If you are thinking of doing some traveling this Christmas vacation, why not head out to Pierre, South Dakota?
Pierre can best be described as a dense suburban area. It’s a great place to take in nature as it is home to the La Framboise Island Nature Area and the Oahe Dam. There are also several museums in the area as well as the stately capital building.
If you are planning on being in Pierre for the holidays, here are some terrific things you can do to celebrate.
The Grand Lighting Ceremony at the Capitol Building
The Capitol Building is a sight worth seeing. Constructed between 1905 and 1910, it consists of Indiana limestone, terrazzo marble and terrazzo tile flooring laid by 66 Italian artists. The marble staircase leads to a display of miniature gowns worn by each First Lady at the inaugural balls.
The second-floor bears images of the Tree of Life, acanthus leaves and the South Dakota state flower. Government offices are located on the third floor. The grounds are dotted by memorials that tell the state’s history.
You may consider booking a tour of the Capitol building or you may prefer to come by for the Tree Lighting Ceremony. The governor hosts the ceremony and special guests attend each year, including Santa Claus. Children can also write letters to Santa and place them in the Capitols’ Letters to Santa mailbox.
In addition to the big tree, there are several other smaller trees and decorations placed throughout the building. Guests are welcome to stroll the rotunda to check out the festive atmosphere at any time during the holiday season. There are often musical guests and other performers entertaining as well.
Annual Parade of Lights
The Parade of Lights is an event that proceeds the tree lighting at the capital. People put on their grandest light displays and gather at Riggs High School parking lot to travel down Broadway to Highland. They then turn on Pleasant on to Pierre St and end at the American Legion Cabin.
Prizes are awarded for 1st، 2nd و 3rd place displays and Mayor’s Choice, Griswold and People’s Choice awards are also given out.
Fort Pierre Christmas Tree Lighting and Cowboy Christmas
Fort Pierre is the oldest continuously occupied white settlement in South Dakota. The settlement hosts a Christmas event that includes a tree lighting ceremony, wagon rides and a light display on the Bad River Pedestrian Bridge. Santa will be there as well. Businesses and residences will also have the opportunity to enter into the lighting competition.
Get Greeting Cards at the Verendrye Museum
The Verendrye Museum is located in the heart of Fort Pierre. It was established in 1968 and preserves Pierre’s colorful past. It graces the same hill where the Verendrye bothers places a plaque claiming the Missouri Basin for France in 1743 and it is a historical landmark. Exhibits include a country store, an original phone operators’ station, post office boxes, home furnishings, cowboy memorabilia and more.
The museum is a terrific place to visit. While there, be sure to check out the Betsy DeLoache greeting cards sold in the gift shop. Many of them are holiday themed making them a great way to reach out to those you love at Christmastime.
Upper Pierre Commercial Historic District
The Upper Pierre Commercial Historic District was once the city’s central commerce and government center. Today, it is still home to many shops and restaurants making it a great place for holiday shopping. The Grand Opera house and Pierre Players are also located in the district. Be sure to find out what Christmas plays will be showing when you’re in town.
Visit the SD Discovery Center and Aquarium
The SD Discover Center and Aquarium is a terrific educational resource for children and teachers alike. They offer events and outreach programs to children throughout the year including a Women in Science program available to young women, family festivals, Lego and Robotics classes and more. Find out what they have in store around when you’re in town.
Ice Skate at Skate Pierre
The holidays are a great time for ice skating. Families can get their fill at the Skate Pierre facility. They offer open skate sessions as well as drop-in hockey, stick & puck and huff & puff for beginners.
Visit the Northridge Plaza Pierre Mall
The Northridge Plaza Mall is a great place to get holiday shopping done. During Christmastime, it will be decked out with lights and you may even be able to get your child a meeting with Santa and his elves.
The Gaylord Sumner House
Gaylord Sumner was a prominent businessman. His house is known for its classic charm and unique architectural structure. Renovations were done in the 1800’s to turn it into a two-story home.
The property is a private residence and not open to tours, but guests can drop by to check out its exterior and see how it is decked out for the holiday season.
Old Fort Pierre School
The Old Fort Pierre School was the first high school in Fort Pierre and it is one of the oldest schools in South Dakota. It is two stories high and it held four classrooms. Although it is called a high school, it was open to children of all ages between 1892 and 1909.
The building is currently being used as an apartment complex and features an elegant façade that includes stained glass windows. Visitors can come by the enjoy its architecture and check out its festive decorations during the holiday season.
Pierre is a terrific Christmas destination. There’s so much to see and do yet the laid-back vibe will provide the ultimate in relaxation. What will you be doing when you visit?