8 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Deadwood, SD

Located on the northern edge of the Black Hills National Forest, the city of Deadwood is defined by both its scenic surroundings and Wild West history, making for an exciting place to visit and stay awhile. Outdoor opportunities are abundant in Deadwood, with features like the Whistler Gulch Campground and George S. Mickelson Trail, but on any visit, it's the gold rush history of the area that really pulls you in. Through places like the Adams Museum, Mount Moriah Cemetery, and live reenactments on the Historic Main Street, Deadwood's dynamic history and infamous characters, like Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, come back to life in modern-day color.

1 Editor's Choice Historic Main Street

Historic Main Street
Historic Main Street Madeleine Deaton / photo modified

Lined with shops, signs, and historical points of interest, the Historic Main Street of Deadwood brings old times back to life, including some of the city's most celebrated characters. Throughout the summer on Historic Main Street, professional actors recreate significant moments in Deadwood's past, creating a live show that will surely grab your attention. Whether you check out the famous Trial of Jack McCall (murderer of Wild Bill), or any of the three Main Street Shootouts that occur each day, all members of the family can enjoy the costumed show and historically accurate exhibition. In addition to the gunslingers found walking down the sidewalks, Historic Main Street in Deadwood also offers plenty of places to grab a bite, peruse antiques and collectibles, and literally walk through a wild side of history.

2 George S. Mickelson Trail

George S. Mickelson Trail
George S. Mickelson Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Stretching for more than 100 miles north and south through western South Dakota, the George S. Mickelson Trail provides bikers, hikers, and horse riders an invaluable way to experience the Black Hills National Forest. Formerly a Burlington Northern Railroad line, the George S. Mickelson Trail spans bridges, through rock tunnels, and maintains an even grade as it passes its way through some of South Dakota's most scenic areas. Deadwood has special significance for the George S. Mickelson Trail, serving as the route's northern terminus and trailhead. Whether that means starting the George S. Mickelson trail in Deadwood, or finishing it, either way it's a gateway to all the best things the Black Hills have to offer.

3 The Adams Museum and Historic Adams House

Adams Museum
Adams Museum Richie Diesterheft / photo modified

To get a firsthand look at Deadwood's Wild West origins, the Adams Museum and Historic Adams House provide a clear window into Deadwood's historic beginnings. Featuring artifacts, exhibits, and information about Deadwood's most notorious characters, including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, the Adams Museum also dives into the nefarious side of life in Deadwood that occurred during the days of the Black Hills Gold Rush. For an even deeper look into the lifestyles of this late 19th-century era, just a few blocks away, the Historic Adams House, which has remained virtually untouched since 1934, provides a guided tour through history.

Adams Museum

Historic Adams House

4 Broken Boot Gold Mine

Broken Boot Gold Mine
Broken Boot Gold Mine | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Operating as an authentic gold mine from 1876 to 1904 and providing a successful tourist attraction from 1954 to present times, the Broken Boot Gold Mine takes visitors underground to explore Deadwood's historic gold rush past. Tours are available every thirty minutes at the Broken Boot Gold Mine, and by exploring the ore car paths, visitors witness the once-working areas of countless miners looking to literally strike gold in the Black Hills. Each visitor to Broken Boot Gold Mine earns a souvenir stock certificate from the mine, and for a small additional price, young explorers are encouraged to pan for their own gold with a high chance of finding something worth bringing back home.

Address: 1200 Pioneer Way, Deadwood, South Dakota

5 Days of 76 Museum

Days of 76 Museum

Commemorating the collection of miners, prospectors, and gold panners that flooded into Deadwood during the 1876 Gold Rush, the Days of 76 Museum first began, and continues, as a cultural celebration of the area. The brick and mortar of the museum stems from needing storage space for the horse-drawn wagons from the Days of 76 parade that first took place in 1924. Through additions to the inventory plus a brand-new building in 2004, the current Days of 76 Museum was born and now offers 32,000-square feet of exhibits and artifacts to explore.

The near century-old Days of 76 parade still takes place every year, and coupled with the nationally recognized Days of 76 Rodeo, the Days of 76 Museum and festivities delivers perhaps the clearest picture of Deadwood's history and culture today.

