9 Best Thanksgiving Activities and Events in South Dakota

Throughout the state, you’ll find everything you need to make this Thanksgiving a holiday worth remembering. From delectable turkey and desserts to holiday-themed events and festivities, there’s no shortage to the fun you can have with your family as you pause to give thanks. This guide will help you on your journey to the 9 Best Thanksgiving Activities and Events in South Dakota during this 2023 holiday season.

Paddy O’Neill’s Irish Pub, Rapid City, SD

Celebrate Thanksgiving Eve by having some ice cold brews and delicious bar food. This downtown pub is in the Hotel Alex Johnson, and the old world environment combined with the warm, friendly atmosphere makes this a one-of-a-kind watering hole! Locals have voted Paddy’s as the best bar in the Black Hills. They offer an ever-changing tap list with both regional and well-known brews. Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to close are Ladies’ Night, in which they offer specialty cocktails like seven chocolate martinis, cosmos, and lemon drops. If drinking isn’t your cup of tea, check out their menu with American cuisine like pizza, burgers, salads, and appetizers. 

Al’s Oasis, Oacoma, SD

Al’s Oasis in Oacoma is an incredibly popular rest stop in the middle of the state along the I-90. Not only do they have pies, but also chicken, steaks, hot sandwiches, buffalo burgers, sandwiches, baskets, Indian tacos, breakfast, and take out. Al’s famous pie comes in the standard flavors, or for adventurous customers, try one of their signature pies that come in either strawberry cream or lemon cream cheese. Slices can’t be bought individually, only complete pies for $17 to $20, but you’ll want to eat the whole pie anyway!

The Goose Mobile, Canova, SD

The Goose Mobile of Canova, South Dakota, provides its animals an environment that is healthy and natural. Animals are treated humanely, and happy animals create healthy food. The natural, free-range turkey of Goose Mobile is fresh and only available for Thanksgiving. Be sure to check their website for pricing! 

Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, Chamberlain, SD

Pay homage to the Native American culture of the Dakotas by visiting the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center in Chamberlain. It is on the campus of St. Joseph's Indian School and was opened to preserve and honor the culture and history of the Lakota people. The museum’s exhibits include art, artifacts, education displays, a 36-foot diorama showing life on the prairie, the Outdoor Medicine Wheel Garden, gift shop, and the Collector’s Gallery with original sculptures, paintings, and traditional crafts.

Feeding South Dakota, Sioux Falls, SD

Feeding South Dakota is a hunger relief organization that is working to feed the needy across the state. Shockingly, one out of every eight individuals in Sioux Dakota is food insecure. Feeding South Dakota works to make food insecurity a thing of the past, and provides over 190,000 people with food each year. Volunteer at one of their food banks to make a difference in the lives of your less fortunate community members!

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5K Turkey Trot Run/Walk, Mitchell, SD

Work off the holiday calories by going on a fun turkey trot! Mitchell’s 5K Turkey Trot Run/Walk is on Thanksgiving day, and all proceeds go towards to the Mitchell Baseball Association. Awards go to the top male and female finishers along with age division awards, and awards for the best dressed and some other fun awards. Running, walking, or even skipping, people of all abilities are encouraged to participate!

Falls Overlook Cafe, Sioux Falls, SD

If you’re aren’t exactly in the business of cooking your own turkey on Thanksgiving, head to the beautiful Overlook Cafe overlooking the Big Sioux River for a meal you won’t forget. Try some of their turkey dishes such as Craisy Turkey (craisin spread, roasted turkey, and lettuce on Black Russian bread) or the turkey kabobs. Other menu options include cold entrees, desserts, quesadilla, made-from-scratch soups, super salads, and hot entrees. They close for the winter season, but private events can be accommodated.

Parade of Lights, Sioux Falls, SD

On the day after Thanksgiving, head to Sioux Falls to watch this beautiful parade that goes along historic Phillips Avenue from 13th Street to 5th Street. For over 25 years, the Parade of Lights has been one of the top family activities over the holiday season, and the event features dazzling lighted holiday floats.

Uptown Rapid, Rapid City, SD

Now that Thanksgiving is done, it is time to get a head start on your Christmas shopping! Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to get cheap gifts and money saving deals. Head to Uptown Rapid in Rapid City and get ready to shop until you drop!

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