Hard Rock Sioux City is just one of many local attractions in the Sioux City, Iowa, area. And yes, tourists frequent the area for further reasons than just the casino. So, if you’re heading over to Hard Rock Sioux City for a vacation or a weekend getaway, it’s recommended you set a few days aside for recreation.
Why? Because this moderate-sized city of just over 82,000 residents is full of rich history, nature sites, and a plethora of museums and monuments. Below, you will find more than a few unforgettable attractions tourists flock from all over the country to visit.
So, if you need a few ideas before your trip to Hard Rock, you will find some with this post.
Ready to take a break from Iowa casinos and take a tour of Sioux City? Let’s get started.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
A couple of familiar names are first up on the leaderboard. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is one of the finest history museums in the area. And per TripAdvisor, it ranks an astounding 4.5 out of 5 stars out of 262 reviews as of January 2021.
Also encompassing the Betty Strong Encounter Center, you’re looking at 20,000 square feet of a cultural complex courtesy of the non-profit Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD). The venue opened in 2002 and expanded in 2007 to coincide with the opening of the Betty Strong Encounter Center.
Its mission still holds true today, which is to “commemorate a history of encounters before, during, and after the expedition.”
Here, you will find many exhibits, programs, and activities that explore how we live as diverse people and conserving the land on which we live. Admission is free, so you don’t need to hit a progressive jackpot at Hard Rock if you’re interested in learning more about American culture here.
Sioux City Public Museum
This is another highly-rated location, so you can make a winning bet that the Sioux City Public Museum is a popular outlet. You will find it in the heart of Downtown Sioux City, a bustling area with more than just our featured attraction to look forward to.
But this museum is more than worth frequenting. Here, you will discover interactive displays and exhibits, the “Spirit of Sioux City,” and so much more.
If you want to learn more about the area, head over to one of the finest attractions in the area.
This is a cool attraction to head over to regardless of your religious denomination. It features stunning artwork of Jesus Christ, a sculpture rendition of The Last Supper, and other giant, Christ-like sculptures.
Even if you’re not into Christianity, this is still an unforgettable tourist attraction because of its surrounding scenery, complete with ponds, fountains, and evergreens.
Reviewers on TripAdvisor say it’s the perfect place to calm your mind, so all are welcome into one of Sioux City’s most popular sites whose sculptures rival that of Christ the Redeemer down in Rio, Brazil. The artwork is done so well you won’t believe it until you see it.
Sergeant Floyd Museum and Welcome Center
Head over to the historic expedition boat and embark on a tour on the river that includes maps, documents, and other mementos from the Lewis and Clark expedition. You will find life-sized wax figures, a complete replica of a vessel, interactive exhibits, and so much more when you visit.
Out of the 120-plus reviews on TripAdvisor, tourists have rated this unforgettable attraction 4.5 out of 5 stars, citing the location’s uniqueness, atmosphere, and friendly and knowledgeable staff. In short, the boat itself is a floating museum; it’s not much different from the riverboat casinos in the state.
A trip to the Sergeant Floyd Museum and Welcome Center also won’t take too much time out of your day. So, if you’re looking for a quick stop or just a couple of hours away from Hard Rock Sioux City, this is a fantastic place to frequent.
Sergeant Floyd Monument
The Sergeant Floyd Monument’s size and shape will immediately make you think of the Washington Monument down in DC. This one, however, dedicates itself to Sergeant Floyd, and it’s packed with a few exhibits.
Come over, catch a view of the monument, and learn all about who Sergeant Floyd was, his significance to the area, and what led to his death, as one of the exhibits will tell the tale. Oh, and you’ll also catch stunning views of Sioux City’s surrounding farmlands. So, it’s great to take a few nature pics.
And if you come during the right time of the day, be sure to snap a photo of the sun resting behind the obelisk. It gives the monument a mysterious, shadowlike appearance that makes it look like it came straight out of a science fiction film.
You’re getting an old-fashioned, classic twist on candy here. So, think back to those retro candy shops you saw on television growing up, and it will give you an idea of what you can expect at Palmer Candy.
I’ll admit the building itself looks sketchy from the outside, but things change once you head on inside. Those wooden walls, older artifacts, and deli-like atmosphere featuring rich, homegrown chocolates plus internationally recognized brands of candy will satisfy any craving.
Come in and see what desserts you can get your hands on but be warned; nothing here is low calorie. So, if you’re watching what you’re eating when you’re in the area, you may steer clear of Palmer Candy.
Stone State Park
Stone State Park is an excellent place to embark on a natural setting. Open from 4:30 AM until 10:00 PM, come in at almost any time of the morning, afternoon, or even evening and early nighttime hours.
Catch stunning views of the surrounding areas on one of the many overlooks, enjoy the wide nature trails, and if you’re up for it, bring food for a picnic at one of the many designated areas in the park.
Sioux City Railroad Museum
The Sioux City Railroad Museum is a perfect stop if you’re into old steam engines and old school locomotives. The venue formerly known as Milwaukee Railroad Shops is one of the area’s finest hidden gems.
Scenery of the Big Sioux River and Loess Hills surround the 100-year-old museum which, before its usage as a tourist attraction, served as an industrial site that repaired trains and rail cars since the 1850s. So, there is a lot of history at the site.
And you’re in for a rare treat when you come to the 30-acre complex, given the tiny number of railroad museums that still exist today.
Best yet, it won’t take all day to tour! Take a few hours off from the casino table games at Hard Rock Sioux City, discover the Sioux City Railroad Museum, and leave with fascinating new knowledge about the area’s history and significant contributions to the railroad industry.
Chief War Eagle Monument
If you’re looking for the most outstanding scenic views in the area, you will find it at the Chief War Eagle Monument. You aren’t just looking into Iowa, but you can include Nebraska and South Dakota in the view, too. Stunning, right?
You’ll find some outstanding architecture depicting Chief War Eagle along with further views of the river, surrounding farmlands, forests, and as mentioned, even states.
Discover inscriptions on the nearby monument that tell a stunning tale. And discover what made Chief War Eagle so significant to the area’s and American history.
Here, you will receive an outstanding history lesson. But you will also get a fine story of one of America’s most notable Native Americans. It’s an experience you must take an hour or two away from Hard Rock Sioux City for. And you won’t regret it.
Complete Your Casino Trip in Sioux City
Hard Rock Sioux City is in an attraction in an area full of attractions. This post covered nine unforgettable tourist attractions in and around Sioux City. But given the size and scope of the area, this post shows just a few slices of a huge pie.
From scenery to museums and even candy shops, you have a lot to look forward to when you set a day or two, or even an afternoon aside to explore the area surrounding Hard Rock Sioux City. And it’s an area you can turn into your next fine vacation.
Have you been to Hard Rock Sioux City? If so, did you explore the area and visit any of the listed attractions? Let us know in the comments, tell us your story, and tell us if you visited any surrounding attractions not listed.