Address: 18 Seventy-Six Drive, Deadwood, South Dakota

6 Mount Moriah Cemetery

Mount Moriah Cemetery
Mount Moriah Cemetery | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sitting high above the city and nestled deep into the Black Hills landscape, Mount Moriah Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Deadwood's most notable characters. Not only can you find the gravesites of people like Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, Preacher Smith, and Potato Creek Johnny, but through informational exhibits and hand-outs, you can learn more about the people behind these now iconic names. At just about any time of year, the mountainside of Mount Moriah Cemetery is always alive with color, making for a scenic backdrop.

Address: 10 Mount Moriah Drive, Deadwood, South Dakota

7 Tatanka: Story of The Bison

Tatanka: Story of The Bison
Tatanka: Story of The Bison NatalieMaynor / photo modified

Located at the north end of Deadwood, Tatanka: Story of The Bison is a larger-than-life exhibit paying tribute to the millions of bison that once roamed the Great Plains of the area, as well as the culture that once thrived alongside their existence. Founded and operated by the Hollywood actor, Kevin Costner, Tatanka features bronze sculptures depicting a group of bison being pursued by American Indians on horseback, all at a 125-percent scale. As well as admiring the stunning artwork that captures the motion of a bison hunt, visitors to Tatanka also enjoy the exhibits at the Northern Plains Peoples Educational Interpretive Center and watching the Lakota interpretive presentations that occur daily.

Address: 100 Tatanka Drive, Deadwood, South Dakota

8 Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument

Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument
Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument loppear / photo modified

Also known as the "Friendship Tower," the Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument stands just under three miles north of downtown Deadwood and was spurred to completion in 1919 by Deadwood's first mayor, Seth Bullock. Stemming from a close relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, Bullock wanted to commemorate the president and one-time Medora, North Dakota sheriff and commissioned a 30-foot stone tower to do so. Not only is the history behind the monument fun and unique, but every step of the short hike up to the monument exposes a rich look at the Black Hills and surrounding scenery.

Where to Stay in Deadwood for Sightseeing

Alongside its abundance of history and entertainment, Deadwood has a wide variety of hotels to choose from. Nearly all hotel accommodations in Deadwood lend quick access to the city's many attractions, including the Historic Main Street. Because of the many overnight options, it can be easy to find a competitive price in Deadwood, making for many luxurious accommodations at affordable rates.

  • Mid-Range Hotels: To spend the night in style when visiting Deadwood, the SpringHill Suites Deadwood offers rooms and suites close to downtown and features amenities like infinity pools and fire pits to really cap off your stay nicely. North of town, near Tatanka: Story of the Bison, The Lodge at Deadwood offers well-furnished rooms at affordable rates, as well as an elaborate indoor water park and the first-class Deadwood Grille. Atop the city on Deadwood Mountain, the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel, a Holiday Inn Resort is in a historic building close to downtown and provides a fitness center, indoor pool, and banquet room.
  • Budget Hotels: For one of the best values around town, as well as some of the most fun you can have, the Celebrity Hotel is located in the heart of downtown and features costumed characters, movie memorabilia, and an attentive staff. Located just down the street from the Celebrity Hotel, The Hotel by Gold Dust also offers affordable rates for their spacious rooms and a stylish lobby where you can enjoy breakfast. Just south of downtown, both the Super 8 Deadwood and the Best Western Hickok House deliver on the dependability you'd expect from a national brand, as well as spacious, affordable rooms and a restaurant attached to each of them.

More Fun Things to See and Do in South Dakota

On the eastern side of the state, Sioux Falls offers a plethora of natural and modern attractions. If it's the outdoors you like to explore, South Dakota is a state rich in adventure. To get a taste of all the fun wilderness areas, see our Best State and National Parks in South Dakota article. With such an abundance of natural spaces to explore, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of places to camp in South Dakota, and our Best Campgrounds in South Dakota article highlights some of the most scenic. For a more in-depth look at campsites in two recommended adventure destinations, see our articles on the Best Campgrounds around Mount Rushmore and Best Campgrounds in Badlands National Park.

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