Introduction to Pierre
Pierre, South Dakota is the state capital and the county seat of Hughes County. The city was founded on the Missouri River across from Fort Pierre in 1880, and it has been the state capital since 1889. It is widely known for its memorial hall and for being the regional transportation hub. The city is one of only five state capitals that does not have a major interstate highway running through it. It is also the only state capital in the United States that does not share at least one letter with its state. The South Dakota State Capitol building is located in Pierre near the Missouri River, and the white marble building was built in 1905.
The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center is located in Pierre and is dedicated to educating the public about history through exhibits, educational programming, and research. Visitors get the chance to experience historical eras characterized by early American Indian cultures, the arrival of white settlers, river boats, and railroads. Sod houses are recreated, and pioneer stories are told throughout the exhibits. Visitors can view a Lakota teepee as well as a replica of a gold mine. The museum has over 1,300 Native American objects focusing on the Sioux Indians. Verendrye Monument marks the spot where Louis Verendrye’s lead plate was unearthed some years ago. The Discovery Center & Aquarium, including South Dakota’s Science & Technology Center, have planetarium shows and summer programs.
Pierre Sports and Leisure
Big Sioux Recreation Area is located on the banks of the Big Sioux River and features a homestead cabin, a collection of some of the oldest trees in the state, trails winding through woods and prairies, a GPS trail, canoeing and kayaking on the river, cross-country skiing, biking, snowmobiling, and camping cabins. Chief White Crane Recreation Area has canoeing, bald eagle viewing, and fishing. Other camping areas include Clay Recreation Area, Dells of the Sioux, and Lake Carthage. Fishing is also popular at places like the James River, Big Sioux River, and Missouri River. Anglers catch species like smallmouth bass, bullhead, catfish, crappie, and northern pike.
There are many different outdoor parks in the region, some famous, some not-so-famous, but all with the austere beauty of the Midwest. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Care National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Harney Peak, Custer State Park, Bear Butte State Park, Devils Tower National Monument, and Crazy Horse Memorial. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally happens every year in the Black Hills. Hunting is very popular in South Dakota, and it is a year-round sport for many hunters. There are almost 4.5 million acres of public land in the state, and hunters can use the land to hunt such species as upland game, waterfowl, small game, big game, pheasant, deer, partridge, quail, dove, coyote, and fox.
Pierre at Night
The city of Pierre has a variety of nightlife venues to choose from. There’s the American Legion Post No. 8 Lounge, which has drinks, meats, soups, salads, and vegetable entrees. The Grandstand is a popular local cocktail lounge. Longbranch has a bar, restaurant, tavern, and nightclub all in one. There’s Jake’s Good Time Place, Kings Inn Hotel & Convention Center, Pete’ez Tavern, and the Possum Lounge. St. Charles Restaurant and Lounge has a restaurant and a nightclub for patrons.