Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

South Dakota: Great Faces, Great Places

My first time in South Dakota, my husband and I were greeted crossing the southwestern border with the famous “Great Faces, Great Places” slogan. “Cute!” I thought, realizing that what many people, myself included, knew about the Great Plains state boiled down to those four famed faces etched into granite. “What an inventive way to capitalize on such an iconic monument.”

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

On our return last month, though, I learned that there’s far more to South Dakota and its motto than a couple of rocks bearing the identities of former presidents. If ever a place personified its state tagline, it’s Sioux Falls (or the whole of South Dakota, really).

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Our first time, we stayed near Custer State Park in Hot Springs and Rapid City on our inaugural South Dakota vacation back in 2011. It was a particularly wet that year—not only across the entire region, but the country at large. Badlands National Park wasn’t open, so we stuck close to our campground, spent our days photographing bison and prairie dogs, stole away to motorcycle mecca Sturgis to take photos with its prominent sign.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Our most recent visit last month may not have been any less damp, but a token of a great trip is that the weather doesn’t even matter one bit. We were greeted by the locals of Sioux Falls with such warmth and enthusiasm, at times I had to double-check I wasn’t actually back in my native Southern habitat. In fact, Nashville could learn a thing or two about hospitality from the fine folks of Sioux Falls: We were summoned for coffee by entrepreneur/musician/photographer Wes Eisenhauer over Twitter, asked by chef/nutritionist Sanaa Abourezk to partake in the weekly dinner feast at her eponymous restaurant and invited to join a pair of local children’s pastors for a Guatemalan-style dinner at Jacky’s when the line was particularly long one brisk Friday night.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Every time we’d pop into a coffee shop—and in Sioux Falls, there are many—the barista would inquire where we’re from, some even going as far as to scribble down their favorite insider-y recommendations on a Post-It for us to take with us (thanks, Kylie!). Everywhere we went, complete strangers became friends; we couldn’t have felt anymore welcome had we both grown up in the area.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

We’d been in California visiting family, so we arrived in Sioux Falls from San Francisco. The first thing that struck us as awesome was the convenience of the airport; not only was it one of the easiest terminals to get in and out of—and the rental car process a breeze, taking all of three minutes—but we’d only been driving two miles when all of a sudden, BAM, we were in the heart of Sioux Falls.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Our hotel, the new Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown, was situated right over the river, in the trendy 8th Street corridor, and we pretty much hit up every restaurant along that stretch of real estate in the next four days: craft brews and wine tastings at Prairie Berry East Bank, lattes and homemade pop-tarts at Josiah’s Coffeehouse (twice), even more beer and mashed potato pizza(!) at Monk’s House of Ale Repute.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Then, there was lunch at Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean, which was a true treat—particularly as the sassy namesake herself came and joined us for a spell (sadly, we weren’t able to accept her dinner invitation as we were on our way back to Tennessee).

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

Each morning, I was torn between returning to Josiah’s or grabbing breakfast on the go from Breadico or Queen City Bakery—they’re both local favorites and just a couple blocks apart—so we bit the bullet and tried each spot (for the sake of “work,” y’all).

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota
Everything You Need to Know About Traveling to Western South Dakota

For more about what we consider the best restaurants and bars in Sioux Falls, continue on to the next page…

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COMMENTS
  • May 31, 2016

    How much fun! On a sidenote: I love your hair!
    Andi recently posted..Review: Nootropics By truBrainMy Profile

  • May 31, 2016

    This looks like such a wonderful trip!! Yay, SD!

    xox
    Feisty Harriet recently posted..If we went to lunch…My Profile

  • May 31, 2016

    The buildings in Sioux Falls are a prime example of how I pictured a small American town to look. You might be able to deduce that I’ve never been to a small American town before, which is true. Regardless, Sioux Falls is now on my must-visit list so that I can prove my point about American towns (and so that I can eat all that lovely food 🙂 )
    Dominique recently posted..Zuid-Kennemerland NP – 30 van Zandvoort 18kmMy Profile

  • May 31, 2016

    I love the format/layout of this post. It’s a lot of (good) information to digest in one go, but the beautiful, big photos are so complementary to your humour and personal anecdotes it makes it easy to read. Anyhoo, I love the redesign!
    Lauren Bishop recently posted..A Journey on a Slow Boat: Mekong River, LaosMy Profile

  • May 31, 2016

    Thanks for stopping by! We’re glad you had a great time in Sioux Falls. See us again soon!
    Hanuman Chalisa recently posted..Hanuman Chalisa Lyrics in EnglishMy Profile

  • June 1, 2016

    Some interesting locations to visit. And the food looks amazing. I’d need quite some time just to visit Sioux Falls, so a trip to America should be somewhere around a year if I want to properly visit everything 🙂
    Linda March recently posted..Hairstyles for the Homecoming DanceMy Profile

  • June 1, 2016
    Brooke

    You should really go back to South Dakota a third time and go to Deadwood! Great little town. Lots to do besides gambling! My favorite is to go dancing at Saloon No. 10! 🙂

  • June 1, 2016
    Brandy

    What a great trip! Your pictures are awesome and everything you ate looks amazing. Sioux Falls looks absolutely adorable – I would love to visit. I really need to make it out to that part of the country at some point.

  • June 12, 2016

    Parabéns pela excelente iniciativa de nos mostrar lugares tão incríveis como a Dakota do Sul

  • June 29, 2016

    Wow…

    Its just amazing…I think I should go at least once in our lifetime.

  • July 19, 2016

    Your food pics are stunning. Salivating over those cakes!
    Lauren Monitz recently posted..The Seven Stages of Pokemon Go PlayMy Profile

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