23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Yankton (SD)

In search of the best and fun things to do in Yankton, SD?

Yankton, South Dakota, is widely known as the River City due to its closeness to Missouri River and the significant role it played during the settlement and development of the city.

This region had an official headcount of 14,454 during the 2010 census. It is an important city in the Yankton Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The city is also referred to as the “Mother City of the Dakotas” via its unique and vital role in the making and development of the Dakota Territory, which turned out to become the 39th and 40th U.S states of North and South Dakota.

This destination is a great place for lots of fun and relaxation. You can check out the different historic buildings and other picturesque natural attractions if you are a history buff.

Different hiking trails will lead you from Yankton to Lewis and Clark Recreation Area. If you intend to know more about this city, here are the top things to do in Yankton, SD.

Things to Do in Yankton

1. Lewis And Clark Lake Recreational Area

Lewis And Clark Lake Recreational Area
Credits: Patrick Ziegler / Shutterstock
Lewis And Clark Lake Recreational Area

Amongst the top fun things to do in Yankton, SD is exploring the Lewis And Clark Lake Recreational Area.

This destination is situated at the borderline between South Dakota and Nebraska. It is a reservoir space with a landmass of 31,400 acres formed from the impoundment of the Missouri River located in Yankton, South Dakota.

The flow of water is controlled and managed by the Gavins Point Dam, whereas the Nebraskas’ Game and Wildlife take care of the recreational space.

This destination is available for visits on weekdays throughout the year and is open daily from memorial day weekend until labor day weekend. During your trip, you will be given a brief run down of the Missouri River Basin coupled with the Native Americans and Pioneers.

If you love outdoor trips, this destination is the ideal place to be for an exciting nature walk and sightseeing.

It features numerous picnic spots surrounding the lake that make it perfect to appreciate and enjoy nature in all ramifications.

This tourist attraction is well known for its beautiful campsites, swimming, biking, swimming, wishing, and bird hunting.

Address: 43349 SD-52, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

2. The Meridian Bridge

The Meridian Bridge
Credits: Nathan Bergeson (Natedawg414 (talk)) [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
The Meridian Bridge
One of the best things to do in Yankton, SD, is to check out the Meridian Bridge, which is one of the many attractions in this region.

The exciting phenomenon behind its history is that the meridian Bridge was the first constructed over the Missouri River. The Bridge was built in 1924 and is still in perfect shape.

Cyclists and pedestrians are the only persons permitted to use the historic bridge. You can have a stroll that will lead you to the bridge to have scintillating views of the Missouri River.

You can also bring a camera to take lovely photos when you are up there on the bridge to post on your social media handles. 

Visitors are also permitted to use a bike on the bridge; if you got a bike, you could bring it along.

Address: Yankton, sd, United States

3. National Field Archery Foundation Museum

National Field Archery Foundation Museum
Credits: Bobex-73 / Shutterstock

Another exciting activity to be part of when you visit Yankton, sd, is to check out the National Field Archery Foundation Museum, especially if you have seen the archers in movies like the Game of Thrones.

For more than 75 years, this museum has received numerous artifacts relating to archery, such as arrows, bows, and other archery equipment.

Things to find in the museum include a colossal collection of 178 recurve bows and other equipment. The various tools to see here have a history stretching back to 1990.

If you are a lover of the broad head, you will find about 189 broad head arrows displayed in the lobby.

The museum attracts many people and is visited by tourists from over 50 countries. The exhibits to find here are creative, informative, and fun as they pique the interest of many archers.

Address: 800 Archery Lane, Yankton, SD 57078.

4. Fantle Memorial Park

Fantle Memorial Park
Credits: FamVeld / Shutterstock

Another exciting place to visit is the Fantle Memorial Park. This destination offers visitors the opportunity to play some rounds of golf, swim, and do other activities on site.

If you head to this destination from June to August, you will be opportune to swim in their massive Olympic-sized swimming pool, which uses a heater to keep it at a temperature of 8°F.

Aside from this, visitors can bring Frisbees to play on the 18-hole golf course inside the park. While playing on the green, be sure to allow your kids to have a good time playing with the swings and on the playground.

Visitors can have a lovely stroll beside the smooth pedestrian paths or, more still, play a volleyball game.

Fantle Memorial Park boasts some of the top fun things to do in Yankton, SD.

Address: 2000 Douglas Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

5. Dakota Territorial Capitol Replica

Dakota Territorial Capitol Replica
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Dakota Territorial Capitol Replica

Although this place is not a historic building, it still contains many incredible historical values. These features embedded in this destination give tourists an idea of what life was back in the era of the Dakota Territory.

