Questions and Answers
Moving the family to Rapid soon. Any residents on here? Looking for advice on areas around the city. Family friendly neighborhoods? Schools? Overall impression? Thanks!
So glad to hear we will get getting another resident! I think you will love this town. We are just big enough to have some great chain shopping areas like Kohl's, JC-Penny, TJ-Maxx, and restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster – but we are also small enough to have a fairly low crime rate, clean air and a strong "community" feeling.
We have events like Summer Nights located downtown that are free and very family orientated, we also have free parks such as Storybook Island and Dinosaur Park that were designed for children. Minutes away are great hiking trails, lakes and caves. We also have Mt Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park all within an hour drive.
Below I've included information from my personal experience of living here that will hopefully answer your questions about neighborhoods and schools.
Here is a general breakdown of the parts of Rapid City. I left out downtown as it is mostly just apartments and not really suitable for family living. Also, anywhere outside of the city limits and into the country is going to provide you with a more "open" feeling, and there isn't a general "good and bad neighborhood" rule there. (Feel free to open Google Maps and follow along.)
West Side – The West Side is referred to as anything west of Mt Rushmore Rd (also called 8th street). This tends to be referred to as one of the nicer sides of town and usually holds middle class to upper middle class residents. There aren't really any areas here that I personally wouldn't feel comfortable raising a family in.
Along Sheridan Lake Rd are some of the newer houses. These are really nice/family friendly neighborhoods. The further along you drive down Sheridan Lake Rd, the more expensive the houses get. Red Rock Subdivision is located about 10 minutes out of city limits and contains some huge houses that are home to upper class residents. This area is beautiful.
South Rapid – Also known as "Robinsdale Area" to some. It is basically anything South of E St Patrick Street. This is usually home to middle class residents but there are some upper middle class that live here as well. My dad lived on this side of town, and when I was growing up I never felt unsafe here. The houses between E Fairmont Blvd and E Minnesota St are probably the nicest on this side. Between E Fairmont Blvd and E St Patrick St you will find that these houses tend to be smaller. Be cautious as some of these houses have weaker foundations (effect of the '72 flood) and large cracks in cement floors (such as the garages).
North Rapid – North Rapid is basically anything north of Omaha Street. I honestly do not recommend living the areas between Omaha and I-90 nor the areas directly west of Lowes and Best Buy. These places are usually home to the lower income residents of the area and there tends to be higher crime rates here. The houses are also very small and often poorly maintained. Now, N Haines Ave (North of Lowes and Best Buy), has some nice houses. This area is newly developed and are nice neighborhoods consisting of about middle class to upper middle class residents.
Rapid Valley – This area is hard to give a recommendation too, and I even live in this area. It's a mix of old and new houses and nice and not-so-nice neighborhoods. Basically all the "newer" areas around Reservoir Rd and Twilight Dr are nice neighborhoods. However there are some streets that look less than lovely. Thankfully, the good and bad areas can pretty much be determined by just driving down the street here.
You didn't really specify what age you were looking at for schools. Elementary and Middle Schools basically are determined by where you decide to live. It's been a few years since I attended these schools and so I can't really speak to their quality of teachers or education, but you can google Rapid City Area School District (RCAS) and view their website which will have more information.
There are two main public high schools in Rapid, Stevens High School and Central High School. Generally, according to the students, Stevens High School is where the rich/preppy kids go, and Central is for everyone else, but especially the poor/native/punks. However, the attendance of students is based on the area that these schools are located (Central on the North side, Stevens on the West). Central does tend to have an issue with too many students and too few teachers. They are getting an extension to the school currently, but it is the highest populated school in the state. Stevens has a slightly smaller student population and therefor has a better student to teacher ratio. Both schools have a security staff and all students are required to wear IDs at all times.
I hope this information answered your questions! 🙂
I am planning on going to Black Hills SD area around July 4th. I am wondering if there are any free, cheap or must sees to do in the area other than the well advertised attractions. I want to get off the beaten path a bit not afraid to drive but not willing to spend lots of money as the advertised attractions we are going to will add up. Any ideas?
You are asking a loaded question. The black hills area will blow you away. Must see's: Mt Rushmore, Badlands state park, Devils Tower. Go to the Black hills motorcycle rally web page and take a few min to see a few of the things that you can do. In Deadwood you can go to the top of Mt Moria (don't try to make a U turn going up)and see the grave yards of Calamity Jane and lots of folks you have only read about. Just north of Spearfish in Bella Fourche is the geographic center of the USA. In Lead are old gold mines, Sturgis is the center of the biggest Bike Rally in the World. Stop at the Spearfish Chop House ( a restaurant, note the saying above the bar.still makes me smile). Custer State Park in the wild land loop plenty of buffalo and ground hogs, they have bad attitudes and are the size of mini vans. On your way on rt90 stop at Wall Drug you will understand the reason folks advertise. Lots more to do but you will have to go to understand.
My husband and I are stationed in Savannah, GA and are PCSing to Ft. Lewis, WA. We are driving from Savannah to northern NJ to see my family then across the Northern part of the US to Seattle. Any suggestions of places to stop and landmarks to see? We dont have any kids, but we will have our dog with us. The places we plan to visit are: Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Mt. Rushmore.
If you''re into scenery and /or American History you can do a lot better than that
NYC>Niagara Falls NY> Cleveland OH
Dearborn MI & one of America's great museums
The Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village
Get out of Henry's place by 4:00 PM it should put you in chicago for dinner
If you like Greek food The Greek Islands restaurant is really good and their grilled octopus is as good as it gets >incredible stuff indeed
Then headiest to at least the junction of I-55 I-80 @ Joliet before calling it a night.
Next day is a long one with your final destination being Scottsbluff NE
From Omaha & west you will be playing tag with the Oregon Trail
Lodging and food in Scottsbluff
From SB head north towards Rapid City SD & Mount Rushmore NM
From there head N& W to Devils Tower WY
Then to Crow Agency MT
If Custer doesn't do it for you you could head west from Sheridan WY into Yellowstone & Grand Teton NP's
Then Idaho Falls ID and find US 93 N [one of my favorite roads in the US] to Missoula MT to I-90W and on into Seattle
Longest Line Filipino Restaurant – Tita's Kitchenette