Rapid City, South Dakota – Lifey (2023)

Life in Rapid City, South Dakota, explained by people who’ve lived in Rapid City:

  • Favorites
  • Least Favorites
  • Things To Do
  • Reputation
  • Crime
  • Advice
  • Stories
  • The Future
  • Other Facts

Rapid City, South Dakota – Lifey (1)

*Click here to share your experience living in Rapid City*

*Response format = Answer (Your name, How long you’ve lived in Rapid City)

Rapid City Favorites

What’s your favorite thing about living in Rapid City?

  • The restaurant options. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Can walk to most things. (Mary, 8 months)
  • A lively downtown with something to do all year. (Jim, 2 years)
  • It has a lot to do and the people are great. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Closet thing to civilization for hours. (Michael, 3 years)
  • No traffic, little crime. (Nick, 3 years)
  • No mosquitos. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Press start. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • Black hills. (Kay, 7 years)
  • My family is close. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Proximity to black hills. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • Outdoor activities. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Proximity to the hills/badlands. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • Safe and happy city. (Jim, 11 years)
  • Small city. (Holly, 12 years)
  • The entertainment downtown. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Different tourist things. (Lori, 13 years)
  • The hills and lakes, the weather. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Ease of getting to wild areas. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Family. (June, 18 years)
  • The hiking. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • The summer weather. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • Views. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • The beer. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • The black hills are nearby. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • All of my family friends hang patrons. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • The hills, mountain biking. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • The weather, friends and family. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • I love almost everything about Rapid! The friendly people, the beauty, the shopping, the culture, main street square and summer nights!! I also love that we are so close to many adventures in the black hills. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • The hills. (Kara, 39 years)
  • The black hills. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Peace from the black hills. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Family. (Rena, 45 years)
  • A great community to raise kids and an abundance of things to do. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Just the right size. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Climate. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • It’s home. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Visiting other cities. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Least Favorites

What’s your least favorite thing about living in Rapid City?

  • That they took a Rockefeller grant to beautify downtown and we are now enrolled in a sustainable development project. most people don’t know that’s a tool for agenda 21. The economy is slowing down yet we have all these apartments being built charging outrageous rent. Where are all the people coming from??? What huge industries are coming to rapid. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Bad roads, potholes, faint line painting, poor signage. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Lack of good grocery/health food stores. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • The distance between here and a large metro area. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Homeless, and break ins. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Drunk natives. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Small town. (Nick, 3 years)
  • Crass commercialism disguised as patriotism. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Traffic. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • Rapid City. (Kay, 7 years)
  • Racism. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • To spread out. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • Racial tensions. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Lack of good paying jobs that coincide with our expensive housing market. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • Nothing. (Jim, 11 years)
  • Transients. (Holly, 12 years)
  • The drunks that sometimes get rude or aggressive. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Scary people and the crime. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Rising crime and drug use. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Bad treatment of native Americans by individuals and establishment. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Nothing. (June, 18 years)
  • There aren’t a lot of fun things to do that are not hiking. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • The racist natives. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • Lower income neighborhoods not being maintained (broken window theory). (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Cost of living and low wages. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • Economic development takes forever for example civic center expansion, building a third high school. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Long winters. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • North rapid. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • Homelessness and suicide. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • I would say the rise in crime. Rapid used to be so safe, when I first moved here I did not fear walking the bike path or downtown at night but now I would never do that. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • Rent is high, wages are low. (Kara, 39 years)
  • The cost of living there. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Winter weather. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Traffic. (Rena, 45 years)
  • People complaining about RC. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Wages. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • High cost of living. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Traffic. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Not being able to visit other cities because the airfare out of Rapid is too high! (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Things To Do

What are fun things to do in Rapid City?

  • Count the drunk Indians downtown. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Main street square, Thursday nights in the summer. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Main street square, hills alive, storybook island. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • Wander downtown, watch the sunrise/sunset on skyline drive, take a drive through Custer state park, hang out at Mt. Rushmore for the day. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Shopping, jump craze. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Watch the drunk natives and count how many cars have lights out or shouldn’t be on the road. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Go downtown (really enjoyed artists alley). (Nick, 3 years)
  • Get out of town. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Night time life. Golfing. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • Going to the black hills. (Kay, 7 years)
  • Movies, hiking, dinosaur park, spending time with family. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Arts. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • Not much in Rapid City enjoy the black hills forest. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Go out in hills. Downtown. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • Staging the main. Drive in movies friends. (Jim, 11 years)
  • Parks, restaurants, neighboring towns. (Holly, 12 years)
  • Elks theater, main street square, summer nights, the bike path, m hill. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Mount Rushmore and downtown. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, biking, shopping downtown. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Walk and wander, bike, play with dogs, take grand kids to pools, parks and museums. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Dino park, keystone, deadwood. (June, 18 years)
  • Hookah lounge. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • Hang out at bars and adventure in the hills. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Drink. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • Parks and pools main street square. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Enjoy the hills. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • Hike, bike, golf. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • Walking, hiking, climbing disappearing in the hills. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • Main street square and summer nights! journey museum, rush hockey, storybook island, post 22 and 320, bike path, canyon lake park and many more places to visit. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • The hills, the parks. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Hiking skiing hunting fishing. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Fish, explore the hills, have picnics. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Shop, eat out, visit the hills. (Rena, 45 years)
  • Great bike path, outdoor campus, fun bars. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Many things. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Walking out by canyon lake; visiting formal gardens in summer; taking a ride on skyline drive. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Night life. (Larry, 58 years)
  • No idea. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City’s Reputation

What’s Rapid City known for?

  • Mt. Rushmore. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Mt. Rushmore. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • Mt. Rushmore and the gateway to the black hills. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Being in the black hills. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Drunk natives, low paying jobs, meth heads and outrageous cost of living. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Mount Rushmore. (Nick, 3 years)
  • Chain restaurants. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Tourists. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • The black hills. (Kay, 7 years)
  • Racism. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Tourists. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • Mount Rushmore. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • City of presidents. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • ???. (Jim, 11 years)
  • Crime. (Holly, 12 years)
  • City if presidents of course! (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Mount Rushmore. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Tourism- MT Rushmore. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • 1. Mistreatment of native Americans. 2. Access to black hills. 3. Nature right here. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Sturgis rally. (June, 18 years)
  • The black hills. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • The school of mines. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • Mt Rushmore. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Racism. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • Mt Rushmore. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Gateway to my Rushmore and the black hills. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • Recreation. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • Racism. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • I would say being a tourist town. we are mere minutes from Mt. Rushmore and other tourist destinations. we are also known for our friendliness but then on the bad side we have a reputation of being a racist city. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • Presidents. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Black hills and mount Rushmore. (Rich, 40 years)
  • School of mines. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Tourism. (Rena, 45 years)
  • Tourists. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Friendly town. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Gateway to my Rushmore; city of presidents. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Diversity. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Low wages and high rent prices. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Crime

What’s the crime like in Rapid City? (hot spot areas, etc.)

  • Lots of meth on east north St. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Not bad but more cameras in public areas would help. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Downtown is increasing. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • Minimal – north side (boarded by east Blvd., i-90, Campbell and Omaha) is the “hot spot.” (I’m originally from a very large city – this is Mayberry.). (Jim, 2 years)
  • N 7th Street hot spot. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • East north with the hookers, drugs and drunk natives. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Very little to none, I’ve been told to avoid the north part of town. (Nick, 3 years)
  • You’re asking the wrong person. I wouldn’t know where to recommend you go if you want to engage in crime. I guess it depends on what type of crime you want to do. if you just want to break into people’s cars, I guess you could go out to the mall. if you want to break into people’s houses, I would recommend the west boulevard area. if you want to rob a liquor store, you can take your pick. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Terrible. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • Crime all over. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Moderate. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • I feel like it is low for a town of its size but there is a lot involving our native American population. a lot of the crime happens on the north side of town. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Eh. average to above maybe. North Rapid bring the worst. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • Coney Island off Omaha St. (Jim, 11 years)
  • It is bad. (Holly, 12 years)
  • East north street is one of the worst areas. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • We have had many murders. The worst place is north Rapid City. (Lori, 13 years)
  • North side is bad, we live on the west side and only have property crime. meth use has risen dramatically. When I moved here for college, the crime wasn’t near as bad as it is now. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Have not been personally impacted. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Not sure. (June, 18 years)
  • Not too bad. but the north side isn’t great. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • All of north rapid and the neighborhood behind taco johns on the westside. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • North side, downtown. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Rising. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • Getting worse due to meth and very few mental health service options that are affordable. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Statically not much different than anywhere else. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • Below average. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • It is getting worse. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • I think the crime has increased a lot in the past several years. I think it is mainly due to the increase in drugs! I would stay away from the bike path after dark. I would also watch myself in north Rapid as it has a bad reputation. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • It’s not bad. People make it seem worse. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Rapid city’s crime rate has continued to grow with the city, but it is seeming to escalate the last for 5 years. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Big city “hoods” bringing in drugs to our youth. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Worsening. Downtown and north rapid. (Rena, 45 years)
  • I feel that is a loaded question. As Rapid City is growing, obviously crime is going to increase as well. I feel there is crime in every area of rapid, but it seems more talked about when the north side is mentioned. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Increasing. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Worse now than 50 years ago. Avoid north rapid, downtown area and parts of Robbinsdale after dark. Too many homicides. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Rising. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Not too bad. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Advice

Any advice for people moving to Rapid City?

  • Look out for the drivers. their headlights and turn signals are out. The cost of living is too high, and lots of drunk Indians. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Pick your neighborhood carefully. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Be prepared to pay high housing costs. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • You’ll love it. coming from a metro with 3 million+ people, you’ll love the small town/big city feel. and the friendliness of the people – wow. you feel safe wherever you go. the closeness to all of the natural beauty is wonderful. Ignore people who tell you that there’s nothing to do here. there’s always something to do somewhere and Denver is only 6 hours away if you need a city escape. rent is high because of Ellsworth AFB, as is the real estate market. I love it here and will probably be here for a very long time. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Be open-minded. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Turn around. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Gets cold in the winter. (Nick, 3 years)
  • Think again. Think hard. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Don’t live in north rapid. (Jeff, 6 years)
  • Don’t. (Kay, 7 years)
  • Don’t feed into the racism. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • You’ll never really belong. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • Purchase a home in the valley or west side of town. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Enjoy. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • Enjoy. (Jim, 11 years)
  • If you are concerned about crime, don’t live in north rapid and abound downtown. (Holly, 12 years)
  • Not really. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Don’t move to the north side. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Enjoy the outdoors! There are so many friendly people here, great communities. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • No. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Stay inside the whole month of August. (June, 18 years)
  • Be prepared to be bored and live in a small city with bipolar weather. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • Don’t. It’s expensive to live here and wages are low. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • Not sure. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Don’t. (Anonymous, 27 years)
  • None. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Enjoy the hills. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • Go outside. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • Good luck. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • The cost of living, such as rent, is pretty high. I would recommend exploring to your hearts content because there is so many things to do in and around Rapid City! (Dianne, 34 years)
  • It’s an amazing place to live. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Watch yourself in your property. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Enjoy the peace of mind, get to know your neighbors. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Check the neighborhood. (Rena, 45 years)
  • Keep an open mind. the cost of living is not high as some people complain about. there are many great paying jobs in the area, you just may have to work for them. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • You will love the city and surrounding area. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Make sure you have a job that pays really good because everything costs a little more here. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Enjoy. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Don’t. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Stories

Share an experience you’ve had in Rapid City (fun, crazy, dangerous, etc.).

  • Very friendly, without being asked, neighbors have shoveled snow. (Mary, 8 months)
  • Christmas lights at storybook island. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • My first flight out of here was quite interesting. I didn’t realize how small the airport really is! I was checked in, through security, and at my gate in less than 10 minutes. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Going to little Texas free concert. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Drunk natives. (Michael, 3 years)
  • I almost got shot at the drive-in. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Being with my family. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • I love living here! if you enjoy the outdoors this is the place for you. If you are a city person who loves to shop this is probably not the place for you :). (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Decorating dino’ s. m hill. (Jim, 11 years)
  • Every year go my too storybook island. (Holly, 12 years)
  • Tubing the creek used to be really fun. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • It has been a good place to grow our family other than the crime and huge snowstorms. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Wow, after 15 years? Let’s see- hills alive, summer nights, blind lion was memorable too! (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Being able to see the stars at night. (June, 18 years)
  • One time I went to a rave and it was weird. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • When I was 12 and my mom took me on cruise in hills. I really had to pee but didn’t want to squat on side of road. and she made me laugh so hard that I ended up peeing myself. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Polar plunge at memorial park. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Raising two kids. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • My favorite is summer nights! I attend every week during the summer and I think it is the very best thing that Rapid City has done for our downtown area. I also believe that main street square is out of this world. I remember when people scoffed at the idea, but it has been an amazing success and brings people together for fun! I have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of people in the downtown area since main street square was built. I think it is a wonderful addition to such a beautiful area of our city! (Dianne, 34 years)
  • Seeing all the motorcycles roll in. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Renting a limo and going bar hopping. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Cruising 8th street. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Parades. (Rena, 45 years)
  • There are many, but I will say I am impressed with the RPCD for doing a great job in our community and always willing to talk to kids. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Survived the flood of 72. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Too many to choose just one. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Flying to other cities. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City’s Future

How do you think Rapid City will change over the next 10 years?

