A proud local for the past two decades, Wes Eisenhauer is a professional musician and photographer who knows Sioux Falls just about as well as anyone can. That includes where to see killer public art, the best parks for taking his kids to, where to grab an incredible meal and a local pint, and how to get pretty much anywhere by bike. Scroll down to check out 10 of Wes’s portraits of his home town, and learn a little about what makes Sioux Falls such a special place.
Welcome to Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. The largest city in South Dakota has a lot to offer someone looking to visit, play, start a business, or raise a family. A flourishing economy, vibrant art and music scenes, endless restaurants, and interesting history all contribute to the city’s appeal. I’m proud to have planted roots in South Dakota and to have called Sioux Falls home for the past 20 years.
If you spend any time wandering around Downtown Sioux Falls, you’ll notice the sidewalks lined with dozens of sculptures from artists all around the world. The guiding principle of the Sioux Falls SculptureWalk is to be the highest quality, most professional, financially strong, artist friendly, year-round outdoor sculpture program in the United States. It adds an artistic element to the community and encourages people to get out, walk, and observe art as they work and play downtown.
Sioux Falls is home to over 80 beautiful public parks. I'm a husband and father to two little girls, and the city's park system in is something my wife and I constantly utilize and enjoy. From Monday evening concerts at McKennan Park to having lunch at the Japanese Gardens, there's a surplus of plush green landscapes to soak in and enjoy with your friends and family.
Growing up in Sioux Falls, the two things that shaped me the most were skateboarding and music. I was lucky enough to come up in a time when punk music was thriving in Sioux Falls. There was always a house show to attend in a musty basement or a new group releasing a record they'd recorded themselves, with their friends, for the love. Luckily, today’s rock enthusiasts have places like Total Drag that will host their favorite indie touring band and have their record stocked on the shelf. Liz and Dan Nissen are doing all they can to help preserve and progress music in Sioux Falls. We’re lucky to have them.
One of the most important things to our local businesses and thriving economy is the strong sense of community built through places like M.B. Haskett, Total Drag, and Queen City Bakery. Not only do these places offer a superb product and experience, but they're also places where people from all walks of life gather, eat, listen, observe, and converse with each other. The connections and relationships built here are what makes this community great.
There's so much history in Sioux Falls to enjoy. From the historic All Saints neighborhood located just south of downtown, to the bronze historical markers at nearly every corner describing a moment or event significant to the history of our city. The roots here run deep. One of my favorites is witnessing the Cathedral of Saint Joseph lit up at night. It’s a great dose of perspective on how far this city has come.
Another thing I love about Sioux Falls is my ability to be downtown one moment, and then if I drive 15 minutes in any direction, I can be in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. One of my favorite things to do is strap my camera bag on the back of my motorcycle and head to the edge of the city. It’s a great place to capture endless cornfields and vistas, summertime thunderstorms, and sunsets that will blow your mind. I love the contrast between the faster-paced urban landscape and the slow pace of the country. It’s the best of both worlds.
Nothing excites me more than having a great meal, at a restaurant I love, with company I enjoy—the conversation, the laughs, the collective anticipation over what’s about to be served. Over the past five years, I’ve watched the local food and beer scene in Sioux Falls grow and evolve into something we can all be proud of. From a lunch at M.B. Haskett that I know was prepared with care and leaves me feeling good about what I put into my body, to grabbing a burrito on the go from Nikki’s Burrito Express, to a tasty pint of Lion’s Paw from Fernson Brewing, Sioux Falls has a lot to offer. Some of my other favorite spots are Sanaa’s, Jacky’s, Parker’s, Phillips Avenue Diner, Shahi Palace, Sushi Masa, Lam’s, Pho Quynn... the list goes on and on.
Wells Fargo CineDome
My family and I love taking in a movie at the Wells Fargo CineDome at the Washington Pavilion. With a constant rotation of Hollywood movies and educational documentaries, the CineDome features a 60-foot-wide, four-story-tall screen accompanied by an immersive sound experience. The tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 dollars for kids. There are barely ever any lines and no previews to sit through. NO PREVIEWS! Catching a movie here is definitely a hidden gem in Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls has a great biking community. The Sioux Falls Bike Trail forms a loop of nearly 30 miles of paved, multiuse pathways around the city that links many of our parks and green spaces, including Falls Park, seen above. A good alternative to driving your car, I often use the bike trail system as a shortcut to get to parks or an alternate route into downtown. The trails offer a great place to get some exercise, take a cruise on my skateboard, or take my daughter out to practice riding her bike.