Rapid City Memories

Plans are underway for my 2022 Western Adventure so I have been thinking a lot about past western trips. Of all the places I’ve been, Rapid City, South Dakota is one of the most visually pleasing small cities and one I wouldn’t mind revisiting someday.

It is packed with things to to do, cute shops, amazing restaurants and public art galore.

We had some terrific meals, including dinner at Firehouse Brewing Company which is located in a 1915 era firehouse. Today it has the distinction of being the city’s first brew pub and it exists because a group of investors saw an opportunity, formed a partnership and went for it.

There are great old buildings and terrific vintage signage still in use today.

Plus, there’s an alley where local artists can apply for permits to practice their graffiti art. Some of the work is fun or cute while others deliver a message.

When it comes to public art, the city is actually best known for its trail of life sized bronze statues that represent each of our nation’s former presidents. There’s a reason why their nickname is “City of Presidents” and it isn’t just because Mount Rushmore is down the road.

Most of these statues are impressive and some are surprisingly moving like this one of John F. Kennedy with his toddler son.

They are all privately funded and it’s a non-partisan project all the way around.

Rapid City is close to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands and a host of other regional attractions. That area is well worth your time whether you stop on your way somewhere else or are spending a chunk of time.

If you’re interested, type South Dakota into the search box here and you’ll find several pieces from my visit a few years ago!

City of Presidents

Rapid city downtown (8)

Rapid City, South Dakota is known as the City of Presidents. It’s a convenient place to stay if you’re visiting the region and is a nice place to spend your time. It’s a city that has a small town vibe.

The downtown area is vibrant with locally owned shops and restaurants, museums and things to do outdoors. Parking is free in their garage on holidays, Sundays and evenings so we never paid to park here.. You see plenty of law enforcement as well as security cameras making it seem safe enough. Abundant flowers, plentiful outdoor seating and a fun park are anchors here.

We did see a few homeless people and a particularly aggressive panhandler but you’ll unfortunately have that no matter where you go.

This is a very walkable downtown and motorists seem to respect the rights of pedestrians, a far cry from how motorists in Ohio seem to feel about them.

One thing that makes this city special is that each former US President and some Native American leaders have been immortalized with life sized statues throughout downtown. They were paid for by donors and each one is unique.

Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.


I’ll share more pictures from Rapid City. Meanwhile, have a look their tourism site if you’re interested in knowing more about visiting.