Historic places around Brookings SD

Historic places around Brookings SD

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Brookings, South Dakota, boasts a rich tapestry of history woven into its landscape. From quaint downtown streets to sprawling natural wonders, this region is a treasure trove for history buffs and curious wanderers alike. Let’s embark on a journey through time and discover the historic gems that adorn the vicinity of Brookings.

McCrory Gardens

Our journey begins amidst the vibrant hues of McCrory Gardens. Established in 1964, this botanical garden is a testament to the beauty of nature and human endeavor. Spanning over 25 acres, it hosts an impressive array of plants, flowers, and trees, including some rare species. Walking through its winding paths, visitors can witness the changing seasons and marvel at the meticulously curated landscapes—a serene oasis that offers a glimpse into the region’s natural heritage.

South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum

Adjacent to the South Dakota State University campus lies the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. Step into this cultural repository to immerse yourself in the agricultural history of the region. Through engaging exhibits and interactive displays, visitors can trace the evolution of farming practices and equipment, gaining insight into the challenges and triumphs of rural life in South Dakota. It’s a journey that honors the resilience and ingenuity of those who shaped the land.

South Dakota Art Museum

Art aficionados, rejoice! The South Dakota Art Museum beckons with its impressive collection of Native American artwork, regional pieces, and contemporary masterpieces. Housed within a striking building designed by renowned architect A. Quincy Jones, the museum offers a captivating blend of visual storytelling and cultural exploration. From traditional Lakota beadwork to modernist sculptures, each exhibit reflects the diverse tapestry of South Dakota’s artistic heritage.

Downtown Brookings Historic District

Stroll through the charming streets of Downtown Brookings and be transported back in time. Lined with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and historic buildings, this district exudes an old-world charm that is hard to resist. Take a leisurely walk past iconic landmarks like the Brookings County Courthouse and the Brookings Carnegie Library, each a testament to the city’s enduring legacy. Whether you’re browsing for antiques or savoring a cup of locally roasted coffee, downtown Brookings offers a delightful blend of past and present. Learn more Brookings, SD.

Pioneer Park

For a taste of outdoor adventure intertwined with history, look no further than Pioneer Park. This sprawling recreational area not only offers scenic trails and picnic spots but also pays homage to Brookings’ pioneering spirit. Wander through the historical village, where restored buildings and artifacts offer a glimpse into the daily lives of early settlers. From the one-room schoolhouse to the rustic blacksmith shop, each structure resonates with the stories of perseverance and community that define the region’s past. Know about top parks in Brookings, SD.

Oakwood Lakes State Park

Venture beyond the city limits to discover the natural wonders of Oakwood Lakes State Park. Encompassing a chain of picturesque lakes, this idyllic retreat beckons outdoor enthusiasts year-round. Whether you’re casting a line for fish, paddling along tranquil waters, or simply basking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape, Oakwood Lakes offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Keep an eye out for remnants of the past, such as the historic stone shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s—a testament to the park’s enduring appeal.


As we conclude our exploration of historic places around Brookings, South Dakota, it becomes evident that this region is a treasure trove of cultural and natural heritage. From meticulously curated museums to scenic parks and quaint downtown streets, every corner reveals a story waiting to be told. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or simply a curious traveler, Brookings offers a captivating blend of past and present, inviting you to embark on a journey of discovery through time.


Brookings, SD, boasts several must-visit historic sites, including McCrory Gardens, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum, South Dakota Art Museum, Downtown Brookings Historic District, Pioneer Park, and Oakwood Lakes State Park. Each site offers a unique glimpse into the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region, making them essential stops for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

Brookings, SD, was founded in 1857 by Wilmot W. Brookings, a land speculator originally from New Hampshire. The city was officially incorporated in 1883, marking its transition from a small settlement to a thriving community. Over the years, Brookings has grown and evolved, but its rich history remains integral to its identity.

McCrory Gardens is a botanical garden spanning over 25 acres in Brookings, SD. Visitors can expect to see a diverse collection of plants, flowers, and trees, including rare and exotic species. The gardens feature themed areas, such as the Formal Garden, the Children's Garden, and the North Patio, each offering a unique horticultural experience. Additionally, McCrory Gardens hosts educational programs, events, and workshops throughout the year.

Admission fees vary depending on the specific historic site you plan to visit in Brookings, SD. McCrory Gardens, for example, typically charges a nominal entrance fee, while other attractions like the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum and the South Dakota Art Museum may offer free admission or suggest a voluntary donation. It's advisable to check the official websites or contact the individual sites for up-to-date information on admission fees and policies.

Many of the historic sites in Brookings, SD, offer guided tours led by knowledgeable docents or staff members. These tours provide in-depth insights into the history, significance, and features of each site, enhancing the visitor experience. Additionally, some sites may offer self-guided tour options, allowing visitors to explore at their own pace. It's recommended to inquire about tour availability and schedules when planning your visit to ensure an enriching and informative experience.

Call Now Button