23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Hill City (SD)

South Dakota’s Hill City is a municipal city filled with many spots offering many recreational activities.

This beautiful city, despite its size, entails several attractive spots such as beautiful parks, museums, railroad, dinosaur fossils, festivals, and an old steam train preserved since the 18th century.

Aside from being referred to as the “Heart of the Hills,” Hill City is also known as the city on the foot of the well-known Black Hills.

Aside from the parks and ancient beacons found in Hill City, SD, this small city is also vibrant in terms of arts and crafts.

Are you making preparations for a fantastic travel experience? Visit Hill City and witness the goodness of the significantly underestimated location.

Some amenities you can find in Hill City, SD, are pubs, lots of eateries, wineries, and more to ensure a fun-filled time during your visit.

Hill City SD has a thrilling treat for everyone, whether you visit alone or with friends and family.

If you are planning an exploration of Hill City, Here are the best things to do in Hill City, SD.

Things to do in Hill City, SD

1. Black Hills Central Railroad/1880 Train

Black Hills Central Railroad/1880 Train.
Credits: GagliardiPhotography / Shutterstock
Black Hills Central Railroad/1880 Train

Upon your arrival at Hill City, SD, take a trip back in time by making your first stop at the 1880 Train/ Black Hills Railroad or 1880 train, as popularly known amongst the locals.

The 1880 train is one of the recommended locations to visit to witness the beautiful natural environment of South Dakota in the rare sight of over a hundred years old trains.

This steam-powered train conveys people from Hill City to Keystone town over a distance of 32.187 kilometers giving tourists a chance to learn about the history of the area and its mining activities in past times.

Passengers/ tourists can see South Dakota’s unaltered beauty in the forests, rivers, and mountains while on the 1880 train.

A visit to the 1880 train is worthy of being on your list of top things to do in Hill City, SD. The attraction functions from 9 am through to 3 pm every day.

Address: 222 Railroad Ave, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

2. Museum @ Black Hills Institute

Museum @ Black Hills Institute
Credits: Jenni Konrad / Flickr
Museum @ Black Hills Institute

Did you know that the Museum @ Black Hills Institute has a set of well-arranged fossils of a Tyrannosaurus-Rex? Amongst the fossils of other prehistoric animals, rocks, and plants, you can see the Tee-Rex named “Stan.”

The Museum is a famous spot among folks intrigued by fossils of prehistoric life forms and people who would like to have better insight.

Aside from the well-assembled collection of the Tyrannosaurus-rex petrified remains called Stan in the Museum, there are other fossils of plants, meteorites, minerals, and prehistoric life forms of the marine world.

The Black Hills Institute, the group behind this Museum, has played a vital role in different paleontological excavations dating back to the 70s and, as such, remains the chief distributor of fossils to other museums.

A visit to the Museum @ Black Hills institute is one of the fun things to do in Hill City, SD. The Museum opens at 8:30 am and closes at 4:30 pm daily.

Address: 117 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

3. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

 Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Credits:Exploring and Living / Shutterstock
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Have you always wanted to see the mega-sized face stone sculptures of Roosevelt, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Washington in real life? If yes, visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial which is located in Keystone, SD.

Learn about the deep secrets of one of the iconic monuments of America, an essential part of their culture and history sculpted on the rocky mountain.

The idea of Mount Rushmore belonged to Doane Robinson, popularly referred to as the father of Mount Rushmore. However, Gutzon Borglum, a renowned sculptor, handled the construction.

The principal aim of Doane Robinson’s idea was to utilize the monument to attract tourists worldwide to his country. Since then, countless tourists have been visiting the site to date.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial goes beyond just being an iconic site attraction where you can take memorable photographs. Visit Mount Rushmore, which is about 19 minutes from Hill City, if you are a history lover or just curious about the details of this famous monument.

Address: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, United States

4. Major Lake

Major Lake
Credits: Piotr Wawrzyniuk / Shutterstock

Major Lake is a beautiful natural environment along George S. Mickelson’s 109-mile trail that extends north of Hill City to Custer City.

Major Lake is originally a fishing site but also serves the park’s purpose as it features a conducive space for many outdoor recreations.

The Lake is home to a variety of fish species and some birds as well. You can almost always find Ospreys lurking around while fishing, and you can feed them if you like.

Though Major Lake isn’t a vast Lake, one can be confident they will make good catches as the Lake has fish in abundance.

If you love fishing and want to try a serene environment, fishing at Major Lake would be one of the best things to do in Hill City, SD. Being next to the Ranger field track makes the Lake easy to locate.

Address: 301 Major Lake Drive, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

5. Hill City’s Memorial Park

Hill City's Memorial Park
Credits: Thaninee Chuensomchit / Shutterstock

Like most recreational parks, Hill City’s Memorial Park is a great place to relax and engage in outdoor rejuvenating activities.

The Park offers a sizable open area with sufficient sporting amenities, like a baseball pitch and a soccer field.

The park has picnic tables, barbeque stands, shelters, and restrooms for your convenience.

Additionally, the campground is close to Spring Creek, a well-liked fishing spot, giving you access to even more outdoor activities. Hill City’s Memorial Park is open from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening all week.

Address: 12480 Old Hill City Road, United States

6. Hill City Arts Council

Hill City Arts Council
Credits: PopTika / Shutterstock

Hill City Arts Council is a hardworking body that plans events and sets up workshops and samples to showcase its love for art through education and promoting arts in numerous innovative ways.

The Arts Council aims to encourage art in the community through the enjoyable and inexpensive events it holds from time to time.

They regularly hold musicals, fine arts, and written word activities in Hill City, which caters to locals and people around the Black Hills.

Thanks to the Hill City Arts Council, locals, and tourists near the Black Hills experience fine arts, written and spoken words, musicals, and other fun activities regularly.

The annual art-based festivities and other events play a massive role in keeping Hill City, SD, lively all year round. If you love fine, applied, and performed art, then the Hill City Art Council is your place.

Address: 280 Main Street, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

7. Black Hills Film Festival

Black Hills Film Festival
Credits: ponsulak / Shutterstock

Every February in Hill City, a yearly event is famous amongst the locals called the Black Hills Film Festival.

Tourists and locals can find the biggest group of prospective filmmakers in South Dakota and the Black Hills, where they present their entries.

It’s similar to South Dakota’s Cannes Film Festival, where people can view delightful but profound individualistic films.

In addition to the film festival, the organizers also provide workshops, seminars, and discussions where people may learn more about filmmaking and related subjects.

The fact that the filmmakers recorded some films shown at the festival in South Dakota and others shot elsewhere makes it more intriguing.

The festival’s award ceremony, during which the best student film, short film, people’s choice, featured documentary, and short documentary awards are issued, is its high point.

Attending the Black Hills Festival is among the fun things to do in Hill City, SD if you are looking for a special kind of entertainment.

Address: 280 E Main St #15, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

8. Desperados

Credits: Desperados / Facebook

The nostalgic feeling you get just by seeing the design of the Desperados Restaurant makes it famous among natives and visitors.

After completion in 1885, the Desperados restaurant building was previously used as a saloon by its former landlord “Camillo Von Woehrman,” a local merchant.

The structure has showcased exceptional civil engineering in its ability to stand to date despite suffering several fire outbreaks.

The Desperados restaurant building has been recorded as a historical landmark by the National Registry due to its role in the City’s History and the nature of its maintained old western design.

It also serves delicious American-style food and beverages. The Desperados restaurant at 301 Main St, Hill City, SD is more than capable of satisfying your hunger and leaving you wanting more.

The restaurant is not only famous for its beauty, but its American cuisine and beverages taste good enough to make you look forward to your next meal.

Address: 301 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

9. South Dakota State Railroad Museum

South Dakota State Railroad Museum
Credits: South Dakota State Railroad Museum / Facebook
South Dakota State Railroad Museum

Another spot in Hill City, SD, you would love to visit is the Railroad Museum of South Dakota, especially if you love history or are just fascinated by trains and railways.

