Things to do in Brookings, South Dakota

Introduction to Brookings, South Dakota

Brief history and background information

Brookings, South Dakota, is located in the eastern part of the state and is the fourth largest city in South Dakota.

It is home to South Dakota State University, the state’s largest university and a hub of cultural, educational, and economic activities. Brookings has a rich history, with roots dating back to the late 1800s when it was founded as a stop on the Milwaukee Railroad line.

Overview of Brookings, SD, and its attractions

Brookings is a vibrant and thriving city with various activities and attractions that suit all interests. Brookings has something to offer if you’re looking for outdoor recreation, cultural experiences, or family-friendly fun.

Things to do in Brookings, South Dakota

From scenic parks and gardens to cutting-edge cultural institutions, the city is a hub of activity and a great place to visit.

Outdoor Activities in Brookings, South Dakota

McCrory Gardens and South Dakota Arboretum

McCrory Gardens is a beautiful outdoor space in Brookings. This 70-acre garden features many plants and trees, including native prairie plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Visitors can stroll through the garden, admire the lush greenery, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Dakota Nature Park

Dakota Nature Park is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. The park is spread over a large land area with lush green forests, rolling hills, and sparkling lakes.

One of the main attractions of Dakota Nature Park is its outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the park on foot, bike, or horseback and enjoy various activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, and bird-watching. In addition, several trails in the park offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife.

Cultural Attractions in Brookings, South Dakota

The Brookings Art Council & Gallery is an excellent place for art lovers to visit in Brookings. This cultural institution features a range of exhibitions and events showcasing the work of local artists and creatives. Visitors can explore the gallery, admire the displayed works, and learn about the local art scene.

Children’s Museum of South Dakota

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota is a fun and educational destination for families in Brookings. This museum features a range of interactive exhibits and activities designed to spark the imagination and engage kids of all ages. Visitors can enjoy hands-on learning experiences and have fun while exploring the museum.

Children's Museum of South Dakota
Children’s Museum of South Dakota” by minnemom is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center

The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center is a vibrant cultural hub in Brookings. This center features a range of performances and events, including concerts, plays, and lectures. In addition, visitors can enjoy live performances, explore the cultural exhibits, and learn about the university’s rich cultural heritage.

South Dakota Art Museum

Another must-see historical site in Brookings is the South Dakota Art Museum, which showcases the works of regional and national artists. This museum is a great place to visit if you are interested in art and want to learn more about the artists who have made their mark in South Dakota.

Shopping & Dining in Brookings, South Dakota

Downtown Brookings & Main Avenue

The heart of Brookings is its historical downtown and Main Avenue, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. From antique and gift shops to specialty boutiques and vintage clothing stores, there’s something for everyone in this charming downtown area.

Brookings SD
Brookings SD” by Jon Platek is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Brookings Farmers Market

The Brookings Farmers Market is the place to be if you’re looking for fresh produce and locally-made goods. Held on Saturdays in the heart of downtown, this market offers various seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and more.

In addition to the farmers market, Brookings is home to many popular restaurants and cafes. So whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a quick lunch, or a romantic dinner, a restaurant or cafe suits your needs and taste buds.

Here is a list of popular restaurants and cafes in Brookings, South Dakota:

  • Dairy Queen Grill & Chill
  • Pints & Quarts
  • Cubbys Sports Bar & Grill
  • Applebee’s Grill + Bar
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Wooden Legs Brewing Company
  • Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge
  • Skinner’s Pub
  • Craft Chophouse & Lounge
  • Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill

Sports & Recreation in Brookings

Swiftel Center

The Swiftel Center is a state-of-the-art event center that provides a wide range of entertainment and sports opportunities. Whether you’re interested in attending a concert, a live theater performance, or a sporting event, the Swiftel Center is the place to be.

Larson Ice Center

The Larson Ice Center is perfect for ice hockey fans to enjoy a game or take to the ice themselves. With multiple rinks, a pro shop, and a full-service restaurant, the Larson Ice Center is a true hub of activity and excitement.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits Athletics

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits Athletics program is a must-see for college sports fans. From football and basketball to wrestling and volleyball, this program offers various sports and events to suit everyone’s interests.

Historical Sites & Landmarks

Brookings County Museum

One of Brookings, South Dakota’s biggest draws, is its rich history and important historical sites and landmarks. The Brookings County Museum is a great place to start for those interested in learning about the city’s history and heritage. This museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Brookings and the surrounding area.

South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum in Brookings

The South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum is also a must-visit for those interested in the state’s rich agricultural history. This museum is home to an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the state’s rich agricultural heritage and the critical role agriculture has played in shaping the state’s economy and culture.

Conclusion about Things to do in Brookings, South Dakota

In conclusion, Brookings, South Dakota, is a charming city with a unique blend of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, shopping and dining, sports and recreation, and historical landmarks. Brookings has something for everyone, whether you are a fan of the arts, history, sports, or nature, or just looking for a laid-back place to relax and unwind.

From the bustling downtown and main avenue to the scenic McCrory Gardens and South Dakota Arboretum, from the Brookings Farmers Market to the Swiftel Center and Larson Ice Center, from the Brookings County Historical Society to the South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings is a city that is brimming with opportunities for discovery and adventure. So if you’re looking for a new place to visit and explore, add Brookings, South Dakota, to your list.

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