Your ultimate guide to the parks of Sioux Falls

When the sun comes out to warm our souls in time for spring, that means parks are the most likely place to go to for a beautiful activity in the warmth. My boyfriend, Holden Sutter, and I enjoy a nice park, but we aren’t connoisseurs. So, when March 6 rolled around and Holden wanted to hike, I—as the person who didn’t want to put too much exertion into my afternoon—instead suggested a challenge to see how many parks we could visit in one day (or at least until we got hungry) and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. Our opinions of parks may vary, but we did get to learn more about Sioux Falls and enjoy our warm afternoon.

Lions Centennial Park

6/10

Lions Centennial Park is a small local park with a playground and OK space for frolicking or grass games. It has an iconic metal lion statue with it’s mouth open. We thought it used to be a water fountain, but now it is just a lion with a strange metal disc in its mouth. Holden still stuck his head in it though for the photo op. 

Pasley Park

8.25/10

Pasely Park has a huge space set up to act like a long pathway with trees and foliage on one side and a busy street on the other side. It’s also home to a great playground. There’s also a creepy outdoor chapel  and a secret dragon you can play on, if you can figure out how to get to it.

Cherry Rock Park

7/10

Cherry Rock Park is home to no one but two playgrounds, one for typical playground activities (slides, monkey bars, etc.) and the other a literal spider web. The only downfall is that everyone knows how cool the spider web is, so there were a ton of kids. But, it has a cool bridge for those seniors in high school who want candid senior photos. 

Nelson Park

5.5/10

Nelson Park, A.K.A. the park where all the cool kids go to. It has a skatepark that seemed to be open to kids of all ages. Not to mention it’s next to some old train tracks, which are always a good time for the park lovers albeit the smallness of actual green space. Unfortunately, Holden and I were not cool since we left the wheels to our Heelys at home, so we couldn’t show off our sick moves. 

Fawick Park

6.5/10

Fawick Park is the sassy sister park of downtown Sioux Falls. It’s also the park with the classic Statue of David. Holden and I showed off our best Alexis Rose impression as we spoke the classic lines of “Eww! David!” while posing with the statue. However, it is a small park and the geese there were very clear that it was their territory. 

Falls Park

10/10

You know her, you love her and so did everyone else that day. What can we say about such a classic Sioux Falls staple? We saw a man juggling who has skills that I could never surpass. It has great views of downtown as well as the falls when you make your way up the viewing tower. Falls Park is the perfect place for a perfect spring afternoon. 

Lyon Park

4.7/10

Lyon Park is a tiny park just across the street from Phillips Avenue. Although small, it does have a cute playground and an old cannon that Holden looked in to see if there were any old cannonballs in there. There were not. 

McKennan Park

9/10

McKennan Park is the full package. There are rose gardens (which weren’t in bloom when we were there #sadface), a small replica of the Statue of Liberty, a great playground area for kids, multiple green spaces, an area for playing horseshoes and an amphitheater! If you stand downstage in the center facing into the amphitheater, your voice echoes. The old man statue is the icing on the cake of a classic park. 

Campus Park

3/10

Last and very much so least, Campus Park leaves nothing to the imagination. If you need to make a shady deal with a man in a trenchcoat, Campus Park is your place to go. However its small playground and overall depressing atmosphere made it kind of meh. The only upside is their benches had springs underneath them, so I shook the bench until Holden fell off.  

  1. Very cool, Mariah snd Holden!

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