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Forget 12 Days of Christmas

Forget 12 Days of Christmas

Now that you are subconsciously singing the 12 Days of Christmas song in your head, let me tell you about 12 reasons you should visit Rapid City this season! From working on your New Year’s Resolution to crossing things off your bucket list, Rapid City offers plenty for visitors during the winter months.

1. Christmas Nights of Lights at Storybook Island

I think I said enough about this amazing event in this blog post. If you’re wanting to feel the Christmas cheer, this is the place to be. Check out the blog post for more information.

2. Ice Skating at Main Street Square


Whether you’re looking for a romantic date, skating hand in hand with your significant other, or simply want your kids to burn off the sugar from their hot chocolate, the ice rink at Main Street Square is the perfect spot for you! It’s open November through March and is guaranteed fun for all ages. The centralized location of the square in Downtown Rapid City makes it easy for you to take a break to shop, eat some food, or even explore an art gallery all within walking distance.

3. Downtown Countdown

Get inspired for your New Year’s Resolution by kicking off the new year in a city that boasts to #DoBigThings! Fireworks, free entertainment and a ball drop all make Downtown Rapid City a great way to ring in the New Year at the Downtown Countdown. Main Street Square will have plenty of family-friendly activities, while hotels and downtown businesses will be having their own New Year’s Eve festivities for the adults.

4. Hiking, Biking and Fishing. Oh, my!

Snow doesn’t mean the outdoor adventures end in Rapid City and the Black Hills. In fact, it can make things even more fun! Take a trek up M-Hill or Skyline Wilderness area to get a new perspective of Rapid City and, once again, working on that New Year’s Resolution that you’ve made about getting healthy. Reward yourself for hiking or riding a fat bike up to the top with a trip downtown where you can find great food and breweries.

Rapid Creek still flows through town, offering fishermen the opportunity to cast their lines. We won’t tell if you don’t catch anything and opt for some fresh fish at a local restaurant instead – in fact, we’d recommend it!

5. Mount Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore Snow 2.jpg

A beautiful, 25 minute drive is all that stands between you and the four faces when you stay in Rapid City. For over 75 years this monument has been greeting visitors from across the globe! Get there before the crowds and see George, Thomas, Teddy and Abe surrounded by a blanket of snow. 

Join the locals in cheering for our ECHL hockey team! The Rapid City Rush takes over the Rapid City Civic Center multiple nights a week, offering the perfect indoor entertainment for hockey fans on the road.

7. Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo

Black Hills Stock Show_Steer Wrestling_2015_11 2.jpg

Rodeo fans: You will not be disappointed when you check out the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo! Some of the best of the best come to Rapid City to compete. If you’re like me and appreciate the rodeo scene but still need something more to get you to the Civic Center, you will absolutely love the art, vendors and food that are part of this 10 day event. Booths are filled with Fashionable clothing, beautiful jewelry, gadgets you didn’t know you needed but now cannot imagine your life without and more.

8. The City of Presidents

Downtown President.JPG

These bronze men don’t shy away from winter weather, which means you can still get your selfie-fix satisfied as you explore downtown! Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon some statues sporting winter gear; locals have taken the initiative to provide hats, scarves and more to those less fortunate by placing them on the statues. There’s a lot of love in Rapid City, and you’ll be warmed as you experience it.

9. Great Dining

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Need I say more? Probably not, but I will! Chefs in the local restaurants love changing up the menus to fit the seasons and your taste buds will not be disappointed. Additionally, they can offer you advice on which wine from the local wineries would pair best with your meal and dessert (because we all know when you’re on vacation, you have to have dessert). With all the outdoor opportunities you took advantage of, you’ve totally earned your meal for the night.

10. Arts and Culture

Rapid City is home to some amazing artists. Whether you’re looking to simply enjoy a few galleries or trying to buy a unique handmade item, Rapid City can help you out with that. The Journey Museum and Learning Center takes you on a journey through time of the region beginning with the dinosaurs, through the beautiful Native American heritage and the Rapid City flood that changed the layout of our entire city. The Prairie Edge Trading Company and Gallery has a massive collection of Native American art, crafts, jewelry and more. You will lose all concept of time as you explore. And I can’t forget about the Dahl Arts Center! So much beautiful art, a gift shop full of local work and live entertainment on any given day. I could go on and on about all the arts and cultural opportunities, but instead I’d encourage you to click here.

11. It’s easy to #FindYourPark

I know I already mentioned Mount Rushmore, but I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the 5 other national parks and monuments in the region, and the bonus Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park. I would never lie to you and say the roads are always perfectly clear, but the majority of the time you can still get to one of the parks within a one hour drive of Rapid City. There are even several days throughout the season that you can get into the parks for free. Get ready to #FindYourPark, Rapid City makes it easy!

12. The Possibilities are Endless

As someone who really hates having to make decisions, sometimes it would be nice if there was only one thing happening so I didn’t have to decide. Unfortunately, even winter in Rapid City doesn’t offer that kind of reprieve. Seriously, check out the events calendar if you don’t believe me; then give yourself plenty of time on your trip here. If I had $1 for every time I heard a visitor say they didn’t realize how much there was to do in Rapid City, Taz would be overjoyed at the amount of treats he received.  The Black Hills are in our backyard, there are miles of trails right in town, and so many places are open all year that you never really get a “break” in have too many options.

I could keep going with this list, but 12 is the number of the season and you have better things to do than read a novel from me. What type of things? Here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Start planning your trip to Rapid City
  2. Subscribe to our email newsletters – they’re the best way to keep up on what’s new!
  3. Subscribe to the blog. You can hear even more great ramblings from yours truly.


Meet the Author

Shiloh Francis

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

latest blog posts

Shiloh Francis
Guest Blogger

With coffee in one hand, a camera in the other and her four-legged sidekick, Taz by her side, Shiloh loves getting out and exploring Rapid City. Her favorite things about Rapid City include the great dining scene, coffee shops and ease of access to the hiking trails within the city and the Black Hills.

Shiloh is a transplant to Rapid City, having fallen in love with the area during family vacations and deciding to make it her permanent vacation after graduating from college. Traveling and discovering new places has always been a passion for Shiloh, but she loves the site of coming home to Rapid City each time the plane lands at the end of one of her adventures. Despite now being considered a local, she doesn’t let that stop her from taking time to play “tourist” in her own backyard. Shiloh is your go-to source for pup-spiration (all things pet-friendly), the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee or great bite to eat, and helping you find those hidden gems on your next vacation.

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