Pioneers transformed the prairie settlement of Sioux Falls with buildings of distinctive pink quartzite. Beds of that same quartzite wear smoother every century from the force of the Big Sioux River—its waterfalls just blocks from downtown in the state's largest city.
Pair a fresh cup of coffee at Josiah’s Coffeehouse and Cafe with the baked French toast for a satisfying breakfast.
In nearby Falls Park, the Big Sioux River drops 100 feet in a series of dramatic waterfalls. Take the elevator to the top of the five-story viewing tower for the best vistas, then stroll the park’s paved walkway.
Enjoy soups, sandwiches and great falls views at the Falls Overlook Cafe in a 1908 hydroelectric plant.
A $1-a-day trolley ferries passengers through the downtown to Phillips Avenue, where you’ll walk past some of more than 55 pieces of art on the SculptureWalk as you shop galleries and boutiques.
Three floors of regional history draw visitors to the Old Courthouse Museum, a restored 1880s quartzite building.
If you've got kids along, head for the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences, which features hands-on exhibits at the Kirby Science Discovery Center, or the 45-acre Great Plains Zoo, which houses more than 850 animals from around the world.
At K Restaurant, the dinner menu changes each weekend for never-monotonous dining.
A few miles northwest of downtown, an indoor water park and classy, oversize digs welcome families to Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel (from $149).
Phillips Avenue Diner serves fluffy pancakes in a retro setting. Spend the rest of the morning paddling past blue herons and soaring bluffs on Split Rock Creek in Palisades State Park.
Mama’s Ladas Enchilada Shop and Wine Bar’s cheesy signature dish is a can’t-miss.
Hiking trails, The Outdoor Campus, and Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove await at Sertoma Park.
Art galleries, vintage goods and two great restaurants fill an afternoon at 8th and Railroad Center.
More information: Visit Sioux Falls (800) 333-2072; visitsiouxfalls.com
Meal You’ll Remember
On balmy nights, outdoor seating at Paramount Studio and Wine Bar lets diners enjoy the view of downtown’s SculptureWalk and historic buildings. Linger over drinks—we loved the slightly sweet Strawberry Basil Grande Martini with a dusting of black pepper—then nosh on dishes like regional fave chislic (pan-fried cubes of beef) or Paramount Pizza. A delicate tiramisu rounds out your meal. (605) 332-5681; minervas.net/paramount-studio-sioux-falls