The Dakota Territory was founded in 1861, and the Dakota Territorial Capitol was built by people in 1862. Moreover, the building was destroyed in 1886.

The replica of the Capitol still has the same design as the initial structure.

The primary attraction in the building is the Quilt, which showcases exclusive landmarks in Yankton. In essence, the building comprises different scenes that showcase the beginning of history in Yankton.

Address: Levee St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

6. Mead Cultural Education Center

Mead Cultural Education Center
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Mead Cultural Education Center

Since there is a lot of history in Yankton, this region has tons of historic buildings for you to visit, and one place to look out for is the Mead Cultural Education Center which has been standing for over 100 years.

The building was owned by the women’s ward of Dakota Hospital in 1909 but was renamed its current name by its former director Dr. Leonard C. Mead.

The Dakota Hospital for the insane is presently a Human Services Center operation until the 1980s. Moreover, this ex-women’s ward turned into the Mead Cultural Education Center.

This destination showcases artifacts from indigenous and regional history. In addition, it has permanent displays that showcase items and implements used during its era as a mental institution.

Address: 82 Mickelson Dr., Yankton, SD 57078.

7. The Riverside Park

Riverside Park
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Riverside Park

Despite not having many amenities, this destination comprises an outdoor amphitheater that organizes special meetings and hosts live performances throughout the year.

Aside from viewing live performances, visitors can have a walk-in in the massive green areas. If you tend to visit from June to August, you might be opportune to see a production by the Yankton Area Arts Association on Tuesdays by 8 pm.

Admittance to this destination is accessible. Weekly the amphitheater organizes various concerts by musicians and community bands.

Address: 200 Levee St., Yankton, SD 57078.

8. Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel

Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel

The Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel has been in the top tiers of Yankton’s most significant landmarks since 1959. So if you love Old Gothic Churches, be sure to visit.

Many people concluded that the chapel is one of the most beautiful types of Gothic masterpieces in the whole United States. Walking past the doorway, you will see saintly figures surrounding the arch.

The saints here include St. Scholastica, St. Gertrude, and St Benedict. The Sacred Heart Monastery is a massive part of this chapel and a home to the Benedictine Sisters.

The church features a guided tour but can only be accessed via appointment. It is available for everyone from 8 am till 5 pm every day. 

Address: 100 W 8thSt., Yankton, SD 57078.

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9. Karttrax Family Fun Park

Karttrax Family Fun Park
Credits: 963 Creation / Shutterstock

The next item on our list of things worth checking out is visiting the Karttrax Family Fun Park; it is an exciting place to be and should be on your list of fun things to do in Yankton, SD.

If you have always wanted to play Mario Kart, visit this destination. Visitors can checkmate their driving potential by enjoying some rides with friends and family at the go-kart track on site.

Aside from this, visitors can also check out the bumper boat areas and the park’s bumper car. Be sure to come along with your kids as there is a child go-kart track and children’s train.

Address: 4908 W. 8thSt., Yankton, SD 57078.

10. G.A.R. Hall

G.A.R. Hall
Credits: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr
G.A.R. Hall

If you are a history buff, one of the top things to do in Yankton, SD during your visit to this region is to check out the G.A.R Hall.

G.A.R is an acronym that means “Grand Army of the Republic”; its meaning gives a clear hint of the history of this significant building oozes.

The hall was constructed by Veterans of the civil war on the Union side, using the Mid-Victorian Italianate Style.

The Woman’s Relief Corps of the G.A.R maintained the building before it got sold to the Yankton Area Arts. The G.A.R Hall has a Civil War Cannon on the lawn of the Hall. The canon has a history that stretches back to 1862 and weighs 2,515 lbs. The weapon was primarily used during the Civil war era.

Address: 508 Douglas Avenue, Yankton, SD 57078.

11. Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
Credits: USFWS Mountain-Prairie / Flickr
Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

This attraction is very close to the Missouri River, making it an ideal home for different kinds of fish. If you love aquatic nature, visit Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium.

This facility has been standing since its construction in 1960 and has produced over 5 billion fish sent into the Midwest. 

Visitors can find turtle and fish Galleries varieties in 13 tanks inside the aquarium. Aside from this, visitors can check the aquatic exhibits and other displays related to aqua.

Most of these displays tell the aims and objectives of this incubator. Gavin’s Point and 64 other National Federal Hatcheries and Fish Technology Centers are managed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

Visiting the Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Yankton, SD if you are interested in marine life.

Address: 31227 436thAvenue, Yankton, SD 57078.

12. G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery

G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery
Credits: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr
G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery

Asides from history, G.A.R showcases art exhibits; all this is due to the generous efforts of the Yankton Area Arts. This gallery comprises various artworks done by global and local, and regional artists.

