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Sioux Falls: A South Dakota Dynamo

Sioux Falls at a Glance

Location: Southeast corner of South Dakota

Access: Sioux Falls Regional Airport, interstates 90 and 29

Hotel Rooms: 5,500

Contact Info:

Experience Sioux Falls


Sioux Falls Convention Center

Built: 1996

Exhibit Space: 125,000 square feet

Other Meeting Spaces: 11,000-seat Premier Center, 6,000-seat arena

Meeting Hotels

Sheraton Sioux Falls and Convention Center

Guest Rooms: 243

Meeting Space: 66,534 square feet

Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown

Guest Rooms: 136

Meeting Space: 6,300 square feet

Who’s Meeting in Sioux Falls

American Maine-Anjou Association 2020 National Junior Heifer Show

Attendees: 800

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Attendees: 1,500

Pheasants Forever 2018 National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic

Attendees: 28,868

Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, but it still manages to maintain its hometown, welcoming feel. With a population of 197,000, the city sits on the banks of the Big Sioux River and got its name from a series of cascades along the river that were created during the last ice age.

“When people think of South Dakota, they think of it as flyover country. We are not having that,” said Krista Orsack, director of marketing for Experience Sioux Falls.

Destination Highlights

When visitors come to Sioux Falls, they like to get outdoors. The main attraction, of course, is the falls, a series of cascades on the Big Sioux River that wend their way through the area’s native pink quartzite. These are preserved in a downtown green space called Falls Park. The second-biggest attraction is the city’s Sculpturewalk, which displays 55 public works of art throughout the downtown area. The sculptures are owned by the artists but loaned to the exhibit for one year. From May through September, the public votes on their favorite sculptures. The top vote-getter is then purchased for the city’s permanent collection.

The city, which is in the southeast corner of the state, has a 20-mile paved trail that is great for hiking, biking and running. It also has more than 80 city parks.

“We appreciate our green spaces here,” said Orsack.

Sioux Falls has a robust local music scene and world-class shopping and restaurants. Look’s Marketplace, a combination food hall, grocery store, meat market, delicatessen, bakery and wine shop, has become a major foodie destination in the city. In July, it was featured on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

Distinctive Venues

Washington Pavilion is one of Sioux Falls’ most unusual meeting venues. Originally built as the city’s first high school, it is now a three-story arts and entertainment venue in the heart of downtown that includes the Husby Performing Arts Center, with its two state-of-the-art theaters; the Kirby Science Discovery Center, a hands-on science center; the Wells Fargo CineDome theater, which shows movies on a 60-foot screen; and the Visual Arts Center, which showcases regional and national art exhibitions.

The Great Plains Zoo and the Delbridge Museum of Natural History can host concerts, festivals, picnics and corporate events for up to 3,000 people in Savannah Park, near the zoo’s African Savannah exhibit. A small, covered pavilion in the center of the zoo can host groups of up to 800 people, and Shoreline, along the river, can host events for up to 300 people. As part of the zoo rental, groups can add on a one-on-one experience with farm animals or train and carousel rides for attendees.

The District hosts many concerts and corporate events. It has a main stage and balcony-level seating and a restaurant on-site.

Major Meeting Spaces

The opening of the city’s 132,000-square-foot Denny Sanford Premier Center and Sioux Falls Convention Center in 2014 put the city on the map, with concerts by the likes of Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks. It also brought Sioux Falls to the attention of many meeting planners, who have brought large trade shows and conventions to the city.

Sioux Falls has more than 565,000 square feet of meeting space and can host events from small board meetings to large conventions and trade shows. There are about 1,000 hotel rooms within a one-mile radius of the Premier Center, among them the 243-room Sheraton Sioux Falls Hotel, which is attached to the convention center. The Best Western Dakota Hotel and Conference Center has 232 rooms and a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall.

The Holiday Inn Sioux Falls-City Centre has 290 guest rooms and 15,000 square feet of meeting space that works well for smaller meetings. The Hilton Garden Inn downtown is right on the river and has 136 guest rooms and about 6,300 square feet of meeting space.

The Canopy Hotel by Hilton is planning to build a new convention hotel and walk-in retail center just north of Levitt at the Falls, an outdoor concert venue, and west of Falls Park. In total, Sioux Falls has 5,500 hotel rooms.

After the Meeting

Groups that want to get away from their hotel or meeting venue after hours should follow the Brewfalls Adventure Trail, which takes them to 10 of Sioux Falls’ local breweries. If meeting attendees download the Brewfalls Craft Beer Adventure app and check in at the Falls Park Information Center, they can get a free Brewfalls T-shirt.

Groups can learn archery, kayaking, bird-watching, cross-country skiing or Dutch oven cooking at the Outdoor Campus, an outdoor skills education center. If sipping wine is more your style, the Strawbale Winery offers 20 different wines for tastings just outside of Sioux Falls.

The Old Courthouse Museum offers exhibits that tell the natural and cultural histories of the region, and the Pettigrew Home and Museum tells the story of South Dakota’s first full-term U.S. senator, Richard Pettigrew. The 1889 Queen Anne home displays many of the artifacts he collected during his travels, and a research library in the basement contains his personal papers.

For visitors who want to get outside, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run is nearby. The area was an important gathering place for many tribal peoples from A.D. 1300 to A.D. 1700. Falls Park offers 123 acres of green space in downtown Sioux Falls and features the city’s beloved triple waterfall, which visitors can see from a five-story viewing tower.