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The Falls: Epic Nature in the City Center

Sioux Falls is home to "The Falls" of the Big Sioux River, a waterway system that has been flowing in its present course for thousands of years. The falls have been a focus of life in the region throughout history, from prehistoric people who inhabited the area before 500 B.C. to the Lakota and Dakota tribes in the 18th century to modern day. Surrounding the falls is beautiful Falls Park, a 50-hectare green space in the heart of the city. The pink quartzite rock, or Sioux Quartzite, seen at Falls Park is native to the area and was used to construct roads and many of Sioux Falls’ first buildings. Its rustic, rosy hue is easily recognizable when viewing the city’s skyline.

 

Arts, Culture and Cuisine

Steps west of Falls Park is Phillips Avenue, the main thoroughfare in historic yet vibrant downtown Sioux Falls. It’s home to SculptureWalk, a nationally renowned collection of 60-plus outdoor sculptures displayed year-round. Each year, the pieces range from stately to whimsical, but a capstone is always the Arc of Dreams. This massive permanent sculpture spans the Big Sioux River and towers seven stories above the water between 6th and 8th streets.

Live music and theater also abound here: Catch a performance at the Washington Pavilion, which houses performing arts, visual arts and interactive science exhibits; the Orpheum Theater Center, which opened in 1913 as a vaudeville house; and the Denny Sanford Premier Center, a 12,000-seat concert venue that hosts artists from all over the world.

Sioux Falls’ creativity is further expressed in its culinary scene. The city’s award-winning chefs are risk takers, with many dedicated to crafting farm-to-table menus. The inventive spirit of local brewers is equally endless, and each brewery has its own personality and philosophy. This is reflected in the always-changing lineup of craft beers found here.

 

Immersive Historic Sites

Minutes from downtown is Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, a National Historic Landmark that served as a crossroads of Native American civilizations from 1300 to 1700. Start at the visitor center exploring a variety of exhibits focused on the cultural and historical significance of the site. Learn how the Oneota Indigenous Peoples depended on the river, wildlife and fertile flood plains. For more local history, tour the Pettigrew Home & Museum and the Old Courthouse Museum, both rich with insight into and artifacts from Sioux Falls’ formative years.

Fun Fact

Statue of David in Sioux Falls' Fawick Park
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The first four-door automobile, the Fawick Flyer, was invented in Sioux Falls by Thomas Fawick, who also donated the casting of Michelangelo’s David statue that stands downtown in Fawick Park.

Photo: Rich Murphy

Aerial view of Sioux Falls and the Big Sioux River
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Sioux Falls is named for the Sioux tribe of American Indians and the waterfalls of the Big Sioux River, which encircles the city.

Photo: Rich Murphy

Example of imaging from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science in Sioux Falls
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At the U.S. Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science, the national archive of satellite images gathered from remote sensing data, scientists study changes to the Earth’s surface.

Photo: EROS

A stunning view of Sioux Falls at Falls Park
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Nearby Experiences

Upcoming events

Illuminating Falls Park for the holidays
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Experience Sioux Falls

Event

Winter Wonderland

November-January

Watching live music at Sioux Falls' summertime concert series Levitt at the Falls
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Experience Sioux Falls

Event

Levitt at the Falls

May - September

Admiring an array of Corvettes lining the street
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Rich Murphy

Event

Hot Summer Nites

July

Classic cars on display during Hot Classics Night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Nyberg's Ace

Event

Hot Classics Night

July

Aerial view of the Sioux Empire Fair in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Sioux Empire Fairgrounds

Event

Sioux Empire Fair

August

Spectators watching the Sanford International golf tournament at Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Sanford International
Hands-on crafts during the Sidewalk Arts Festival at Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Washington Pavilion

Event

Sidewalk Arts Festival

September