sioux fALLs has it ALL ...
Falls is a city that lives large but easy.
Sports, shopping, symphony, art, theater, and social
activities power the
city's population, summer and winter. Whatever
trips your trigger, Sioux Falls has it. If we
don't, we'll have it tomorrow. There's so much
to see and like, it's hard to know where to begin.
This page introduces you to a few of the city's
features -- there are city web pages, created by
professional web designers, devoted to
telling you more.
In this section, we list a few
of the city's attractions and links -- why you may
like to visit, and why we like living here. We
don't want to overwhelm you, so the list is not
inclusive. What's most important is that you
found the Gallery, but also we'd like to
help you discover more about this vibrant city.
encompassing and informed view of Sioux
Falls and our cultural attractions, visit this
excellent website for photos and text:
Gallagher's Travels.com. Download the
2006 Summer Activities Guide in PDF format. Or, go to:
E-Podunk.com for general city info. Be
sure to click your browser's Back button as
many times as necessary to return to this page.
Navigate to other sections of this web site by
clicking the page titles in the orange bar above or
the purple page names at the very bottom of this
City of Sioux
Falls web site had, among other things, a great video of
the very early days. It was 30 minutes long, but
unfortunately, they deleted it. Please send an
email to the city website and ask them to host it
again on their webpage. It's wonderful.
The video was called 'Historic Downtown Sioux
Falls'. Photo at right shows the Minnehaha
County Courthouse, constructed of local pink
quartzite (jasper), and completed in 1889 at a cost of $80,000.
county web site.
Sculpture Walk downtown - click on the
underlined words to go to their web site to see
photos of all this year's sculptures. You can
vote for your favorite online or pick up a ballot
We have a very good and improving city-wide
Bike Trail. You can download the bike
trail map in PDF format by clicking on Current Bike
Trail Map. If you have a
weekend to spend in Sioux Falls, set aside a little
time to enjoy the outdoors.
activities include our summer festivals. See a
list lower on this page at:
The Convention &
Visitors Bureau hosts a city map with points of
interest marked. This page includes a
map of downtown, as well
as a city map.
source of useful information is Main Street Sioux
Falls. Their marketing name is Downtown
Sioux Falls, or DTSF. Their web site lists
Give Dan Statema a call if you need info that you
can't find on the DTSF or city web sites. Tell
him Prairie Star sent you.
Falls on the Big Sioux
Falls Park is the city's historic birthplace. The
Falls of the Big Sioux River are the most frequently
photographed feature in the region. The popular park
is also the most heavily visited site in the Sioux
almost mystical allure of the Falls has always been
a powerful influence. This special place of natural
beauty has been attracting visitors ever since the
earliest prehistoric peoples occupied the great
northern plains. Sioux Falls exists as a city today
because the land speculators who staked town site
claims here in 1856 came in search of the cascades,
inspired by stories of their impressive beauty and
Fall Park has been dramatically transformed in
recent years by comprehensive improvements,
effectively reversing decades of neglect and
decline. The great scenic beauty of the Falls is now
complemented by a beautiful park setting. Many new
visitor amenities have been built, dense volunteer
scrub brush has been cleared, alcohol has been
banned from the Park, and an intensive system of
historic style pedestrian lights makes Falls Park a
safe, well-illuminated place after dark. Large
floodlights illuminate the cascades themselves. The
Park is an inviting family environment day or night.
are invited to join this ancient legacy of falls
visitors – and the thousands who now visit the area
each month - to see what’s new at Falls Park.
Attractions and Park
Sound and Light Show
The Sioux Falls Sound and Light Show uses lasers,
unique lighting, a new sound system and special
effects for a dramatic multi-media display to
showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sioux Falls.
Refinements to the script and musical score are
underway to make this popular show even more
enjoyable. The production is jointly sponsored by
Wells Fargo Bank and the Rotary International Clubs
of Sioux Falls.
Monarch of the Plains Sculpture
sculpted from a 12 ton piece of mahogany granite
mined in the Milbank area, the “Monarch” is a work
of art created by Darold Bailey. The fundraising and
organizational efforts bringing the sculpture to
Falls Park were lead by Shirley Savage.
Falls Park Visitors Information Center
The Visitors Center is staffed by the City and
managed by the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It
was built through a collaborative partnership of the
City, Forward Sioux Falls, the Development
Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce. The friendly
and helpful staff are enthusiastic ambassadors,
to assist guests seeking information about the Park
or the city services, amenities and points of
interest that Sioux Falls has to offer. Unique Sioux
Falls shirts, art prints and memorabilia are
available for purchase at the Visitors Center. The
Facility is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily,
through the summer season. The Visitor's Center
hours will return to daily service and extended
hours after Memorial Day. Attached to the Falls Park
Visitors Information Center is a tall, attractive
enclosed viewing tower with an outdoor observation
deck. Equipped with an elevator, the Viewing Tower
provides a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic vista
of the falls and the city skyline. The Viewing Tower
is open to the public during the hours when the
Visitors Center is operating.
Self-Guided Historic Walking Tours
Park is the foundation of the community’s heritage.
It is the most significant historical site in the
city. The story of Sioux Falls is intimately
entwined with Falls Park, and the history to be
found here is both broad and deep. A system of ten
large interpretive panels is distributed across the
park. The panels include full color graphics and
many early vintage photos provided by the Siouxland
Heritage Museums System to convey the fascinating
story of Falls Park. How were the falls formed? Why
does the river run north in this area? What product
fabricated at Falls Park was distributed through
Tiffany’s of New York and featured at two worlds
fairs? How did the entire lower tier of the falls
disappear? What happened to Seney Island? The
answers to these questions and much more can be
found in the system of interpretive panels.
Horse Barn Arts Center
in the late 1800’s as a horse barn, owned by the
City of Sioux Falls and now managed by the Sioux
Empire Arts Council, the
Horse Barn Arts Center
houses an art gallery in the former hayloft, and an
exhibit space in several of the former horse stalls
and along the granite wall of the main level. Both
the Loft Gallery and Falls Portfolio Gallery feature
different exhibits of local art every month of the
year. The gift shop occupies 2 of the former
“stalls”, and there is one working artist’s stall.
A variety of activities take place in both levels,
from artist demonstrations to hands-on activities
for kids and adults, classes and workshops, poetry
readings, artist receptions, or musical
performances. Our space also serves as a meeting
place for several local arts organizations. Open
year round; April through October – Monday through
Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays from
noon to 5:00 pm; November through March – Wednesday
through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday noon
to 4:00 pm.
National Register Historic Buildings
Falls Park buildings are listed on the National
Register of Historic Places by the National Park
Service. The oldest and most remarkable is the ruins
of the Queen Bee Mill, built of native Sioux
quartzite in 1878. Once an imposing, massive grain
mill of six-plus stories, maple floors and the
finest imported Scottish machinery, the building
went up in a spectacular blaze in 1957. The ruins
were placed on the National Register in 1984, and
more recently have been stabilized by masonry
repair. It remains a monument to the boundless
energy and optimism of the earliest town builders
and civic leaders.
Sioux Falls Light and Power Hydroelectric Plant,
known by most residents as the old “NSP Building”,
began using water power to generate electricity for
streetlights and the Sioux Falls Traction System
(streetcar trolleys) in 1907. Northern States Power
donated the property to the City in 1974, the
adjoining steam fired electrical plant was
demolished, and the remaining original quartzite
building was added to the National Register in 1993.
Sioux Falls Trolley
Catch a ride on the
Sioux Falls Trolley (map) and take a sentimental
journey back in time. Discover the many unique shops
downtown or enjoy a meal at one of downtown's fine
restaurants. The trolley is FREE and operates on a
Farmers Market is located near the northern
boundary of the Falls Park, just north of the Horse
Barn, along Falls Park
Drive. The site is easily accessible and has ample
parking. Numerous vendors set up their stands to
offer fresh produce, flowers, jellies, preserves,
artistically hand crafted items and many other
delightful items of interest. The Farmers Market
operates from May through October of each year. The
stands are open for business on Saturdays from 8:00
a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Festival of Cultures -- June 18, 2005
This fun event is jointly sponsored by the Sioux
Falls Multi-Cultural Center and Main Street Sioux
Falls. It is a celebration of the many cultural
traditions found in Sioux Falls and the surrounding
area. The Festival includes exhibits, entertainment
and foods representing more than a dozen cultural
Artfalls at Falls Park -- June 25-26, 2005
The Festival features visual, performing and
culinary artists from a nine state area. Both
children and adults will enjoy opportunities to
play, sing, dance and interact with the artists as
they display and perform during this annual
celebration. Participants can take part in a wide
variety of guided, hands-on creative arts and crafts
Jazz Fest -- July 15-16, 2005
Two days of good, free, jazz and blues. Tends
to be hot in mid-July in Sioux Falls, so dress
Photo at right.
Sidewalk Arts Festival -- September 10, 2005
The Sidewalk Arts Festival is the Sioux Falls
region's largest one-day outdoor festival. Held each
year in historic downtown Sioux Falls, the Sidewalk
Arts Festival fills Phillips Avenue from 9th to 14th
Streets, draws 65,000 visitors and showcases 375
fine art, folk art, and craft booths. Artist and
food vendors come from Arizona, Colorado, Florida,
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana,
Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South
Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Downtown Harvest Festival -- September 24, 2005
Brief summary can be found at the
Northern Plains Arts Market -- September 23-25, 2005
More details about the market will be included here as
provided by Jack Herman, at
University, on the Rosebud Indian Reservations,
Mission, South Dakota. It's a wonderful market
with a 17-yr history, with 75-100 juried artists
from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska,
and other states.
Sioux Falls Overview (above)
1908 power plant reopens as eatery
Diners enjoy renovations, panini
Sioux Falls Argus Leader,
The latest Falls Park
renovation was unveiled to the public Saturday
morning as the much-delayed Overlook Cafe finally
opened its doors for business.
Suellin Richardson, 2, sits by her
mother, Lisa, and looks out the window
Saturday while eating her hot dog and
fries at the new Falls Park Overlook
Cafe at Falls Park. Saturday was the
first day the cafe was open to the
(photos by stuart villanueva / argus leader)
IF YOU GO
The new Falls Park Overlook Cafe will be
open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with
summer hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The cafe is located in the former Northern
States Power building, constructed in 1908.
Friends Dorothy Knutson and Dwaine
Bogenhagen eat under a historic
photograph of the Northern States Power
Situated on the east side of the park, the cafe -
which used to be a Northern States Power building -
welcomed a curious crowd of folks who came to sample
the restaurant's quick menu or simply see how the
city had renovated this 1908 building overlooking
the Falls and Big Sioux River.
"We just came here to check it out," said Mark
Clyde. "It's nice. It's a big change from what it
used to look like."
Indeed. The 4,200-square-foot stone building now
features an interior fashioned with light wood
tables and highlights under a vaulted ceiling with
The walls boast large windows and are decorated with
historical black-and-white photos depicting the
building's former life as an energy hub.
Aside from giving context to the history of the
structure, the photos illustrate how far the Falls
themselves have come.
Pictures from before and after the Great Depression
show the city's namesake landmark amid an
unfriendly, rock-strewn landscape.
After taking a look at the past, visitors found it
easy to appreciate the present.
"They've done a wonderful job of fixing it," said
Enjoying a meal with her granddaughter, Megan,
Barnett recalled her youth, when she would ride her
bike to the Falls regularly. But there never was
access to this building, she remembered.
Last fall, some wondered whether there ever would be
access to the cafe. The opening originally was
planned for fall, but delays pushed it back.
Now, nearly two seasons later, the Overlook Cafe is
open to the public.
Inside, guests will find a modest but stylish cafe
with fast-food service and prices for
near-restaurant-style menu items ranging from pizza
to ice cream to gourmet coffee to panini sandwiches.
Russ DeCurtins, manager of the Arena and Orpheum
Theater, said the cafe will be open every day with
extended hours during the summer.
Philadelphia-based management company SMG, which is
contracted to manage the Arena and Orpheum, also
handles management operations for the Overlook Cafe.
"I think we're going to have good crowds every day
at noon," DeCurtins said.
He also said the menu will vary periodically as the
staff tries new things.
Saturday, people seemed intent on trying the panini,
which basically are sandwiches fried on a specialty
RanDell Winter, chef and manager of the cafe, said
the eatery periodically will offer special varieties
of panini, which are made with a choice of meats,
cheeses and vegetable toppings.
And though she expects people will be drawn to the
panini, Winter said it won't be the cafe's signature
"The thing that is going to be our signature item is
our ice cream cone," Winter said.
She said that during summer months, when visitation
to the park is at its peak, the ice cream cones - in
both sugar and waffle cone varieties - will be a
And, of course, she expects the atmosphere to be a
But on a day with a chilly wind, few people dared to
eat their food on the cafe's veranda, which hangs
over the exit stream of the waterfalls.
People were more content to simply take in the view
via the windows.
Reach reporter Robert Morast at 331-2313.
below to view
large 2-MB PDF file)
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