South Dakota is diverse, full of history and has many great places to visit. Driving west on our road trip, our first stop was Sioux Falls. The city gets its name from the Big Sioux River that cuts through the town creating a fantastic waterfall with multiple cascades.
We started our morning off at Josiah’s Coffeehouse, Cafe & Bakery. The people we chatted with were warm and friendly. It was a great way to begin our day, and the locals seem to like the cafe too. It is quite large with big windows along the street. Josiah’s is a perfect place to meet up with someone or to enjoy breakfast with your first cup of coffee.
Right around the corner from Josiah’s, on Phillips Avenue, is the city’s famed Statue Walk. You will find 57 statues lining the main street through the center of town. Many of the selected sculptures are from the top local sculptors, set among those from across the USA and Internationally. In May each year, the statues are replaced with a new set. During the year there are ballots and ballot boxes, where you can vote for your favorite sculpture. The annual people’s choice statue remains in Sioux Falls. The city will relocate it to a prestigious permanent location.
The city has embarked on a significant landmark project, that will soon span the width of the Big Sioux River – a large art piece called Arc of Dreams. The arc, with a gap in the center, symbolizes the leap of faith usually required to achieve greatness. When completed it will become a highly visible icon of the city, representing the city’s indomitable spirit.
As you stroll down Phillips Avenue to see the fascinating and intriguing statues, don’t miss out on all the unique, colorful shops and restaurants that line the road as well. We went into Zandbroz Variety and found it was tough to leave, with the many unique items and treasures to explore.
The Falls was next on our agenda. There is a large park (Falls Park) surrounding the cascading rapids with a variety of locations with spectacular views (photo ops, should we say Instagram worthy). We could have spent all day wandering around the falls, soaking in its beauty and magnificence. At one end you will find the visitor center including a five-story observation tower, as well as an outdoor walkway. The falls are an absolute must see when visiting Sioux Falls.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. It sits on an ideal location adjacent to the river, within an easy driving distance to many of the cities attractions. The room we had, included a large balcony with a 180-degree view, overlooking the river. There is also a beautiful outdoor space to relax and an indoor pool to boot. You will enjoy their large bar area with a large screen to watch sporting events if that fits your mood. When you get hungry order room service or go down to the CRAVE restaurant.
More to Do
In addition to the statue walk and falls, you will find many other places to visit like the Great Plains Zoo and the Delbridge Museum of Natural History. At the Washington Pavilion Science area, you can ignite your curiosity and wonder with over 100 hands-on exhibits for all ages. A short drive away there is the Palisades State Park – a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast with fantastic scenery and rock climbing. Do you like beer? There are several local craft breweries to choose from with more on the horizon.
We finished our day at Minervas restaurant, popular dining establishment since 1977. Walking in was like walking into a favorite haunt, with warm wood walls and a large center bar. They have cloth table clothes on the tables and lots of comfortable seating. Our server was friendly, and when there was a question, she was cheerful and helpful. The food was good, and the atmosphere was fabulous.
Living most of our lives in Southern California, we never imagined we would make it to South Dakota. Now that we have, we would love to visit again. In a future blog, we will talk about our experience driving across the state and staying at Custer State Park. Want a sneak peak – we saw lots of buffalo and Mt. Rushmore.
The Sioux Falls Visitor Center has a great website to help you start planning your trip to Sioux Falls. When you are in town be sure to pop into the extensive visitor center to find out what is going on that week.
Sioux Falls is active year-round with many events and things to do. You will want to be sure to stop and enjoy this city on your road trip through South Dakota – and one little hint, plan to stay a day or two longer!
*Thank you to the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown and Jackie with the Sioux Falls Visitor Center for making our stay in Sioux Falls an excellent experience.