Located along the Minnesota border about 60 miles north of Sioux Falls, Brookings South Dakota is an energetic college town with plenty of amenities to welcome visitors. Whether travelers are settling into Brooking hotels or just spending the day, they are sure to find a good time. The list of Brookings attractions is diverse; visitors can connect with history, enjoy the arts, and spend time outside.
Many of the things to do in Brookings are found on the campus of South Dakota State University, and a number of them can be experienced for little or no cost. Nature's splendor is on display at the McCrory Gardens, a 20-acre haven of trees, shrubs, and flowers. The Centennial Prairie garden, which is crisscrossed by hiking paths, showcases the diversity of this landscape, which once stretched from central Canada to Texas. Among the free Brooking attractions, the gardens are open from dawn to dusk. Campus visitors also can learn about an aspect of state history at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, another free attraction in Brookings South Dakota. As visitors see the 1915 farmhouse, collection of tractors, and other exhibits, they can also see how life has changed in the rural regions and how it has stayed the same.
Just a block away from the museum, travelers can add a tasty component to their Brookings vacation. The SDSU Dairy Bar, a self-sustaining student-run operation, produces more than 60 flavors of ice cream, in addition to milk, cheese, and butter. Those interested in this operation can call ahead to take tours of the processing plant.
Other Brookings attractions on the university campus focus on music and theater. The Prairie Repertory Theater, Performing Arts Center, and State University Theater bring a variety of musicians, plays, and special events to the stage. The Brookings Chamber Music Society calls the Performing Arts Center home, and the rich array of concerts will be sure to delight visitors.
This Brookings South Dakota campus is also home to a lively museum. The interior of the modern South Dakota Art Museum unfolds as a labyrinth, and while visitors follow the path, they can see works by local and regional artists. There is also an extensive collection of Native American photographs and tribal art, a display on the people behind Marghab Linens, and the traveling Governor's art exhibit.
A Brookings vacation also can include spending time in the historic downtown. Walking tours will reveal the history of this community, complete with several options for entertainment. The city clerk offers guided tours that detail the downtown area as well as other Brookings attractions, and visitors also can spend time shopping, dining, and enjoying the night life at unique and charming local businesses.
Spending time outside is a must for any Brookings vacation. Anglers have their choice of many fishing lakes, including Lake Campbell and Oakwood Lake, which are part of a chain of glacier-carved lakes. When visitors spend time at Oakwood Lakes State Park, they have the chance to do some fishing; they also can go hiking, cross-country skiing, and swimming. Shaded campgrounds and cabins are available for overnight accommodations.