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Wall Drug

510 Main St.
Wall  South Dakota  57790
United States
(605) 279-2175
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Midwest Living Review

Lori Erickson
This exuberantly kitschy roadside landmark is famous for its free ice water, five-cent cups of coffee and Western souvenirs.

It's not hard to figure out which exit to take for Wall Drug; billboards advertising this tourist magnet line Interstate-90 for hundreds of miles. Each day, thousands of visitors detour off the highway to check out this all-encompassing complex of interconnected stores designed to resemble a frontier town.

In 1936, Wall Drug was little more than a struggling pharmacy in a dying town when owners Ted and Dorothy Hustead hatched the idea to offer free ice water to travelers. Since then, the place has grown and evolved into a sprawling city block housing a little bit of everything. To wit, visitors can listen to a mechanical cowboy band play Western tunes, try their hand at panning for gold, say a prayer at the Travelers Chapel, and ride a jackalope (a mythical cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope).

Not everything here is kitsch; some of the stores sell quality Western-style clothing, fine jewelry, leather goods and camping supplies. Wall Drug also has a large collection of original Western art and an excellent bookstore specializing in Western titles. In the cafeteria, sample a bison burger and a signature doughnut made fresh on-site daily. And in case you were wondering, the ice water is still free.

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