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10 things to see and do in Mitchell: A local's guide

Here’s a top 10 list of things to do, see or eat in Mitchell, from a local.

Downtown Mitchell
Downtown Mitchell.
Mitchell Republic file photo
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Welcome to Mitchell.

You’re a tourist. I know because you’re passing through and you just happen to Google “Things to do in Mitchell, SD.” I happen to know that the Corn Palace is the first thing to pop up.

As much as we love the Corn Palace, Mitchell has so much more to offer. That’s what I’m here for, so I can point you in all the right directions.

Here’s my top 10 list of things to do, see or eat in Mitchell, from yours truly, a local. I'm Cassie Williams, a reporter for the Mitchell Republic. And this list is from a person who was raised in Montana and moved to Mitchell in April 2021.

Lake Mitchell area
Lake Mitchell
/ Mitchell Republic file photo

10. Lake Mitchell – The sunrises/sunsets on Lake Mitchell are unbeatable. Seriously. It might not be the best place to take a swim, but at least it’s pretty. It’s the perfect backdrop for a romantic picnic and photo shoots. There are tons of places to fish, beaches that I probably wouldn't swim at, hiking trails and a playground.

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9. Main Street Mercantile – This is definitely more of a tourist-y attraction, but they have amazing froyo and a huge candy selection. Plus, they’re right across the street from the Corn Palace, so if you do feel like doing tourist-y things, you can. I won’t judge.

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Starlight Drive-In
Mitchell Republic file photo

8. Starlight Drive-In Movie Theater – A drive-in theater, completely authentic, that first opened in 1949. You can watch the movies by tuning in through your car’s radio. Or, if your car's stereo is out of commission (like mine, ugh), you can rent a speaker. There’s snacks available for purchase too, and it’s open all summer long, Friday through Sunday. They show tons of movies, usually new and popular ones, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’ll shove in an oldie but a goodie in.

7. Daylight Donuts – Their donuts are practically unbeatable. Personal favorite: the Bavarian cream with chocolate frosting. They make those bad boys fresh every day, but you have to hurry to get in because they’re only open 5 to 11 a.m. during weekdays, and 5 a.m. to noon on Friday and Saturday, and it is closed on Sundays.

6. Crazy About Cupcakes – The red velvet cupcakes at this sweet shop are to die for. I cannot emphasize how much I love their red velvet cupcakes. Not a fan of red velvet? That’s okay, because they have a huge selection of flavors, not just for cupcakes. They have cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream, cold brew coffee — the list goes on and on.

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Tokyo Sushi in Mitchell.
/ Mitchell Republic file photo

5. Tokyo Sushi – This is the ultimate fancy dinner date spot. If you’re into sushi, Tokyo is the place to go. They have always taken such good care of me whenever I’ve gone. The staff is genuinely so sweet. They have dine-in options for those fancy nights-out, or carry-out options for those stay-in kind of nights.

4. El Columpio – The. Best. Mexican. Food. Ever. I would highly recommend the enchiladas verdes, since that’s my personal go-to, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The staff is amazing and so personable; they make you feel right at home and did I mention how good the food is? No? Maybe I’m just hungry.

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Bar goers celebrate at Thirsty’s Bar in Mitchell while listening to Dusty Evans and the Good Time band Tuesday night. / Mitchell Republic file photo

3. Thirsty’s – Oh, you’re going? Save me a seat and order me a rum bucket. This bar is such a fun time (for anyone over 21, of course) and it’s definitely the place to be on a Friday night. Its french fries are also killer, and it’s right next to the bowling alley just in case you feel like crushing some souls with your impeccable bowling skills. There’s pool tables and darts, as well as a gigantic dance floor so you can bust a move to that sick DJ they usually hire on Friday nights. Thirsty's is also home to the one and only Gio, a four-time Mitchell's Best winner for his elite bar-tending skills, so you can rest assured that you'll be well taken care of.

2. Lake Hanson – It's not technically in Mitchell. But it’s the best lake to go to in the summer, even if it’s a solid 30-minute drive to get there. There are camping spots available, and the lake itself is like bath water in early July. The story behind Lake Hanson is actually pretty interesting, too. It used to be an old mine before the crew hit groundwater just before they left for the night. The crew didn’t realize what they’d done until they came back to work the next morning. The whole site had flooded, leaving what we now call Lake Hanson. It’s rumored that all of the mining equipment is still at the bottom of the lake. But don’t worry, it’s deep so the chances of you finding out if it’s just a rumor or not is slim to none. It’s my favorite lake to swim in during the summertime, and it’s great for kayaking, canoes and fishing, too.

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A look northbound down North Main Street in Mitchell.
/ Mitchell Republic file photo

1. Main Street – Every first Friday evening of the month in the summer, there’s a huge celebration on Main Street. People hop from bar to bar, the old classic cars put-put down the road and music blares every direction you turn. Main street is the life of this town. There are tons of restaurants, bars and shops to choose from, some of which are already on this list. Some of my favorites not already included are the Antique Mall, which has the best selection of antique and thrift ware, and The Depot because, yes, they do have the best waffle fries in town, tried and true. Main Street holds all of the town’s festivities, including things like the Pre-Strugis Party and the rodeo parades and farmers markets. Main Street is definitely worth the stroll.

Opinion by Cassie Williams
Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories, feel free to email her at cwilliams@mitchellrepublic.com.
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