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Overview

Nestled along the banks of the Big Sioux River, Sioux Falls (pop. 148,000) is the largest small city in South Dakota and three neighboring states - North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Incorporated in 1876, the city gets it name from its scenic waterfalls formed 14,000 years ago when Ice Age glaciers retreated. Although it might be a surprise to find waterfalls in the middle of the Great Plains, the Falls of the Big Sioux River drop 7,400 gallons of water every second over 100 feet. Glistening under the falls is a rare stone, pink quartzite, used to construct many of the city's older buildings. Known to the Lakota Sioux as "Laughing Waters," ...

Nestled along the banks of the Big Sioux River, Sioux Falls (pop. 148,000) is the largest small city in South Dakota and three neighboring states - North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Incorporated in 1876, the city gets it name from its scenic waterfalls formed 14,000 years ago when Ice Age glaciers retreated. Although it might be a surprise to find waterfalls in the middle of the Great Plains, the Falls of the Big Sioux River drop 7,400 gallons of water every second over 100 feet. Glistening under the falls is a rare stone, pink quartzite, used to construct many of the city's older buildings. Known to the Lakota Sioux as "Laughing Waters," the Big Sioux River winds through the city and provides a wealth of outdoor activities and lovely scenes. Seeking to protect and spotlight its natural gifts, Sioux Falls has numerous parks spread over the city. A paved 14-mile path follows the course of the Big Sioux River and is a popular place for biking, jogging and walking. Hop aboard a free climate-controlled trolley that runs mid April to late December. Looking like a 1900s streetcar, the trolley is a great way to see Sioux Falls and learn the lay of the land.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Visit in June for the annual Sioux Falls JazzFest, one of the largest free outdoor jazz and blues festivals in the nation.