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Comfort Suites – Top 3 Places to View Fall Foliage

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While the scenery of the Black Hills is breathtaking year round, autumn is an extraordinary time to experience the area’s grand fall transformation. The region has an abundance of deciduous trees, which are trees that lose their leaves seasonally after the leaves mature and change color, causing the area’s landscape to transform dramatically during the fall season. Below are some of the more popular destinations in the area that are perfect for savoring the gorgeous fall foliage with a cup of hot cider in hand.

Spearfish Canyon

The towering cliffs and majestic waterfalls that are viewable from Highway 14 that winds through Spearfish Canyon are always a sight to behold, but during the fall, the canyon becomes a cornucopia of vibrant autumn shades that are particularly jaw-dropping. The colors in the canyon usually reach their peak in late September through early October, and during that time the canyon is a hotspot for those who love striking landscapes and outdoor fun. Throughout the 20-mile drive in the canyon, there are many places to pull your car over and snap some pictures of the scenery, and while you’re at it, do a little exploring. Hiking trails of varying difficulty take you to awe-inspiring scenic points. Fishing for trout in one of the canyon’s many cold streams is a popular activity year-round. It isn’t unusual to see bicyclists riding along the side of the highway, enjoying the crisp air and elegant autumn landscape. Make sure to stop by Roughlock Falls, a must-see for some great photo opportunities with the magnificent waterfall. Spending a day in the canyon is a wonderful way to get in the spirit of the fall season while taking in some fantastic views.

Sylvan Lake

Called Custer State Park’s “crown jewel”, a visit to this gem will show you why it has earned that moniker, and why it has become such a popular destination for weddings and other special occasions. While mostly pine trees surround the lake, the deciduous trees that are in the area add stunning pops of color. A mile-long trail winds around the lake and is an easy walk that the whole family can take part in. A more difficult trail starts near Sylvan Lake and leads to the popular Black Elk Peak, whose summit you can reach by hiking the four-mile long trail. It is a great trek to take during the early fall months, while the temperatures are mild and the view from the summit highlights the beauty of autumn in the Black Hills.

Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park

Located in Rapid City, the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park has great accommodations for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy, all while staying within city limits. The park contains the popular M Hill, which is viewable from the nearby busy Omaha Street and provides a chance to hike up to the “M”, where you can witness the city’s fall foliage from a spectacular, elevated viewpoint. There are over 18 miles of trails of varying difficulty throughout the park to hike or bicycle on, giving everyone the chance to get in a great workout while appreciating the awesome fall scenery. If fall is one of your favorite times of the year, the Black Hills is just the place to relish in what makes this season so special. One-of-a-kind views, exciting outdoor activities, and rustic charm make this the perfect area to spend a picturesque autumn afternoon. Whether you explore the canyon, enjoy a brisk walk around the lake, or take in the panoramic view of Rapid City on top of M Hill, you can return to the warm comforts of home at Comfort Suites.

Comfort Suites - Rapid City Attractions

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Instead of spending another day in the car and listening to “Are we there yet?” mumbles, spend the day in the Rapid City area by enjoying these awesome, and free, attractions that are perfect for families.

Only a quick ten minute drive from Comfort Suites, start the day off with a historic walk downtown. Rapid City is known as the City of Presidents due to the life-size statues that are along the sidewalk corners. There are 42 statues between 4th Street and 9th Street, St. Joseph Street and Main Street. After you accomplish visiting each presidential statue, stop in the Presidents Information Center and Gift Shop located on the corner of 7th Street and Main Street.

Next stop is Main Street Square, located in the middle of downtown Rapid City. The Square is a local favorite that showcases a variety of concerts, arts, and culture events. A popular feature among the younger generations is the interactive fountain that has water dancing all around. Depending on the day, you can catch a live band performing or watch a movie at sundown. Whatever time of year, make sure to check the Main Street Square’s calendar of events to ensure you don’t miss out on any events.

