Under $100: Rapid City, South Dakota

by Holly Riddle

Sep 17, 2019

ID 118112687 © Fiskness | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Rapid City, South Dakota, is known for being the biggest spot to stay near Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but after you’ve seen Mount Rushmore, what else is there for you to do? Here’s how to stay busy for a day in Rapid City.


Start your morning with a stroll, before it gets too warm (the summers in Rapid City can be brutal). Rapid City is the City of Presidents, but not for the reason you might think. In addition to those famous faces carved in the side of a mountain, Rapid City also is home to downtown corner statues of every single past U.S. president. See who you can find and identify just by walking around, or take a more systematic approach and hunt down each past president one by one.


If you want to beat the Mount Rushmore crowds, a morning visit is necessary (and the crowds do become quite large). Parking is easy, however, as is the drive from Rapid City. There’s not much at the memorial other than the view and a few gift shops and eateries, so the visit will be more or less a quick one, unless you purposely stick around.


Once back in Rapid City, grab lunch at Harriet & Oak, a hip café with a healthy dining menu. All-day breakfast, sandwiches and salads abound, all made with simple, wholesome ingredients.


For the afternoon, pay a visit to the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. This National Natural Landmark isn’t as well known as Mount Rushmore, of course, but it’s still pretty riveting. The site isn’t only a museum and landmark dedicated to mammoths of eras past, it’s also a real, working paleontological lab.


Take it easy in downtown Rapid City for the night with a visit to Murphy’s Pub & Grill, a mid-scale eatery with pub fare and a vintage feel. The star of the menu is the renowned buffalo meatloaf, a filling, hearty dinner that’ll stick to your ribs.


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