The Deadwood Casinos comprise the primary draw to the Black Hills of South Dakota. But Deadwood and the Black Hills themselves are perhaps the top tourist attraction in America’s Heartland.
Odds are, you’ve come to have fun at the many casinos that comprise this village. However, it’s probably all but certain that you will venture beyond the casinos and explore the area.
Today’s post touches on 10 phenomenal attractions you will discover near the Deadwood Casinos. They’re rich in history, nature, and two are even well-known national landmarks.
Let’s dive into the Black Hills and the area around Deadwood and find out all of what they offer beyond their casino scene.
1 – Adams House
Harris and Anna Franklin built this historic home back in 1892. Known at the time as “The Grandest House West of the Mississippi,” this house served as a turning point for Deadwood, whose roots were once upon a time in the gold mining industry.
Now one of the most prominent landmarks in Deadwood, you can tour the home in less than one hour. It’s a great stop if you need a quick break from gaming or if you went out and explored the town for an afternoon.
2 – Mount Moriah Cemetery
If you want a different kind of education on Deadwood’s history as an Old Western town, Mount Moriah Cemetery has what you’re looking for.
Just a few of the names interred here are Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, so it shows you exactly what kind of history lesson you’re getting at this historical cemetery.
Unlike most cemeteries, they charge a small fee for entry. But considering the names mentioned above, odds are it’s more than worth the price of admission. The ticket booth is also across from a gift shop, which is also worth checking out if you’d like a few relics inspired by the Old West.
3 – Historic Old Town
If you love the Old West, Historic Old Town is yet another exceptional attraction worth visiting. You’re going straight back to the 19th century here.
However, even if you’re not a fan of the Old West, it’s still worth the stop considering all the restaurants, shops, and of course, nearby Deadwood Casinos.
Best yet, reviewers on TripAdvisor have praised the area for how easy it is to stroll around and find things to do. Think of Historic Old Town as several attractions within an attraction.
It’s also alive with entertainment. So, even if you found nothing of worth at the Deadwood Casinos, enjoy yourself with some live music, drinks, and more.
4 – Adams Museum
Another relic in town that serves as a nod to the Adams Family. The Adams Museum is the oldest in the Black Hills.
Its purpose? To preserve the noble history of the Black Hills. Yes, we’re talking about the Wild West here. It’s home to relics like Potato Creek Johnny’s gold nugget, American illustrator NC Wyeth’s pencil sketch drawing of Wild Bill Hickok, the Thoen Stone, and so much more.
On the main floor sits the Adams General Store. Despite Deadwood not holding those stereotypical small-town odds and ends attractions, the Adams Museum fits the small-town mold as a smaller museum.
However, a few reviewers on TripAdvisor have stated that if you’re interested in the area’s history, it’s easy to spend over three hours in this venue.
5 – Tatanka: Story of the Bison
This museum invites you to cross the threshold within its walls to unlock the Story of the Bison. Here, you’ll get yet another history lesson about the area. However, this one isn’t so focused on the Old West as much as it is on the 30 to 60 million bison that once roamed the Heartland.
By the end of the 19th century, about 1,000 bison remained.
Founded by Kevin Costner, you’ll find a variety of exhibits and attractions. They include a bronze sculpture of 14 bison pursued by three Native American riders, a Native American gift shop, Dances with the Wolves movie costumes, a Lakota Interpretive Presentations display, and the Sweetgrass Grill and Snack Bar.
Book your trip to what may be the most moving historical museum in the area. And with Kevin Costner’s name attached to it, you know you’re in for something amazing.
6 – Broken Boot Gold Mine
TripAdvisor’s overview for this attraction couldn’t be more plain. Here, you will “pan for gold in this historic gold mining area.”
Besides the gold mining portion, you’re also in for another historical experience, as the Broken Boot Gold Mine is one of few museum caves, if you can picture that for a second. It offers a sound history lesson on how the mine operated during the Black Hills Gold Rush.
One reviewer noted the tour guides will even show how they mined using nothing more than a candle to light their way. Now, that’s a history lesson.
7 – Days of ‘76 Museum
The Days of ‘76 Museum features a live recreation of Blackwood’s history. Of course, you’re learning more about the Old West (notice the overarching theme here?) along with tales from the pioneers, muleskinners, prospectors, gold miners, and others who frequented the gold-filled gulches in the 19th century.
Speaking of Buffalo Bill Cody, he was friends with Mike Russell, the founder of what is now Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex. It’s one of Deadwood’s many casino outlets.
8 – Mount Roosevelt Monument
If you’re looking for the finest overlook of the Black Hills, look no further than the Mount Roosevelt Monument. It’s especially rewarding if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in the Black Hills.
So, enjoy the trail leading to the monument, head up the steep stairs, and catch a view far into the lost horizons surrounding what might just be the Heartland’s most epic scenery.
And don’t be intimidated by the hike. Many reviewers on TripAdvisor have stated that it’s a peaceful walk and those of any level can conquer it. Plus, it makes for a fantastic workout in the South Dakota forest.
9 – Mount Rushmore
This one is about 50 miles away from the Deadwood Casinos. So, it’s not exactly the closest attraction. However, it’s still within the viewing area. And what’s a trip to the Black Hills without seeing one of America’s most recognizable symbols?
Of course, we all know Mount Rushmore for its featuring of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. Chosen to represent the nation’s birth (Washington), growth (Jefferson), development (Roosevelt), and preservation (Lincoln).
However, the mountain the Lakota Sioux revered the mountain ages before they carved the four presidents into the landmark, when it was known as the Six Grandfathers. Together with tribal representatives, sculptor Lincoln Borglum settled on the mountain because of its facing of the southwest, granting max sun exposure.
Here’s another fun fact: There was an initial debate on who to place on the mountain. Some wanted it to feature heroes from the American West like Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea, Chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Chief Crazy Horse.
However, Borglum wished for the monument to symbolize a broader audience, which explains the presidents as opposed to the regional appeal of the American Western heroes.
So, come on out to Memorial Park, immerse yourself in a history lesson for the ages, and admire one of the most recognizable sculptors in American history.
10 – Chief Crazy Horse Memorial
This popular attraction remains a work in progress. However, it’s worth stopping by given its proximity to Mount Rushmore. If they complete the memorial, it will become the second-tallest memorial in the world, behind only the Statue of Unity in India.
You’ll find the monument 17 miles from Mount Rushmore on Thunderhead Mountain, an area the Lakota have considered sacred for generations.
Our Final Thoughts on the Deadwood South Dakota Area
The Deadwood Casinos will always serve as a fine attraction in the Black Hills of South Dakota. But despite its smaller size, Deadwood doesn’t hold the typical small-town flair.
Given its reputation as one of America’s most distinguished towns from the Old West, it attracts hundreds of thousands if not millions of visitors annually. The casinos are just a sliver of what might be the American Heartland’s most popular tourist destination.
So, come see the history, the nature, and of course, enjoy those days at the casinos. This is easily a place you can spend a few weeks and never get bored.
Have you been to the Deadwood Casinos? If so, did you take time to visit several relics of the Old West? Tell us about your stories in the comments. We can’t wait to read about your experiences.