Sioux Falls Culture

In coming back to Sioux Falls after spending the last 15 years in Louisiana and Minneapolis, I was worried that I was sacrificing cultural experiences that had so significantly enriched my life throughout my time away. Louisiana culture is loud, and spicy, and vibrant. The people, the food, the music, the weather…all are spicy and loud and vibrant! And in Minneapolis, the arts scene is on par with cities two or three times its size. There are music festivals, art shows, and theater events for every hour of every day of the week.

Growing up in Sioux Falls, we’d go see a play downtown once or twice a year. We’d catch a music concert at the Sioux Empire Fair every year, and that was about it. So, in coming back to Sioux Falls, I had kind of accepted the fact that I would be limited in the cultural events and places that I’d be able to experience.

But, I was so wrong. And I love it when I’m wrong, because it means I learned something. Today I had the chance to tour The State Theatre in Downtown Sioux Falls, and I don’t think I’ve been as excited about any business or organization as I am about what they have going on there.

State Theater Marquee

State Theatre Marquee

Built in 1926, the State Theatre was a world-class vaudeville and movie house before closing its doors in the early 90’s. Walking through the building today, I was transported back to an era where going Downtown to see a show was magical. Where you’d wear your finest attire and hope to see and be seen! I am so thrilled to learn that the project to restore and reopen the State Theatre is well underway.

To date, The State Theatre Company has fully restored the lobby and restrooms, they’ve upgraded the building’s mechanical systems and prepared for restoration of the auditorium space.

Secret Tunnels

"Secret" Tunnels connecting the underground dressing rooms with the front of the building. 

The tour today covered so many fascinating nooks and crannies of the theatre….the actor’s dressing rooms below the stage, the underground tunnels that allow travel from the dressing rooms to the front of the space, and the former manager’s apartment, projector room, and office space that will certainly be turned into incredible event or entertainment space in the future.

Future bar? Event space? Apartment right inside the State Theater??

One of many hidden spaces that have the potential to be something amazing...event venue? apartment? bar? Can't wait to see what they decide!

For the first time since coming home to Sioux Falls, I’ve gotten excited about Sioux Falls culture. I can’t wait to see how the State Theatre project continues in the coming months.

To date, they’ve been able to maintain progress through donations from the community. To return this jewel to glory, they still need over $2 million, so I encourage you to support their cause in any way you can by donating via their website:

state theater auditorium


If you have a group that would like to take a tour and see progress of this incredible venue, please contact their main office at (605) 335-5757.

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