Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota and visitors can enjoy many attractions. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south. The city is the fastest-growing metro area in South Dakota, with a population increase of 22% between 2000 and 2010. As of 2016, Sioux Falls had an estimated population of 178,500. The metropolitan population of 251,854 accounts for 29% of South Dakota's population.
French voyagers/explorers visited the area in the early 18th century. The first documented visit by an American (of European descent) was by Philander Prescott, who camped overnight at the falls in December 1832. Chartered in 1856 on the banks of the Big Sioux River, the city is situated in the rolling hills on the western edge of the Midwest at the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 29.
Among the most visited Sioux Falls attractions, the Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History offers a variety of experiences on its 45 acres. With children's programs and more than 800 animals from around the world, the Zoo features natural habitats and a newly added African savanna. The Siouxland Heritage Museums include the Old Courthouse Museum and the Pettigrew Home & Museum. Standing since the 1890s, the quartzite courthouse has been restored and transformed into a regional history museum. The historic home, another example of Sioux Falls's transformation from frontier outpost to thriving city, was the home of South Dakota's first senator.
Visitors will find plenty of things to do in Sioux Falls. The list of Sioux Falls attractions includes many museums, where visitors can explore the history of the Old West, Native Americans, and the US military. The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College works to interpret life on the Great Plains. An extensive collection of art and artifacts from Native Americans and frontier settlers is on display in interesting exhibits at the center.
Not all of the things to do in Sioux Falls involve being inside. Those who enjoy golfing will find several courses. Kuehn Park is a favorite place for hiking and admiring the beautiful scenery. Visitors also can learn where Sioux Falls South Dakota got its name when they make a visit to Falls Park. Its visitor center is topped by a five-story observation tower; those who make it up to the top will be treated to views of the Big Sioux River and the pink quartzite rock deposits. Just outside of town, Palisades State Park is another place to see quartzite. Whether hiking the trails, fishing, or lounging on the front porch of one of the cabins, visitors will have plenty of opportunities to admire the views.
Sioux Falls is home to the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences, which is a great place to experience arts and culture in South Dakota. Its Husby Performing Arts Center provides a home for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Broadway-caliber stage shows. The institution also offers several other entertaining things to do in Sioux Falls through visits to the Visual Arts Center, Kirby Science Discovery Center, and the CineDome Theater.