Sioux Falls is a moderately sized city in the land-locked state of South Dakota. With a metropolitan population of less than 230,000, Sioux Falls is an ideal destination to visit. Whether staying for one day, or more than a few, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the historic city of Sioux Falls.

Photo of Downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USACredit: Jon Platek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Six of the Best Attractions To See

1)  Historic District

Nicknamed the 'Best Little City in America' and 'Queen City of the West', Sioux Falls boasts a supreme collection of museums, art galleries and musical events, such as the JazzFest at Yankton Trails Park.

Its historic district also appeals to visitors who have a natural appreciation for architecture of a bygone era. 

If enjoying a free moment in the city, you can walk through the downtown streets and take a look at the many buildings that still remain there. Old and stoic, they add a certain class to the modern urban environment that surrounds them.

Photo of Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South DakotaCredit: Colin Faulkingham / Wikimedia Commons / PD

2)  Falls Park

Aside from its museum culture, the city has a large network of public parks and green, open spaces. The most well-known of these is Falls Park, which is located to the north of downtown.

A picturesque expanse of grass, trees, rock and cascading water, Falls Park sprawls along the banks of the Big Sioux River. Existing since the last Ice Age, the tiered waterfalls are a distinct geological feature, first recognized by the local native tribes that lived there.

With excellent walking and biking trails, a visitor's center, observation tower, café and the ruins of an old mill (Queen Bee Mill ruins), Falls Park is a pleasant place to spend a morning or afternoon.

Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USACredit: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 license

3)  Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science

As a premier arts and cultural institution, the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science is a center for learning, as well as entertainment. Situated near the downtown area, the Pavilion draws in many visitors with its blend of facilities dedicated to visual art, science and the performing arts.

Whether attending a concert, visiting the Kirby Science Discovery Center, or watching a show or movie at Wells Fargo CineDome, activities are seemingly endless at the Pavilion. Exhibitions can also be viewed at the Visual Arts Center, where works of art are regularly displayed by local and national artists.

Main entrance of Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USACredit: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 license

4)  Great Plains Zoo

A trip to any city is not complete without meeting some of the animals that live there, and in Sioux Falls, the Great Plains Zoo is the place to do just that. Situated on 45 acres of land including the Delbridge Museum of Natural History, the zoo houses over 1,000 animals from different parts of the world. 

At the Great Plains Zoo, you have the opportunity to get close to native and exotic wildlife that you don't see very often, if at all, in everyday life. From marvelous monkeys to rare rhinos and gorgeous giraffes, Great Plains Zoo is well worth visiting if you are looking for a relaxed, casual atmosphere to spend with family and young children.

World of Sioux Falls (Panoramic view of Fawick Park including replica statue of 'David' by Michelangelo)Credit: User:Jerry7171 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 license

5)  Sculptures and Michelangelo

Art lovers with an affinity for sculpture and/or the creations of Michelangelo need not feel empty-hearted when visiting Sioux Falls either. A stunning replica of David stands at the center of Fawick Park, as well as Moses, who poses in another location at Augustana College. 

Although not the 'real deal' (made of bronze, rather than marble), these sculptures offer just a taste of the artistic flair that is on show at varying times of the year in the city. Sioux Falls is famous for its annual SculptureWalk which is held downtown during the summer. The public are welcome to participate by voting for their favorite in the People's Choice ballot. 

Sculpture exhibits are also on display at other varied locations. From the regional airport, to the University of Sioux Falls, and Avera McKenna Hospital and University Health Center, there is no mistaking the fact that Sioux Falls is, itself a 'world' of art.

Capt. Eric Cleveringa from the 175th Fighter Squadron, 114th Fighter Wing, South Dakota Air National Guard, prepares to launch an USAF F-16 Fighting FalconCredit: Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook, USAF / Wikimedia Commons / PD

6)  Jets and Planes 

If flying metal objects get you buzzing, consider taking a detour to catch some air-bound action. Held over two days, the Sioux Falls Airshow is legendary and sure to impress anyone who stops by.

Spectators usually number into the hundreds of thousands at this free, annual event, and it's no wonder. With the South Dakota Air National Guard 114th Fighter Wing situated beside the regional airport at Joe Foss Field, there is no shortage of F-16s out and about in the sky – before, during or after show-time.

In 2012, the Sioux Falls Airshow had their largest ever show, with a line-up of Mustangs, Harrier, Hornet, Super Hornet and Raptor demonstrations, the United States Navy Blue Angels and a USAF B-2 Bomber. If the sight of death-defying aerobatics by military and civilian aircraft is enough to enthrall you, then maybe, just maybe, it's your turn to travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.