What to See and Do: The Sturgis Rally Guide
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the world’s largest motorcycle rally, attracting upward of 700,000 people each year. During the event, the entire town is overrun with motorcycles, parties, bike shows and live concerts. People from all over the world attend to ride, sightsee and experience the unique atmosphere.
It doesn’t matter if you ride a Harley-Davidson, a custom chopper or you’re just there as a rally-goer and not a rider, the rally has something to offer for everyone. All the options can be overwhelming, so we compiled a list of the top attractions to see and things to do during your Sturgis Motorcycle Rally experience.
MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM AND HALL OF FAME
Leave the rally more knowledgeable about the history of motorcycling after visiting the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. Admire the showcase of vintage bikes and memorabilia and learn about the individuals who have made a long-term, positive impact on the motorcycle community.
Sturgis was formed decades ago by a motorcycle club that staged riding and racing events. Fast forward, and you can experience how it all began by attending the rally races. From Moto-X to PRO-AM hill climbs, there are all kinds of races to choose from any day of the rally.
Main Street is where you can find the souvenirs you’ll want to show off back home. During the rally, Main Street is strictly motorcycles-only and a great place to walk around. The street is filled with vendors, good restaurants and notorious saloons. Don’t forget to pick up the legendary Sturgis patch or pin to prove you were there!
Buffalo Chip Campground is a legendary Sturgis attraction you’ll want to add to your list. It is located on the edge of the rally, but it’s the self-proclaimed center of activity. The campground includes a bike show, roller derby, vendors that will service your bike, live concerts and a huge swimming pool for its campers.
FULL THROTTLE SALOON
Located near the center of town, Full Throttle Saloon is the world’s largest biker bar. It’s only open 11 days out of the year, but those 11 days are a blast. The saloon offers live music, multiple themed bars, a zip line and a mechanical bull. It’s definitely something to add to your list if you’re looking for fun nightlife.
CONTESTS AND COMPETITIONS
Take part in or observe some of the fun competitions the rally holds. Sturgis is full of good food, wild facial hair and an abundance of tattoos, and there is a contest for each. Participate in or cheer on the best from every category.
OUTSIDE THE RALLY
If you need a break from crowded streets and motorcycle exhaust, there’s plenty to do right outside the rally. Enjoy scenic rides to monuments and routes through national parks, and explore the Black Hills for a quieter afternoon.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
You may have visited South Dakota’s most well-known monument before, but there’s something special about seeing it from the seat of a motorcycle. Ride down Keystone’s Main Street and take in the old western town. Then head east for an incredible view of the monument, or head into the park to get a closer look.
Crazy Horse Memorial
Named after the Lakota leader, Crazy Horse is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. Though the project is unfinished, it hosts over one million visitors each year. Learn about the history of the Black Hills and the Lakota leader at the Crazy Horse museum, and gain a deeper understanding of the area you’re riding through.
An old gold rush town, Deadwood has stayed true to its western roots. Ride through the brick-laid streets and stop at one of the many saloons for lunch or gambling. Known for its “no rules, no regrets” mentality, it’s sure to be a wild time.
Badlands National Park
Travel the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway and enjoy the rugged beauty of the park’s 244,000 acres. The striking landscape includes a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires.