Where to eat, sleep, and explore in and around Deadwood, South Dakota


It’s not just that Deadwood is off Las Vegas, which gives it a viable claim to Sin City. The same applies to the former gambling and gangster haven Atlantic City, which was also founded in the 19th centuryth Century, and while AC became “the nation’s theater” before it eventually lost popularity, both offered their guests the same basic joys: cards, prostitution, and easy access to drugs. What really equates the small town of South Dakota with Vegas and Atlantic City is hers continuously Streak of vice, where brothels operated illegally for more than a century until an FBI raid took place in the 1980s and legalized gambling was introduced in the same decade (a US premiere outside of Vegas and AC). Add to all of this a lawless history of the Wild West, including notable characters like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and a thriving opium market as old as the city itself, and you’ll understand that no American travel destination is so long from such pastimes flourished or as intrinsic as Deadwood. Today, most of the city’s economy continues to be sustained by the Sin Industry, but in a reformed, family-friendly way. The only open brothel in town is now a museum, and tax revenues from small-stake gambling are responsible for restoring and revitalizing almost every inch of a crumbling city that was on the verge of disappearing decades ago. While Deadwood no longer welcomes throngs of prospectors looking for happiness, the entire parish is a national historic landmark, which means that almost everything you will encounter is associated with authenticity and originality from the period (albeit mostly from the 1930s, thanks to a history of fires in a settlement originally made of wood) so you can easily immerse yourself in all aspects of the city’s colorful past. This is the perfect base from which to explore much of South Dakota’s natural splendor. This is where you can eat, sleep, and explore in Deadwood, along with some national parks and monuments nearby.

Stay in Deadwood

You may not think that sleeping in a slime plant sounds ideal, but think again. At the former Homestake Slime Plant, gold was extracted from crushed ore (slime) from 1906 to 1973 before rusting for almost 40 years when it was no longer needed. Today the carefully restored complex shines as the Holiday Inn Resort Deadwood Mountain Grand on the mountainside overlooking downtown Deadwood. With a casino, three restaurants, a spa, and a live events venue that attracts the city’s most famous visitors (yes, even Dolly Parton played here), Deadwood Mountain Grand is a top choice for thoroughly modern convenience rolled into one At the heart of the city’s rich mining history. From here you are only a few minutes’ walk from the entire city center. If you book an affordable suite, you can also take advantage of a private balcony with views of historic Deadwood and the surrounding mountains, plus a fireplace and wet bar. Regardless of the room category, pay attention to the historical photos on the walls and don’t overlook the detailed history of the building’s early and current life on the elevator doors that connect the casino to the hotel. This is the fastest way to introduce yourself to the city and a less cumbersome way to avoid eye contact with other passengers in the elevator.

Eating out in Deadwood

Cattle are king in South Dakota, so expect tons of steakhouse fare all over Deadwood. At the historic Franklin Hotel, you’ll find some of the best at the Legends Steakhouse. The hotel upstairs has hosted everyone from the Presidents to Babe Ruth and John Wayne, and the upscale restaurant downstairs is your chance to join the ranks of these legends with a hearty meal (despite the service, the dress code is as casual as you like, as you like it is in all of Deadwood). Serious carnivores should make prior reservations and ask about the prime rib. The massive serving is dinosaur-sized, but daily quantities are limited. If you go for a smaller appetizer like the 16-ounce buffalo ribeye or the 7-ounce Oscar steak, you can start and possibly have the vanilla corn salad made from mint, feta, dried cherries, pistachios, and vanilla vinaigrette Still space Finally, the banana Foster Crème Brûlée.

For an updated break from steak, grab a table at Jacob’s Brewhouse & Grocer. The newly opened restaurant serves more fresh cuisine in one of the most dramatic interiors downtown with soaring windows, eye-catching metalwork, and a repurposed freight elevator (circa 1895) that now serves as a functioning wine elevator. Choose from divisible starters like cumin chilli chips and salsa or smoked chicken wings and main dishes of grilled wild salmon over truffle fettucine or pulled pork with homemade jalapeño cheddar bread and smoked Gouda bacon mac and cheese. Lighter options include lemon and chicken quinoa salad with edamame and roasted red pepper or ahi tuna steak with wild rice pilaf and wasabi aioli. Don’t miss the craft cocktail list and stop by the attached grocery store on your way out for artisan foods and gifts from brands hand-picked for their community awareness and social responsibility. Here you will also find a coffee bar and a bakery. Deadwood’s first brewery is just steps away under one roof.

It is almost inconceivable to visit Deadwood without a drink in Salon # 10 or even marveling at the walls filled with city artifacts and memorabilia. Wild Bill’s murder went down in the original Saloon # 10, and the infamous event is re-enacted several times a day during the summer high season. Pull up a stool and sample the bar’s impressive whiskey selection, or drag your boots across the sawdust floor during a light meal. If martinis are your fancy, head upstairs to the Deadwood Social Club for a memorable dinner chosen from a seasonal menu of Italian and New American. The dishes change seasonally, but look for favorites like the fish nest made from red crabs, prawns and scallops over capellini in a basil and cream sauce or the typical pheasant noodles in Tuaca alfredo with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. A proper steakhouse, the meat and fish menu here is worth exploring, but the multi-page martini list is a must.

Explore Deadwood

Although the historic downtown area is small, there is enough here to explore for a few days of intrigue and local adventure. In the summer, start with an instant immersion in Boot Hill Tours to quickly familiarize yourself with Deadwood’s key characters as you contemplate the sights that saw parts of their lives happening and even Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane currently resting on neighboring lots be placed in Mount Moriah Cemetery. While these two names are the most iconic Deadwood names to go down in history, they’re hardly the most important ones, and a tour will shed light on some of the other prominent names, including early Deadwood businessman WE Adams, whose influence on shaping the The city is visible to this day with a handful of museums and historical centers.

Visit the historic Adams House to learn how he and his wife lived among the Deadwood upper class before heading to the brothel to teach the town’s more well-known class. Here you will go from time to time and explore various decades in Deadwood’s history of prostitution, which, while never legal, was even advertised at times in the local business directory. The exhibits contain all of the garish history and charismatic characters you could hope for from such a city. While the museum is educational, and not sensational, visitors must be 16 years or older due to obvious adult themes. The Broken Boot Gold Mine, just minutes outside of downtown, offers fun tours of a Black Hills mine where gold was found by blasting dynamite by candlelight. It was wired for power today, but the coolest moment of the tour is when the lights go out to reveal total darkness – a condition most have never experienced before. If you have kids with you, look for gold. You are guaranteed to receive a real original sample.

Exploring Deadwood

While there is so much more to see, see, and taste in Deadwood, don’t miss this opportunity to discover some of the most unique parks and monuments in the country surrounding the famous city. All within an hour and a half or less of town, each can be casually experienced for a few hours or explored for a full day (or more if you’re at camp!). Major attractions nearby include the otherworldly rocky landscape of Badlands National Park, the Wildlife Loop and Needles Highway of Custer State Park, and of course the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, about 30 miles from Rapid City.

Keep the following tips in mind to optimize a limited schedule: Badlands may be better known than wildlife for their natural formations, but you will likely still see bison, bighorn sheep, and lots of prairie dogs here. you should never approach most Wildlife in national parks or state parks (or elsewhere), but Custer’s famous “beggar burros” are a permitted exception. So bring a couple of bags of carrots for those very forward-looking friends. You might think it only takes ten minutes to snap a picture of Mount Rushmore’s famous faces, but time flies quickly at the Quality Museum and the short hike up the slope provides rewarding vantage points and a close look at the glittering geology and the occasional Wildlife (although it is several hundred steps, there are plenty of rest stops on the short trip so the climb is not a difficult climb and is accessible to most age groups).

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