South Dakota was the third state we visited as part of a MN, NE, SD, and ND road trip to see my 46th, 47th, 48th and 49th states. If interested, check out those other state forums to see more of this trip report.
Sioux Falls, SD was a big surprise, filled with good apartment complexes, new shops and restaurants, and building everywhere. It has a booming credit card billing industry and if you look at where you mail your payment and bill to each month, you may note that all of Citibank, Capital One and several other major banks use Sioux Falls as the mailing address, largely because that state has no credit limits and makes it advantageous for banks to center there. The Falls, as a major city attraction, are ridiculously over rated (no longer even have a PM light show) and the supposed Sculpture walk through the center of the city has room for great improvement of a good idea. This is an emerging city with virtually no unemployment and it attracts many college grads.
Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and the many fabulous scenic drives along Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Iron Mountain Road, the Wildlife loop in Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon, and all those dotted lines along the map are definitely major draws to southwest area of South Dakota, a state blessed with beauty. Rapid City has the wonderful Dahl Arts Center, lively and talent filled Firehouse Theater performances, really good live music in the streets several times a week in summer, wide boulevards, fountains in parks, excellent crafts (we actually bought several fantastic pieces), frequent festivals, and plentiful if mediocre restaurants. In general, we found the food somewhat disappointing everywhere on this trip except in the Twin Cities, with a few other exceptions. Nearby Deadwood bills itself as the Cowboy town and has kept up old buildings, a cemetery with historic famous graves, rodeo, and one narrow street between two canyon walls. Sturgis, another nearby town, is a major draw for over 600,000 motorcyclists every summer in early August with humongous camping facilities, huge amphitheater with major rock and country stars, and tents of cycling products and souvenirs fronting all the business streets in town. We were there about a week before the huge influx of visitors and found it all being set up with many many cyclists already there. It seems as if every mobile home from five surrounding states has been rented and brought to Sturgis, every motel and hotel and B& B will be filled to overflowing, and the income from one week of craziness every summer supports the town and surrounding areas for the year. At this point in time, many long time Sturgis bikers have aged and it was amusing to see affluent older fatter bikers with chubby diamonded women who arrive early to stake out the best spots for their big trailers of carried customized cycles or shipped in ones that are trotted out to show off to one another like a never ending parade. While we did not stay for the Sturgs rally, I imagine it would be very exciting and we enjoyed being there a week or two before as the riders were starting to arrive. Our only disappointment in this area was Crazy Horse which seems to have little advancement in completion of the sculpture but a lot of money and time spent on tourism to attract money spending. It promises to be great and I hope more time and effort will be put into its progress.