Best Places To Live In SD

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
April 6, 2023
Table of Contents

South Dakota, known for its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, is an excellent place to call home. With affordable housing, low crime rates, and friendly communities, it's no surprise that many people are choosing to relocate to the state.

If you're considering living in South Dakota, knowing the best places to live is essential. In this blog post, we will summarize the top five places to live in South Dakota and what makes each unique.

Best Places to Live in South Dakota

Rapid City

Rapid City is the second-largest city in South Dakota and is known for its proximity to national parks, Black Hills attractions, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The city has a population of approximately 77,000 and is located in western South Dakota.

Pros of living in Rapid City

The benefits of living in Rapid City include a low cost of living, a friendly community, and proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities. Residents can enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and other outdoor activities within a short drive from the city. Rapid City is also home to several excellent schools, including the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Cons of living in Rapid City 

This includes a higher-than-average crime rate and harsh winters. During the winter, the city can get a lot of snow and be very cold, making it hard to drive and do things outside.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Rapid City is lower than the national average, with affordable housing being one of the most significant factors contributing to this. The median price for a home in Rapid City is around $235,000, with a variety of housing options available, including apartments, townhomes, and single-family homes.

Top attractions and activities

Top attractions and activities in Rapid City include the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Badlands National Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. The city is also home to several excellent museums, including the Journey Museum and Learning Center and the Museum of Geology.

Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls is South Dakota's largest city and is nestled in the southeastern part of the state. The city is well-known for its beautiful parks, excellent healthcare system, and thriving economy. Here are some details on what Sioux Falls has to offer:

Sioux Falls is a bustling city that offers a small-town feel, with a population of just over 190,000 people. It is home to a diverse community, with a vibrant downtown area with many shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Pros of living in Sioux Falls

  • One of the top benefits of living in Sioux Falls is the city's thriving economy, which provides many job opportunities. 
  • The city also has a low cost of living compared to other major cities in the US. 

Cons of living in Sioux Falls

  • Winters in Sioux Falls can be long and cold.
  • The city experiences occasional flooding due to its location near the Big Sioux River.

Cost of living 

The total cost of residing in Sioux Falls is generally lower than the national average. Housing prices in Sioux Falls are also relatively affordable, with a median home value of around $200,000.

Top attractions and activities 

Sioux Falls has many attractions and activities to offer its residents. Some top attractions include Falls Park, the Butterfly House and Aquarium, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. The city is also home to various parks and trails, including the popular bike trail that runs through the city.


Brookings is a small city located in eastern South Dakota. It has a population of around 25,000 and is home to South Dakota State University. Brookings has a strong sense of community and is known for its friendly residents.

Pros of living in Brookings

  • Low crime rate: Brookings has a very low crime rate, making it a safe place to live.
  • Affordable cost of living: The total cost of living in Brookings is lower than the national average, making it an affordable area to live in.
  • High quality of life: Brookings is known for its high quality of life, with a range of amenities and services available to residents.
  • Great education: Brookings is home to South Dakota State University, a well-respected public university.
  • Access to outdoor activities: Brookings is located near several state parks, providing opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing.

Cons of living in Brookings

  • Harsh winters: Like much of South Dakota, Brookings experiences cold winters with a lot of snow.
  • Limited job opportunities: While there are job opportunities in Brookings, the options may be limited compared to larger cities.
  • Lack of diversity: Brookings is a predominantly white city, which may not appeal to those looking for a more diverse community.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Brookings is lower than the national average. Housing costs are affordable, and groceries and utilities are cheaper than in many other cities.

Top attractions and activities

  • South Dakota's State University: Stroll around the beautiful campus or catch a Jackrabbits game.
  • McCrory Gardens: These botanical gardens cover 25 acres and showcase plants from around the world.
  • Children's Museum of South Dakota: This interactive museum is an excellent place to take the kids for a day of fun and learning.
  • Outdoor activities: Brookings is located near several state parks, including Lake Campbell and Lake Poinsett, which provide opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing.


Yankton is known for its beautiful natural scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. The city has several parks and hiking trails, including the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, which offers camping, fishing, boating, and swimming. Yankton is also home to several museums and historic sites, including the Dakota Territorial Museum, the Mead Cultural Education Center, and the Meridian Highway Bridge.

Pros of living in Yankton

  • A small-town atmosphere with a strong sense of community
  • Affordable cost of living when compared to other cities in South Dakota
  • Plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities
  • Access to quality healthcare facilities
  • Good public schools with a low student-to-teacher ratio

Cons of living in Yankton

  • Limited job opportunities compared to larger cities
  • Limited shopping and dining options
  • Harsh winters with heavy snowfall

Cost of living

The cost of living in Yankton is relatively affordable compared to other cities in South Dakota. Housing costs are particularly inexpensive, with a median home price of around $170,000.

Top attractions and activities

  • Lewis and Clark Recreation Area
  • Dakota Territorial Museum
  • Meridian Highway Bridge
  • The Yankton Community Library
  • The Dakota Theatre


Aberdeen is the third-largest city in South Dakota, nestled in the northeastern part of the state. It is home to about 28,000 people and has a strong economy based on manufacturing, health care, and education.

Pros of living in Aberdeen

  • Affordable cost of living: Aberdeen has a lower cost of living compared to other cities in South Dakota and the national average, making it an ideal place for those who want to save money.
  • Good quality of life: Aberdeen has a friendly and welcoming community with excellent healthcare facilities, top-rated schools, and a low crime rate.
  • Plenty of outdoor activities: Residents of Aberdeen can enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking in nearby state parks and lakes.
  • Vibrant arts and culture scene: The city has several theaters, galleries, and museums that offer various cultural events and activities throughout the year.
  • Job opportunities: Aberdeen has a growing job market and many employment opportunities in healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

Cons of living in Aberdeen

  • Harsh winters: The city experiences long and cold winters with heavy snowfalls that can make it difficult to drive or commute.
  • Limited public transportation: The city does not have a reliable public transportation system, so owning a car is necessary to get around.
  • Limited nightlife: Aberdeen has a limited nightlife scene, with few bars and restaurants open late at night.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Aberdeen is lower than the national average, with affordable housing options, groceries, and utilities.

Top attractions and activities

  • Wylie Park: A beautiful park with a lake, camping grounds, and picnic areas.
  • Dacotah Prairie Museum: A museum that showcases the history and culture of South Dakota and the Northern Plains.
  • Storybook Land: A theme park with attractions and rides based on popular children's stories.
  • Richmond Lake: A scenic lake where residents can fish, boat, and hike.
  • Aberdeen Aquatic Center: A popular water park with slides, pools, and other water attractions.

Consult a Residency Expert in South Dakota

South Dakota offers an excellent quality of life with its beautiful natural scenery, thriving job market, and affordable cost of living. Each city, from Aberdeen, Dakota Dunes, Brooklyn, etc., has its unique charm and advantages, making it a great place to call home.

Whether you prefer the city life in Sioux Falls or the small-town charm of Yankton, South Dakota, it has something for everyone. If you are considering moving to South Dakota, you should use a reputable mailing service and residency service provider.

They can help guide you through relocating, finding housing, and sending your mail to your new home. So, start your journey to a new life in South Dakota today!

Sign up for Residency in South Dakota