South Dakota’s capital, Pierre (pronounced ‘peer’), is located in the center of the state and has a population of about 14,000 people. Within the city of Pierre and its sister city, Fort Pierre, you’ll find museums, beautiful views and unique places to dine. Pierre is the second smallest capital city in the nation. But, it demonstrates how nice it is to be "an average Joe."
The main feature of town is the Capitol building which has been almost completely redone. The 161-foot tall building is capped with a copper dome. The exquisite interior is a sight in itself with stained-glass windows, columns, tile and marble.
Nearby, the crystal waters of Capital Lake introduces visitors to South Dakota's War memorials. An eternal flame burns in remembrance of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
One of the main attractions is the Cultural Heritage Center which documents the saga of the Native Americans and pioneers who lived here when the prairie was being forged. Another attraction is the South Dakota Discovery Center & Aquarium which houses more than 50 interactive exhibits and a fresh water aquarium that is home to native river species.
Uptown is the Oahe Dam which settles into Lake Oahe, a massive body of water that extends 231 miles to Bismarck. With 2,250 miles of shoreline, Lake Oahe and its sister Lake Sharpe form a fisherman's nirvana with year-round catches of salmon, walleye, bass and trout.
Oahe Downstream Recreation Area operates three campsites that remain open year-round for daytime use, but close down in winter for nighttime use during the bald eagle nesting season. Popular recreational activities here include observing the bald eagle during the winter months, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, hiking and swimming.
Numerous trails wind their way through town and are perfect for walking, jogging and biking. The Lewis & Clark Historic Trails and Capitol City Trails provide a quiet retreat from the hubbub of city life.
There are also trails along the Missouri River at LaFramboise Island Nature Area which are great for mountain biking. They run through different habitats that bring biker and wildlife together in a peaceful interlude with nature through a 10-mile journey on a 2-mile-long island.
Pierre, at the core of South Dakota, is 145 miles from Rapid City.