Recently I started dating someone who lives two and a half hours away in the big city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Weekly drives to S.'s house have put me in touch with the most populated city in the state, nicknamed the Stone Shatter City by the indigenous Lakota. However, maxing out at approximately 165,000 residents doesn't exactly make Sioux Falls a metropolis.
That's a good thing.
This East River city has everything you could ask for in terms of shopping, a hip downtown scene, and entertainment venues including the controversial new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. Yet every road I take while in and around Sioux Falls features more green space than I would have ever imagined, given South Dakota's penchant for droughts, and the fact that the encompassing county of Lincoln is the ninth fastest-growing city in the nation.
More than 70 city parks, a ski resort, forest fed walking paths, a river that completely surrounds the city and is followed by a 19-mile bike path and hiking trails...these things make my heart sing. Couple that with my new beau and it's looking pretty peachy over this way for a change :).
And then there is the Big Sioux, a river that established this town way back when in 1856. This is where we spent a few Sundays ago, just floating along in rented kayaks, praying for a raging rapid. No, our prayers weren't answered, but thankfully no one in our group capsized.
The Big Sioux flows along for 419 miles starting from Roberts County, SD in the uppermost eastern corner of the state. Spilling out into a complex of waterfalls located in the downtown area of Sioux Falls, you can see how the city got its name.
The waterfalls are remnants of the last ice age, occurring 14,000 years ago. Around the Falls Park's 123-acre complex you can investigate the fossilized glacier crevices and creep over petrified boulders carved sharply, the result of rock mining.
Most of the Sioux Quartzite, aka a Proterozoic rock, from the falls was mined and used to build buildings and mansions all over the region including the downtown area of Sioux Falls. You can see the proof of the pink rock with a pass of the Federal Building, the Old Courthouse Museum, and the Washington Pavilion.
Falls Park is also the location of multiple Native American burial mounds, near the banks of the waterfalls. Given that several buildings and businesses had short lives here at the falls, it makes you wonder...
Other outdoor highlights on my Sioux Falls Bucket List?
- Great Bear Recreation Park for skiing and sledding this winter
- Big Sioux Recreation Area to go biking on the daily
- Checking out and voting for my fave piece along the SculptureWalk in downtown
- Visit the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science with M.
- Hit up the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues festival next July
- Farmers Markets at Falls Park for flowers, fruits and live entertainment on the weekends
I'll keep you posted on my new Sioux Falls experiences!
Do you live in Sioux Falls currently, or are you a former Sioux Falls resident? What can you share about the city of Sioux Falls?
Please comment below!