Where to eat, sleep and explore in and around Deadwood, South Dakota
It’s not just that Deadwood predates Las Vegas that gives him a viable claim for Sin City. The same could be said of the former gambling and gangster paradise, Atlantic City, also founded in the 19e century, and while AC became the “showcase of the nation” before its possible fall in popularity, both offered the same basic pleasures to its guests: maps, prostitution, and easy access to drugs. What really puts the small town of South Dakota on par with Vegas and Atlantic City is its continued series of vice that saw brothels operate illicitly for over a century until an FBI raid in the 1980s, and the introduction of legalized gambling in the same decade (a first in the United States outside of Vegas and AC). Add to all this a lawless history of the Old West, including notable characters like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as a thriving opium market as old as the city itself and you will begin to understand that no American destination has prospered for so long. or just as inherently as Deadwood. Today, most of the city’s economy continues to be supported by the sin industry, but in a reformed and family-friendly way. The only open brothel in town is now a museum, and tax revenue from petty gambling is responsible for restoring and reviving just about every square inch of a ruined town in danger of disappearing a few decades ago. barely a few decades. While Deadwood is no longer home to piles of fortune-hunting gold prospectors, the entire community is a National Historic Landmark, which means almost everything you encounter comes with the authenticity and originality of the period (although mostly from the 1930s, thanks to a history of fires in a settlement originally built in wood), so you’ll have no trouble delving into all aspects of the city’s colorful past, and it is the ideal starting point to experience much of the surrounding natural splendor of South Dakota. Here’s where to eat, sleep, and explore in Deadwood, as well as a few national and state parks and monuments nearby.
Stay in Deadwood
You might not think that spending the night in a slimy plant sounds ideal, but think again. The old Slime Homestake factory is where gold was mined from crushed ore (slime) from 1906 to 1973 before rusting for almost 40 years when no longer needed. Today, the meticulously restored establishment shines on the mountainside overlooking downtown Deadwood as the Holiday Inn Resort Deadwood Mountain Grand. Complete with a casino, three restaurants, a spa, and a live events venue that draws the city’s most famous visitors (yes, even Dolly Parton has played here), Deadwood Mountain Grand is a top pick for a utterly modern comfort inside a centerpiece of the town’s rich mining history. From here you’ll be within walking distance of all of downtown and, if you book an affordable suite, you’ll also have a private balcony with views of historic Deadwood and the surrounding mountains, complete with a fireplace and wet bar. sink. Regardless of the room category, watch out for the historic photos adorning the walls, and don’t overlook the detailed life history of the building – both ancient and current – offered on the elevator doors connecting the casino to the hotel. . It’s the fastest way to get to town and a less awkward way to avoid eye contact with other elevator passengers.
Eat in Deadwood
Cattle are king in South Dakota, so expect plenty of steakhouse dishes all over Deadwood. Inside the historic Franklin Hotel, you’ll find one of the best in Legends Steakhouse. The hotel above has hosted everyone from Presidents to Babe Ruth and John Wayne, and the fine dining restaurant below is your chance to join the ranks of these legends with a hearty meal (despite the service, dress code is as casual as you want it to be, because it’s all over Deadwood). Serious carnivores should make reservations earlier and request the prime rib; the massive portion is the size of a dinosaur, but daily amounts are limited. If you go for a smaller appetizer like the 16-ounce buffalo rib-eye or the 7-ounce Oscar steak, you can start with the vanilla field salad of mint, feta, dried cherries, pistachio, and vanilla vinaigrette. and you may still have room. to finish with the bananas favor the crème brûlée.
For an updated steak break, grab a table at Jacob’s Brewhouse & Grocer. The newly opened restaurant serves fresher meals in one of the city centre’s most spectacular interiors with its towering windows, stunning handcrafted ironwork, and a reused freight elevator (circa 1895) that now serves as a functioning wine elevator. . Choose from entrees to share like cumin chili chips and salsa or smoked chicken wings and main courses of grilled wild salmon over truffle fettuccine or pulled pork with homemade jalapeño cheddar bread and macaroni au cheese and gouda smoked bacon. Lighter options include the lemon chicken quinoa salad with edamame and roasted red pepper or the ahi tuna steak with wild pilau rice and wasabi aioli. Don’t miss the list of craft cocktails, and stop by the connected grocery store on the way out to pick up craft supplies and gifts from brands hand-picked for their community awareness and social responsibility. You’ll also find a coffee bar and bakery here, with Deadwood’s First Brewery a short walk away, all under one roof.
It’s almost unimaginable to visit Deadwood without stopping in Saloon # 10 for a drink, or even gazing at the walls filled with city artifacts and memorabilia. Wild Bill’s murder took place in the original Living Room # 10, and the infamous event is repeated multiple times a day throughout the peak summer season. Grab a stool and sample the bar’s impressive selection of whiskey, or settle in to drag your boots along the sawdust floors over a light meal. If you’re in the mood for martinis, head upstairs to the Deadwood Social Club for a memorable dinner selected from a seasonal Italian and New American menu. The dishes change with the seasons, but look for favorite dishes like the seafood nest of red crab, shrimp and scallops on capellini with basil cream or the signature pheasant pasta at Tuaca alfredo with mushrooms and tomatoes. sun-dried. A proper steakhouse, meat and fish menu is worth exploring, but the multi-page martini list is a must-try.
As small as the historic city center is, there is enough to explore here for several days of local intrigue and adventure. In the summer, start with an instant immersion from Boot Hill Tours to quickly get to grips with key Deadwood characters while looking at the sites where bits of their lives have taken place and even where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane currently rest in the plots. neighbors. at Mount Moriah Cemetery. While these two names may be Deadwood’s most famous names throughout history, they’re not the most important, and a tour will begin to shed light on some of the other prominent names, including the first businessman. of Deadwood WE Adams, whose influence in shaping the city remains visible today with a handful of museums and historic centers.
Visit the historic Adams House to learn how he and his wife lived among Deadwood’s upper class before heading to the brothel for an education from the city’s best-known class. Here you’ll move from one period room to another as you explore different decades of Deadwood’s history of prostitution which, while never legal, was sometimes even advertised in the local business directory. the grim history and charismatic characters you hope for from such a city. While the museum is educational and not sensational, visitors must be at least 16 years old due to obvious adult themes. More on the family side (but just as fun without kids), the Broken Boot Gold Mine, just minutes from the downtown drag, offers entertaining tours of a Black Hills mine where gold was sought after. detonating dynamite by candlelight (it was wired for electricity today, but the coolest part of the tour is when the lights are out to expose total darkness – a condition the most have never really known before). If you have kids with you, go ahead and dig for gold; you are guaranteed to leave with an authentic sample.
Explore around Deadwood
While there is much more to see, visit, and taste in Deadwood, don’t miss this opportunity to catch some of the country’s most unique parks and landmarks surrounding the legendary city. All about an hour and a half or less out of town, each can be casually experienced for a few hours or explored for a full day (or longer if you’re at camp!). Nearby attractions include the otherworldly rocky landscape of Badlands National Park, the Wildlife Loop and Needles Highway in Custer State Park, and of course the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, about 30 miles from Rapid City.
To help streamline a limited schedule, keep these pro tips in mind: Badlands may be better known for their natural formations than wildlife, but you’ll likely still spot bison, bighorn sheep, and plenty of it. prairie dogs here; you should never come near most wildlife in state or national parks (or anywhere), but Custer’s famous “mendicant burros” are an allowed exception, so bring a few bags of carrots for these very fashion-forward friends; you might think you only need ten minutes to snap a picture of the famous faces of Mount Rushmore, but time flies in the museum-quality here and the short hillside hike offers some vantage points interesting and up close looks at the scintillating geology and occasional wildlife (although it has several hundred steps, there are plenty of rest areas on the short route so it’s not a difficult climb and is accessible to most ages).