Continue the fun by heading to Canyon Lake Park. Located within a quick five minute drive from downtown, this is one of the oldest parks in Rapid City. The 29 acre park is filled with picnic pavilions, playground areas, horseshoe and sand volleyball courts, and a bike path. Canyon Lake Park also has paddleboat rentals and a boat ramp. This is a popular area for different outdoor activities all year round.

Another exciting activity to add to your agenda is the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. Located next to Ellsworth Air Force Base, this museum is a part of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The Air and Space Museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits that showcase the aviation history of the Air Force. There are over 30 military aircrafts in the museum that range from World War II bombers all the way to modern-day bombers.

Last but not least, finish your day with a stop at Storybook Island. This is a free children’s theme park in Rapid City. Storybook has playground attractions that are based on colorful characters and intriguing locations found in children’s books. At Storybook Island children have the opportunity to ride a train around the park, enjoy a carousel ride, and even jump into a bounce house.

After your fun-filled day around Rapid City it’s a quick 7 mile drive back to Comfort Suites, where you can relax and enjoy a great night of sleep!

Comfort Suites - Black Hills Attraction

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Located just off of I-90, Comfort Suites makes it easy to travel around to all the Black Hills attractions. Even if you’re only here for a day or two, it’s essential to go see the places you’ve been reading about on billboards throughout your entire drive in South Dakota.

Roughly 30 miles away from Comfort Suites is Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt are carved in giant stone; it is one of the most famous monuments in the United States. All you have to do is pay for parking, and walk up to the memorial. It’s definitely a monument you want to see in real life.

Just a few miles away from Mount Rushmore one will find Keystone, South Dakota. This town is an attraction itself that is filled with different activities for all ages. Keystone offers mini golf, charming shops, chairlift rides to view the hills, and an exciting aerial adventure park. It’s easy to end up spending the entire day in Keystone. On the main street of Keystone there are delicious candy stores that make salt water taffy, homemade fudge, and other types of unique candy. Throughout the day you can find comedy gun shows that begin right in the street! Keystone is a unique and entertaining town you don’t want to miss while visiting the Black Hills.

If you speak to a local they will most likely recommend going to Reptile Gardens and Bear Country USA. These are both located about 15 minutes from Comfort Suites, just off of Highway 16. Reptile Gardens is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest reptile zoo in the world. Visitors can walk around this popular family attraction to see a variety of reptiles, bugs, and exotic birds. Throughout the day vistors can take a seat and watch an exhilarating snake, alligator, or bird show. After spending time at Reptile Gardens, drive only a few more miles up Highway 16 to Bear Country USA. At Bear Country, you will get the chance to see black bears, mountain lions, buffalo, and other wildlife animals while driving through the park. Bear Country also has a wildlife walk that allows visitors to view smaller animals up close. You don’t want to miss the bear cubs!

If you are a fan of mysteries, or just want your mind blown, take a trip to Cosmos Mystery Area. Cosmos offers interactive tours that give everyone a chance to feel the force of the mystery house. During this tour, they’ll show you how water can run uphill or how people can stand on the wall. Many find this impossible, however, we suggest you visit the mystery area and find out for yourself!

If you want a chance to see the wildlife that western South Dakota has to offer, then Custer State Park is the perfect place for you; Custer State Park has an 18 mile wildlife loop. This beautiful park is home to bison, whitetail and mule deer, elk, coyotes, prairie dogs, eagles, and hawks. Along with viewing the wildlife, Custer State Park has beautiful grasslands that are filled with colorful flowers and prairie grasses. Don’t forget to pack your camera for this adventure!

Visiting a national memorial, trying salt water taffy, and kissing a baby alligator will keep your day filled with fun and unforgettable memories. After exploring the Black Hills, head back to Comfort Suites where you can finish your day by relaxing in the pool and hot tub!

Comfort Suites - Dining in Rapid City

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What are you craving for eats today? A juicy burger and fries, a couple of fresh sushi rolls, or maybe some authentic Italian? Rapid City provides an abundance of dining options for you to indulge your appetite. From a mysterious speakeasy bar and fine dining with white tablecloths to mobile food trucks and coal-fired pizza, the food scene will not disappoint.

Located just across the parking lot from Comfort Suites is one of Rapid City's best steakhouses. Inspired by local rich, western history of the Black Hills, Dakota Steakhouse is considered fine dining but provides an atmosphere that is casual for gathering with family and friends. Specialties include local game, fish, and the Cowboy Bone-In Rib-eye.

Nearby, at Rushmore Crossing, you will find Fuji Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. Traditional Japanese cuisine is prepared by chefs in front of the dining guests on hibachi grills. Also at Rushmore Crossing is MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill and Pub, Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Native Grill and Wings. For a quicker dining experience, there’s Panera Bread, Qdoba, Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli, HuHot Mongolian Grill, and Culver’s.

While there are a variety of restaurants around Comfort Suites you can find even more options in our bustling downtown. For a fine dining experience try Delmonico Grill, Tally’s Silver Spoon, or Botticelli Ristorante. Delmonico Grill is a steakhouse where the menu is based on available, fresh seasonal fare. Although they are famous for their steaks, they also have an excellent rack of lamb along with scallops, salmon, and don’t miss their french onion soup. Tally’s Silver Spoon is known for their breakfast menu but they also serve lunch and dinner. Tally’s sources local chicken, fish, and buffalo and also uses regionally grown produce. Make sure and look for the daily specials that are anything but ordinary.

A few other exceptional atmospheres to check out would be the Wine Cellar, which is a mix of European and Californian inspired cuisine; The Firehouse Brewing Company which serves pub grub and house-brewed beers; The Independent ale house specializing in handcrafted pizza and 40 heavily rotated taps. Just a couple blocks from main street square, but still downtown, is Kol, Enigma Restaurant, Que Pasa, and Murphy’s Pub and Grill.

If you’re bold enough for a mysterious adventure, downtown is home to a Prohibition Era Speakeasy called The Blind Lion. Hidden in a top secret location, one can find handcrafted cocktails, ice carved from a sculpture block, and live music. Check out The Blind Lion’s facebook page to learn more about how you can experience this intriguing blast from the past. If you’re lucky enough to get in make sure to ask about the underground tunnel and some of its history.

In addition to a number of small coffee shops and huts around town keep an eye out for multiple food trucks that roam the streets of Rapid City. A couple to consider are Nosh, Beau’s Kickstand, The Good Stuffed, and Eddie’s Taco Truck. Check out each truck on their Facebook pages regarding where they are located on any given day.

So the next time you come and stay with us at Comfort Suites don’t forget to bring your appetite for the numerous cuisines our beautiful area has to offer. Whether you’re wanting to quickly refuel or catch up with friends and family over a nice meal the dining scene in Rapid City will not disappoint.

Comfort Suites - Shopping in Rapid City

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     After a refreshing night of sleep at Comfort Suites you will feel energized and ready for the day ahead. But wait! Did you remember to pack your camera? Did you decide last minute to go out for a nice dinner, but only have casual clothes with you? Or maybe you decided you wanted to hike around the Black Hills and didn’t bring any suitable shoes. Whatever the need or want may be, Rapid City offers three main shopping areas to enhance your visit.

First, we recommend experiencing downtown Rapid City. Downtowns are unique to each and every city or town and give visitors just like you a chance to feel like locals. Roughly 10 minutes away, downtown Rapid City is anything but ordinary as it is composed of about 70 shops and galleries and over 30 restaurants. While many places are locally owned and operated you will find that being greeted with genuine smiles and friendly staff is normal. Rapid City is a popular tourist attraction, and owners love to hear visitor’s stories and what brought them to their beloved city. Some great clothing boutiques to check out are Karma Boutique, Mona Lisa’s, and Vanbachs. A local favorite downtown is Revival, which has products for your closet - such as Free People or BB Dakota - and products for your home, including furniture, art, and, cute knick knacks for yourself or as a fun gift. While you hop from one shop to the next, make sure and view the statues of presidents on each corner or take a stroll down Art Alley to see what local artists have been creating. The most unique place you will find downtown is Prairie Edge which showcases a wide variety of breathtaking Native American artwork, including paintings, sculptures, regalia, jewelry, and much more.

