Sioux Falls is a big enough city that there’s a little slice of the entertainment scene to cater to nearly any interest, but some of the most common ways folks who live here get out and about is by eating out, enjoying local parks and taking in the local arts scene.
What's the deal with all the restaurants?
Sioux Fallsians go wild for a new restaurant. Seriously. When Chick-Fil-A opened last year, the drive-thru line started forming at 3:30 a.m.
Over the years there have even been rumors that the city has the “most restaurants per capita” in the country. It’s not true, but it’s not hard to see why someone might get that notion.
The city has about 700 restaurants, according to Experience Sioux Falls, ranging from fine dining to fast food, and cuisines from all around the world.
What about outdoor fun?
One of the most popular aspects (and a big point of pride) of the Sioux Falls parks and recreation scene is the 29-mile bike trail that runs around the city. You can find a map of entry points here.
Sioux Falls also has just over 80 public parks in town — including the city’s namesake waterfalls at Falls Park — (Yes, the “Falls” in Sioux Falls is an actual waterfall).
In addition to the parks, the city has five outdoor public pools, one indoor aquatic center, a standalone wading pool in McKennan Park and the Pioneer Spray Park.
The city also has three fenced dog parks — Spencer Park, Family Park and the Kirby Dog Park at Fort Sod. There’s also an area for off-leash dogs at Lien Park.
For winter sports, Great Bear Recreation Area has a hill for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, trails for cross-country skiing and a terrain park.
And in the summer, there are several hiking trails. Speaking of trails, Sioux Falls is also surrounded by several state parks, including Palisades State Park, Good Earth State Park and the Big Sioux Recreation Area. A slightly further drive will also get you to Newton Hills State Park or Union Grove State Park.
What about arts and culture?
The most visible representation of Sioux Falls’ arts scene is the recently (2019) installed Arc of Dreams sculpture downtown. The Dale Lamphere piece is the culmination of years of work, between planning, fundraising, building and transporting the massive sculpture.
- It’s owned by SculptureWalk, an organization that brings dozens of new sculptures to downtown every year.
The city also has a number of music groups, from jazz to classical (South Dakota Symphony Orchestra) to more contemporary bands.
Each year Sioux Falls also has a mix of locally produced and traveling theater shows. The Washington Pavilion has an annual Performance Series with professional shows.
- Come From Away, Fiddler on the Roof and Hairspray are some of the shows on that list this year.
In terms of local theater groups, The Premiere Playhouse also does a handful of productions each year, and smaller theater groups include The Good Night Theatre Collective, Monstrous Little Theatre Company and Bare Bodkins Theatre company, which puts on a Shakespeare play at Falls Park each summer.
Spaces throughout the city also keep art on display. Find a full list of exhibits throughout town — including art exhibits featured in businesses — at the Sioux Falls Arts Council website.
What about family fun?
Sioux Falls has a number of kid- and family-friendly spots, including the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum, the Butterfly House and Aquarium, and the Washington Pavilion Kirby Science Discovery Center.
- The Outdoor Campus — managed by the state Game, Fish and Parks Department — also has family-friendly activities, programs and classes aimed at getting folks outdoors.
Where can I find more stuff to do?
Sioux Falls Simplified’s weekly newsletter includes an event guide with a round-up of the local happenings.