The Museum is brimming with fascinating artifacts relating to trains, people, places, and railroads of the 1800s.

For a complete experience, stop by the South Dakota State Railroad Museum after you have enjoyed your time on the 1880 train.

Additionally, there are train models, souvenirs, antiques, and a massive 75-foot mural called a “TimeRail” throughout the Museum.

Daily hours for the South Dakota State Railroad Museum are 10 am to 3 pm. Being sited near the 1880 train makes Railroad Museum relatively easy to locate.

 Address: 222 Railroad Ave Building A, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

10. Prairie Berry Winery

Prairie Berry Winery
Credits: Vania Zhukevych / Shutterstock

The Prairie Berry winery has been given numerous awards over the last two decades. Among other top things to do in Hill City, SD, is to taste exquisite wine at the famous Prairie Berry Winery.

Without going to the Prairie Berry Winery, which has been serving superb diversities of wine for the past 146years, your trip to Hill City, SD, would be incomplete.

The Prairie Berry Winery is a family-run winery business that only uses fruits harvested from South Dakota’s prairies.

They come highly recommended since they offer complimentary wine tastings from a massive selection of wines.

Wines that are crisp, fruity, dry, oak-aged, and robust can all have diverse flavors and aromas that will leave your palate with a unique taste.

 Additionally, you can order delicious cuisine from their menu to go with your wine. The Winery is available daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Address: 23837 US-385, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

11. Hill City Public Library

Hill City Public Library
Credits: GNT STUDIO / Shutterstock

The museums in Hill City, SD, aren’t the only places to learn about the city’s history. You can also read about the town from the Hill City Public Library books.

If you are interested in the city’s history or love reading books, visiting Hill City Public Library should be on your list of best things to do in Hill City, SD.

This library is home to a well-kept substantial collection of books, memorabilia, photographs, and essential records on Hill City.

Hill City Public Library has an ongoing project aimed at creating room for new sets of books. The library is open by 8 am and closed by 5 pm daily.

Address: 341 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

12. Tracy Park

Tracy Park
Credits: Diego Cervo / Shutterstock

Tracy Park is one of best places to visit in Hill City, SD, especially if you like to go on long walks.

Tracy Park is the entranceway to George S. Mickelson’s 109-mile-long trail, which is just suitable for hiking.

The George S. Mickelson trail cuts across several parks and forest reserves towards the southern region, offering a better adventurous experience.

Tracy Park is a beautiful and peaceful natural environment with a large playground for kids, restrooms, picnic shelters, and tables that make it very conducive for outdoor relaxation in the open air.

The park is suitable for fun games such as sac racing, playing tag, yoga, and other open space recreational activities with friends and family.

Address: 512 S Newton Ave, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

13. George S. Mickelson Trail

George S. Mickelson Trail
Credits: lzf / Shutterstock

If you’re looking for what to do in Hill City, SD, and you’re up for an adventure, go hiking or biking on the long George S. Mickelson Trail. This Trail has its entrance in Tracy Park, so it is Ideal to check it out after you have spent some time in Tracy park.

The Trail travels southward, passing through Custer, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Black Hills National Forest.

Due to its sports-related recreational opportunities involving sports such as cross-country skiing, horse riding, snowshoeing, and biking, the Trail is where the majority of outdoor fanatics in South Dakota visit.

The trail was formerly a railway taken out of use in 1983. Since then, it has become a well-liked hiking trail in Hill City and the nearby towns and cities.

The trail entails the magnificent Black Hills, over one hundred bridges, and a few tunnels. If you need to stop and rest for a while, there are many shelters with seats on the other gateways along the trail.

Address: 512 S Newton Ave, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

14. The Farmer’s Daughter 

Farmer's Daughter
Credits: Farmer’s Daughter / Facebook
Farmer’s Daughter

The Farmer’s Daughter is a versatile store with friendly staff, located just across from the famous Alpine Inn. This highly recommended store has been running for about 17 years straight from 9 am-8 pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10 am-7 pm on Sundays.

