8 things to do in Brookings

For most new students, Brookings is a new and exciting place just waiting to be explored. With its variety of restaurants, outdoor activities and attractions offering something for everyone, students have plenty of opportunities to get to know their new home in the funnest way possible.

1. Miller Wellness Center

The Miller Wellness Center is open to all SDSU students throughout the school year, and students enrolled in summer and fall classes have access to facilities during the summer, as well. Membership is included in the price of tuition.

Some amenities of the wellness center include a 35-foot climbing wall, an indoor swimming pool, fitness studios, an indoor track and court spaces. There are also outdoor gear rentals like kayaks available during the summer.

2. McCrory Gardens

McCrory Gardens is one of Brookings’s better-known attractions, located on the eastern edge of campus. The botanical garden and arboretum are maintained by SDSU and cover almost 70 acres.

Visitors can walk along the paths through the different flower gardens, which are open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer. Students also get free admission to the gardens with their student ID.


3. Woody’s Axe Throwing

Woody’s Axe Throwing on the east end of town is a great option for people looking for a more physically active pastime in Brookings. They offer two different time limits: one hour at $21.95 per person, or two hours for $34.95 per person. There are also specials like ladies and league play on Thursday nights and family day on Sundays.

4. Dakota Nature Park

For the more outdoorsy types, the Dakota Nature Park and Larson Nature Center is open year-round for hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.

The 135-acre park features walking trails and picnic areas, and has gear rentals like mountain bikes, paddle boards and fishing poles, as well. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

5. Downtown Brookings

The downtown area of Brookings is bustling with restaurants, boutiques and specialty antique shops. It is also home to Brookings’s bar and pub scene with locations like Cubby’s Bar and Grill, The Nine and Wooden Legs Brewery. With community events happening throughout the year, downtown Brookings is a must stop for every college student.

6. The Lanes

The newly redone bowling alley is sure to offer something for every student. The Lanes features a café and bar, free WiFi, an arcade and 10 Spark Augmented Reality lanes offering a high-tech, virtual twist to traditional bowling.

Pricing is $4.50 per game with $3.00 shoe rentals. The Lanes also offers league play and memberships for any students especially dedicated to bowling.

7. Museums

SDSU has two museums on campus free for students to visit. The South Dakota Art Museum hosts a wide collection of artworks in various mediums, from linens, to oil paintings, to sculptures.

It also features special exhibitions like the ALL DUNN exhibit, a collection of all 142 of local artist Harvey Dunn’s paintings, and The Radiant Sun exhibit, which features some of writer and artist Paul Goble’s artworks.

The South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum features examples of historical agriculture in the state, like a claim shanty from the early 1880s, an exhibit on the history of electricity in rural South Dakota, antique farm equipment and more.

8. Brookings Cinema 8

Brookings Cinema 8 is the premier place for students to watch the latest movies. Cinema 8 features eight theatres, a fully-stocked concession stand and nightly showings starting at 7 p.m., as well as $5 tickets on Tuesdays- perfect for students on a budget.