  • More drunk Indians. (Christine, 7 months)
  • It will become more of a native town. (Mary, 8 months)
  • It will grow, more old buildings tore down. (LeAnne, 1 year)
  • Growth. people are moving from rural to urban, and there are a lot of non-native south Dakotans here (me being one). (Jim, 2 years)
  • It’ll grow with worse traffic. (Katherine, 3 years)
  • Building several high-end apartments yet who is coming? see many vacant buildings. (Michael, 3 years)
  • More people (should expand the 90 while you have a chance!). (Nick, 3 years)
  • Yes. They will put up lots more ugly buildings. they will erect lots of ugly civic flags. (Joe, 5 years)
  • Hopefully for the better and people stop being racists. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Struggling when tourism and Ellsworth begin to decline. (Patrick, 8 years)
  • I think it will continue to grow and attract new and exciting businesses. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • Hopefully for the better. we need to start planning for and attracting the next generations. (Tyler, 8 years)
  • I left Rapid in 1962 to join USN 27 years. Taught middle school 17 years. Came back only to visit. (Jim, 11 years)
  • More crime. (Holly, 12 years)
  • It’s hard to say. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • The crime will become worse. (Lori, 13 years)
  • Will probably continue growing, and crime will push people like us out. (Anonymous, 15 years)
  • Too many people moving here. Probably double in size without plans for maintaining beauty and convenience. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • It’s already gotten too big. (June, 18 years)
  • Probably nothing. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • No. (Anonymous, 20 years)
  • I would hope that as large businesses come in. which unfortunately has small businesses that can’t keep up with maintenance close. that will hopefully mean more large businesses will come and lead to the city to grow and make improvements in impoverished neighborhoods sorry I’m in school right now studying stuff like this, so I am looking for signs of this occurring and kind of see it with the opening of maverick and closing of other gas stations. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • Slowly. (Anonymous, 32 years)
  • Continue steady growth. (Kevin, 32 years)
  • Get too big. (Anonymous, 33 years)
  • It will get worse. Homeless, drugs, alcohol, bullying and racism. (Joanna, 33 years)
  • I see Rapid City growing by leaps and bounds. the city has changed dramatically in the last 34 years and it keeps growing especially to the south and east. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • It will grow. Hope to see better jobs. (Kara, 39 years)
  • I see Rapid continuing to grow in the next 10 years. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Hope it doesn’t. (Pat, 45 years)
  • Just get larger. (Rena, 45 years)
  • I believe it is going to continue to grow and flourish as it has done the past 10 years. (Ruth, 48 years)
  • It will keep on growing. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Downtown will expand; more people will move here; traffic will become worse, racial tension will be the same, jobs will still be available at low wages, a few rich persons will still be in control. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • It will keep growing. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Not much. (Laree, 65 years)

Rapid City Facts

Any other interesting facts about Rapid City?

  • If you floor your car to 60mph you can catch air at the carton and highway 16 intersection if you’re heading west. (Christine, 7 months)
  • Interesting accent. It’s not a true northern accent, because it still has the generic Midwest tone. soda and pop are used interchangeably. (Jim, 2 years)
  • Supposedly the second largest city in SD. What a joke. (Michael, 3 years)
  • Meade creek used to go right in the middle of Meade street. That was the plan. City planners needed to divert the creek somewhere, so they just diverted it into the middle of the street. (Joe, 5 years)
  • It’s also called racist city. (Nichol, 8 years)
  • Gets very busy in the summer with all of the tourists. (Rachel, 8 years)
  • There is a time capsule that will be opened in the next few years located downtown at the bus station. (Crystal, 13 years)
  • Friendly people and engaged young people. (Dowell, 18 years)
  • Skyline is pretty cool. (Isabell, 19 years)
  • Not that I can think of at the moment. (Abbie, 22 years)
  • I cannot think of anything right at this moment but there is so much history in this city!! I would recommend taking the time to really explore the history and the culture. (Dianne, 34 years)
  • The flood of ’72. (Kara, 39 years)
  • Some people in baker city still think it’s old west x out there. (Rich, 40 years)
  • Great people great area! (Ruth, 48 years)
  • Close to the hills and MT Rushmore. (Lorraine, 50 years)
  • Many companies have tried to relocate here, but we’re discouraged by chamber of commerce, and other prominent persons who were afraid of competition. (Sandra, 50 years)
  • Weather. (Larry, 58 years)
  • Cannot think of any. (Laree, 65 years)
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