We wrongly had very low expectations of Sioux Falls as we pulled into the city. A stay here was simply meant to be a convenient stopover between Minneapolis and Mount Rushmore. Little did we know that we would instantly be won over by all that this adorable city offers. A visit to Sioux Falls turned out to be an ideal stop to break up a long drive. One night here is a perfect amount of time to experience what this part of the country offers which is a heck of a lot more than we expected! Here are my suggestions for What to See and Do in Sioux Falls in 24 Hours.
1. Arc of Dreams
The iconic sculpture is a signature landmark in Sioux Falls. The arc peaks at eighty-five feet above the Big Sioux River and spans a size similar to a football field. It's a short and pretty walk on a pedestrian bridge under the arc for revelers to admire this new addition to the city's art scene.
2 .8th and Railroad High-end retailers line this outdoor shopping center. It's rather small but filled with upscale boutique shops and gourmet restaurants in a quaint setting. We were rather surprised by the quality of products being sold in the beautifully designed stores. During the summer there is a Farmer's Market every Saturday. Please note that most of the shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
3. Downtown Sioux Falls
Phillips Avenue is the main drag in downtown. It is a rather happening hub and gathering place that is extremely well-maintained, clean, and bustling with visitors, restaurants, and shops. We had such a wonderful time walking the sidewalks and admiring the architecture. Many shops displayed pride flags which we didn't expect to see in this part of the country. We were so impressed by the sophistication of the folks here, the high-quality retailers, and the excellent food options.
4. Sculpture Walk
As you walk down Phillips Avenue you'll cross sixty sculptures from a variety of artists located throughout the country. Each Spring new pieces are selected to line downtown's sidewalks. There are short bios included with each piece which provide some context to the sculptures. Sioux Falls loves its art. You'll find lots of sculptures throughout the city, not just downtown.
5. Falls Park
Falls Park is Sioux Falls's biggest attraction. The park spans almost one hundred and thirty acres along the Big Sioux River. The site once housed The Queen Bill Mill in the late-1800s. Ruins of the former mill remain on the park grounds to preserve the historic past of the park. There are several vantage points to admire the falls, including an observation tower.
6. Corn Palace
"The World's Only Corn Palace" oddly draws 500,000 tourists per year to view the corn murals that were made a century ago. The Corn Palace is an eighty-minute drive from Sioux Falls. Personally, I wouldn't make the drive just to see the attraction but it makes for a fun, quick stop if you're driving from Sioux Falls to Mount Rushmore.
7. Where to Eat:
Most restaurants in Sioux Falls are closed on Sundays and Mondays but Josiah's Coffee House & Cafe loyally serves locals every day of the week. This cafe is so adorable and welcoming. Best of all, they serve smoothies and healthy breakfast options like homemade granola with fresh berries and oatmeal topped with chia seeds and ground flax seeds. For those of you who enjoy a pastry with your coffee, the bakery pumps out a variety of freshly baked goods. We loved starting our day off here.
Although our hotel recommended the restaurant, we set our expectations very low for lunch at Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar, housed in the Hilton Garden Inn of Sioux Falls. The restaurant is a popular food option for visitors and locals as it was full for lunch when we arrived (thank goodness we made reservations!). The menu quickly impressed us and put our concerns at ease. The restaurant offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The dishes were prepared with fresh ingredients and everything was actually really good!
Crawford's Bar & Grill (dinner) Crawford's is the place to have dinner in Sioux Falls. The funky, up-scale American eatery is lively and upbeat. The food is good, not great but the fun atmosphere makes up for the lack of culinary mastery.
CH Patisserie (sweets & treats)
You won't be able to resist entering this gorgeous patisserie when you walk down Phillips Avenue. CH Patisserie is the brainchild of a World Champion Pastry Chef. The European-style desserts and pastries are almost too pretty to eat. The macarons come in the most creative flavors we have encountered. The french treats come in unique creations like cake frosting, fruity cereal, chocolate-covered strawberry, s'more, and chocolate pretzel. The latter is absolutely delicious - possibly the best macaron I have ever tasted.
8. Where to Imbibe
We never imagined that such crafty cocktails would make their way to Sioux Falls. Carpenter Bar is the kind of bar you'd expect to find in Manhattan. The mixologist here are top-notch and take the art of creating the perfect cocktail very seriously. The outdoor patio was filled with customers sipping their well-balanced, creative cocktails while people watching. The folks seated next to us were from Chicago and New York. This is certainly the type of place that attracts people from big cities who are accustomed to quality drinks. Except here, the drinks don't come with big-city price tags. At $10 per cocktail of this caliber, it was difficult to resist a third round.
The Hello Hi
Further down Phillips Avenue, you'll find The Hello Hi, a bar with a completely different vibe than nearby Carpenter Bar. The Hello Hi draws locals to this kitschy, Polynesian-inspired neighborhood hang-out spot. The atmosphere was vibrant with music blaring and patrons enjoying the tropical mood with a New York-style pizza. This is a great spot to end the night as the temperatures drop and the sky begins to darken (not before 10:00 pm!).
9. Where to Stay
Hotel on Phillips
The Hotel on Phillips is a Historic Landmark that was built as the Sioux Falls National Bank in 1918 and converted into a chic hotel one hundred years later. The hotel maintains many historic details like the original chandeliers while ultimately delivering modern accommodations. The location is an easy walk to the main hub of downtown. This is with no doubt the best hotel accommodation you will find in Sioux falls.
We had such a blast in Sioux Falls. The attractions are all within very close proximity to one another and will take you under two hours to check out. The main draw for us here was the time we spent on Phillips Avenue drinking great cocktails, mingling with locals, and watching the activity in town as people trickled down the sidewalks and cars slowly pulled down the street making their marks. The quality of the town offerings really took us by surprise. For some reason, we did not expect such a high level of sophistication here. Boy were we wrong. Because the town is so tiny one night here is more than enough but you can expect a wonderful night indeed!