by Lisa Meyers McClintick
Nestled on the Big Sioux River between a lively downtown and the hip East Bank, the Sioux Falls Hilton Garden Inn Downtown also sits within a mile of Falls Park — a huge draw for families. Guests can follow the river (part of the almost 26-mile Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway) to the 125-acre park, where water cascades across rosy quartzite outcrops it has carved its way through over the centuries.
Adding to this location’s appeal is a patio where guests and visitors can dine or have drinks alongside the Big Sioux. A few rooms feature patios, while about half of the hotel’s 136 rooms offer river views.
This hotel works especially well for families with one or two children who like the comfort and upscale design of this hotel brand, want to be close to museums such as the Kirby Science Center at Washington Pavilion, or have easy access to the city’s greenway.
The modern architecture fits well in the neighborhood that blends sleek office buildings with renovated stone railroad warehouses now used for boutiques, cafes and breweries. Inside the Hilton Garden Inn, kids who pay attention to design (or tend to be imaginative) should appreciate the hotel’s splashes of bright green color, nature-themed dÃ©cor, live plants and decorative touches, such as tulip-like light fixtures in one corner of the lobby that could be flowers in a “Tinkerbell” movie.
At dusk, the open lobby flows into Crave American Kitchen and Sushi, an onsite restaurant and bar that replaced Elements on Eighth in May 20016 and became the first South Dakota location for the chain. Speaking of food, parents of chronically ravenous kids will appreciate the refreshments at check-in: Hilton Garden Inn’s signature lemon water and warm lemon-blueberry oatmeal bars.
Rooms all include mini-fridges and microwaves, which is handy given the thriving food scene. The hotel’s restaurant and windows provide a coveted year-round spot with views of the river, plus an outdoor terrace when weather is balmy, and musicians often play on Friday and Saturdays.
This Hilton Garden Inn opened in 2013 as part of the increasingly energized downtown that stretches along Phillips Avenue on the river’s West Bank and onto the East Bank along Eighth Street.
Our Editor Loves
- River location and stroller-friendly greenway
- Easy walk to downtown
- Indoor pool
- Connecting Rooms
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel's 136 rooms include Serta Perfect Sleeper beds, downy pillows and duvets, easy chair, desk chair and work table, high-speed Internet (up to three devices), microwave, mini-fridge, a Keurig coffee maker, high-definition 42-inch flat-screen TVs, cable and movies on demand, and plenty of outlets for charging electronics. Bathrooms include Neutrogena products, a hairdryer, granite bathroom counter and shower and tub combinations.
The hotel has free portable cribs and can add a rollaway bed for $10 per night.
Most rooms come with an option for two queen beds or a king bed. Some king bed rooms include a sleeper sofa.
If you're traveling with an infant or toddler who can still fit in a crib or children who don't mind a sofa bed, these king bed suites have more space with a sitting area and additional options such as a balcony, river view, second bathroom, a tub with jets, or a kitchenette with counter-height seating with stools.
Mobility accessible rooms include a king bed or two queens with additional accommodations, such as wheelchair-friendly vanity and shelving, grab bars and accessible bathtub or roll-in shower. Hearing accessibility rooms have a visual alarm clock and alert devices for doorbells, knocks and incoming phone calls.
Families with three or more children and needing additional space can reserve adjoining hotel rooms that can sleep four to eight guests when they are paired up. Another option is a double queen room adjoined with a one-bedroom king suite with a sofa sleeper and the space for a rollaway.
Service and accommodations were nice. Very good location to local entertainment and downtown. Can stay in at the hotel bar and enjoy the environment or go out and explore. Will definitely stay again!!
Checked in to the hotel after hunting, and was welcomed by the hotel staff. The Starbucks nearby had some samples and this was a nice touch. After cleaning up came down to get a quick bite and watch some sports. There is a nice selection of local beers and wines. The sushi was fantastic. For dinner the recommendation came from the waiter on the local fish it was prepared to perfection. The beds are comfortable and you will get a good nights rest!
