Street Art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, space has been designated for graffiti art. There’s a permit process for creating art in this space. Some of it just looks like graffiti but some of it is pretty incredible.

Have a look!

The cool thing is that you don’t see a lot of graffiti in other places around the city – at least not in the areas we visited. It seems that validating this art form has changed the way it is viewed in this town.

Here’s one last look. This one is my favorite!

Firehouse Brewing Company

Rapid city downtown (1)If you’re ever in Rapid City, South Dakota and looking for a good meal, check out Firehouse Brewing Company in the heart of downtown. 

The Firehouse isn’t just a name. It’s actually located in the city’s original firehouse which was constructed in 1915. It’s a two story building with loft and outdoor seating. The bar features all sorts of interesting things including firefighting apparatus, ladders, pictures and patches. The original fire pole is still in place too!

Plus there’s exposed brick, dim lighting, big windows, pretty wood and lots of red – some of my favorite things! The customer service is pretty good and the menu is extensive enough to please almost everyone. They even had a Beyond Burger, making it A-OK in my book since not all restaurants are so friendly to vegans and vegetarians. The prices are fair and the service was great. We were there at about 6 p.m. on Labor Day and waited fifteen minutes for a table. But the wait was less than expected and they send you a text when your table is ready so you can take a stroll while you wait.

They’ve been in business since the early nineties and I’m hoping they’re around for a long time to come. It’s a great restaurant and I would absolutely recommend it. I’m not a drinker so I didn’t try any of the beer but they’re well known by locals and tourists alike as the best brewpub in town.

Want to drool over the menu? Do it here!   Or you can click here to read about downtown Rapid City!

The Signs of Rapid City

Signs (17)

Of all the towns I’ve visited recently, Rapid City, South Dakota wins the prize for the best cool signage. Throughout downtown, there are tons of great new and vintage signs that make you want to go into a business.

Signs add character and charm to a streetscape. They tell you about the business and about the amount of care the business owner has taken in presenting themselves to the world. A good sign is like a firm handshake and makes a great first impression.

Here are some signs that I liked and hope you will too.

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.

Mt. Rushmore

Mt rushmore presidents.jpg

There are certain landmarks in this country that everyone should see at least once. One of those is Mt. Rushmore, a destination of my western adventure.

Mt. Rushmore is an easy drive from Rapid City, South Dakota where we stayed. There are several fun and interesting things to do in Rapid City and the vicinity including Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial to name a few.

Mt. Rushmore is sort of a mess right now as a portion of the property has been torn up and is behind a chain link construction fence. You can only admire this magnificent monument from afar.

Mt rushmore constructionHonestly, it’s a bit smaller than I expected but impressive nonetheless. It’s incredible when you consider what can be accomplished with dynamite, jackhammers and chisels.

It took fourteen years for a few hundred miners, sculptors and rock climbers to create this granite masterpiece that features Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,  Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Mt rushmore ice creamPortions of the monument can be seen from the road below but it’s worth the $10 parking fee to get out of the car and look around. There’s a great visitors’ center with a gift shop and ice cream shop where you can taste Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream recipe.

So many of the employees are clearly immigrants and it’s great fun to hear all the accents working at and visiting this monument to some of our nation’s great presidents. For this country girl from Appalachian Ohio, the exposure to different languages, accents and people of nationalities across the world is a treat.

If you go, know that your National Parks Pass will not help you here as that pass only covers park admissions. Mt. Rushmore is free but there is a fee for parking not covered by the pass. Never heard of the National Parks Pass? My pal Johnna, who I was traveling with, has one (it’s actually called the America the Beautiful Pass) and it’s a great deal if you plan to make many park visits in a year. Click here to learn more.

Want to know more about visiting Mt. Rushmore? You’ll find everything you need at the National Parks website!