Sioux Falls — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
So, what’s there to do in the fifth least populous state’s most populous city? The Butterfly House at Sertoma Park is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. And you bet the full-sized bronze replica of Michelangelo’s “David,” controversial when first unveiled in this pious patch of the Heartland, is always good for Instagramming. Or there’s the Empire Mall, a South Dakotan destination that’s popularity is only rivaled by Mount Rushmore. (Hey, it’s home to the only Piercing Pagoda in the state).
But the top draw in Sioux Falls is, you guessed it, Sioux Falls. Straddling the Big Sioux River just north of downtown, the 123-acre Falls Park (pictured) is home to the city’s namesake three-tier waterfall. While certainly not Niagara-level in terms of size and strength, the cascades, in which 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet every second, are crowd-pleasing and highly photogenic — only fitting for an incredibly flat city with “Falls” in its name. Also highly photogenic are the ruins of the Queen Bee Mill, a seven-story flour mill erected from quartzite in 1881 and shuttered just two years later due to bankruptcy. As it turns out, the river wasn’t quite powerful enough to keep the mill, heralded back in the day as “the most ambitious attempt ever made to use water power west of the Mississippi River,” running at full capacity.