Seven things to do in Sioux Falls


Well, you’ve seen Falls Park, you’ve walked the Sculpture Walk and you’ve visited the Empire Mall—now what? Here are seven essential things to do if you’re new to SuFu:

  1. Enjoy First Fridays.

It’s the first Friday of the month and you just finished your afternoon class. Go downtown. Local businesses and organizations host events and sales on the first Friday of each month. Stop in Zandbroz for a quirky gift to send back home, or indulge at C.H. Patisserie with art—er, dessert—that looks too pretty to eat. Afterward, make sure to swing by the Washington Pavilion for free admission to its Kirby Science Discovery Center and Visual Arts Gallery, or tour the renovation inside the historic State Theatre on Phillips Ave. First Fridays are special in downtown Sioux Falls so, (cue music) “forget all your troubles/ forget all your cares/ and go downtown.”  

Photo courtesy of the Washington Pavilion.
  1. Try ethnic cuisine.

Hungry? You’re in luck. Sioux Falls has a wide range of ethnic cuisine. Vietnamese food? Try Pho Quynh. Ethiopian food? Lalibela has your back. Mediterranean food? Visit Sanaa’s. Indian food? Take a seat at Shahi Palace. Japanese food? Discover Sushi Masa. Afghan food? Stop by the Khorasan Kabob House. Mexican food? Go to Nikki’s Burrito Express (and while you’re at it, stop by the grocery store next door for some yummy Mexican candies). The list goes on and on, so get out there and forget that Applebee’s and Olive Garden exist.

  1. Listen or dance to live music.

For $5 you can sit in on one of the recordings of the White Wall Sessions, a local television and radio show filmed in the cozy, laid-back basement of the 10th street Last Stop CD Shop.  Local, regional and national artists visit the White Wall Sessions to perform their original songs in acoustic, Americana, bluegrass, folk and blues on a regular basis. But that’s not the only place you can go for an affordable concert. The record store Total Drag also regularly hosts local artists. Up for some dancing? Icon Lounge hosts 18+ themed dance nights about once a month.

Photo courtesy of Total Drag.
  1. Pick a park and explore.

Although Sioux Falls has more than its fair share of parking lots and big-box stores, it also has beautiful green space. With over 80 public parks, nearly 19 miles of shaded bike trails and free bike rentals from Augie, it’s easy to find areas you can relax and play. For instance, just within walking distance from Augustana is McKennan Park, the oldest developed park in Sioux Falls. I consider it to be the Central Park of Sioux Falls. You can also walk the wooded trails and play the 18-hole disc golf course at Tuthill or go kayaking on the pond located in The Outdoor Campus.

  1. Enjoy all four seasons.

Since we’re on the topic of enjoying Sioux Falls’ outdoors, make sure you take advantage of the city’s seasonal activities too. While they’re still in bloom, admire the exotic flowers, pagodas and lanterns at Terrace Park’s Japanese Gardens. Before the rocks are encased in ice, go rock climbing at the Palisades with the Augie Outdoor Program. Come fall, admire the changing leaves all over town and visit the Country Apple Orchard to pick yourself a bag of Braeburns or a pumpkin from the patch. Come winter, skip Great Bear Ski Valley’s admission prices and brave Tuthill’s treacherous sledding hill instead (caution: many SuFu natives have battle stories from this slope).

Photo courtesy of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
  1. Go to the cheap theatre.

College ain’t cheap, and neither are movies. This is why the West Mall 7 is the perfect movie theater for a college student’s budget. For $3.50 you can enjoy (almost) new movies from the past year in newly refurbished seats. And if you do happen to have some extra change, you can stop by the arcade across the theatre to win as many Pixy Stixs and Chinese finger traps as your heart desires.

  1. Find your favorite study space.

An easy way to get off campus is to have an off-campus study space. For the same price as Starbucks or Caribou coffee, you might as well enjoy a cup that was brewed with locally roasted beans. A crowd favorite among Augie students is Coffea. With three locations in Sioux Falls, it has great seasonal espresso drinks and a warm, cozy atmosphere prime for study sessions. Try their seasonal lavender latte or their classic cafe miel. And, if you have a rumbly tummy, Josiah’s Coffeehouse serves full-size meals and has plenty of study tables. If you’re looking for a bright, open, and modern feel, study at The Source. Or if you have a sweet tooth, Queen City Bakery is also spacious and filled with pastries and sweets. Chocolate croissant, anyone?

Sioux Falls is really what you make it. It can be a compound of concrete parking lots and big-box stores, or it can be a cultural bubble of local restaurants and artists. Since this will be your home for the next four years, you may as well explore the ladder. Have fun!

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