Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Sioux Falls SD - Overview
Known to the Lakota Sioux as
Known to the Lakota Sioux as
“Laughing Waters”, the Big Sioux River winds throughout the city of Sioux
Falls. Sioux Falls takes its name from
scenic cascades formed 14,000 years ago as Ice Age glaciers retreated. The
shifting ice also exposed pinkish, quartzite bedrock, which was used to
construct many of the city’s older buildings. Visitors can watch the river as it flows over the powerful falls from
four viewing areas in Falls Park, one of which is a five-story observation
tower. The Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway is a 16-mile-trail that
begins at Falls Park and loops around the city providing walking, jogging, and
biking trails as well as areas for in-line skating.
The Falls Park Sound and
Light Show plays 30 minutes after dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Sioux Falls is South Dakota's largest city and the center of commerce for the
eastern part of the state. A good place to start a tour of the city is at one of
the two Siouxland Heritage Museums: either the Old Courthouse with its
Romanesque architecture or the Pettigrew Home which is designed in the Queen
Anne style. While at the museums, pick up a map of the city's historic district
and take some time to explore the Gothic, neocolonial, Queen Anne and Tudor
architecture that dots the hilly parts of town.
Shopping and entertainment are major reasons for
visiting the Sioux Falls area. In Sioux Falls there is the opportunity to
shop in the largest complex between the
Mall of America and Denver. The Empire/Empire East is one of the area's top
attractions, with 180 retail shops and restaurants, Sioux Falls is also a city
of casinos and casino resorts and is becoming a major gaming destination.
Many residents are avid outdoors enthusiasts who
camp and hunt on its banks and fish and canoe. Tapping into this contingent, the
city's “Outdoor Campus” (a joint venture between the Parks and Recreation
Department and the Fish and Game Department) offers classes in boating, fishing,
and wilderness exploration.
The Center for Western Studies on the campus of
Augustana College contains exhibits of artifacts from the cultures of both the
Sioux and of Iowa’s European immigrants. The Northern Plains Tribal Arts
Festival is held in Sioux Falls every September.
The Sioux Falls Trolley is a seasonal and free
trolley service operating Monday through Saturday 10-9, mid-April to late
September; Saturday 9-5, early October-late December. The climate-controlled,
reproduction trolley is typical of a streetcar used in Sioux Falls in the 1900s.
Visitors should look for the trolley stop banners located throughout downtown
Sioux Falls and Falls Park.
70 miles northwest of Sioux
Falls is the town of De Smet where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and wrote. Six of
the books in her pioneer adventure series were set in and around De Smet.
Special tours of the town highlight 16 sites about which Wilder wrote. Actors
and actresses re-create scenes from the books at the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pageant, held the last weekend in June and the first two weekends in July.
Driving west from Sioux
Falls on I-90, many travelers stop in Mitchell, 65 miles from Sioux Falls to
see the turreted Corn Palace. The decorative patterns and pictures made up of
grasses, corn and other grains are remade annually with locally harvested
products. The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo takes place in July, and the fully
decorated palace is the centerpiece of Corn Palace Week each September.