The Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau (dba Visit Brookings) became a 501c6 organization on January 1, 2020. Prior to that, the organization existed as part of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce. In 1982 the organization was created as a Chamber committee. By 2012, Chamber leadership, recognizing the need to elevate the focus and priority of the visitor industry in Brookings, took initial steps to separate the two entities by creating the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau Advisory Board and developing a separate CVB budget. Discussions started in earnest in 2019 with both the Chamber and CVB in favor of separating. Paperwork was soon filed and a few months later, the new organization was born.
Visit Brookings Board of Directors
Jamison Lamp, SDSU President’s Office, Chair
Lisa Marotz, McCrory Gardens, Vice Chair
Laci Thompson, Pasque, Secretary/Treasurer
Aaron Carsrud, Comfort Suites University, Past Chair
Michael Johnson, Pheasant Restaurant
Erika Klein, First Bank & Trust
Michael Logan, Swiftel Center
Sarah Pitts, University Marketing & Communications
Nick Schmeichel, Sideline Productions
Kate Treiber, Children’s Museum of South Dakota
John Blatchford (Chamber Representative)
Carla Gatzke (BEDC Representative) Daktronics
Jacob Meshke, (City Representative) City of Brookings
Laura Schoen Carbonneau (Ex-Officio) Visit Brookings Executive Director
Frequently Asked Questions
Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota with a population of 23,657 (Census 2015 estimate). Our coordinates are 44 degrees North latitude and -96 degrees West longitude.
Brookings is named after the famous pioneer and founder, Judge Wilmot Wood Brookings. As the story goes, he was traveling through South Dakota with horse in tow in the dead of winter when he slipped on a rock. His foot fell through a patch of ice into some extremely cold water. Once he made it back to civilization, the condition of his legs were not good. The only solution was to amputate. He only stepped foot in Brookings twice, with two wooden legs and a strong presence in politics and legislature. Judge Brookings also inspired the name of our local brew pub, Wooden Legs Brewing Co.
We’re thrilled you’re considering moving to Brookings! Your first step should be to either download a copy of our community guide or request a hard copy. It features a variety of topics like retail, dining, education, community activities and organizations, relocation information, a city map and more. For more relocation resources, we’ll send you over to LiveInBrookings.com. There’s a wealth of information for those looking to make the move to Brookings.
If you’re staying in Brookings for a few days, B&B Auto Sales, located on Main Avenue South, has a large selection of rental vehicles, including cars, trucks, minivans, SUVs, pickups and 15 passenger vans. Einspahr Auto Plaza also serves the Brookings area as a rental vehicle service. Located on 8th Street South, Einspahr carries a wide selection of rentals.
For general transportation services, Brookings Area Transit Authority (BATA) is perfect for you. BATA provides coordinated transportation services for all citizens in the Brookings area, as well as a safe ride home on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Yes, Brookings does have an airport, but with a few limitations. The Brookings Regional Airport does provide some corporate business travelers with airline accommodations, but it is not a passenger airport. The Brookings Regional Airport strives to provide a safe first class airport for regional residents and the flying community. The airport works diligently with the South Dakota State University Aviation Program and other local entities to provide flying instruction and other community activities related to aviation.
The Sioux Falls Regional Airport is 55 miles south of Brookings and can accommodate any kind of passenger airline travel. The Sioux Falls Regional Airport includes five airlines: Frontier, Allegiant, Delta, United, and American Airlines.
We may know a lot about attractions, dining, and great places to shop but if you’ve got a question about our local government, we’d like to turn you over to the City of Brookings. There you can find information about what makes this city run and learn more about our city council members.
The average temperature in January is about 12.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to pack a jacket and ask Dakota Nature Park about their snow shoe rentals and other snowy adventures offered in the park. In the winter, our residents have adapted to the colder climate by celebrating it! Every third weekend in February, area attractions and business come together to host Frost Fest. It’s a way for us to embrace the chill and kick cabin fever.
We’re also a big fan of hockey and utilize Larson Ice Center as much as possible in the winter months. Larson Ice Center also offers open skate for visitors and residents, check with the Brookings Parks Dept. about open hours and rental costs.
The average temperature in July is 82 degrees Fahrenheit. On top of high temps, it’s usually pretty humid too. A gorgeous sun hat, sunscreen and an ice cold beverage area great accessory during the summer months. Speaking of a cold beverage, you can catch most of our residents enjoying free, outdoor, live music at Downtown at Sundown with an ice cold beverage in tow!
If you are planning a visit this summer, keep the Brookings Summer Arts Festival on your radar. It’s one of the largest outdoor festivals in South Dakota, featuring more than 200 artists and 40+ food booths. We like to say you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the festival while browsing through booths of jewelry, artwork, pottery, kids activities, and so much more!
A large majority of our community work at SDSU, Daktronics, 3M and Larson Manufacturing, making Brookings the second largest manufacturing community in South Dakota. If you are thinking about starting a business and would like more information about our community’s economy, hop on over to the Brookings Economic Development Corporation. They’ve got numbers and data important to making those kind of decisions.
The streets of downtown Brookings tell a story of Classic Revival and Art Deco, along with Beaux-Arts and Romanesque architecture. A total of 59 buildings line Main Avenue, with 83 percent of the construction taking place between 1894 and 1928.
Each building holds a little piece of Brookings from yesteryear, take a stroll and enjoy the history while shopping, eating and playing in Downtown Brookings.
Sitting on the prettiest quarter section of Brookings, McCrory Gardens is South Dakota’s largest botanical garden with 40 acres of arboretum dedicated as the South Dakota State Arboretum. Development of the gardens began in t he 1960s by a fellow named S.A. McCrory who headed the horticulture department at SDSU. Since then the gardens continue to grow and blossom through the seasons.
In 1954, downtown Brookings turned on its first fluorescent street lights, ultimately changing the nightlife scene forever. Happy hour became a little more happy when friends could meet into the wee hours of the night under a new found light.
Brookings is home to the state’s largest higher education institution South Dakota State University. If you’re coming to Brookings, be prepared to cheer for the Jackrabbits!
South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive higher-education institution. As South Dakota’s Morrill Act land-grant university, SDSU had a fall 2019 enrollment of 11,518, with students from every state and 83 countries. Students can choose from 82 majors, 35 specializations, 94 minors, 36 masters degree programs, 15 Ph.D. programs and two professional doctorates. The university also offers courses at various off-campus sites as well as undergraduate and graduate programs online through the Office of Continuing Distance Education.
After more than 100 years, SDSU and the Brookings community still finds itself in the land of Hobos for the annual homecoming celebration during the SDSU Football game at Dana J. Dykehouse Stadium. Students celebrate a month in advance by withholding from shaving. The rest of the students, alumni, and staff celebrate by putting on their best plaid and tattered jeans to live the hobo way for this one day event. The first Hobo Day celebration took place back in 1912.
Life’s good here. Find out more about this vibrant, growing community with a distinguished small-town feel.
Get ahold of the Visit Brookings team. We can help you build your trip or plan any type of event in Brookings, South Dakota.