Things to do in Rapid City

Things to do in  Rapid City

The Rushmore, the merrier

Though it’s South Dakota’s second-largest city, Rapid City is best known as the gateway to the state’s natural attractions. Over 2.5 million visitors flock to nearby Mt. Rushmore National Memorial each year to see the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln writ large in granite, and day trips frequently include Black Hills National Forest, which offers a wealth of wildlife and varied scenery. Other things to do around Rapid City include the Wild West town of Deadwood and Badlands National Park, known for its towering rock formations, Native American history, and ancient fossils.

Top 3 attractions in Rapid City

Cosmos Mystery Area

The laws of gravity may not apply at Cosmos Mystery Area. At this Black Hills attraction, you see water appear to flow uphill, discover that seemingly level surfaces aren't straight, and find tall people that seem tiny. Don't miss walking up a wall in the Mystery House, and try cracking crystal-filled geodes at the on-site mine.More

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The stony faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt peer out from the iconic granite outcrop known as Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota is an American symbol, and with some 3 million visitors each year, it’s the state’s most popular attraction.More

Badlands National Park

The dramatic pinnacles and buttes of Badlands National Park provide a stark contrast to the surrounding prairie. Scenic drives, trails, and campsites give visitors many ways to take in this unique landscape and to spot bison, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep. The park also contains one of the world’s richest fossil beds.More
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Rapid City

When to visit

For most visitors, Rapid City is a three-season destination. In spring, you get the forest roaring to life, with Spearfish Canyon’s waterfalls raging. In summer, you get warm, sunny days—and bigger crowds. In fall, you get the gold from aspen and birch trees popping out of the pine-clad greens in the Black Hills. Of course, in winter, you get bite-size crowds and world-famous places like Mt. Rushmore all to yourself.

Getting around

You’re going to want a car. You could get by with some combination of buses, taxis, and rideshares—or simply stay downtown and book a bunch of tours—but a personal vehicle is your best bet. Rapid City’s iconic attractions (such as Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse) typically require a short drive. What’s more, this area of the US is famous for its scenic drives: Spearfish Canyon and Custer State Park’s Wildlife Loop are two of the best.

Traveler tips

However much time you’re thinking of spending in Rapid City, double it. There’s so much to do. You’ll want time to explore the Black Hills, including hiking the Cathedral Spires trail if you’re able. Then there’s Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse and the wildlife in Custer State Park. Make time to hang out with cowboys in nearby Deadwood (check out the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane) and tour Wind Cave and Jewel Cave.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
MST (UTC -7)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Rapid City known for?

Rapid City is known as the City of Presidents—downtown is lined with more than 40 life-size statues of former US presidents. That’s because Mount Rushmore National Memorial, with those four famous granite faces, is a 30-minute drive. Other nearby landmarks include Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Needles Highway.

Is Rapid City worth visiting?

Rapid City is worth visiting. The South Dakota town is a great home base for exploring Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Needles Highway. And you’ll also find a bustling downtown, great restaurants, epic bike paths, and a surprising amount of varied topography and beautiful views.

What does Rapid City have to offer?

Rapid City has a lot to offer, especially outdoors. From here, visitors can explore the George S. Mickelson Trail, a 109-mile (175-kilometer) bike path in the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, scenic Needles Highway, and wildlife- and adventure-heavy Custer State Park.

How do I spend a day in Rapid City?

How you spend a day in Rapid City depends on your interests. You could start in downtown, counting life-size president statues as you explore the shops and restaurants. Then you could head to nearby Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, or scout for bison at Custer State Park.

What is there to do in Rapid City for free?

There’s a lot to do in Rapid City for free. Drive Needles Highway, stopping for hikes (try Cathedral Spires Trail). Spot 40-plus life-size statues of US presidents downtown. Fourth graders can apply for a free Every Kids Outdoors pass, which grants entrance into Mount Rushmore National Memorial (parking is extra).

Is Rapid City, South Dakota nice?

Rapid City is nice. Sitting at the edge of Black Hills National Forest, this is where Wild West views begin—think granite spires, rocky canyons, and more. There’s a bustling downtown, great food, and outdoor adventures at spots like Custer State Park and along the 109-mile (175-kilometer) George S. Mickelson Trail.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Rapid City?
What are the top activities in Rapid City?
What are the top things to do near Rapid City?
Check out things to do near Rapid City: