FES­TIVE ON THE FRON­TIER South Dakota

The Mount Rush­more State’s charm­ing hol­i­day tra­di­tions could make its fa­mous pres­i­den­tial faces crack a smile. His­tory and nat­u­ral beauty don’t hi­ber­nate in win­ter here—they just add more lay­ers.

Midwest Living - - Special Partnet Section -

TREES AND TRIM­MINGS

Deck the halls? Deck the falls! More than 25 miles of string lights il­lu­mi­nate the grounds around the cas­cad­ing Big Sioux River dur­ing Win­ter Won­der­land at Falls Park in Sioux Falls (Novem­ber 16–Jan­uary 6). In all, ex­pect more than 350,000 LED lights, nearly 300 dec­o­rated trees and nu­mer­ous fes­tooned light poles dur­ing the free event in the heart of the state’s largest city.

Pierre has few peers among state cap­i­tals in dec­o­rat­ing its state­house for the hol­i­days. For Christ­mas at the Capi­tol (Novem­ber 20– De­cem­ber 26), the build­ing dis­plays more than 100 live trees beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated by South Dakota ser­vice groups, or­ga­ni­za­tions and fam­i­lies. Tour the Capi­tol for free and watch for spe­cial mu­sic and events through­out the sea­son.

NOS­TAL­GIC NOELS

Hill City’s 1880 Train should carry a Santa on Board sign in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, when it be­comes the Hol­i­day Ex­press. Ride be­hind the vin­tage steam en­gine on a one-hour round-trip through the Black Hills to the “North Pole,” where you pick up Santa Claus and take him back to Hill City. Along the way, en­joy co­coa, cook­ies and a story. FYI, tick­ets sell out quick ($35 per adult, $16 per child, ages 2 and un­der are free).

West­ward, ho-ho-ho! Fron­tier Christ­mas at Fort Sis­se­ton State Park (De­cem­ber 8) lets you cel­e­brate the sea­son in 19th­cen­tury pi­o­neer style. Vol­un­teers in pe­riod dress help with make­and-take crafts sta­tions, plus there’s fes­tive food, carol­ing and a visit from Father Christ­mas.

HOL­I­DAY EX­PRESS, HILL CITY

WIN­TER WON­DER­LAND AT FALLS PARK, SIOUX FALLS

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