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College Life | Undergraduate

Why Brookings is a Fantastic College Town

When you choose South Dakota State University, you also choose the great town of Brookings. Not just those who have lived here recognize its greatness. This town of 24,000+ residents has been rated as a top 20 micropolitan by Policom Corporation each year since 2016.

Here are four reasons why you will enjoy the Brookings community.


It’s not just a college town

While SDSU is a large part of Brookings, it is not the only key player in the community.  Businesses such as Bel Brands, 3M, Daktronics, Larson Manufacturing and many more have strong connections with the university. These companies create jobs (for students and future graduates) and create a thriving local economy. There are also several local businesses that are in downtown Brookings and other areas of town. Many families choose to live here because of what Brookings has to offer. Our community is very diverse.

There are things to do

It’s not too difficult to find something to do in your spare time in Brookings. While the university has several music, theater and club activities as well as athletic events, the community has a lot to offer as well. Students can:

  • Take a stroll through McCrory Gardens
  • Go bowling at Prairie Lanes
  • Get fresh produce at the Brookings Farmers Market
  • Catch a movie at Cinema 8
  • Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, there are several to pick from in Brookings
  • Go ice skating at Larson Ice Arena
  • Take a breath of fresh air at Dakota Nature Park

Swiftel Center offers several concerts and other various events to the community. During the summer, Downtown at Sundown is a great spot for students to relax, listen to some music and see what local businesses have to offer. The Brookings Arts Festival each July brings vendors from all across the country, who display their handmade goods. New things to do in Brookings are popping up all the time, like Woody’s Axe Throwing or Tee’d Off, a virtual golf and game simulator.

It’s growing

Brookings is South Dakota's fourth-largest city. According the U.S. Census Bureau, over the last 30 years, the Brookings population has seen over 7,500 additional residents move to its community, marking a growth increase of 46%. New businesses, apartment buildings and houses are constantly being built to accommodate Brookings’ growth.

Feels like home

In Brookings, you get the best of both worlds. While it has a big city life close by and things going on, it also has a small-town feel. People who live in the Brookings community look to make relationships with you, because to them, you are their neighbor. They look out for their own fellow Jackrabbits, because they were most likely once in your shoes. SDSU students can find their home in Brookings during their time on campus and beyond.

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