Foodie Road Trip From Watertown to Sioux Falls
Take A Road Trip

Dempseys Brewing, Watertown
Dempsey's Brewery & Pub, Watertown
Sioux Falls Brew Tour
Fernson Downtown, Sioux Falls

Fuel up for a delicious foodie road trip filled with loads of restaurants, cafes and breweries. Pull in to for local grub and brews—starting from the small eastern city of Watertown and driving directly south to South Dakota's largest city, Sioux Falls

Servicing Airlines: United, Key Lime Air
On-site Car Rental: Budget 
Recommended Road Trip Time: 3 days
Route Distance: 104 miles (one way), 208 miles (roundtrip)

It's a small airport, but don’t let that deter you from flying into Watertown Regional Airport (ATY), which has some of the lowest average one-way fares compared to other South Dakota airports. Plus, you’ll get to explore the unassuming and underrated locale of Watertown. After stopping by Budget for your rental car, fuel up for a foodie escapade that will have you wondering why more people don’t know about or venture to this area of the state. 

Watertown Regional Airport (ATY) → Watertown (3.8 miles)

Check into your accommodation of choice—perhaps Ramkota Hotel, Watertown's only full-service hotel which features Minervas Restaurant and Bar onsite. The Minervas family of restaurants can be found in a few other cities across the state, and they've been defining quality food and great service in South Dakota since 1977. 
 
Once settled into your room, explore the quaint downtown area and head to one of the best stops on the list: Watertown Brewing Company, where they grow their own hops, brew their own beer, and even make crackers out of the spent grain from their mashing process. Kick off your trip with a charcuterie plate here, which consists of a healthy mix of European and Midwestern samplings—including Parisian-inspired cheeses and meats, house pickles and bread made from the same wheat as their beer.

To make room for your next meal, consider hitting the water for boating or fishing at Sandy Shore Lake Recreation Area on Lake Kampeska or Pelican Lake Recreation Area on Pelican Lake. If you’re more of an arts & culture fiend, work up an appetite exploring more than 150 oil paintings by wildlife artist Terry Redlin at The Redlin Art Center. Have kids in tow for this foodie adventure? Before they get hangry for their next meal, grab admission to Bramble Park Zoo, the second-largest zoo in South Dakota and home to more than 800 animals.

Lake Kampeska Fishing, Watertown
Fishing on Lake Kampeska, Watertown
Terry Redlin Art Center, Watertown
Terry Redlin Art Center, Watertown
Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown
Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown

When you’re ready for your next meal, grab the best pizza this side of Highway 80, and, believe it or not, a true contender throughout the entire country. As South Dakota’s only certified pizzaiola, Sean Dempsey is top-rated on TripAdvisor and Yelp. This pizza won 1st place in its region at the International Pizza Expo, finishing #10 in the nation for traditional pies. As for Dempsey’s Brewery, Pub & Restaurant’s menu, non-pizza heads should go for the wienerschnitzel or burgers.
 
Spend the afternoon strolling downtown Watertown, peeping in and out of the local shops, and enjoying its small-town charm with big-city ideas. For dinner with a sunset view, head to The Prop, a local lake hangout with a friendly pub atmosphere overlooking beautiful Lake Kampeska. Kick back here for a game of pool or watch a big game on the TV over the “Famous Garlic Burger” and some local South Dakota beers. 
 
For dessert, be ready to jump back in the car. Make your own wine and indulge in old-fashioned chocolates and sea salt caramels—all hand-made and hand-dipped to make every piece delectably different—at Watertown Confectionery. Downstairs in the cellar, you'll find the Ghost Town Winery downstairs in the cellar. With the magic words quoted, visitors of the confectionery can have their hand at becoming vintners. Provided with a wine kit and bottles, you’ll be able to design your own wine label. 

