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Where to Stay and Play in Rapid City, South Dakota

by Holly Riddle

Sep 12, 2019

Jacek Sopotnicki | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Sure, Rapid City is a convenient place to stay if you’re visiting nearby Mount Rushmore, but what is there for your family to do and enjoy while you’re actually in the town?



For downtown stays, pick the Hotel Alex Johnson Rapid City, Curio Collection by Hilton, a newly remodeled boutique property in the heart of all the activity. The hotel was originally built in the 1920s, and combines Roaring Twenties flair with the city’s Native American heritage. There are several dining and drinking options on site (including a Starbuck’s so you can get your much-needed coffee fix in the morning), two retail options and a day spa right next door.



Definitely make a stop in to Harriet & Oak, a hip café that boasts a light and healthy menu and a Volkswagen van parked in the dining room. Breakfast is served all day, but you can also find sandwiches and salads. Plus, the eatery is accommodating for those with food allergies and sensitivities. The kids will love that there’s gourmet popcorn on the menu, while parents will enjoy the upscale, healthy treats.


If your tastes lie more in the direction of pub food, try Murphy’s Pub & Grill, known as the best pub in the Black Hills region. The historic, early-1900s setting lends the pub a fashionable vibe. The extensive menu includes a lot of locally sourced ingredients, but the signature dish is the buffalo meatloaf, wrapped in bacon and topped with portobello mushrooms, fried onions and bourbon ketchup, served alongside asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Dinosaur Park. Photo: Bambi L. Dingman | Dreamstime.com



Rapid City is the City of Presidents — on the downtown corners stand statues of every single past U.S. president. The presidential statues are all in various active poses, many reflecting something important to or about that president. Many families enjoy making a scavenger hunt out of finding each president and marking it off the list, with a photo at each statue. It’s a great way to get the kids outdoors, learning a bit of history while having fun.


Dino-lovin’ kids will enjoy a visit to Dinosaur Park. The attraction pre-dates even Mount Rushmore and was Rapid City’s first tourist attraction. The park includes life-sized replicas of a variety of dinos.


For more prehistoric wonders, visit the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. A National Natural Landmark, the site doubles as an indoor, working paleontological site and museum.


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