Rapid City (Lakota: Mni Lúzahaŋ Otȟúŋwahe) is the second most populous city in South Dakota and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, where the settlement developed, it is in western South Dakota, on the Black Hills' eastern slope.
Known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents" because of the life-size bronze president statues downtown, Rapid City is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the city's western and eastern parts. Ellsworth Air Force Base is on the city's outskirts. Camp Rapid, part of the South Dakota Army National Guard, is in the city's western part.
Rapid City is home to such attractions as Art Alley, Dinosaur Park, the City of Presidents walking tour, Chapel in the Hills, Storybook Island, and Main Street Square. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the neighbouring Black Hills are the tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and the museum at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, and to the city's east is Badlands National Park.
Industry and economy Rapid City's economy is diverse, but industry is a small portion, as is typical of many US cities in the 21st century. Heavy and medium industrial activities include a Portland cement plant run by Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, or GCC, a Mexican-based conglomerate; Black Hills Ammunition, an ammunition and reloading supplies manufacturing company; several custom sawmills, a lime plant, a computer peripheral component manufacturing plant, and several farm and ranch equipment manufacturers. Of particular note, this city is the centre for the manufacture of Black Hills gold jewellery, a popular product with tourists and Westerners in general. The city is the site of the only American manufacturer of stamping machines used for the labelling of plywood and chipboard products.
Regional mining operations include for sand and gravel, as well as the raw materials for lime and Portland cement (including chemical-grade limestone, taconite iron ore, and gypsum) remains an important part of the economy.
The largest sector of the Rapid City economy is government services, including local, state, and federal. Major employers include Ellsworth Air Force Base, home of the 28th Bomb Wing flying the B-1B long-range bomber; the Army National Guard based at Camp Rapid and hosting annual exercises in the Black Hills, drawing troops from five to ten states; and various federal agencies, including the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Indian Health Service.
Monument Health covers one of the largest geographic service areas in the United States. The health care sector employs more than 8,000 persons in the Rapid City area.
Tourism constitutes a major portion of the Rapid City economy, due to the proximity of Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; Deadwood, and other attractions in the Black Hills. This city provides most services for the Motorcycle Rally. Prepared to satisfy the Rally's demand for motel rooms, camp sites, and other services for tourists during the first week of August, Rapid City has the capacity to host other large events, such as conventions, and numerous associated tourists year-round. Various minor tourist attractions, including wildlife parks, speciality shops, caves, water parks, private museums, and other businesses are found in and near Rapid City.
Other economic sectors include financial service and investing companies such as Waddell and Reed, Citibank, WaMu, Merrill Lynch, and Northwestern Mutual. Rapid City is the headquarters for Assurant Insurance's pre-need division. As noted, the city has a strong medical services sector, and several institutions of higher education. Rapid City is also the major market town for much of five states, drawing commerce from more than half of South Dakota, and large portions of North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and the Nebraska Panhandle.
Air Rapid City is a major transportation hub for the Northern Plains. Rapid City Regional Airport provides flights to the airline hub cities of Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. The airport also has extensive General Aviation operations, including wildfire fighting activities, and medical flight support to Rapid City medical facilities and regional Indian Health Service operations.
Railroad Rapid City is now served by the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad (RCP&E). In addition to Rapid City, the RCP&E serves the Northern Black Hills and run east to Minnesota and south through Nebraska to connect with major transcontinental railroads Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific.
Road Rapid City's central location on the continent enables it to transport products to both coasts, and points in between. Trucking is a major business activity in the city. Improved connections with Denver and I-80 to the south, via the Heartland Expressway now under construction, will primarily benefit local trucking.
Rapid City has a population of over 67,956 people.
Rapid City is sister cities with: Apolda, Thuringia, Germany • Nikkō, Tochigi, Japan • Yangshuo County, Guangxi, China.