In addition, the G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery organizes special artistic and cultural events.

You can check out the lower level, which has a classroom where artists hold meetings, art courses are taught, or paintings are carried out.

It also has a kitchen where you can have an incredible dining experience and gallery receptions. It also comprises classic selections of unique historical antiques.

One of the many antiques to find here is a table of the trial of Jack McCall in 1877, who shot the gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok. The table was revamped to its initial state and is displayed in the museum.

Address: 508 Douglas Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

13. Jack McCall Historical Marker

Jack McCall Historical Marker
Credits: J. Stephen Conn / Flickr
Jack McCall Historical Marker

The story of Jack McCall is such an interesting one and a considerable Historic landmark in this part of the country, and as such, a marker was built in honor of him.

This marker showcases the decisive moment in the history of Dakota before its acceptance into the country.

The drama in the life of Jack McCall transpired when he killed Wild Bill Hickok on August 2, 1876, when they were playing a game of poker in Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota.

During this era, Deadwood had not instituted an official police court system or police department, so some band of residents did the trial of Jack McCall. He was found not guilty and was released.

After being set free, he fled to Wyoming, part of the United States, but he kept boasting about the murder. He was reprimanded and returned for trial to Yankton.

He was found guilty on the second trial and sentenced to death—his marker sits in the Human Services Centre parking area.

Address: Yankton, sd, United States

14. The Ice House

The Ice House
Credits: Viiviien / Shutterstock

If you are a lover of quality liquor, one of the best things to do in Yankton, SD is to visit the Ice House, the first ice plant one can see in the city. Be sure to visit and have some fun

The ice plant was constructed in 1928 by John Keller, and it focused on producing quality beer, which made it blossom into an iconic spot in this region.

The Icehouse is iconic because it is one of the many bars in the country with carhop service.

Moreover, its clients prefer to relax in front of the bar by sitting on the docks and drinking chilled cold beer.

Address: 101 Capitol St., Yankton, SD 57078.

15. Yankton RiverWalk

Yankton RiverWalk
Credits: Ali Eminov / Flickr
Yankton RiverWalk

If you intend not to check out the many tourist attractions in this region, you can have a pleasurable experience walking through the Riverwalk. The pathway is perched in the downtown area of Yankton, so you need not go far.

While taking a stroll on this path, you will experience this region’s exciting history and unique culture.

As you walk through the pathways, you will see the numerous outdoor art pieces along the paths and greenery area in central Yankton.

With the earnest contributions of nonprofit volunteers and indigenous leaders, the Riverwalk has graced with numerous sculptures.

In time most of these artworks will be a part of the permanent collection showcased at the Meridian Bridge Plaza.

Address: 231 Broadway Avenue #1, Yankton, SD 57078.

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16. Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home

Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home
Credits: Cramer Kenyon Heritage Home / Facebook
Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home

Another interesting item on this list of things to do in Yankton, SD is visiting the Cramer Kenyon Heritage Home, an iconic building perched in Yankton.

It is an elegant Eastlake Stick-kind of house. The house’s interior can be likened to an impressive Queen Anne Style.

The numerous home features to find here look the same as in the past; these items include the high ceilings, chandeliers, and tall double doors. The house was built in 1886 by Dakota Territory James H. Teller.

The house got into the hands of another individual, Anne Nelson J. Cramer, 1890, who was an attorney with his wife, Alice Bulfinch.

When they moved, they changed the house’s interior to Victorian Style. There are oil paintings of Alice Cramer hanging on the walls as well.

The home was made open to the general public in 1974 after the demise of Herbert Kenyon in 1972. You can be part of their guided tours for a tiny price tag.

Address: 509 Pine St., Yankton, SD 57078.

17. New Yankton’s Downtown Public Art

Another interesting spot to look out for when you visit is the Downtown Public Art. It is such an exciting activity to do as you get to walk through the beautiful area admiring different public arts and taking photos.

This destination is a place of abode to numerous public artworks, including different murals and sculptures; if you intend to do something more unique and fun, check out this destination.

You can also pose for a lovely photo with any of the murals or next to a gorgeous set of angel wings, all this showcases the beautiful history of this city.

You should make it a primary item on your checklist of things to do in Yankton, SD if you are interested in art.

One of the many things that make here an exciting destination is the public art program.

Address: Yankton, Sd, United States

18. Dakota Theater or Yanktons’ Opera House

Dakota Theater or Yanktons’ Opera House
Credits: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
Dakota Theater or Yanktons’ Opera House

Yanktons’ Opera House was opened to all and sundry in 1902, and it is an excellent attraction in Yankton, South Dakota. The theater was constructed in 1887 and is one of the most ancient opera houses to find in South Dakota.

