On the way to and the way home from the sprint triathlon in Hot Springs, we did have some time to check out a few fun places in South Dakota I wanted to highlight real quick!
Our only stop on the way to Hot Springs (due to time) was in Rapid City. I just love Rapid City, I think it’s such a clean, nice town. We ate here, at Firehouse Brewing. I love the flowers! This is aptly named as it used to be the fire department. They brew their own beer and have a full menu. I can’t say the food was all that great, but the outdoor seating was awesome.
The restaurant is right in downtown Rapid so we walked to a few shops. They have a lot of boutiques, antique stores, bars and restaurants.
I had to return to Vita Sana Olive Oil Company to stock up on some more olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. This cool art alleyway is along the way. Fun.
I love the Main Street Square in downtown Rapid. This gathering area hosts events, music and more depending on what events go on. There is a fountain behind me and kids were cooling off in it on this warm day. The square is surrounded by shops and I treated myself to a Strawberry Shiver, which was raspberry juice , strawberry yogurt, strawberries and banana all blended together in a refreshing smoothie at Alternative Fuel Coffee Shop. At the place next door my Dad grabbed a coconut ice cream cone.
One new thing my brother and I noticed was Rapid City B-cycle. This is an automated bike share system for people to use for biking around town. For $7 you get a 24-hour pass to unlimited 30 minute checkouts. Hours are 6am-11pm. There are two stations – downtown and a college. You can be an annual member and skip these steps. Your account for an annual member even tracks your miles biked! You must be 18 to partake in the program and if you lose the bike or key, you will be fined. I do believe Fargo is starting something similar and I think this is just such a great idea. It’s a way to get people moving and an easy alternative to get around town. I love it!
After a few hour break in Rapid, we traveled on to our final destination of Hot Springs, what a gorgeous little city.
“Surrounded by rugged canyons and pine-covered hills, the town of 3,700 boasts the Mammoth Site, mineral water health spas, Evans Plunge, Wind Cave National Park, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, lake resorts, history museums, the award-winning Southern Hills Golf Course and unique accommodations, shops and restaurants. Hot Springs is home to the VA Black Hills Medical Center and the State Veterans Home. While relying on the tourism industry, the town’s beauty also lends itself to a growing artist community.”
We crashed at the Super 8 which was very affordable. It is an older hotel but worked just fine. I had a microwave and fridge in my room and they had a small continental breakfast. Be sure to book your room online in South Dakota, not Arkansas. This happened to people behind us. My parents and siblings ate at the adjacent Woolly’s Western Grill. The prices were affordable and food was good.
After the triathlon, we headed about an hour north to Custer, SD. Custer is in the Black Hills National Forest and is close to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. They are known for the burgers at Black Hills Burger & Bun Co. – locally owned and operated. The wait was an hour but my folks stuck it out. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype. It is a really small place (above) so expect to wait if you go.
Us kids quickly found a tasting room for wine and beer. Shocker, right? The tasting room had wines from Naked Winery and brews from Sick N Twisted Brewery from nearby Sturgis. The beers certainly hit the spot. Both the beer and the wines have crazy names!
After our tasting, we decided we were hungry. We saw an outdoor patio looking out on the main street and made it our mission to check out that place. As we got closer, we found it was the Buglin’ Bull, a family-friendly place with a wide menu including elk, buffalo, walleye, prime rib, salads, apps, pizza and more. As a bonus, they also have microbrews! And above was our view from our table. I have to say our service was quite slow, but the food was good and the server was nice when he came around.
I got the flight of microbrews and nachos. The beer was good and we had: Buglin’ Bull Wheat, Buglin’ Armstrong Ale, Buglin’ Bull Black Hills Gold and Buglin’ Bull Nut Brown Ale.
With full bellies we were ready for the next city which was Hill City! Hill City is also in the heart of the Black Hills and just a short drive from Custer. They have tons of tree covered mountains in this area. It is beautiful and quite touristy in the downtown. But we were here for another reason on the edge of town.
Miner Brewing! From their website:
“We craft classically-styled beers of traditional, European flavor profiles, highlighted with local and regional ingredients to make them distinctively “South Dakota.” All of our beers are produced in individual barrel fermenters, allowing us to maintain close attention to microbrew quality and flavor profiles at all times. The results are craft beers that are approachable and distinctive, to be enjoyed by craft beer novices and enthusiasts alike.”
This was hands down the best beer of the day and excellent atmosphere with polite servers. We got a flight and I also got a grower of Miner Light to go. Miner Light is a typical light beer with about 4% ABV. Perfect for sipping at a get together. I’d gladly go back here again!
The guys aren’t into beer tasting and they grabbed a nap in the pickup while we tasted away. From there we headed about another hour north for a quick stop in Deadwood to try our luck on the slots (no winners) and get some chocolate and ice cream from the Chubby Chipmunk. We were running low on time so we just swung into my favorites: Saloon 10 (they were sadly out of popcorn, ugh!!), Hickoks and the VFW. Deadwood is always a fun time.
Our final destination for the day was Spearfish. I just love Spearfish, it is so beautiful there. We checked into the Days Inn – excellent hotel, clean and good breakfast. I also liked our doors opened to the outside as it was easy to load and unload our goods. From there, we went to Crow Peak Brewing for a quick drink and then went to eat pizza at Dough Trader Pizza Company. I’d recommend both to anyone even though this time Crow Peak didn’t really have any beer that tickled my fancy. It’s still a neat place. And if you ride bike, they have a fun rack for you to park your bike!
South Dakota is a fun time. Be sure to check out some of these places if you are in the vicinity!