Watertown, SD

5 amazing things to do in Watertown, SD

Secret-Idea

The travel industry is becoming too crowded. The "secrets" of the locals are constantly leaked for the next big story, and large cities lose their allure as they become regular, apparent locations. When everyone else has gone there, why would you want to go there as well?

It's hard to think there are still secrets out there some days. Watertown, a sleepy town in the eastern part of the state of South Dakota, is one of these places. It's a 20,000-people village that thinks it's a huge metropolis, complete with great ambitions (and dark secrets). The fact that you were surprised by a list of London, New York, or Paris landmarks shouldn't be surprising. Wait for it.

1. A STOP ON THE BOOTLEGGER TRAIL AT THE BEGINNING

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Watertown's history is just as colorful as the rest of South Dakota's. Deadwood's Wild Bill Hickok was assassinated during a game of cards, the Black Hills were home to Calamity Jane, and the town of Watertown had Mafia connections before her death. Watertown's railroad served Al Capone's "businesses" during Prohibition, and bootleggers used the city's subterranean steam heat tunnels, which are still in use today.

The bootlegger trail is in the process of becoming official, so there's still work to be done, but the high points are all there. As a bonus, Glacial Lakes Distillery will make you the smoothest cosmo of your life, so be sure to stop by there. This South Dakota booze is unique because of the ingredients: high plains grains, glacier water, and hand-mixed batches.

Batches are produced "by hand," and we mean it when we say that. Look at the bottles, for example. What are the initials on the back of the jacket? It's most likely Phil. Alternatively, Cindy's may be an option. A tiny batch of each ounce is made by hand, and each bottle is filled by hand before being branded. Visitors may be able to make their own since everything is made in tiny quantities. Keep your fingers crossed that DIY will one day signify "Distill It Yourself."

2. The opportunity to drink beer made on-site and using locally sourced ingredients

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With the craft beer craze sweeping the nation, it's becoming more difficult to create a product that distinguishes apart. Watertown Brewing Company, fortunately, is up to the task. They raise their hops, produce their beer, and even use the leftover grain from the mashing process to make crackers.

Even if you've been using Untappd for years, once you step foot in their downtown location, you'll quickly forget where you are. Codington Cream Ale is a good place for craft beer newcomers to start (it's a "Lawn Mower" beer), while those with more experience should try their Not So Bitter or Kampeska Kold Press. When in doubt, simply ask - you'll almost certainly be speaking to a fellow beer enthusiast who will be able to help you out.

While the rest of Watertown Brewing is very West Coast, their charcuterie platters (yes, they also serve food) are a well-balanced blend of European and Midwestern flavors. The kind of cheeses and meats you'd find in a Parisian café, together with wheat-fed bread and house-marinated pickles... how much, though? They're the real deal, and they'll blow your mind.

3. The Shores of Lake Kampeska: A Hiking Adventure (AND GOLFING AND FRISBEEING AND JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING)

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Lake Kampeska is a locals-only location in Watertown's western outskirts. There aren't many hotels or restaurants around here, even though the lake's vastness justifies it: the coastline stretches for nearly 13 miles.

It's the ideal location for passing the time. For a garlic burger, go over to The Prop first, where you may leave your business card or a $1 before heading out to the water for some world-class boating, skiing, swimming, or fishing. Anyone wouldn't fault you for sitting on a seat and waiting for the sun to go down.)

What's more, there are 30 miles of paths connecting the lake to the city from the lake's shores, as well as two golf courses, a disc golf course, a county park, and a state park. However, even if you do not want to go near the sea, there are many options for you.

4. PICTURES OF A TIGER FROM UP CLOSE AND DEEP

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You do realize that zoos exist, don't you? Almost every city has one, and most of them, except for April the giraffe and Mei Xiang the gigantic panda, aren't all that noteworthy. Director Dan "Zoo Man" Miller, who mingle with the world's most renowned zoologists, is proof certain that this film is in a class of its own. And this is the situation with the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown.

If you see Bramble Park's amenities, you'll understand why Miller is friends with so many influential people. In all, there are 800 animals in the park, representing 130 different species, including kangaroos and newborn spider monkeys. Tigers and prairie dogs are wandering free. It's a great deal for an adventurous day for teens and adults for just $9.

5. NOW WE ARE IN THE EIGHTIES

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It's an amazing experience to enter the Globe Theatre. Also, at San Diego's Balboa Theatre, you'll find yourself unable to form words because of the experience. There are a lot of great theaters in the world, but none compare to the Goss.

The Goss Opera House was constructed in 1888 and has had no significant renovations since its completion. Do you ever have the sense that you've gone back in time since you're in such a genuine location? In the Goss, that's what occurs. You can see where little 19th-century individuals used to sit on the floor in the chair marks. It's almost as if someone managed to raise the Titanic from the depths. This isn't a rip-off or a reprint. The Goss Opera House is where it's at when it comes to living performance.

Oh, and did I mention that down there? With the same unrestored old downtown brick archway appearance, there is a bar, coffee shop, and restaurant. It's a large complex that some say is haunted.

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