This destination features a pipe organ for about $10,000, with beautiful chandeliers and lovely seats. And despite being an indigenous theater, it organizes numerous concerts, cultural events, plays, and dramas.

This destination should be a significant item for your activities in Yankton.

You can enjoy this gorgeous destination with loved ones and friends and grace your eyes with this place’s incredible culture and artistic architecture.

Address: 328 Walnut St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

19. Admire the Limestone buildings

The city of Yankton is well known for its incredible limestone structures. Over the years, it was commonly called the “Cement City” due to its early discovery of Fort Hays Limestone for the production and shipment of cement during the Panama Canal construction.

The city comprises a vast selection of limestone buildings in the world. The limestone buildings here are beautiful and an incredible place to visit. Numerous buildings to find here are constructed using limestone.

There is a lot to learn here, and if you’re a curious person who wants to learn about limestone buildings and their construction processes, be sure to visit and have this destination on your list of things to do in Yankton, SD. 

Address: Yankton, sd, United States

20. The Boat House

The Boat House
Credits: AP Group of Photographers / Shutterstock

Another site to see, especially if you are a history lover, is to check out the Boat House; this destination exudes history. It is a top-notch family-managed entertainment attraction that kicked off operations in 2002 and is situated in the Meridian District on the Missouri River.

This destination is an ideal site to unwind and enjoy the scintillating ambiance of Yankton. It has an incredible atmosphere perfect for playing the mini bowl, ax throwing, pool, shuffleboard, golf simulation, and even a taproom.

The Boathouse features the best liquors and beverages, including wine and beer. In addition, you can be part of their private hangouts, participate in public parties, and enjoy chili and pizza.

This destination is perched on a well-known street in Yankton and was restored recently.

Address: 301 E 3rd St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

21. Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center

Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center
Credits: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

Suppose you intend to do something even more exciting in Yankton; a perfect place to be in the Yankton Bowl Fun Center.

This attraction is situated on Broadway street, on the shorelines of the Yankton River, and provides tourists with a lovely atmosphere.

This destination comprises 20 bowling lanes and many arcade games, and it is an ideal site to bring the whole family.

Its bowling alley provides visitors with a complete fun menu no matter their age, including the recent Strike laser Tag.

Aside from the various games collections, the bowling alley provides visitors with multiple food items such as fries, drinks, pizza, etc. With these many activities to get involved with, there is never a dull moment.

This destination also features bowling leagues for kids of all ages and sizes ranging from 3 to 20 years old, which kick start from late September to February. It also organizes events for high school bowling teams.

Address: 3010 Broadway Ave, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

22. Charlie’s Pizza House

Charlie’s Pizza House
Credits: Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr
Charlie’s Pizza House

If you love delicious pizza, one of the top things to do in Yankton, SD is to visit Charlie’s Pizza. It is a local pizza spot that provides visitors with the best pasta dishes and pizza in a traditional ambiance.

Their pizza is prepared using fresh dough and serves different types of toppings. Charlie’s Pizza House is managed by a family who has been in the business of providing quality pizzas for over 60 years.

The restaurant focuses on providing the best of a friendly and serene atmosphere that is convenient for relaxation and good food.

The Pizza House also offers delivery choices for drive-in and drive-through.

Address: 804 Summit St, Yankton, SD 57078, United States

23. Historic Argo Hotel

Historic Argo Hotel
Credits: The Historic Argo Hotel / Facebook
Historic Argo Hotel

The Argo Hotel is a mini-hotel situated in the downtown area of this town. It is well known for its historical importance, and because of this, it has also been featured in different films.

This iconic building has been in existence for more than 100 years, and It has a vast and gorgeous lobby and a unique dining space.

The hotel provides visitors with different services and amenities, including an outdoor pool, a golf course, and free Wi-Fi.

Breakfast is one thing you want to have out here, coupled with the daily cocktails they serve, excluding Sundays.

The rooms to meet here are spacious and fully upgraded. They are complete suites with a sitting space, and many of them come with jacuzzi tubs; some come with living rooms and private balconies where visitors can relax and unwind while enjoying the fresh air from this serene ambiance.

You can bring your family during your trip to the Argo hotel to spend the night or day. The hotel is kid-friendly and smoke-free, and it has a playground area and swings where your children can play as you enjoy yourself at the hotel.

Address: 211 Kansas St, Crofton, NE 68730, United States

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Plan a Trip to Yankton

Yankton, South Dakota, provides tourists with the best of its culture and history.

The historical attractions and different sites will give you a reminiscence of this city’s development over the years since the 19th century.

In addition, the community is very artistic and elegant, regardless of the time of the year you visit. Start planning your trip to Yankton, SD.