The city of Brookings was founded in 1879 as a central location for the railroad to lay its tracks. Named after Wilmot W. Brookings, a spirited pioneer who traveled to the unsettled Dakota Territory in the late 1850s, today Brookings is a dynamic, progressive community that offers art, culture, and countless recreational opportunities.
Located in eastern South Dakota along the I-29 corridor, Brookings is home to 19,000 residents and to the 13,000 students enrolled at South Dakota State University.
The visual arts take center stage in Brookings. View the masterpieces of native sons Harvey Dunn and Oscar Howe at the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum hosts both touring and permanent collections, drawing 80,000 visitors a year. AAA calls it a gem of the prairie.
In the evening, take in a show or concert at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of South Dakota State University. Events range from local and student productions to famed artists such as Itzhak Perlman and Aaron Neville. Or review the sports schedule at SDSU and take in an exciting game of Division I athletics.
In July, be sure to visit the annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival which brings nearly 75,000 visitors for the two-day event. The Festival showcases over 200 juried art booths from artists around the country, 42 gourmet and ethnic food booths and a variety of family entertainment.
If you’re looking to spend some more family time outdoors, Brookings offers 500 acres of park space including the renowned arboretum McCrory Gardens. The Hillcrest Aquatic Center is a vibrant water park that provides countless hours of wet and wild fun. Just minutes away, visitors can hike, boat, hunt, fish, ride horseback, snowmobile and cross country ski.
History buffs will enjoy walking through the city’s historic district. Adults and children will be fascinated by the Agricultural Heritage Museum. The museum explores the rich history, agricultural technology and rural life of South Dakota. Visit the Coughlin Campanile at South Dakota State University. The Campanile sits on the grounds of the Coolidge Sylvan Theater dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927.
Whether you’re looking for art, history, culture or recreation, Brookings offers something for everyone – and for every age! Visitors can receive more information from the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce.