Rapid City, South Dakota


2013 Best Small Towns in America

Contest ends:  September 3, 2013

23 Votes - "Most Patriotic"
2 Votes - "Most Fun"
1 Votes - "Most Beautiful"


Rapid City, SD hosts both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, two must-see national landmarks. The town is as beautiful as it is patriotic, surrounded by the Black Hills, and is the home of Ellsworth AFB.

For a combination of history and beauty take in the scenery on Skyline Drive and visit the Berlin Wall exhibit, the Chapel in the Hills, the Badlands, and bronze statues of all of America’s presidents.

Visitors should take advantage of Downtown Rapid City. In addition to shopping and dining, the area is the Black Hills’ hub for local and regional art. Museums, numerous galleries, and a historic theatre are all located within a few blocks of each other downtown.

Rapid City is a small city with a lot of potential if some kind of long range view comes into place. The core of the town isn't bad but the outer areas along the interstate and other fringe are increasingly unattractive. The zoning laws for Pennington County have been terrible since the 1970s and the detritus that has sprung up continues to mar the once beautiful landscape. Cheap housing along the I-90 continues to multiply and there seems to be no end in sight. I will say that there seems to be an awareness about historic preservation in the downtown areas and certain neighborhoods. Main Street and St. Joe have done an acceptable job of preserving some late 19th/early 20th century architecture. The West Boulevard neighborhood has some nice period homes. There is very little new and innovative architecture to mix in with the old. If the downtown core could somehow get people living down there, I think a fairly nice community could evolve with a unique look. Rapid City's setting is actually quite lovely but it really needs an infusion of some architectural significance and urban living spaces. The outskirts may be a lost cause but they often are in most American cities. People are very nice and down to earth in Rapid City. There is little pretense. Their attitudes are typical of this part of the country. There is a little sophistication and unfortunately that aspect is frowned upon. It needs to take a leap of faith and bring out whatever the soul is of its setting. There is one waiting to be tapped. The place could be a combo of Fort Collins, Bozeman and even Boulder if it ever gets its act together. But, such towns have a liberal and progressive voice. Such attitudes are sparse or afraid to speak up in western South Dakota.
Reviewed by Pooka
on September 17, 2012
Rapid City is surrounded by natural beauty and breathtaking scenery.
Reviewed by jsperlich
on September 17, 2012
Rapid City is a beautiful, friendly small town. The downtown has bronze statues of all the U.S. presidents, and the city is close to Mt. Rushmore National Monument, which is why we are called the City of Presidents. The huge 4th of July parade is always a hit, as tourists and citizens come together to celebrate living in the best country in the world. From its start as a wild west town teaming with cowboys and Indians, to its varied citizenship representing all cultures of the world, Rapid City has maintained the friendly, safe town that people long for.
Reviewed by JeanneSimon123
on September 17, 2012
On the edge of the incredible Black Hills of SD.
Reviewed by heidijkruse
on September 17, 2012
You can't beat the setting for the town. It is in the foothills of the Black Hills. Rapid City is everything that people like about Denver without the crowds, pollution, and the crime.
Reviewed by SDCowboy
on September 17, 2012
Showing 66 through 70 of 114 reviews



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