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Cvent’s Rapid City meeting planning guide is an extensive city guide for planners of meetings in Rapid City. As part of the tourism center for South Dakota's Black Hills region, Rapid City is home to an abundance of shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural attractions; nearby are outdoor recreational opportunities, wildlife, and more than a million acres of Black Hills scenery. Rapid City event venues are group- and convention-friendly; and pre- and post-activities abound in this fascinating area, which is home to Mount Rushmore National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and more.
The area is served by Rapid City Regional Airport, the commercial airline hub for the Black Hills region. Rapid City Regional Airport serves an estimated 590,000 annual passengers and provides nonstop service to Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, as well as Atlanta and Houston, seasonally. Once in Rapid City, visitors can ride the City View Trolley, a narrated tour featuring points of interest in and around the city, including attractions, Main Street Square, and several area hotels. Visitors can also access the Rapid Ride bus system, operating five fixed routes throughout the city and providing direct access to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Located in the center of Rapid City, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center features arena, theater, and exhibit and meeting space, set within seven acres of serene park space. Meeting and exhibition spaces include the 41,000-square-foot Rushmore Hall, 15,000-square-foot LaCroix Hall (divisible into four spaces), 34,000-square-foot Don Barnett Arena with seating for up to 10,400 guests, a 1,752-seat theater, and meeting rooms accommodating 10 to 1,600 attendees. The Ice Arena features a permanent ice floor and 7,450 seats, and can be transformed into a 28,000-square-foot convention space when equipped with temporary flooring.
Rapid City unique event spaces are perfect for group gatherings and activities include the celebrated Dahl Arts Center, western South Dakota's premier arts center for contemporary visual arts, arts education, and performing arts. The city-owned center is home to such highlights as a kids-friendly interactive gallery and Bernard P. Thomas Cyclorama Mural of American Economic History, a 180-foot, oil-on-canvas panorama spanning 200 years of U.S. economic history that is complete with special lighting and narration. Groups can rent several spaces within the center, including a cafe, conference rooms, main lobby, and gallery space. Meeting and business groups can also gather at Bear Country U.S.A., a 250-acre drive-through wildlife park that is home to the largest collection of privately owned black bears in the world. Bear Country U.S.A. welcomes private events for up to 2,000 guests, as well as group bus tours of the park, along which visitors can view black bears, elk, reindeer, cougars, deer, bobcats, Rocky Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and buffalo.
Other Rapid City unique facilities include The Journey Museum, a natural history museum that explores the Black Hills' geology, paleontology, and cultural heritage. Group events take place in the museum lobby, gallery space, 144-seat theater, library, and boardroom, as well as outdoors throughout seven acres of Western Dakota native gardens. The city's historic Elks Theatre, which first opened in 1912 as an opera house, hosts nearly any type of live presentation or private group event in its 608-seat main auditorium.
As South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City is a center for commerce and culture, as well as natural beauty, tourism, and business travel. Rapid City's central Black Hills location makes the city a hub for urban convenience, including boutique shopping, fine dining, and entertainment, as well as a location bursting with natural beauty and outdoor recreation, home as it is to national parks and monuments, private wildlife attractions, and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails.
Rapid City was founded in 1876 by a group of prospectors who had come to the Black Hills in search of gold. Today, thanks to its travel-friendly reputation, number of attractions, and diverse economy that is strong in agriculture, forestry, government, tourism, healthcare, manufacturing, and service industries, Rapid City is also home to a strong arts-and-culture scene. The City of Presidents, a historic sculpture walk with life-sized bronze statues of past presidents, is located throughout the downtown region.
Perhaps one of the area's most famous attractions, Mount Rushmore National Monument sits just 25 miles outside of Rapid City. Welcoming more than three million annual visitors, Mount Rushmore is home to the famous granite carving of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Completed in 1941, the granite faces tower 5,500 feet above sea level; each head is as tall as a six-story building. Mount Rushmore visitors can walk the Presidential Trail, view the carving from Grand View Terrace, or stroll the Avenue of Flags, along which each state is represented, and explore the memorial's associated natural and cultural history attractions.
