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15 Best & Fun Things To Do In Yankton, South Dakota

What are some of the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota?

After all, when we think about the city of Yankton in South Dakota, what typically comes to mind?

Well for starters, the city of Yankton is currently the county seat of Yankton county in South Dakota. It is also the first capital of Dakota Territory and was named for the Yankton Tribe of Western Dakota people.

Asides from that, the city of Yankton is also a relatively small sized city. In fact, the entire size of Yankton is estimated to be around 8.82 square miles wide. Being as how that is, the city of Yankton is still a popular place to live in.

According to the 2019 Census, the population is estimated to be around 14,687.

With that being said though, Yankton, South Dakota is also a tourists dream come true. Many locals and tourists from all around love to travel here because of all that it has to offer.

Originally a hub for steamboat passengers and later a railroad center, Yankton has always been a spot for travelers to visit. With a thriving atmosphere filled with culture, history and entertainment, this is one city everyone will love.

For instance, visitors who come to this city will find so many amazing things to see or do. Some of the highlights include places like the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Meridian highway Bridge, Cramer-Kenyon Home, Gavin’s Point National Fish Hatchery and more.

plus, with an abundance of delicious restaurants, cute cafes, fun theaters, historical museums and awesome attractions, visitors who come to this city will have the time of their lives exploring everything that this area has to offer.

Which is why, if you’re ever wondering exactly what there is to see or do here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, then you are in luck.

In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota.

So if you’re ready, lets get started!

Things To Do In Yankton, South Dakota

In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota.

1. Meridian Highway Bridge

Meridian Highway Bridge

If you’re ever planning on visiting the city of Yankton, South Dakota, then one of the most popular attractions you can ever visit is one known as the “Meridian Highway Bridge.

After all, the Meridian Highway Bridge has played a long and important role for the city of Yankton.

Back before the modern days, vehicles crossing the Missouri River at Yankton would usually drive across the double-decker Meridian Bridge. And what’s interesting is that the bridge itself is made to be one way only.

Because of this, visitors driving into town from Nebraska would typically go on the top side of the bridge, where as the lower level was used for people to cross into the state of Nebraska.

However, eventually the Meridian Bridge would be replaced with a newer bridge that consisted of four-lanes. Which meant that the older Meridian Bridge had to take a backseat and become what is now known as one of the most popular attractions for tourists to visit.

Visitors who come to this bridge will find that there is a pedestrian walkway that connects both South Dakota and Nebraska. And along the way, there are also many placards along the lower level which provides many information about the history of the bridge.

Not only that, but if visitors decide to walk across the upper levels of the bridge, it’ll even offer beautiful views of the scenic Missouri River.

And if visitors are interested, once they reach the Nebraska side, they can even find numerous hiking trails in the woods along the river’s shoreline. It makes for a peaceful and relaxing adventure that everyone will love.

With all things being said, a trip to the Meridian Bridge is truly one of the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota.

2. Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

Lewis and Clark Recreation Area

I’m sure everyone has heard about the famous duo that is Lewis and Clark.

And here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, there is a place named after them with one of the best recreational areas for people to enjoy.

Known as the “Lewis and Clark Recreation Area“, it is one of the most popular places to visit in all of Yankton. Located on the northern shore of the 31,400-acre Lewis and Clark Lake, visitors who come here will find all sorts of amazing things to see and do.

For instance, visitors who come here will find that there are three campgrounds that are located here called the “Yankton Section, Midway Section, and Gavins Point Section”. With a total of 418 campsites for people to enjoy, its the perfect place for anyone wanting to surround themselves with nature.

Not only that, but this entire area is a recreational lovers dream come true.

Filled with numerous nature trails that travel along the Lewis and Clark Lake and also the surrounding bluffs, visitors who come here can enjoy things like biking, hiking, equestrian, walking, and so much more.

The area even has a disc golf course and an archery range!

Not only that, but because there is a lake on-site as well, visitors can also enjoy some water related activities too. Things like fishing to canoeing or even sailing and more, the options are limitless.

Being as how that is, visiting the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is truly one of the most fun things to do in Yankton, South Dakota. Doesn’t matter if you’re here to camp, hike, or do anything else, visitors will truly enjoy their time here.

3. Cramer-Kenyon Home

Cramer-Kenyon Home

One of the most historical and unique attractions you can ever visit while here in the city of Yankton, North Dakota is that of a place called the “Cramer-Kenyon Home”.

The Cramer-Kenyon Home is truly one of the most amazing places anyone can ever visit.

Originally built back in 1886 by the former Secretary of the Dakota Territory, this beautiful home was built as the tallest Queen Anne home in the entire Dakota Territories. The home features architectural design of the Eastlake Stick Style with elegant Queen Anne interior.

However, after a few decades of living here, eventually this home was purchased by the Heritage Homes, Inc.  And from there, this home was opened to the public in 1974 as a Bicentennial project to commemorate Yankton’s being the first capital of the Dakota Territory.

Today, visitors from all over the country can come here to tour around this home and see exactly how life was like back many years ago.

In fact, much of this home still remains in its original 1890’s fashion with oil paintings by Alice Bullfinch Cramer, heavy double doors in the front entry, combination gas and electric chandeliers and replicated wallpaper in the parlors.

Roaming around this house will feel as if you have been transported back through time.

Although if you are wanting to tour this home you will need to know that guided tours are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wednesday through Sunday. And during the offseason, the home is open by appointment only.

With that being said, it’s truly one of the most interesting places anyone can ever visit. If you have the time to spare, then this is one place everyone should check out.

4. El Tapatio Family Mexican Restaurant

El Tapatio Family Mexican Restaurant

Do you love Mexican food?

If so, then you’ll be happy to know that here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, there is a fantastic Mexican restaurant for people to visit.

Known as the “El Tapatio Family Mexican Restaurant“, it is one of the most popular restaurants around for people to eat at. Many locals and tourists from all around love to come here because of just how good the food really is.

In fact, according to Yelp, it is one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Yankton, South Dakota.

Visitors who come to this restaurant will find so many delicious food options for them to choose from. Some of the highlights include dishes like Chorizo Nachos, Quesadilla Ranchera, Fajitas Mezquite, Enchiladas, Pollo A La Crema, and so much more.

They even offer some really cool Mexican drinks as well.

But the best part about this restaurant is that all of the food portions are insanely big. One dish is easily enough to fill the bellies of two people.

Not only that, but the foods are also all reasonably priced as nothing is overly expensive. The staff is also extremely warm and welcoming and will do their best to make sure your dining experience is as good as it can possibly be.

With that being said, if you are ever hungry while visiting the city of Yankton, South Dakota, then definitely do consider giving El Tapatio Family Mexican Restaurant a try. You will definitely enjoy it.

5. NFFA Easton Yankton Archery Complex

NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Complex

Who doesn’t love archery?

And here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, visitors can enjoy all the archery they can ever want at the NFFA Easton Yankton Archery Complex.

The NFFA Easton Yankton Archery Complex is one of the biggest and most popular archery centers in all of the country. Locals and tourists from all around who are a fan of archery always try to make it a point to visit this location.

After all, it is situated on nearly 100 acres, and includes three outdoor field ranges, a 3D range with a 40′ elevated platform, two FITA ranges, a 90m indoor range, and so much more.

It’s literally an archers dream come true as this place has almost everything an archer can ever want.

There’s also a museum on-site dedicated to the sport of archery.

And what’s neat is that they also provide archery lessons for anyone of all skill levels. They even allow guests to come try and shoot with a day pass or even an annual pass.

But even though the center is mostly situated for archery, that’s not all that they have here. In fact, they also have a fitness studio, indoor tennis courts, indoor air rifle area, and also many classrooms for people to use.

So at the end of the day, if you are a fan of archery or just want to try it out, then a trip to the NFFA Easton Yankton Archery Center is definitely the place to be.

6. Dakota Territorial Museum

Dakota Territorial Museum

One of the best places to visit where you can learn all about the history and culture of the Dakota Territories is definitely at the famous Dakota Territorial Museum”.

The Dakota Territorial Museum, which was relocated to the historic Mead Building back in 2018, is a fascinating place that shares the region’s history through a series of exhibits and displays that explores the lives of Native Americans, Lewis and Clark’s Expedition, Pioneer Life, and more.

With so many things for people to see and enjoy, this is one place everyone will need to visit.

After all, visitors who come to this museum will be able to see and learn so many things. For instance, some of the things they might see includes exhibits like Journeying Forward, Yankton State Hospital Exhibit, Children’s Transportation Museum, and more.

There’s even a section called “Heritage Park”, where visitors can roam around some old school places as if they went back through time. With things like an old schoolhouse, railroad depot, blacksmith, and more, it offers one of the best insights into the past.

And what’s great is that all throughout the year, this museum will also be host to a wide range of events for people to enjoy. They do things like Haunted History Tours, Overnight Experiences and more.

Admission into this museum is also fairly cheap as an adult ticket only costs around $8 dollars while children costs around $5. Being as how that is, it’s definitely worth a visit.

So if you are ever interested in learning more about the history and culture about the Dakota Territories as well as the people that lived here, then this is one place you definitely need to check out.

7. Ben’s Brewing Co.

Ben's Brewing Co

One of the best things about traveling around to a new city or town is that you’ll get the chance to try out all the amazing local beers that the area has to offer.

And that stays true here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota as there are a number of good breweries around for people to visit.

But one of the most popular breweries that everyone has to visit is one known as “Ben’s Brewing Co.”. Many locals and tourists around who come to this city always makes it a point to visit this brewery.

After all, here at Ben’s Brewing Co., they specialize in serving up delicious craft beers for people to enjoy. Many of which are made on-site and are super fresh to try.

For instance, they have many different varieties of beer for people to drink. Some of the highlights include drinks like West Side Park, Kenny Pepper Ale, Kelly’s Cove, Burleigh, Octoberfest, Raspberry Porter, Bishop Marty, and so much more.

Asides from that, one of the most popular reasons to visit this brewery is that they also provide tours of their entire brewing process. Visitors who come here can roam around and see exactly just how they make their beers.

Now one thing to note is that this place is purely a brewery. Which means that there won’t be any food for you to find here. But even with that being said, the beer alone is reason enough for people to visit.

So at the end of the day, if you are ever wanting to try out some truly amazing beers, then a visit to Ben’s Brewing Co. is definitely one of the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota.

8. Coyote Twin Theatre

Coyote Twin Theatre

Want to watch a movie?

Well you’ll be happy to know that here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, there is a fantastic place where you can visit to enjoy all the movies that you can ever want!

Known as “Coyote Theatre” or Coyote Twin Theatre, it is the premiere movie theater for this area. It is a small local theater that offers all the amenities and things that many big box movie theater provides.

For instance, here at this theater, visitors can enjoy watching all the latest and greatest feature film titles each and every day. Running two titles per day each and every week, it is an intimate theater that is fantastic to visit.

Plus, they also offer a full service snack and drink bar which makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable.

Asides from that, visitors who are wanting to come here and watch a movie will need to purchase a ticket either online or on-site. Tickets are fairly priced and once you get your ticket, you can go on in and enjoy the show.

With that being said, it might not be the biggest movie theater for people to visit, but it is one that carries a nostalgic charm for people to enjoy.

So if you are a movie buff or just want to relax and see some cool new shows, then visiting this theater is definitely one of the best things to do in Yankton, South Dakota.

9. Charlie’s Pizza House

charlie's pizza house

Who doesn’t love pizza?

And here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, visitors who come to this area will be able to find one of the best pizza restaurants around known as “Charlie’s Pizza House”.

Charlie’s Pizza House is a hugely popular restaurant that specializes in serving up delicious one-of-a-kind pizzas for people to enjoy.

Originally opened up in 1959, Charlie’s Pizza house is currently considered to be the oldest pizza house in the entire state of South Dakota. And with that, they grown a huge following of fans who love their food.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Yankton.

Visitors who come to this place will find all sorts of amazing pizzas for them to try. For instance, some of the highlights include pizzas like Hawaiian Elvis, Clint Eastwood, Hepburn’s Spicy Delight, James Dean, Three Stooges, and more. All of which are uniquely created.

But it’s not just pizza that they serve here.

In fact, they also serve things like Chicken Wings, Garlic Bread, Salads, Charlino’s and even a create your own kind of pizza too.

With that being said, what truly makes this place special is that all of the foods being served here taste absolutely delicious. Using only the freshest ingredients possible, they make foods that are loved by all.

So if you are ever in the mood to eat some pizza while visiting the city of Yankton, South Dakota, then definitely consider visiting Charlie’s Pizza House as you will thoroughly enjoy your experience.

10. Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery

Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery

While traveling around the city of Yankton, South Dakota, one of the most unique and interesting places you can ever visit is an attraction called the “Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery”.

The Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery is one of the most popular places to visit. After all, it was originally built back in 1960, and is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is situated right below Gavins Point Dam, near the Missouri River.

The purpose of the hatchery is to help maintain fisheries in the Missouri River Basin, following impacts to natural river flows and loss of habitat due to development and channelization of the Missouri River Basin.

And since their opening, they have been able to produce over 5 billion fish for release in Midwestern waters. For instance, they have been able to help produce fishes like the Pallid Sturgeon, American Paddlefish, as well as many game fish too.

Asides from that, one of the most popular attractions about this site is that there is even an aquarium on-site as well for people to enjoy. In fact, visitors become part of the aquatic environment as fish and turtles swim within 13 tanks around.

There are also many exhibits, displays, and aquatic animals located in the aquarium building which explain the work and objectives of the hatchery. After all, this hatchery is only one of 65 National Federal Hatcheries and Fish Technology Centers that is operated in the U.S.

It’s truly one of the most fun things to do in Yankton, South Dakota. If you have the time to spare, then this is one spot you should definitely check out!

11. Fox Run Golf Course

Fox Run Golf Course

Who doesn’t like playing some golf?

And here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, visitors who are wanting to play some golf will be happy to know that there are multiple golf courses around for people to use.

One of the most popular in fact is a golf course known as the “Fox Run Golf Course”.

The Fox Run Golf Course is a beautiful course that is situated inside of the amazing “GreatLife Golf and Fitness Club Center“. This course includes four sets of tees to play from.

And what’s neat is that there is an 18-hole, par 72 golf course at Fox Run can be tailored to create an appropriate challenge for golfers of almost any level. The golf course is also meticulously maintained and is constantly being improved upon as it has hosted several major SDGA events.

Also, just like any other professional golf course in the world, here there is also a Pro Shop for people to browse around in. Filled with all the latest and greatest golfing gear, clothes, balls, clubs and more for people to buy, this place has it all.

Asides from that, this place also has a full on fitness club for people to use.

Filled with various kinds of free weights and cardio equipment, visitors of all levels and experience are able to enjoy their time here working out. Plus, they even have full locker rooms for people to use as well.

With all of that being said, this is one place that is absolutely worth a visit especially if you love playing golf or just having some fun.

12. G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery

G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery

One of the most interesting and beautiful places you can ever visit while here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota to see some art is definitely at a place called the “G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery”.

After all, the G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery is filled with some of the most historical and cultural aspects that many people love.

For instance, back many decades ago, veterans of the Civil War built Yankton’s Grand Army of the Republic Hall near downtown in 1887. And it was there where Union army veterans meet every once in awhile through 1924.

And eventually, that same hall was then sold to Yankton Area Arts (YAA) in 1999, where they accepted the responsibility of both preserving this historic landmark and creating a new home for the arts in our community.

It was because of this, where the hall was then renovated to include an art gallery for people to explore.

Today, the G.A.R. Hall Art Gallery is home to some of the most beautiful rotating art exhibits featuring world-renowned artists as well as many local and regional artists as well. All of which are so amazing and beautiful to see.

Not only that, but the art gallery also features a collection of antique furniture that is related to the area’s history, including at able used during the Jack McCall trial at the territorial courthouse. There is even a cannon here that was used by the Union Army at Fort Pitt back in 1862.

Overall, the G.A.R Hall Art Gallery is truly a fascinating place to visit. Filled with beauty, history and culture, this is one place everyone needs to put on their list of places to visit in Yankton, South Dakota.

13. Fantle Memorial Park

Fantle Memorial Park

Sometimes, visiting a new town or a city can be quite tiring.

Which is why, one of the best things that a person can do is to simply escape away from the city life and head to a park where there is some peace and quiet.

After all, parks are so amazing as they provide a beautiful scenery for people to relax in as well as to enjoy their day. And here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota, one of the best parks anyone can visit is one known as “Fantle Memorial Park”.

Fantle Memorial Park is one of the most popular parks around. Many locals and tourists from all around love to come here because of all that it has to offer.

For instance, what makes this park special is that it also pays tribute to our Military Veterans with the memorial in the center of the park. Not only that, but the park also has a variety of attractions which visitors can participate in different outdoor activities.

Some of the cool things you can find in this park includes a play area that is perfect for kids as there is a full playground with swing set. Older kids and adults can also enjoy the many walking trails that surround the area.

And if you are wanting to play some sports, you’ll be happy to know that there are various volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts for people to use. There is even an on-site 18-hole disc golf course as well.

This park is also home to the Huether Family Aquatics Center too.

With all things being said, this park has everything anyone can ever want. Perfect for people of all ages, it is a beautiful and picturesque area that everyone will love to visit.

14. Tokyo Japanese Cuisine

Tokyo Japanese Cuisine

Did you know the city of Yankton, South Dakota actually has some good Japanese food?

It’s true!

In fact, one of the best Japanese restaurants you can ever visit is one known as “Tokyo Japanese Cuisine”.

Tokyo Japanese Cuisine is one of the most popular Japanese restaurants for people to visit. Many locals and tourists from all around love to come here because of just how good their food really is.

For instance, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Yankton, South Dakota.

Visitors who come here will find a simple and elegant menu that serves up some truly authentic foods. Some of the highlights things like Bento Boxes, Fried Udon, Fried Rice, Noodle Soups, Hibachi, and so much more.

And if you like sushi, well guess what? They have it! They have a huge selection of sushi for people to enjoy. Things like Maki Rolls or Fried Rolls and even Tempura are all on the menu as well.

But what’s great is that all of the foods being listed on the menu are all reasonably priced as nothing is overly expensive here. They also use only the freshest ingredients possible which means the quality is absolutely top notch.

Staff is also pretty friendly as well as they will try their hardest to make sure your dining experience is as good as it can possibly be.

With that being said, if you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Yankton, South Dakota to visit, then definitely consider coming here to Tokyo Japanese Cuisine.

15. Yankton Riverboat Days

yankton riverboat days

One of the biggest festivals you can ever attend while here in the city of Yankton, South Dakota is one called “Yankton Riverboat Days”.

Yankton Riverboat Days is the biggest festival to have come into this city as many people from all around love to come celebrate. It’s an annual festival that happens each and every year during the month of August.

And what makes this festival special is that basically everything you can ever imagine happens during this time.

For instance, visitors who come to this festival will find so many amazing attractions and events for them to see and do. Some of the highlights include a Bear Hollow Wood Carver-Chainsaw Sculting Demo, Kiddie Centipede Train, VR Game Truck Nebraska, and so much more.

There is even a carnival on-site that brings in various kinds of Inflatables, Ferris Wheels, and also a Whirly Bird too.

Not only that, but there will also be concerts by popular musicians as well as a fireworks display for people to enjoy. And what’s great is that the entire event lasts all throughout the night.

And if you’re hungry, do not worry as there are also various kinds of food vendors on-site as well.

All of which makes this festival one of the best events to attend in all of Yankton, South Dakota. Which is why, if you are ever going to be in the city of Yankton during the month of August, then this is one event you surely do not want to miss.

FAQS About Yankton, South Dakota

What is Yankton SD known for?

Originally known for being the transportation center of South Dakota, it has slowly shifted and is now being known as the first capital of Dakota Territory.

What river runs through Yankton South Dakota?

The Missouri River runs through Yankton, South Dakota

What county is Yankton in?

Yankton, South Dakota is located inside of Yankton county.

What is the elevation of Yankton SD?

The elevation of Yankton, South Dakota is about 1,211′.

Visit Yankton, South Dakota

Overall, the city of Yankton in South Dakota is an amazing place to visit if you ever have the time. With so many things to see or do, this city is definitely one of the best tourist destinations in the entire state of South Dakota.

So hopefully this post about the “15 Best & Fun Things To Do In Yankton, South Dakota” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Yankton in South Dakota, you will know exactly what things you are able to see or do.

Also if you’re going to be visiting the state of South Dakota anytime soon, then you might be interested in some of my other South Dakota posts:

Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.

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