The Black Hills of South Dakota.
As you drive west across the state, they strike you suddenly — dark and majestic against the light blue sky with cotton ball clouds. This is the land the Natives declared sacred, and over the centuries, nothing has changed. The hills I call home still exude spirituality.
Most people automatically think of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial when they think of the Black Hills. These are indeed two Black Hills monuments everyone should see. There are also a few hidden gems nestled within the Ponderosa pines.
In Rapid City, the most populated city in the Black Hills, visitors will enjoy:
- Vertex Sky Bar at the Hotel Alex Johnson. This beautiful art deco bar is located on the rooftop of the Hotel Alex Johnson, a historic building in downtown Rapid City. With breathtaking views of the hills surrounding you as you dine and drink alfresco, you’ll forget you’re in South Dakota.
- Chapel in the Hills. This gorgeous stave church stands in a picaresque neighborhood on Rapid City’s west side. Be sure to have your camera ready as you tour the church, take a meditative prayer walk, and browse Norwegian trinkets in the gift shop. The church is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Art Alley. Located in downtown Rapid City, Art Alley offers the most original art in the Black Hills. The spray-painted murals are richly diverse. Take a stroll through the alley and marvel at the creativity which surrounds you.
- Main Street Square. The Square hosts ice skating, outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, and movies under the stars. Located in the heart of downtown Rapid City, the Square also offers unique shopping opportunities including specialty book stores, gift stores and boutiques.
- Falling Rock. Located a few miles outside of Rapid City, Falling Rock provides some of the most stunning views in the entire Black Hills. Rock climbers and hikers love this area, as do photography enthusiasts. Just be aware: they don’t call it Falling Rock for nothing. Be careful not to stand too close to cliff edges.