As a South Dakota State University student new to Brookings, you may find yourself asking this question. Although Brookings’ population is just over 24,000 residents, it is the fourth-largest town in South Dakota. Don’t be fooled by its size or small-town feel, as there are plenty of things to do in Brookings. If you ever find yourself looking for a Saturday night activity or just need an excuse to get off campus and explore, check out what Brookings has to offer.
Go bowling at The Lanes
Choose to bowl on a regular lane or play on a new “Spark” projection lane. The Lanes is just one of 10 bowling alleys in the nation to have this technology, which allows you to compete against your friends for points versus pins, adding a new competitive edge. There is plenty of seating space around each lane. Grab a bite to eat at Strikers, which has a full menu. The Lanes also runs a special each Monday night, starting at 9:30 p.m. where students can bowl for $5 when presenting their student ID.
Go ice skating at Larson Ice Arena
Want to learn how to ice skate? Maybe perfect your skating skills? Larson Ice Arena offers several open skate times and opportunities to play hockey. Times are offered seasonally in the fall and winter. Don’t have your own skates? No worries, rent them from the arena for $3 a pair.
Take a breath of fresh air at Dakota Nature Park
Looks can be deceiving. This city park used to be a landfill but was converted in 2013. This beautiful landscape is full of trees, plants and paths for walking, biking, rollerblading and more. The ponds are open to those with a fishing license. In the winter, this park is a great spot for cross country skiing. Various rentals are available as well.
Attend an event
The Swiftel Center offers several concerts and other various events to the community. Musicians, comedians, magicians and others bring their talents to the Swiftel Center. During the summer, Downtown at Sundown, held on Fifth Street between Main and Third Avenue, is a great spot for students to relax, listen to some music and see what local businesses have to offer. The Brookings Summer Arts Festival each July brings vendors from all across the country, displaying products and artwork.
Catch a movie at Cinema 8
This movie theater near downtown has matinees each day and showings each night. With multiple viewing times and eight screens, one can be sure to find a movie of their choice that fits their liking, and schedule. It has a full concession stand, allowing attendees to to satisfy any craving, salty or sweet. Buy tickets at the box office or online.
Discover local finds at the Brookings Farmers Market
If you’re hanging around Brookings from May to October, you can find fresh produce, meats, breads and baked goods at the Brookings Farmers Market. Dozens of vendors not only sell food, but handmade crafts, accessories, gifts, soaps and so much more. They set up on the 300 block of Sixth Avenue, between the Brookings Public Library and the Brookings County Courthouse. The market is outside and may not be held if there is inclement weather.
Go to the range
The Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center has two indoor ranges open to use. You can shoot in an indoor firearms range 25 yards long. If archery is more your thing, use the Olympic-sized, 30-yard archery range with mobile buttresses to choose a shooting distance.
Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant
Downtown, there are several local eateries and coffee shops. However, there are many more spread out throughout Brookings. Find what you’re craving and dine-in or carry out. You might just find your new favorite place!
Take a stroll through McCrory Gardens
This local find is on the SDSU campus. McCrory Gardens has 25 acres of botanical gardens and 45 acres of arboretum space. There are hundreds of species of flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses and more. See nature’s beauty shine through all seasons.
Discover something new
New businesses and activities pop up all of the time. Woody’s Axe Throwing and Tee’d Off, a virtual golf and game simulator are two experiences you may not have tried. Find more places to shop, dine and explore online.