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The center of Downtown Rapid City has to be the extremely pleasant Main Street Square, a flat, grassy park made for outdoor concerts and events. In colder weather, the city floods the park to turn into an iceskating rink. Our time in Rapid City was a little too warm for ice skating, but we did see plenty of kids heading to the high school prom using the pretty spot for photo-ops. The shopping and restaurants (including an ice cream parlor) around the square have all the makings of an idyllic afternoon.
A little edgier side of downtown is Art Alley. It’s a space the city has set aside for artists to throw up murals, which change all the time as inspiration strikes anyone who’s inclined to express their ideas. Every inch of the alley’s walls is covered in pieces large and small—our favorites gave a nod to the area’s Native American history, incorporating modern painting techniques with symbols of the past. Even though using a building as a canvas isn’t really our strong suit, we wished we had some ideas of our own to decorate the walls.
The half curio shop, half museum of downtown’s Prairie Edge had all the trappings of the area’s history, as well as jaw-dropping Native American fine art. South Dakota and the Black Hills are steeped in history, and to see museum quality depictions of those traditions is truly a shift in perspective of the Rapid City area.