Rapid City, S.D., a jumping-off place to some of the country’s most treasured sites, including Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial and Black Hills National Forest, is also a popular Midwest host for group events.

 “Rapid City’s No. 1 economic driver is tourism, and this is due in large part to our world-renowned attractions surrounded by a landscape filled with a geographic diversity unlike anywhere else,” said Tyson Steiger, manager of convention sales for Visit Rapid City.       

He added that just like the meetings industry has been experiencing an uptick across the country, the same holds true for Rapid City.

“There are several reasons for this rise in Rapid City, including lower gas prices, low rates throughout the community, an elite regional airport and most importantly, a tourism trend seeking authentic experiences,” Steiger said.

An eclectic array of groups is drawn to all that Rapid City has to offer, including recent meetings booked by the International Twins Association, the International Snowmobile Congress, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (International), and the National Sheep Growers Association, as well as many regional groups.

“Great meetings start with great locations, and Rapid City is both budget-friendly and camera-friendly, offering adventure and all the amenities conference attendees expect,” Steiger said.

Meet and Sleep

Rapid City offers approximately 4,500 hotel rooms and eight full-service hotels, including the Best Western Ramkota, Grand Gateway Hotel, Holiday Inn Rapid City-Rushmore Plaza, Hotel Alex Johnson, Ramada Rapid City and The Rushmore Hotel & Suites. There is also Canyon Lake Resort, an in-city retreat that boasts a picturesque lakeside setting.

“Rapid City, which is easily accessible because of its central location, offers a variety of conference locations to meet each group’s needs, all nestled in a vibrant family-friendly community that inspires possibilities,” Steiger said.

Beyond hotel meeting space, the 250,000-square-foot Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, a downtown facility situated beside the lovely Memorial Park, includes two arenas, a 1,774-seat theater and over 15 meeting rooms.

The Central States Fairgrounds, popular with agricultural groups,  according to Steiger, features a 6,000-seat grandstand, a 118,000-square-foot event center and 45 additional acres of event space.

The city is also home to several attractions that double as off-site venues for group gatherings, including the Journey Museum & Learning Center and Main Street Square.

“To get a complete grasp and appreciation for Rapid City and the beautiful Black Hills, every group should start their voyage with an opening reception at the Journey Museum,” Steiger said. “Main Street Square is an excellent option for a banquet or social mixer in the heart of downtown.”