Why Is Deadwood Unique and Worth Visiting?
It’s hard to imagine that a town named Deadwood would be such an exciting place to visit. But this South Dakota city is one of the most special in the country. Before we get into all the things to do in Deadwood, SD, let’s learn a bit about its history.
The story of how Deadwood came to be is an interesting one. It was founded in 1876, when two miners discovered a placer gold deposit near a creek in the Black Hills. News of the discovery spread quickly, and soon people from all over the world were flocking to Deadwood in hopes of striking it rich.
During its heyday, Deadwood saw all sorts of people come through its streets, including Wild Bill Hickok (who was killed there), Wyatt Earp and Calamity Jane. Today, Deadwood has retained much of its Wild West charm with its dirt roads and wooden buildings. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time just by walking around town.
Things to Do in Deadwood, SD – Museums and Historical Sites
The Historic Main Street is a vital part of the Historic Deadwood landscape. The street was originally built in 1876 and was the site of many famous shootouts and other historical events. Walking along the street, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the past – even the buildings look like they’re from a bygone era!
While you’re wandering around, be sure to take some time to visit Mount Moriah Cemetery, overlooking the scenic Deadwood Gulch. It’s not your average graveyard – it’s actually a National Historic Landmark thanks to its significance as part of Deadwood’s history. The cemetery rests on top of Mount Moriah, an extinct volcano that overlooks Deadwood and the Black Hills. You can find Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane buried there.
If you’re looking for educational things to do in Deadwood, SD, take a trip to the Adams Museum or Adams House. The museum has an impressive collection of natural history exhibits, art collections, and artifacts from Native American cultures. The beautiful Adams House is also worth a visit – it was built in 1893 and is one of the most historically significant homes in South Dakota.
The Days of 76 Museum is another great option, especially if you’re interested in Deadwood’s history. The museum has a large collection of artifacts from the gold rush days, as well as a research library with over 15,000 books and documents.
Things to Do in Deadwood, SD – Day and Night Entertainment
Deadwood is a fun place to visit any time of the year. The town is rich in history as well as gambling, shopping and fine dining. Below you will find some of the best things to do in Deadwood, SD during the day and night.
Casinos in Deadwood
The Gold Dust Casino & Hotel offers a variety of gaming tables and machines, but is also host to some great shows at the Celebrity Grill. Then, there is the Mineral Palace Hotel & Gaming, which has table games and slot machines for your enjoyment.
If you’d like to go somewhere a little more exclusive, then head over to Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, where you’ll find a casino and live music events. Of course, no visit to Deadwood would be complete without stopping into The Midnight Star, which was formerly owned by Kevin Costner. You can take a tour or just enjoy all the great shows they have throughout the week.
Shopping in Deadwood
If you’re looking for unique things to take home with you, then Deadwood is the place to shop. You’ll find a variety of stores that sell everything from souvenirs to apparel. Some places to pop into include:
- PatchShop Deadwood – a little store where you can buy clothing patches;
- Happy Days – a charming little gift shop with toys, souvenirs, and more;
- First Deadwood Souvenirs – a souvenir shop with ice cream;
- Miss Kitty’s Mercantile – a store with vintage clothing and handmade items.
The George S. Mickelson trail will also take you south where you can find Antique Emporium, a curious antique store with objects like rattlesnake tails, animal skins, and vintage books.
Go on a Tour of Broken Boot Gold Mine
The Broken Boot Gold Mine is a family-friendly attraction in Deadwood that’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. The mine is a replica of an actual gold mine from the late 1800s, and it offers tours that educate visitors about the mining industry and its history in the Black Hills.
The tour begins with an informative video about the history of gold mining in Deadwood, which dates back to 1876 when prospectors rushed to claim their share of the precious metal after it was discovered on land owned by Seth Bullock, who later became the first sheriff in Deadwood.
The Broken Boot Gold Mine was opened shortly after that discovery, and today’s visitors can check out a replica of the mine’s original shaft. The interior of the mine is full of interesting features that show exactly how those miners worked. There are simulated dynamite blasts, and you can see what life was like for miners in cramped quarters as you pass through narrow tunnels in candlelight. Gold panning is another part of the tour.
The tour also provides some interesting facts about gold mining – for example, did you know that one ton of rock could produce as little as one ounce of gold? After taking this tour, you’ll leave with a new appreciation for how difficult and dangerous gold mining was (and still is!) in the Black Hills.
Places to Visit Near Deadwood
There’s no shortage of things to do in Deadwood, SD, but if you’d like to venture out of town for a while, there are plenty of nearby places that are also worth a visit. Here’s a short list of some interesting spots that can be reached by car within an hour or two.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial – the four giant sculptures depicting U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
- Crazy Horse Memorial – the world’s largest mountain carving, which is still in progress.
- Custer State Park – more than 71,000 acres of land, home to many animals including buffalo, elk, pronghorn antelope, and deer.
- Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame – a must-see for motorcycle enthusiasts, with more than 300 vintage bikes on display.
- Tatanka: Story of the Bison – a museum with exhibits about the history and culture of the Lakota people, as well as the American bison.
Take a Piece of the Wild West Home From Deadwood!
These are just a few of the things to do in Deadwood, SD – there’s something for everyone in this historic town. So whether you’re interested in the area’s Wild West history or you’re looking for things to do with kids, be sure to add Deadwood to your list of places to visit. You’ll be glad you did!
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