Several customers in their review referred to it as a gift shop, while others said it was a fun store; this is no surprise as The Farmer’s Daughter always meets the needs of tourists seeking gifts for their loved ones.

This beautiful store organizes the most exciting treasure hunts. It sometimes hosts giveaways on its anniversary where customers can come with their moms to receive gifts.

The store is very customer friendly, and their staff will always try to put a smile on your face before you leave, which they always succeed in doing.

The Farmer’s daughter has something for both sexes and people of all ages at favorable prices. This cute store is worth the stop if you want a place to stock up on presents for your friends and family.

Address: 164 Main Street Hill City, SD 57745, United States

15. The Alpine Inn

Alpine Inn
Credits: Alpine Inn / Facebook
Alpine Inn

The Alpine is one of the famous tourist locations of Hill City, SD, previously called Harney peak Hotels.

Alpine Inn is a perfect place to rest after your daily adventures if you are wondering where to stay while in Hill City, SD.

The Inn, established in 1884, has been functioning in good condition. The rooms at this famous Inn maintain the design of the old days to give you that nostalgic yet sophisticated feel. 

Guests do not have to go elsewhere to get food because the Inn also has a magnificent restaurant that is well known for giving customers a wonderful experience.

Aside from being a renowned inn in Hill City, the Alpine Inn is a documented monument that holds great importance to the city’s background.

Address:133 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

Also check out our list of things to do in Custer , things to do in Keystone, and things to do in Mitchell, for a fun vacation in South Dakota.

16. Jon Crane Gallery

Jon Crane Gallery
Credits:guruXOX / Shutterstock

Feed your eyes with colorful artworks by renowned artists at the Jon Crane Gallery in Hill City, SD.

The Jon Crane Gallery, which showcases the work of the local artist, Jon Crane, is in the heart of the Black Hills, close to Mount Rushmore.

Jon Crane has spent more than 42 years meticulously watercolor-painting America’s rural environment and structures.

Other incredible artists in the Gallery include Carey Denman, JK Dooley, Peggy Detmers, and Joel Bielstein.

Aside from displaying works of recognized artists, the Jon Crane Gallery also offers custom frames.

The Jon Crane Gallery in Hill City, South Dakota, offers exquisite artwork, a welcoming environment, and helpful service.

Address: 256 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

17. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum
Credits: South Dakota Civilian Conservation Corps – CCC Museum / Facebook
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum

As its name implies, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum is tasked with preserving the history of Hill City and the Black Hills alongside their relics and artifacts.

The Museum, established in 2009, is nestled in a 728-square-foot building where it showcases ancient artifacts from Hill City and the Black Hills.

The Museum primarily serves those interested in the history of the CCC, offering information on the Great Depression, among other topics, and other historical events.

The CCC is a group that was first established in the 1930s to create job opportunities for the locals of South Dakota jobs at the time of the Great Depression.

The second objective of the group was to protect the rural regions from being exploited for their natural resources. The life-sized bronze statue outside the Museum honors their work today.

Address:23935 US-385, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

18. Twisted Pine Winery

Twisted Pine Winery
Credits: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

Treat yourself to palatable wines among the fun things to do in Hill City, SD. There are several vineyards and wineries in Hill City.

When you visit its wineries, please take advantage of the opportunity to taste distinctive wines unique to Hill City, SD.

One of the best wineries to visit is the Twisted Pine Winery. Its tasting room possesses a collection of wine only available in South Dakota.

Twisted Pine Winery is one of the top wineries renowned for its broad range of wines, Italian olive oils, and balsamic vinegar cultivated and produced in its vineyard.

Address: 216 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745, United States

19. Things that Rock

Things that Rock
Credits: SNS Studio / Shutterstock

As the name suggests, Things that Rock is a store with a wide selection of unusual crystals, gemstones, beading supplies, jewelry, herbal remedies, spiritual instruments, and other distinctive goods.

This shop appears to have everything for everyone, from its extensive essential oil area to its jewelry and aromatherapy sections.

Customers can visit this store’s extension at 257 Main St., which is situated between the handbag and Harley businesses.

The owner remodeled the inventory area in 2019 to make space, allowing for adding more things to give customers more options.

Their collection of tarot cards, oracle cards, novels, and other paranormally inclined products will have something to cheer you up.

Address:257 Main St. Hill City, SD 57745-800, United States

20. Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery

Warrior's Work & Ben West Gallery
Credits: Iryna Inshyna / Shutterstock

Another fantastic art gallery you can visit in Hill City, SD, is the Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery.

A large selection of artwork by about 36 local and regional artists is available and on show at Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery.

Randy Berger, the artist responsible for the invention and crafting of the mirrors and attractive leather frames seen all over the Gallery, is the profound owner of the Gallery.

Today, leather jackets, caps, men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry, and accessories have been added, giving visitors a chance to see and wear them.

If you want a place to get uniquely designed gifts for friends and family, you can check with the Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery.

Address 277 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745-8907, United States

21. Granite Sports

Granite Sports
Credits: Sergey Mironov / Shutterstock

The first store in the Black Hills to rent and sell necessities for outdoor activities, such as equipment for campers, hikers, and rock climbers, is Granite Sports.

The Granite Sports Staff comprises specialists in rock climbing and outdoor enthusiasts who are entrusted with trying out and reviewing products.

Before traversing George S. Mickelson’s Trail and other outdoor recreational areas, most novice hikers and climbers shop at the store for high-quality equipment suggested by specialists on climbing and other outdoor adventures.

Tourists and residents can access the store daily from 10 am to 7 pm, including weekends.

Visitors are always invited to browse the extensive selection of apparel and equipment needed for various activities.

Address: 201 Main St, Hill City, SD 57745-8907, United States

22. Jewel of the West

Jewel of the West
Credits: Azad Pirayandeh / Shutterstock

The Jewel of the West is a store in the old town of Hill City, SD, that sells an incredible variety of Native American, turquoise, and sterling silver jewelry.

The store offers a wide range of additional jewelry designs for women in addition to an extensive assortment of shoes, apparel, boots, scarves, handbags, and other accessories.

The male section of the store has clothes, belts made of buffalo leather, wallets, and a wide variety of knives.

The Jewel of the West sells bespoke hats and a fantastic collection of pillows, blankets, candles, glasses, and other homely items.

Jewel of the West best things to do in Hill City, SD if you plan to get presents for your loved ones on your vacation.

Address: 208 E Main St, Hill City, SD 57745-8914, United States

23. Hill City Cafe

Hill City Cafe
Credits:PLAY STUDIO / Shutterstock

Hill City Cafe is a local, ancient Greek-styled restaurant in Hill City, SD, that offers a vast range of home-cooked meals. Customers can satisfy their hunger at any time of the day at the Hill City Café.

Browse their menu and try out the shrimp and steak. Hill City Café provides drinks and daily deals to help you unwind after a long day of traveling and sightseeing.

The South Dakotan ancient styled Restaurant will teleport you to a simpler era, giving you a fantastic experience.

Is there anything more delicious than a meal made from scratch? What about a hearty South Dakotan restaurant where you may eat a home-cooked dinner and instantly feel at ease?

Are you planning a surprise romantic dinner for your date? If yes, bringing your date to Hill City Café should be the first item on your list of best things to do in Hill City, SD. 

This traditional restaurant in the hills has long been a favorite destination for diners. Treat yourself to a lunch out where you may select from various menu items or the buffet.

Address: 209 Main Street. Hill City, SD 57745, United States

Meet the top attractions in South Dakota, here is a guide on the top things to do in Aberdeenthings to do in Sioux Falls, and the things to do in Spearfish.

Plan Your Trip to Hill City

These and many other fascinating activities are available in Hill City, further illuminating why South Dakotans refer to it as the “Heart of the Hills.”

Hill City qualifies as a place worth visiting as it features museums and recognizable monuments to educate you on early American history and culture, exotic parks to offer the ideal setting to unwind, vineyards to sweeten your stay, and many fun and exciting regions to bring you excitement.

Have fun!!