An Impromptu Sioux Falls City Tour

I took a little roller derby road trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota a few weekends ago.

Since I rode there with a car full of skaters, I got to explore the city a little while they did warm-ups.


A new perspective from Why Architecture Matters.

Sioux Falls’ downtown is pretty big, with cool old buildings mixed in with modern architecture. There are busy stretches, and then long blocks where everything is closed on a Saturday.

My feet were starting to get tired when something very cool happened.

An adorable vintage trolley pulled up to the curb and opened its doors.

Since I’d never had a trolley materialize out of thin air before, it seemed like the only thing to do was to get on.

It operates on Saturdays year round, and weekends during the summer months.

The downtown loop takes about 30 minutes and definitely saved my feet. Plus, I was able to scout out cool places to shop from my surprisingly comfortable wooden seat.

For more details on the trolley’s schedule, go to the Downtown Trolley website.

The trolley also stops at Falls Park, where you’ll find acres of park land, bike paths, walking trails and beautiful waterfalls.

There’s also an observation tower…

…that looks out over these crazy rocks.

It turns out they’re pink quartzite, a mineral native to eastern South Dakota that’s used for landscaping and road construction projects. So if you use enough of these in a highway, the road will come out pink and sparkly.

I suddenly really want to make this happen.

I hopped back on the trolley and headed back downtown to a stretch of shops and restaurants on Phillips Street that looked like fun.

Downtown Sioux Falls sponsors a Sculpture Walk with public art on every block to check out while you’re shopping.

The sculptures change every year, so even if you’ve seen a few in the past, they’ll be different when you visit again.

Speaking of shopping, be sure to check out Zandbroz and Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Gifts when you’re in town. The Zandbroz is similar to the one in Fargo, but has a different vibe and selection.

I would have shopped more, but the stores were closing and everyone was spilling out onto the sidewalks for drinks and dinner, which made me realize I was getting hungry too.

So I did the only logical thing and grabbed a rich and totally decadent coconut mini cake from Sinful Things, a great little dessert place. (Please ignore my hideous trackside touch-up manicure and focus on the amazing coconut goodness.)

Know what’s really crazy? Sinful Things is managed by a derby girl who would be skating in the bout I was going to see in just a few minutes.

I love it when things come full circle like that.

What about you?
Have you been to Sioux Falls lately?
What other places should I check out the next time I go back?
What’s your favorite way to explore a city?

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Alicia Underlee Nelson

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