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Situated in the Midwestern United States, the Sioux Falls Destination is composed of a portion of South Dakota to the west and a section of Minnesota to the east. Sioux Falls, the destination’s namesake, is a city that encompasses an urban area of 81.19 square miles. The city was named after the waterfall of the Big Sioux River—found in Falls Park—and is often regarded as “The Heart of America,” “Best Little City in America,” and “Queen City of the West.” Falls Park, located north of the city’s downtown district, is one of Sioux Falls’ most popular attractions. The park includes a visitor information center, an observation tower, permanent sculptures, and a cafe. A considerable number of historic sites are additionally found throughout Sioux Falls. Tourists are frequently drawn to the city’s replica of the Statue of David, which dates back to 1971. The Cathedral of Saint Joseph also receives several visitors annually, as guided and self-guided tours are available to those who want to explore the Romanesque structure. Beyond the destination’s namesake, outdoor enthusiasts tend to take advantage of the lakes and natural areas throughout the destination, such as Lake Madison—which is adjacent to the Madison Wetland Management District—where people can undertake "wildlife-dependent recreation activities," such as hunting and wild-life observing.
The Sioux Falls Destination comprises two states in the Midwestern United States: South Dakota in the western half and Minnesota in the eastern half. A few prominent cities located throughout the destination include Brookings, Watertown, and the namesake, Sioux Falls, all of which are found in South Dakota. Mankato is another fairly prominent city, which occupies land in southern Minnesota. Aside from being the destination’s namesake, Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County. Moreover, Sioux Falls is rated as the most populous city in South Dakota, with a current population of roughly 204,106 residents. The most recent census in 2020, however, reported that an estimated total of 192,517 people inhabit the city. Since this census, the population has increased by nearly 6.02%, indicating that a growth rate of 1.93% presently affects Sioux Falls’ population annually. More than 30% of South Dakota’s population, as a whole, is constituted by the Sioux Falls metropolitan area.
A particularly notable aspect of Sioux Falls is its cultural interest in the arts. Each year, the Sioux Empire Arts Council rewards local artists with “Mayor’s Awards” in recognition of various different categories in which the artists demonstrated excellence. These categories primarily involve literary arts, performing arts, visual arts, and music. Many festivals and attractions express the city’s attention to the arts. For example, the Washington Pavilion at the center of Sioux Falls contains a site known as the Egger Gallery that showcases a collection of Northern Plains Tribal Arts. In terms of festivals, an outdoor musical event called the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival is hosted annually on the third weekend of July, typically lasting about three days. During the annual concerts held by the Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society, "national musicians" from various parts of the world perform in five concerts. Another significant event that takes place in the city is the Downtown Riverfest, which tends to be catered more to those of a younger age in comparison to other festivals. The Downtown Riverfest features live music, art, and activities that visitors can engage in.
Sioux Falls bears historical significance that is honored today through various landmarks established throughout the city. One site that can be found in Fawick Park is a replica of one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s most famous statues, the Statue of David, which stands 18 feet tall. Dating back to 1971, the statue was given to the city by a Sioux Falls Native inventor named Thomas Fawick. Furthermore, the Old Courthouse Museum in the heart of Sioux Falls displays the “Fawick Flyer,” one of Thomas Fawick’s inventions. Another historical site is the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, a structure that is characteristic of a Romanesque and French Renaissance style. The building’s construction process lasted from 1915 to 1918. At the end of 1919, the dedication of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph took place. Visitors are currently offered both guided and self-guided tours at the cathedral.
A number of lakes and forested regions compose the Sioux Falls Destination’s topography. Lake Thompson, Lake Madison, and Lake Whitewood are some of the largest bodies of water in the destination. Notably, a relatively high quantity of "waterfowl production areas" are found in various parts of the destination, as the Madison Wetland Management District—which neighbors Lake Madison—includes nearly 222 waterfowl production areas that encompass 43,971 acres in total. Outdoor activities that chiefly involve wildlife are available throughout these areas, such as hunting, wildlife viewing, photography, and environmental education.
The Big Sioux Recreation Area often draws those who take an interest in fishing, hunting, bird watching, or hiking. Situated in close proximity to the Big Sioux River, the 270-acre recreation area contains ponds that serve as the home for catfish, bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, and walleye. Hunters should be aware that the recreation area exclusively permits primitive weapons, and hunting must be done in the designated areas.
Generally speaking, temperatures vary between the range of 10 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the year in Sioux Falls. The warm season, from May to September, typically has an average temperature that reaches around 73 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the hottest month, July, often has an average high of about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of those who have previously visited the city have reported that the seemingly “best time of year” to visit Sioux Falls for warm-weather activities is from mid-June to early September. Temperatures gradually drop as November approaches, with an average daily high below 38 degrees Fahrenheit from November to March. January is most commonly the coldest month in Sioux Falls, as temperatures tend to fall between 10 and 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 1857, Sioux Falls, which the Sioux Indians inhabited at the time, was founded. The town was named after the waterfalls of the Big Sioux River. Years later, in 1862, conflict arose between the Sioux and the settlers in Minnesota’s southwestern portion, and it began to spread to Sioux Falls. Abandoned and burned, the town remained uninhabited for three years. The establishment of Fort Dakota aided the town’s population as settlers started to return. Population growth further increased when the arrival of the railroad in 1878 ultimately led to Sioux Falls becoming the headquarters of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation and the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corporation. Throughout the 1880s, polishing rose quartzite and quarrying industries were fairly significant within the town, as rose quartzite was used for construction. Due to financial issues and a plague that derived from grasshoppers, an “economic downturn” occurred; however, the opening of a meatpacking plant in 1909 caused the town to develop once again. Meat processing has remained a major industry in Sioux Falls, in addition to manufacturing electronics, health care, and financial services.
An event that took place in recent years that was somewhat memorable among residents was when three tornadoes struck Sioux Falls on the night of September 10th, 2019. About 37 buildings were damaged, one of them being the Plaza 41 Shopping Center. The Avera Heart Hospital was also hit by one of these tornadoes, causing seven injuries and partial destruction to the roof and windows. In total, the damage was more than five million dollars.