Rapid City visitors also frequent the Crazy Horse Memorial, a 563-foot-high mountain carving started in 1948 and which is still under construction. The memorial is set within a large complex, including a welcome center, museum of American Indian art and artifacts, cultural center, and full-service restaurant, in addition to a future American Indian University and Medical Training Center. Another popular outdoor recreational site, thanks to its rugged beauty and beautiful sunrises and sunsets, Badlands National Park welcomes more than one million visitors each year. Located 75 miles outside of Rapid City, the 244,000-acre national park is home to geologic deposits, one of the world's richest fossil beds, and free-roaming bison, bighorn sheep, deer, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets. The visitors center houses exhibits on cultural history, prairie ecology, and the paleontology of the White River Badlands.
Rapid City is also home to a rich culinary culture, with restaurants specializing in Midwestern to fusion fare. Firehouse Brewing Company, a unique brewpub housed in an original fire station, serves Midwest fare and English pub classics, while the Colonial House Restaurant and Bar is a family-owned local favorite serving American cuisine with a Midwestern touch. Enigma Restaurant is known for its classic Midwestern meets Mediterranean flavors. Featuring bold flavors and bold decor, right down to the life-sized metal buffalo sculpture located outside its front door, the Dakotah Steakhouse specializes in traditional Dakota native cuisine and sumptuous steaks.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Rapid City experiences a four-season climate with four distinct seasons. Spring in Rapid City spans March to May, bringing with it temperatures ranging from the 40 to 80 degrees, with mostly sunny conditions. Summer, which runs from June through August, features low humidity, plenty of breezes and cool evenings, and average daytime temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Fall, from September to November, features comfortable temperatures, averaging in the 60s during the daytime and 40s in the evening, while winter, from December through February, bring average daytime temperatures in the mid 30s and low snowfall; visitors to Rapid City can find snowfall and plenty of winter recreation in the Northern Black Hills. Rapid City's warmest month is August, with an average high of 85°F and average low of 57°F, while January is the city's coldest month, with an average high of 34°F and average low of 11°F. Rapid City sees an average of 16 inches of rain per year, with most falling in June and July, as well as an average of 41 inches of snow per year.
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
Located at the center of Rapid City, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center features arena, theater, exhibit and meeting space set within seven acres of serene park space. Meeting and exhibition spaces include the 41,000-square-foot Rushmore Hall, 15,000-square-foot LaCroix Hall (divisible into four spaces), 34,000-square-foot Don Barnett Arena with seating for up to 10,400 guests, 1,752-seat theater and meeting rooms accommodating 10 to 1,600 attendees. The Ice Arena features a permanent ice floor and 7,450 seats, which can be transformed into a 28,000-square-foot convention space when equipped with temporary flooring. Meeting and event amenities include catering, staging, sound and light services, as well as 3,000 free parking spaces.
Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)
Approximate taxi fare: $32.88 USD
Located just 12 miles outside of Rapid City, the Rapid City Regional Airport serves as the commercial airline hub for the Black Hills region. The airport serves about 590,000 passengers each year, providing nonstop service to Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, as well as Atlanta and Houston seasonally. Airport amenities include full-service dining, shopping and both short-and long-term parking. The airport express shuttle provides pick up and drop service to any location in the Rapid City/Black Hills region, with prices varying by location. Many Rapid City hotels feature free or discounted shuttle service to and from the airport. Rapid City Regional Airport features three conference rooms for rent, two accommodating up to 30 guests and the third accommodating up to 50 guests.
Airline carriers serving Rapid City Regional Airport
Providing fixed route bus service throughout Rapid City, Rapid Ride operates five routes on 40-minute frequencies. Rapid Ride takes passengers to school, work, shopping and recreation destinations, as well as meeting destinations, as the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is located on the Washington route. Rapid Ride buses run Monday through Friday from 6:40 AM to 6:40 PM and Saturday from 9:40 AM to 4:40 PM. Bus fare is $1.50 per ride; children under age 5 ride free.
Operated by the Rapid Ride bus system, the City View Trolley is a narrated tour serving points of interest in and around Rapid City, including the Milo Barber Transportation Center, Dahl Arts Center, The Journey Museum and several area hotels. The trolley runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with Monday through Friday hours from 9:40 AM to 5:40 PM and Saturday and holiday hours from 9:40 AM to 4:40 PM. Trolley fare is $2 for adults and $1 for children age 12 and under.
The Rapid City Greyhound station is located at the Milo Barber Transportation Center at 444 6th Street. Station hours are Monday through Friday from 6:40 to 11:40 AM and 2 to 6 PM, as well as Saturday and Sunday from 6:40 to 7:40 AM and 4:40 to 6 PM.
Rapid City Regional Airport features rental car counters for Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National/Alamo.
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