people cast votes for their favorites.
Check event calendars and catch a show at the Washington Pavilion, which houses performing arts, visual arts, interactive science and educational opportunities under one roof. Visit the Orpheum Theater, which opened in 1913 as a vaudeville house and is known for its superb acoustics. Big-name artists often perform at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, which can seat up to 12,000 people.
A Foodie’s Delight
Don’t mistake its location in the heartland for a lack of originality on the culinary front. Sioux Falls has an eclectic foodie scene with a bourgeoning array of trendy restaurants. Visit CH Patisserie for pastries or Parker’s Bistro for fine dining.
Enjoy weekly events and learn about the wine-making at Strawbale Winery, and stop in Fernson Brewery taproom, where you can sample a changing lineup of beers.
The first four-door automobile, the Fawick Flyer, was invented in Sioux Falls by Thomas Fawick, who also donated the casting of Michelangelo’s David statue that stands downtown in Fawick Park.
Sioux Falls is named for the Sioux tribe of American Indians and the waterfalls of the Big Sioux River, which encircles the city.
At the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science, the national archive of satellite images gathered from remote sensing data, scientists study changes to the Earth’s surface.