Grand Rapids to Sioux Falls via I-94 W and 1-90 W
Take A Road Trip

Route distance: 811 miles

Suggested time: 4-5 days

Drive Time: 12ish hours

Seeing the Sights on a Road Trip from Grand Rapids to Sensational Sioux Falls

Combine exciting city sights with wide-open spaces in the USA’s heartland for a great road trip from Grand Rapids to South Dakota’s biggest city. After a stop in big-city Chicago, you’ll be entranced by the college vibe of Madison, Wisconsin, outstanding attractions in Milwaukee, and the beauty of Rochester, Minnesota, before arriving in Sioux Falls. Don't forget to order your Vacation Guide before hitting the road to discover even more South Dakota adventures.

Sponsored Content

Arc of Dreams
Arc of Dreams
Washington Pavilion
Grand Rapids, MI → Chicago, IL (3 hours)

Get an early start today for the fast-paced first leg of your road trip. It will take you just under three hours to arrive in Chicago. Stretch your legs by strolling along Navy Pier. Admire the city skyline and enjoy a slice of deep-dish pizza or one of the famous Chicago-style hot dogs with an array of tasty toppings. (Just be careful if you ask for ketchup. Some people in Chicago have strong feelings about that particular condiment.)

Sponsored Content

Chicago, IL → Milwaukee, WI (1.5 hours)

For the next part of your trip, drive about an hour and a half north to Milwaukee, where must-stop attractions include the Harley-Davidson Museum and the Lakefront Brewery. Relax over a German meal at Mader’s, diner fare at Honeypie or European-influenced dishes at Café Benelux.

Milwaukee, WI → Madison, WI (1.5 hours)

Get back behind the wheel for the 94-mile jaunt to lovely Madison, the state capital and home of the University of Wisconsin. Head downtown to Capitol Square and the State Street neighborhood to admire the granite dome atop the state Capitol Building. Browse shops and stop for dinner at one of the many restaurants, including Mariner’s Inn or The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant. Turn in for the night at either the city’s oldest operating hotel, Hotel Ruby Marie, or the 160-year-old Gothic revival Livingston Inn. You’re in the heart of cheese country, so make a note to stop at a cheese shop on your way out of town to purchase snacks for the drive ahead.

Madison, WI → Rochester, MN (3 hours, 16 minutes)

About an hour east of Rochester, luxurious accommodations await travelers at The Charmant Hotel, which formerly was an early-1900s candy factory in the Mississippi River town of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Should you decide to head straight into Rochester, an excellent choice is the elegant Berkman Hotel, which is just steps away from the famed Mayo Clinic’s downtown Saint Mary’s Campus. The hospital’s stunning structures include the 21-story Gonda Building and the Plummer Building, where tunes ring from the bell tower and the marble lobby is sure to impress.

This a great day to enjoy an afternoon outdoors. Hike, bike, or paddle at Silver Lake, or see what’s happening downtown at Peace Plaza or along historic Third Street. If you’re craving fried chicken or smoked meats, Porch is the place to eat lunch or dinner. For a more upscale atmosphere, top-notch service, and an extensive menu, check out Chester’s Kitchen & Bar.

Rochester, MN → Sioux Falls, SD (3.5 hours)

Take Interstate 90 west to cross the Minnesota-South Dakota border and reach Sioux Falls at the juncture of I-29. You’ll want to get some exercise after the drive, and walking next to the Big Sioux River that runs through beautiful Falls Park (131 E Falls Park Dr.) is the perfect place to start. In addition to the waterfalls, you’ll especially like the permanent sculptures scattered throughout the park, the jewel of the city. The five-story observation tower offers a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area, including the ruins of the late-1800s Queen Bee Mill.

Falls Park
Things to do

See more sculptures displayed in the city’s SculptureWalk, where artwork is rotated periodically. Stay outdoors and explore the Greenway Trail, a 29-mile paved loop around Sioux Falls. Visit the Good Earth State Park at Blood Run (26924 480th Ave.), a National Historic Landmark southeast of the city. The bustling downtown features shops, galleries, and entertainment options.

There’s always something fun happening at the multipurpose Washington Pavilion (301 S Main Ave.). See concerts & plays in its Husby Performing Arts Center, view art at the Visual Arts Center, let kids play at the hands-on Kirby Science Discovery Center and the Prehistoric Adventure Center (the city’s biggest indoor climbing structure), and watch a movie in the CineDome. Check event calendars to find out what’s also happening at the nearby Orpheum Theater Center (315 N Phillips Ave.), a building that’s been hosting concerts and other performances since 1913, and Denny Sanford Premier Center (1201 Northwest Ave.), an outdoor arena for concerts, sports and more.

Good Earth State Park
Good Earth State Park
Sculpture Walk
A family bikes along the Sioux Falls Greenway Trail.
Greenway Trail
Where to eat

Eat and drink in a number of great cafés and bars in Sioux Falls. As its name implies, you can order a made-from-scratch meal most anytime at the All Day Café (2101 W 41st St.); try the bottomless mimosas, biscuits and gravy, street tacos and fried oysters. Soups, salads and sandwiches are the stars of the menu at Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen (600 N Main Ave.). Among the inventive sandwich fillings are pork belly, jerk salmon and curried cauliflower. Those dining at Minerva’s (301 S Phillips Ave) will enjoy the stately dark-wood decor inside the convenient downtown location. Sit outdoors and enjoy the bustling town while dining on items such as walleye, beef stroganoff or a bacon-wrapped filet.

Bread & Circus
Places to stay

Sioux Falls offers lodging options to fit every interest and budget. Among places to consider is the relaxing ClubHouse Hotel & Suites (2320 S Louise Ave.), which offers an expanded continental breakfast, indoor children’s water play area, and complimentary cruising bicycles perfect for exploring Falls Park.  The columns, chandeliers, and the vault at Hotel on Phillips (100 N Phillips Ave.) bring to mind its former use as the Sioux Falls National Bank in the early 1900s. Today, guests enjoy modern touches in the rooms and suites, fitness center, and library.

If you’re looking for more personalized service, book your stay at The Historic Victorian Inn (117 N Duluth Ave.), a quick walk away from downtown Sioux Falls. The 1888 building is on the National Historic Register — book a room, floor or the entire inn. About 10 miles south of Sioux Falls, the rural setting of the Steever House Bed and Breakfast (46850 276th St, Lennox) will please those seeking solitude in a Queen Anne Victorian home.

Start Planning Your Next Trip to South Dakota
Illustrated image of three bison grazing in Custer State Park. The Needles rock formation is visible in the background.
Order Your Free Vacation Guide

Find our Vacation Guide, state map, and other free publications to aid in your travel planning.

Brule, Levitt at the Falls, Sioux Falls
Sign Up for the E-Newsletter

Receive monthly inspiration about places to see, activities to try, and upcoming events.