A small town with a LOT to do – that’s what you get when you visit Hill City in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota!

Our main reason for visiting Hill City was this…

The 1880 Train is one of the main draws to Hill City. We had reservations for the 1:15 round trip ride to Keystone and back. We checked in to get our tickets at noon and then hurried to get some lunch before the line for the train formed.

Thankfully, Hill City has the perfect place to eat right across the street…

Elm Street Pizza is a family-friendly pizza joint that is ready to serve hungry families and tourists quickly!

They sell whole pizzas AND pizza by-the-slice, and we didn’t have to wait long to get our order. It’s not a very big restaurant, but there were several other families eating at the same time and we all had a place to sit! The staff was very friendly as well – we highly recommend you eat at Elm Street Pizza while in Hill City!

Then it was back to the train and we had a couple of boys who were just a little excited about it…

What does the 1880 Train promise for passengers?

See the Black Hills of South Dakota by rail! Experience a historic, breathtakingly scenic, relaxing vintage steam train ride your family will never forget.

Enjoy a two hour and fifteen minute round trip through the scenic Black Hills. Hear the bellow of the engine and the whine of the whistle as it winds its way through the hills between Hill City and Keystone… and back again. {1880 Train website}

It was most certainly all of these things and more…

Great family memories were made on that train ride! History, scenery, relaxation and even concessions {you saw Little J enjoying his popcorn up above!} – the 1880 Train was the whole package for us!

The only downside to our train ride was it arrived back in Hill City later than scheduled and we ended up missing our gold mine tour. But as we were driving through town, another little gem caught our boys’ attention and it involved a lot of these…

The Museum at Black Hills Institue isn’t big on space but it is BIG on fossils, most of which were discovered in South Dakota! Did you know fossils from 14 different Tyrannosaurus Rex have been discovered in South Dakota? One of the highlights of the museum is STAN, the largest and most complete (65% real bone) T. rex available to science.

It was a small room, but there was lots to keep the kiddos interested and entertained! The staff was very helpful and shared lots of stories about the fossils and their discoveries!

The museum obviously isn’t for everyone, but for boys who love dinosaurs, this was a great end to our day in Hill City!

You may hear more about Lead, Deadwood, Keystone and Rapid City, but Hill City has much to offer for family fun!


Come back tomorrow for part 4 in the Head for the Hills series: Custer State Park!


Disclaimer: Head for the Hills is a sponsored series with the South Dakota Department of Tourism. We were compensated for portions of our trip, but all opinions in this series are 100% our own!

You can connect with the friendly and helpful people at the South Dakota Department of Tourism on Twitter and Facebook! Tell them Home with the Boys sent you!