Pierre

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States South Dakota Pierre

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Introduction

Pierre is the capital city of South Dakota. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second-least populous state capital in the United States after Montpelier, Vermont, and the eighth-most populous city in South Dakota.

Founded in 1880 on the east bank of the Missouri River opposite Fort Pierre, Pierre has been the state capital since South Dakota gained statehood on November 2, 1889. It was challenged by Huron for the capital and won because of its location in the geographic center of the state. Fort Pierre was named after Pierre Chouteau, Jr., a major American fur trader from St. Louis, Missouri, who was of colonial French origin.

Pierre is the principal city of the Pierre Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Hughes and Stanley counties.

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Sights and Activities

Be sure to check out the capitol building, an imposing and impressive structure in a beautiful setting. You'll get a great view of it from across the river in Ft. Pierre. Take a tour and see the interior as well, from the hand-laid mosaic tiles on the floor to the intricate paintings on the dome. The sculptures outside are also worth a look. The Fighting Stallions out front might not be your style, but the energy they represent is clear. The memorial statues of soldiers out near Capitol Lake are also impressive.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

Pierre has a relatively dry, four-season, humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfa), with long, dry, cold winters, hot summers, and brief spring and autumnal transitions. According to weather maps and their data used as a basis, Pierre can be considered a semi-arid cold climate (Köppen: Bsk) aided by its precipitation near the threshold that reaches even northeast of the city in South Dakota. As such, it is the only capital of the Midwest's states with a non-humid climate. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from -6.7 °C in January to 24.1 °C, though the diurnal temperature variation is significantly greater during summer than in winter. Snow primarily falls in light amounts, with the snowiest months being February and March, while the average seasonal total is 810mm. In addition, there are 20 nights per year with lows below -17.8 °C, and cold conditions are often intensified by the high winds of the Great Plains. Summers often see spikes in temperature, with 6.4 days of highs above 37.8 °C and 36−37 days with highs above 32.2 °C.

On July 23, 1973, an F3 tornado struck Pierre and caused 10 injuries. It was the strongest tornado ever recorded in Hughes County.

The beginning of both May and October represent the last and first, respectively, freezing nights of the cooler season. Precipitation is much lighter in the winter months than it is in late spring and summer, and totals about 20 inches (508 mm) annually. Extremes have ranged from -37 °C on February 9, 1994 to 47 °C on July 15, 2006.

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Getting There

By Plane

Pierre Regional Airport (PIR) has a few flights. Mesaba Airlines flies to Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Watertown, and Great Lakes Airlines flies to Alliance and Denver.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Sleep

  • Clubhouse Hotel & Suites, 808 W Sioux Ave, ☎ +1 605-494-2582.
  • Ramkota Hotel, 920 W Sioux Ave, ☎ +1 605-224-6877.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 10:07 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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