South Dakota

Things to do in Deadwood, South Dakota- the wild wild west

Are there things to do in Deadwood, South Dakota? I wondered. I had heard of Deadwood. There was that show on HBO, the wild wild west, etc., but it wasn’t on my list of stops when I considered going to Mt Rushmore. I didn’t even know they were near each other.

All the credit can go to good-ole mom and dad, They had gone to Deadwood the year before and said we had to make a stop. Like a good obedient daughter, I said, “Sure.” Mom and dad know best, it was one of our favorite stops during our trip to Mt Rushmore and it had a lot of competition because there is so much to do near Mt. Rushmore.

Yes, Deadwood is a small town, but there is so much to do! AND it is nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which means it is beautiful.

A women and man smiling with a view of Deadwood, SD.
View from Mt. Moriah Cemetary. The resting place of Calamity & Wild Bill. View of Deadwood in the background.

Things to do:

Adams Museum

Great museum! It covers the history of the Black Hills and Deadwood. This is a great first stop because it will give you background information about the city.

Historic Adams House

If you are like me, you will find this fascinating. I love seeing old houses preserved from the golden era of the inhabitants. It gives you an idea of their way of life. Even if old houses aren’t your thing, you may still consider this stop. My husband had no interest, but went because I wanted to and really enjoyed the visit. A tour guide will take you on a tour of this old historic home once owned by W.E. Adams, former mayor and business person of Deadwood. Find out more information about him here.

Broken Boot Gold Mine

Gold minning pan with flecks of gold.
Look at all that gold!

This is a great stop if you have kids about 5 to 13 with you. You can mine for gold (they ensure you find gold every time) and take a short tour. We did not have kids with us. While we enjoyed ourselves and also participated in mining for gold with all the kids (we may have been the only adults minning for gold), we probably could have skipped this stop until we had kids.

Boot Hill Tours

Don’t miss this! It is a one-hour historic tour of Deadwood that will bring you through the city and to the cemetery to see the graves of Calamity & Wild Bill. Its funny, informative, and entertaining. This is another activity I would do towards the start of your visit. It will only make you appreciate Deadwood more!

Historic Street Shows and Stagecoach

Wild wild west renactment, Deadwood, SD
The Deadwood shootout

A fun, free live show on Main St. Watch a shootout. It will lead you to Saloon 10 for the capture of Jack McCall, who shot Wild Bill Hickok while he was playing poker. You will then be led to a building to watch the trial of Jack McCall. There is a charge to watch the trial, so you can decide to bow out at this point if you like. We stayed for the trial. It was fun. Glad we did it. We probably don’t need to attend it for another 5-7 years.

Casinos

In general, casinos don’t excite me. Sure, in Vegas I have fun. Love the free drinks and energy, but I can only play for so long. Deadwood was another story! There are so many to pick from. Some were more traditional and nicer, while others leaned into the wild wild west theme with sawdust floors. When we were there, some of the casinos had a minimum bet of $2 at the tables and the beer was free! This can change. Be sure to check the different casinos to find the ones that fit the vibe and the minimum bets you are looking for.

Recreation

Because of its location in the Black Hills, there is plenty of recreation, which include, hiking, biking, and ATV trails. We didn’t manage to squeeze this in on our trip, but click on “Recreation” above to learn more.

Deadwood may be a small-town of 1300 people, but the history, the energy, and the activity is so much fun and makes it feel much larger.

Have you been to Deadwood? Have any thoughts? I would love to hear from you

Cover image by David Mark from Pixabay

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