Say Hello To Betsy McCarty, The Voice Behind @VisitSiouxFalls

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Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be Betsy 1showcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Betsy McCarty from @VisitSiouxFalls. Betsy was born and raised in Sioux Falls, but moved away to two larger Midwestern cities. Many young adults want to get away from where they grew up, she was one of them. After realizing the opportunity of Sioux Falls and what a great family town it is, she decided to make it her forever hometown. Betsy has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for 10 years, and has been at the Convention & Visitors Bureau for 2 ½ years.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to Sioux Falls?

Summer months always draw families to Sioux Falls but my favorite time of year is early December. Falls Park is illuminated with almost half a million lights and is a spectacular and breathtaking scene. The shops are alive with holiday spirit and the restaurants put out some of the best holiday dishes. If we have snow on the ground, you can head out to Great Bear Recreation Park to ski or snow tube and most of the ice-skating rinks are open (pending weather of course!)

Downtown Sioux Falls | Photo: Rich Murphy

Downtown Sioux Falls | Photo: Rich Murphy

2. How would you describe the people of Sioux Falls?

Everyone says they are friendly and hospitable, which we do exceed in. But, Sioux Falls really appeals to everyone…and what I mean is the people are diverse and cultured and will welcome you, entertain you and serve you no matter what you need and whether you are here for a day trip, vacation, convention, event or business.

3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Sioux Falls?

Favorite: Probably the food. We may not have every major chain that big cities have but we make up for it in Midwestern dishes. With over 650 restaurants in town, you can find pretty much anything you are craving. We pride ourselves in home-grown restaurants original to Sioux Falls.

Least Favorite: I love the snow, don’t get me wrong, but when you have the wind to go with it, not a favorite. Thankfully it’s the whole upper U.S. that is feeling what we are feeling right now.

Falls Park | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

Falls Park | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

4. What is Sioux Falls’ most famous landmark or attraction?

Falls Park by far! If it wasn’t for our 3-tiered, 100 ft. drop waterfall (which is one of few U.S. rivers flowing north!) Sioux Falls wouldn’t be as big as it is today. The first settlers in the area saw it and knew instantly that a trading post, mills and industrial would benefit from the power of the water. Today, Falls Park covers 123 acres and has a 5-story viewing tower, visitor information center, café, historical ruins, and is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.

Attraction: The New Snow Monkey exhibit at the Great Plains Zoo. They are adorable and love the attention. Also, during summer months Thursday-Sunday you can feed a giraffe. The Zoo has a lot of hands-on exhibits that other zoo’s are not able to offer.

Restaurant: Tough one, but Mama’s Ladas and her sister restaurant, Mama’s Phried and Phillys. Any item on the menu will have you returning ASAP.

Nightlife: Monks House of Ale Repute. Offers beers from around the world and no domestics. Their scotch eggs are REALLY good and during the summer the patio is dog friendly.

6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?

Car, you can get around Sioux Falls in about 20 minutes.

JazzFest | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

JazzFest | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

7. Is there any festival or event in Sioux Falls that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

JazzFest, a free jazz festival in July. It’s held at Yankton Trail Park and previous headliners have included Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh and Buddy Guy to name a few.

8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Sioux Falls has to offer?

Washington Pavilion. The building, originally a high school, has been converted to hold the 1,800 seat Mary W. Sommervold theatre, which brings Broadway musicals, concerts and comedians. Next family show: Beauty and the Beast the Musical (and Scooby Doo a few weeks later!) Past: Shrek, Barney, Willy Wonka and more. The rest of the building houses 6 rotating art exhibits, a preschool, the African American Historical Museum, the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, art classrooms, the Wells Fargo Cinedome Movie Theater and the Kirby Science Discovery Center home to Stan the T-Rex. During the summer months check out Wild Water West Waterpark. The all-inclusive waterpark includes bumper boats, go carts, batting cages, paintball, mini golf, a lazy river with 21+ swim-up bar and a wave pool.

9. What is Sioux Falls’ signature food that every visitor has to try?

Chislic, a great appetizer. The dish is cubed red meat, seasoned, grilled and served hot.

SculptureWalk | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

SculptureWalk | Photo: Sioux Falls CVB

10. If I only had one day to explore Sioux Falls, what MUST I see or do?

Check out Falls Park in the morning, and then head downtown to see one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. Downtown is also home to SculptureWalk, a collection of 60+ rotating sculptures. If you come on Friday or Saturday there is live music at night on the sidewalks. Have family? Take them to the Great Plains Zoo or Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove in the afternoon and end the evening at one of Sioux Falls’ original restaurants.


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