Pool and Whirlpools
The hotel's indoor pool ranges from depths of three to five feet and stays comfortably warm with big windows that bring in the natural light from the riverfront. It's next to the exercise room and near the little marketplace by the check-in desk (handy for snacks and sundries if needed). Parental supervision of children is required.
Don't forget slip-on shoes or a cover-up. You have to cross the wide-open lobby area within view of the restaurant and lounge to go between the pool and the elevators up to guestrooms. There also is a whirlpool. The pool opens at 5 a.m. for early risers and closes at 11 p.m.
The public lounge can get busy on the weekends in particular, when people are ordering drinks and appetizers, but there is a nice large table not far from check-in where families can gather around a game, color, and enjoy the view. It can be a handy place to go if a younger sibling is trying to nap and needs a quiet guestroom, but most active kids will probably be more interested in heading outside if the weather is nice.
Guests can easily go for a run or a stroller outing with the hotel's location along the almost 26-mile Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway. There also is a pedestrian bridge outside the hotel that crosses the river and leads into downtown and the main shopping and dining areas along Phillips Avenue.
Guests can choose made-to-order breakfast entrees such as waffles, sausage and hashbrowns, or pancakes and omelets during breakfast. It's served from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays and 7 to 11 a.m. on weekends in a dining room adjacent to the open restaurant area. While it's not technically a buffet (at least not a typical hotel one), cereals, yogurt and fresh fruit are set out to accompany hot entrees. At $11.95 per adult (one kid per adult is complimentary), you may want to work up an appetite.
CRAVE American Kitchen and Sushi
In 2016, the hotel opened the first South Dakota location for CRAVE American Kitchen and Sushi, a Twin Cities-based chain with close to a dozen locations nationwide. Like its name says, it specializes in sushi offerings such as Godzilla (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado and seaweed salad), vegetarian rolls and seafood from scallops to octopus. The menu also includes a number of vegetable and noodle salads, flatbread pizzas, mahi tacos and bento boxes, burgers and pastas.
Kids' meals and coloring sheets are available.
Guests can order meals off the restaurant menu for room service from 5 to 10 p.m.
The Pavilion Pantry
For quick, convenient meals after a long day of driving, or for a late-night snack, you can find microwaveable soups or pasta, chips, snacks, beverages, ice cream treats and candy near the check-in area.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Free Wi-Fi is available.
There is a coin-operated washer and dryer on the first floor by the pool if you need to clean a load of clothes or dry swimsuits, and there is a same-day laundry service, too.
Guests who are part of this free loyalty program can check in more quickly and accumulate points through Hilton hotels and travel partners to use toward room upgrades, free nights and other perks. Members also can use the HiltonHHonors app to view the hotel's layout and choose rooms before arrival.
The first-floor fitness center includes weight-training equipment and cardio machines. There also are complimentary Stay Fit Kits for in-room workouts with a Pilates band, yoga mat and blocks, 8-pound weight ball, 5-pound hand weights and resistance rope. Kids 16 and under must have adult supervision during workouts. Open from 5 a.m. to 11 pm.
Guests can check in at 3 p.m. and linger until noon for check-out.
The Art of Smart Timing
Late spring through early fall can be the most popular time to stay at the hotel with mellow weather and easy access to the river and Falls Park. It generally stays busy year-round, though, with rooms in high demand for business travelers during the week and winter events such as Falls Park, lit up for the Christmas season.
Most visitors come by car, arriving via Interstate 29, which runs north to south from the Canadian border to Kansas City, Mo., or Interstate 90, which runs west to east from Seattle to Boston. The Sioux Falls airport is less than 10 minutes away.
There is a free shuttle to the hotel, as well as taxis if needed. Parking at the hotel is uncovered and complimentary.
For Mom and Dad
Parents can have a nice date having a drink and appetizers in the hotel lounge or out on the patio during balmy weather. On Friday and Saturday nights during the summer, there may be live music, as well. Additional date-night options can be found across the street at Prairie Berry East, a trendy wine bar, microbrewery and small plate kind of place; or Minerva's and Parker's Bistro within a few blocks on the opposite bank of the river.