Sioux Falls is a hidden gem that is generally a stop before Yellowstone on a road trip. If you are coming from the midwest, it's an ideal stopover before arriving to Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. Situated in the heart of South Dakota, Sioux Falls offers has some great attractions that include natural wonders and delicious food. In this post, we'll focus on Falls Park as well as a delicious lunch and dinner place that offers up some amazing Mexican food after taking in breathtaking waterfalls, lush greenery, and exploration fun.
About Falls Park
Falls Park, nestled in the heart of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a breathtaking natural oasis that families will absolutely love. This picturesque park is best known for its stunning waterfalls created by the powerful Big Sioux River.
History of Falls Park
Behind its natural beauty, Falls Park also holds a rich history that adds depth to its allure. The park's story dates back to the 1800s when two visionary pioneers, Richard F. Pettigrew and Newt Guilford, recognized the potential of the river's cascades as a source of power for mills and industry.
This sparked the development of Sioux Falls, with the falls serving as the catalyst for the city's growth.
Over time, the falls became not only an economic engine but also a cherished symbol of the community's spirit and resilience. Today, Falls Park stands as a testament to the city's history, a reminder of its roots, and a place where locals and visitors alike can connect with the past while reveling in the beauty of the present.
What You'll See at Falls Park
As you explore the park, you'll be greeted by the mesmerizing sight and soothing sound of rushing water cascading over the rocks, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and awe.
The park offers a network of well-maintained pathways that wind their way around the falls, providing excellent vantage points for viewing and photographing this natural wonder.
Families with children will particularly enjoy the park's spacious green areas, perfect for picnics, games, and leisurely strolls. Whether you're looking to reconnect with nature, capture beautiful memories, or simply relax amidst stunning surroundings, Falls Park is a must-visit destination.
There are awesome lookout spots all around falls park to take as many photos and angles as you need to.
There's also awesome and fun statues for kids to pose next to.
Rock Pathways for Waterfalls of Falls Park
One of the most captivating features of Falls Park is the network of rock pathways that allows visitors to venture closer to the majestic waterfalls. For those eager to experience the falls up close, entering from the west side provides an opportunity to get within proximity of the cascading waters.
As you traverse these rocky trails, you can hear the rushing sound of the falls. It's important to note, however, that the pathways do not extend all the way across the falls, so caution is advised, especially when exploring with children. While there are some steep drops further down, my own experience with kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old reassured me that they could get close without major concerns of accidental falls.
Rest assured, with proper supervision and awareness, your families will be able to navigate these pathways and bring your family close to the waterfalls.
Falls Park Overlook
Perched atop a scenic hillside within Falls Park, the overlook (which is completely free) provides an enchanting view that showcases the splendor of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape.
You can go up a set of stairs or take an elevator to the overlook. From this elevated vantage point, you can view the sheer power of the Big Sioux River as it tumbles over the rocks, creating an impressive display of cascading water. Whether you're capturing stunning photographs or simply taking a moment to appreciate the majesty of the falls, the overlook at Falls Park offers an awesome view of the park.
Food Near Falls Park
When exploring Falls Park with your family, there are a few dining options to get a quick bite.
Falls Park Overlook Cafe
If you find yourself hungry, head over to the Falls Park Overlook Cafe, which not only offers delicious food but also boasts incredible views of the waterfalls.
From tasty sandwiches and wraps to refreshing salads and beverages, the cafe has a variety of options to suit different tastes. It's the perfect spot to take a break, enjoy a meal, and soak in the serene atmosphere.
Papa Woody's Pizza
Another fantastic choice, especially if your family loves pizza, is Papa Woody's Pizza located nearby. They specialize in mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas with a variety of enticing toppings. The kids will love the delicious flavors, and you can indulge in a satisfying slice while sharing stories about your Falls Park adventures.
Whether you choose the Falls Park Overlook Cafe or Papa Woody's Pizza, these dining spots are great options!
Must Try Restaurant in Sioux Falls
Gilberto's Mexican Taco Shop
If you're a fan of authentic Mexican cuisine, then Gilberto Mexican Taco Shop is an absolute must-try restaurant in Sioux Falls.
Known for its mouthwatering dishes, this vibrant eatery will leave your taste buds begging for more. One of their standout menu items is the Gordita Carnitas, a savory delight filled with tender, slow-cooked pork and topped with fresh ingredients that create a burst of flavors in every bite.
For a hearty and satisfying option, the Super Nachos are a crowd-pleaser, loaded with crispy tortilla chips, melted cheese, succulent meats, and a medley of toppings.
And let's not forget about their burritos, generously stuffed with your choice of fillings, creating a delightful explosion of textures and tastes. Trust me, the food at Gilberto's is absolutely delicious, and you won't be disappointed. We also went for their breakfast burritos and they are absolutely delicious!
One of the highlights of dining at Gilberto's is the self-service sauce bar, featuring a variety of flavorful sauces that take your meal to the next level. From mild to spicy, these sauces add an extra kick and depth of flavor to your dishes, allowing you to customize your dining experience according to your preferences.
The informal and welcoming ambiance of Gilberto's makes it an ideal spot for families with kids.
The friendly staff and lively atmosphere create a warm and inviting space where children can feel comfortable and enjoy their meal.
Where to Stay in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
As for accommodations, there are plenty of hotels and cozy lodging options in Sioux Falls that cater to different preferences and budgets, ensuring a comfortable stay during your journey.
We stayed at IHG Staybridge Suites in Sioux Falls, and with four kids, it is generally really hard to find a room that can accomodate a big family like ours. However, they had a spacious room with two queen beds and a pullout that was ready for our family under $300, which was great!
We loved the hotel because it had free breakfast, a pool and spa that stayed open until 11pm, and also had a fitness center.Booking.com
In summary, Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a hidden gem worth exploring on your way to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. With its breathtaking waterfalls, captivating overlooks, and rock pathways leading you closer to nature, Falls Park offers a must-visit experience for families and travelers. Don't miss the opportunity to satisfy your taste buds at the Falls Park Overlook Cafe or Papa Woody's Pizza, and find comfortable accommodations in Sioux Falls for a restful stay. Beyond Falls Park, discover the charm of downtown Sioux Falls, visit the iconic Mount Rushmore, and immerse yourself in the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. Combine the beauty of nature, family-friendly attractions, and delicious dining to create unforgettable memories on your journey to these remarkable destinations.