Dempseys Brewing, Watertown
Dempsey's Restaurant, Watertown
Sea Salt Caramels, Watertown Confectionery
Sea Salts Caramels from Watertown Confectionery, Watertown
Two glasses of beer at Watertown Brewing Company
Watertown Brewing Company, Watertown

Watertown → Sioux Falls, SD (104 miles)

In the morning, grab breakfast at Gather in downtown Watertown for some fresh baked goods before hitting the road to head south on I-29 for a 1.5-hour drive to Sioux Falls. As South Dakota’s largest city, Sioux Falls is packed with more than 700 awesome restaurants to check out and "find your full." With a variety of cuisine, specialties and themed eateries, it might be tough to pick—especially with many of them having put Sioux Falls on the foodie map by appearing on Guy Fieri’s hit TV show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

Bread & Circus, Sioux Falls
Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen, Sioux Falls
Food at Lalibela Restaurant in Sioux Falls
Lalibela Restaurant, Sioux Falls

Consider staying in the heart of downtown at the historically significant Hotel on Phillips, originally built as the Sioux Falls National Bank in 1918. One hundred years later, Hotel On Phillips began its restoration and transformation into an upscale, chic boutique hotel that also boasts its own onsite, equally-as-chic cocktail lounge: The Treasury. Enjoy a pre-dinner craft cocktail or glass of wine with some elevated bar bites and small plates from Executive Chef Matthew Regnier before hitting the town for dinner. 

Plan to spend the next day or two exploring Sioux Falls and its dining scene. Grab a coffee at one of the the locally-owned, specialty coffee roasters—Coffea Roasterie & Espresso Bar or The Source Coffee Roastery + Taproom—to start the day on a high note with some small-batch South Dakota joe. Coffee in hand, drive or walk the “Phillips to the Falls” route, which starts from Phillips Avenue and leads to Falls Park—where cascading waterfalls, scenic views, open-air markets, a cozy café  and cultural experiences all await your exploration.

The Treasury Lounge, Sioux Falls
The Treasury at Hotel on Phillips
The Source Coffee Roastery, Sioux Falls
The Source Coffee Roastery, Sioux Falls
Falls Park, Sioux Falls
Falls Park, Sioux Falls

This also puts you real close to the Washington Pavilion, the region’s home for arts, entertainment and science. During the day, it’s a perfect place for visitors of all ages to check out the rotating visual arts displays. At night, the Pavilion features a rotation of Hollywood blockbusters and educational documentaries projected onto a 60-foot-wide, four-story screen at the Wells Fargo CineDome

With a multitude of restaurants to choose from, you’re likely to find a delicious option for any mood or craving. Grab deli creations at Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen. Sit down for all-American food piled high in a retro dining atmosphere at Phillips Avenue Diner, or head to the open garage doors and patio (weather permitting) and Dadaist artist-inspired dining room of Dada Gastropub.

C.H. Patisserie Macaroons
French Macarons at C.H. Patisserie, Sioux Falls
Parlour Ice Cream House, Sioux Falls
Parlour Ice Cream House, Sioux Falls

In between downtown shopping and exploration, treat yourself to sweet culinary delights and liquid libations. Indulge in playful and colorful French macarons of C.H. Patisserie—named one of the top two French bakeries in America—or grab one of the many artisan ice cream flavors at Parlour Ice Cream House.

If your sweet tooth is better soothed with liquid, try a glass of South Dakota-made wine at Miner Brewing Companyand Prairie Berry Winery Taproom. And certainly don't leave without tasting why South Dakota’s brewing scene is exploding. You and your co-pilots will have your flight's worth at WoodGrain Brewing Co., Monk’s Alehouse, Remedy Brewing Company, Obscure Brewing Co., Severance Brewing Co., Lupulin Brewing, Granite City Food & BreweryFernson Brewing Co. Taproom & Kitchen and many more!

Sioux Falls' Fernson Brewing Co.
Fernson Brewing Co., Sioux Falls
Prairie Berry Winery
Prairie Berry Winery Taproom, Sioux Falls
Remedy Brewing, Sioux falls
Remedy Brewing Company, Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls → Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD) (2.6 miles)

With the trip coming to an end, plan to either turn back around for your flight back out of Watertown airport. Or, depending on your airline, the option may also be there for you to drop off your rental car at a nearby Budget in the city and catch a quick ride to fly right out of Sioux Falls Airport (FSD). Either way, you’re likely to leave having eaten and imbibed way too much ... which is the perfect amount. All you've got to do now is savor it all till the next trip to the underrated food and brew destination that is South Dakota.

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Illustrated image of three bison grazing in Custer State Park. The Needles rock formation is visible in the background.
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