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Beginners Guide: Being A Tourist In Your Backyard

Rapid City is my home for the summer, that is until the fall semester at South Dakota State University rolls around. I grew up two hours from this great city, but I was awe stricken when I realized all the things to do here. I have taken it upon myself to play tourist every day this summer. This weekend I got to share the first of many journeys in Rapid City and the Black Hills with two friends, Emily and Turner. 

We Like Our Coffee The Same Way We Like Our Hills… Black

Harriet & Oak Café and Roaster, was the first stop of the day. Where we enjoyed the best Lavender White Mochas, and settled in the fun atmosphere. I could spend hours in there… which I regularly do (no shame). There is an actual Volkswagen Bus in the building, which is my favorite part! I mean if their yummy coffee drinks don’t get you out of bed maybe the thought of a cute photo opt will. It is a must stop for all looking for a totally authentic local coffee shop.

 

Scooby-Dooby-Doo Where Are You                                     

We got our brain fueled up with coffee and now it was time to put ourselves to the test at the Black Hills Escape Rooms.  “Murder in Saloon # 10, Catch Wild Bill’s assassin!” was the room we chose. Not only did we get to test our problem-solving skills but we were also surrounded by the history of the Black Hills. Now, I’m the type of person who won’t give up; I would have sat in that room all day if I had to, just to figure out a clue. Thankfully, our host didn’t let that happen... when he checked in he usually caught me staring at the current clue, eyebrows up, head down, making a hmmm sound. After lots of trial and error (emphasis on LOTS) we finally escaped the room and were overwhelmed with joy and accomplishment. 

“Raptor” City aka Rapid City Dinosaur Park

Our next stop was Dinosaur Park on Skyline Drive, where the view of the city was breathtaking. It felt like I had gone back to the prehistoric times when these bad boys roamed the prairie. We were surrounded by dozens of kids and their parents but there was a fair share of adults enjoying the view as well. Dinosaur Park is one of those places you need to visit often for the view AND the cardio! Ha! 

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream

Back on the road and off to Keystone we go! At Keystone, we enjoyed the quaint downtown area, exploring different shops and tasting yummy treats. We stopped in at the Rushmore Mountain Taffy Shop to watch taffy be made. They have an assortment of taffy favors from Jalapeño to Cotton Candy! We bought a 1-pound bag and it was down to a half of pound by the end of our trip. Taffy wasn’t the only sweet treat Keystone offered; I enjoyed a Salted Carmel Cheesecake ice cream cone at Turtle Town. I like to refer to myself as an ice creamaholic, for obvious reasons, I eat ice cream as often as I can. We can all agree nothing beats a cold cone on a warm day in the Black Hills! 

A Hole In None

After we filled up on some sweets we decided it was time for some activity. Putz N’ Glo made me feel like I was back at my high school dance with their black lights and neon figurines. I’m not a pro when it comes to activities that involve hand-eye coordination so you can imagine how my score looked. Athleticism aside, I got to dance to groovy music while waiting for my turn, so it made up for my poor score. 18 holes later we had worked off our ice cream and taffy and were hungry for some real food! 

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy Get In My Tummy

We made our way back to Downtown Rapid City and decided to eat at (kol). After much deliberation, we enjoyed a Farmer Joes’ Chicken pizza from their coal fired oven. The cheesy chicken pizza was so satisfying; my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Then, of course, we had to end our meal with one more sweet treat, Crème Brule served with berries on top. We all ordered our own because there was no way I was sharing that dessert. 

I’ll Have One Large Popcorn, One Large Pop & One Large Movie Screen Please

To top our night off we attended a movie at the Elks Theatre Downtown. We experienced luxury at one of the most reasonable movie prices ever! This place has a HUGE movie screen, I literally had to look at one side of the screen then the other. It blew my mind how affordable the tickets were for such an amazing venue. The people at the Elks Theatre were so friendly and provided the small-town feel. You will definitely see me there again!

I hope you enjoyed following along with our BIG day in Rapid City and the Black Hills and take our word when we say Visit Rapid City! It was an experience that we will remember for years to come! 

 

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Meet the Author

Tessa Kopren

Tessa is a South Dakota native that currently calls Rapid City her home. Growing up only two hours north of the Black Hills she loves exploration and adventure. She is known as a Jackrabbit on the eastern part of the state and attends South Dakota State University. You can usually find her at a coffee shop sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee and listening to her favorite music, 90’s country. Tessa loves capturing moments in the Black Hills, whether she is with her friends, family, or surrounded by complete strangers. 

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Tessa Kopren
Guest Blogger

Tessa is a South Dakota native that currently calls Rapid City her home. Growing up only two hours north of the Black Hills she loves exploration and adventure. She is known as a Jackrabbit on the eastern part of the state and attends South Dakota State University. You can usually find her at a coffee shop sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee and listening to her favorite music, 90’s country. Tessa loves capturing moments in the Black Hills, whether she is with her friends, family, or surrounded by complete strangers. 

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