dell1Dell Rapids is a beautiful and quaint piece of Americana history with its Pink Rose Quartz buildings from the local quarry. Along the banks of the picturesque Big Sioux River since 1871, this small community of 3,650 is located approximately 15 minutes north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This little haven is known as The Little City with the Big Attractions.

One spectacular attraction, The Grand Opera House was built in 1888 after a fire destroyed the south side of street. The lovely couple who now own this historic treasure, have lovingly restored and renovated it for four years.

Upstairs it is used for performances in what was once intended for Vaudeville shows and later silent movies. It is one of a very few buildings certified by the State Park Service. Amazing images, signed autographs, and original memorabilia from the Vaudeville era are still behind the stage walls for visitors to view. They are in amazingly excellent condition and rival something you would see only in a museum. Any theater buff will be mesmerized.

Tdell4he opera House now currently hosts birthday parties, class reunions, musicians and even a nine-piece orchestra. Fortunately, the Opera House received grants from the state for its spectacular renovation.


Occasionally special Dinner Theater performances are hosted serving up to 125 people, and a notable chef is frequently brought in, drawing crowds from far and wide. Shows or dinner theater performances are very modestly priced at around $30-35 for dinner and show. You can’t beat the price to experience a piece of true American history.

dell3Sioux Falls and its environs makes for an extraordinary destination where memorable and lovely people open their hearts and minds to share a little bit of heritage and magic with visitors from around the globe. Southeastern South Dakota is not only a part of the Great Plains but one of the Great Family Road Trip Destinations of the World.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of, an online travel magazine. Carmel’s been on local talk radio for 17 years and now co-hosts THE GOOD LIFE with Mike the Wine Guy on KMYC 1410AM. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooney or Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs.