Things to Do in Yankton, South Dakota

Places to visit in Yankton, SD.

There are some things to do in Yankton, South Dakota. From history to art, the community has various options for visitors. This riverside town offers a great mix of culture and natural beauty. If you plan a trip to Yankton, South Dakota, you might want to know what to do during your stay. Several options are available, from the Dakota Territorial Museum to the Cottonwood Recreation Area.

What to do in Yankton, South Dakota

Meridian Bridge Plaza

The Meridian Bridge is a double-decked pedestrian bridge that spans 3,029 feet over the Missouri River. It is located in Yankton, South Dakota, and connects the city with rural Cedar County, Nebraska.

Meridian Bridge Plaza is a recreational facility near the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota. It features a fountain, benches, green space, and a splash pad. This is the site of summer concerts and several events.

Meridian Bridge Yankton
Meridian Bridge Yankton

The plaza is part of the RiverWalk project, a collection of outdoor sculptures designed by local artists to pay tribute to the city’s history. Several of the sculptures celebrate nature and spirituality.

This area is ideal for picnics and other activities. In addition, visitors can enjoy the scenery and views of the Missouri River. A half-mile trail takes visitors past small farms, a sailing marina, and quaint restaurants.

Meridian Bridge Plaza Yankton
Meridian Bridge Plaza Yankton

The walking bridge was completed in 2011. Visitors can stroll across the two-story bridge to look at the historic structure.

During the summer months, visitors can attend the annual Riverboat Days fireworks show from the deck of the Meridian Bridge. Also, during the Fourth of July, the Rock ‘N’ Rumble motorcycle parade takes place on the bridge.

Cottonwood Recreation Area

Located along the western shore of Lake Yankton, the Cottonwood Recreation Area is part of a more extensive outdoor recreation system. This stately 250-acre park is just a short drive from downtown Yankton and is a popular choice among families, couples, and singles alike.

The lake is relatively small but boasts many amenities, including a boat ramp, marina, and a boat rental company.

Places to go in Yankton, South Dakota

In addition to the lake, the Cottonwood Recreation Area also boasts two modern shower houses and a disc golf course. For the adventurous, there are several trail systems to explore. If you’re looking for a more sedate outing, try the Missouri River.

A paved trail runs from Yankton to the more remote reaches of the river, including the Training Dike Day-Use Area.

Riverside Park in Yankton

Riverside Park is a city park along the Missouri River. It is home to an 18-hole golf course. In addition, the park is a popular recreation area, especially during the summer months.

The park is also famous for fishing, boating, and other water-related activities. In addition, visitors can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the Missouri National Recreational River. A couple of hundred yards downstream from the park is a camping site.

Riverside Park
Riverside Park

In addition to the park, Riverside Park offers a visitor center. The center contains a film about the Missouri River, a room for viewing stamps, and a map of attractions in the area.

Fans of music should also check out the Yankton Summer Concert Series. Held every Tuesday evening in June, the concerts feature an all-volunteer concert band led by guest conductors. All tickets include a meal catered by River’s Edge.

Dakota Territorial Museum

The Dakota Territorial Museum in Yankton, South Dakota, is a great place to learn about the history of the mighty Dakota Territory. It features interactive exhibits that showcase the past and present of the region. In addition, visitors can expect to find the requisite Native American Sioux (Lakota) Indian artifacts, historical exhibits, and a slew of educational programs and events.

Mead building, Home of Dakota Territorial Museum, Yankton
Mead building, Home of Dakota Territorial Museum, Yankton

The Dakota Territorial Museum is located on Summit Street in West Side Park, just a stone’s throw from the downtown area. In the summer, the museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday through Friday and noon to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. There are also a couple of lodging options close by.

The Dakota Territorial Museum is worth a visit for its historical significance, fun educational programs, and well-stocked gift shop. It is located on the Mead Cultural Education Center campus, which is also home to the Yankton County Historical Society.

Sacred Heart Monastery

The Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton is not just a church but a community of women devoted to God, each other, and their patrons. This is a place to go when you want a bit of spiritual respite from your daily grind. Here you can find many opportunities to connect with your peers and mentors. So whether you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue or want to learn more about Catholicism, the sisters at this monastery will help you.

Founded by Mother Gabriella in 1922, the monastery grew from a sprinkling of nuns into a posse of over 300 by the mid-1960s. This was due to several factors, not the least of which was the drought of the late fifties. However, these ladies weren’t content to sit around and let the lack take its toll.

They embraced the opportunity and sprang into action. They built a hospital, a school, and a slew of social amenities in two years. The first prioress was chosen during this time: Sister Pia Tegler, today a celebrated figure in her own right. Thankfully, despite her busy schedule, her sisters remained faithful to the mission of the Sacred Heart.

Best Things to Do in Yankton, South Dakota

Places to visit in Yankton, SD:

  1. Meridian Bridge Plaza
  2. Cottonwood Recreation Area
  3. Riverside Park in Yankton
  4. Dakota Territorial Museum
  5. Sacred Heart Monastery
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