If you’re planning on spending the day in downtown we would recommend checking out the latest events happening in Main Street Square. With an interactive water fountain in the summer and an ice rink in the winter, this fun filled event area always provides entertainment. Need to refuel or take a few moments to relax? Head over to Tally’s Silver Spoon, which is a local hot spot for brunch, or Independent Ale House for craft beers and pizza.

The second and newest shopping area we recommend visiting is Rushmore Crossing. Conveniently located only 10 minutes away, this outdoor mall comprises 40 shops, restaurants and services. Within this shopping district you will find large brand stores such as Target, Scheels Sporting Goods, and TJ Maxx. As you browse top brands and styles at Gap, Shoe Carnival, and Bed Bath & Beyond, you will be pleasantly surprised to find sales and events consistently occurring throughout the various stores. If you’re not in the mood for retail therapy but would still like to feel pampered, treat yourself at Classic Nails, Perfect 10 Mani & Massage Bar, or Ulta which offers a variety of beauty services and products. If your goal is to shop until you drop, Rushmore Crossing is the place to be. With all the food and beverage options in the area you can either quickly refuel with a smoothie or take your time to enjoy a nice sit down meal at one of the many surrounding restaurants. However, if your trunk is full of shopping bags and you want to sneak away from the crowds head back to Comfort Suites. The best place to dine in Rapid City is located right next door to the hotel. Featuring local game and fish, Dakotah Steakhouse is sure to satisfy your taste buds and exceed your expectations. Inspired by the history of the Black Hills region, Dakotah Steakhouse has mastered the balance between a casual atmosphere and fine dining where the entire family is welcome.

Last but not least, the third spot we recommend visiting is the Rushmore Mall. Originally built in 1978, the Rushmore Mall, also a quick 10 minute drive, offers a wide range of current local shops to nationally known department stores. Apparel, shoes, souvenirs, and salons, Rushmore Mall has something for every occasion. Some of the best known stores are Sears, JCPenney, Bath & Body Works, Eddie Bauer, and Victoria's Secret. If inspiration occurs and you want to step out of your comfort zone we recommend checking out popular spots like Bohme, which is a bohemian boutique like chain store, and Torrid, which has lady fashion for sizes 10-30. Other shops you can find classic styles and trendy pieces at would be Chicos, Francesca’s, Buckle, American Eagle, and rue21, just to name a few. Unique to Rapid City, make sure and stop into Dakota Best, the largest South Dakota made product retailer in the state, or Riddle’s Jewelry who has a wide selection of Black Hills gold jewelry. As Black Hills gold received its name based on the finding and production right here in the Black Hills there’s no better way to remember Rapid City than an exquisite piece of Black Hills gold jewelry.

Bringing the whole family along? No problem! Located throughout the mall you will find a play park, kiddie rides, and Time Out Amusement arcade. A favorite among locals is Bounce Around which is equipped with bounce houses, for ages 11 and under, and animal scooter rides. An activity the entire family might enjoy is catching one of the latest movies at the AMC movie theater located just outside of Sears. The Rushmore Mall has a food court with a variety of options from sushi and chinese to burgers and shakes. However, there are also surrounding restaurants such as Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse located just across the parking lot.

So as you finish your free hot breakfast buffet at Comfort Suites and are ready to take on the day just remember you have three fantastic shopping areas all within a quick 10 minute drive. And don’t worry, we won’t blame you if next time you visit Rapid City you “accidentally” forget something and need to go shopping!

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