Is the Corn Palace worth visiting?

Is the Corn Palace worth visiting? Well if you’re already in South Dakota, then yes! Absolutely it’s worth a stop. You’ll hear it called The World’s Only Corn Palace or maybe even the Mitchell Corn Palace. But it’s all the same place. So head on over. By now, you know that Steve and I like the quirky places.

Why, yes, we do want to see that random Shark Girl Statue, and we’ll drive an hour out of our way to see it!

Or remember that picture of me with the giant jackalope at Wall Drug? I had to fight off small children to get my turn for a photo!

South Dakota's must see destination Wall Drug
Taming the Jackalope

We like visiting the odd stuff, and the Corn Palace is right up there with the quirky visits!

Now, I’m not sure what I actually expected, maybe though I thought the whole building was built of corn stalks. And…it’s not. It’s a regular building decorated with panels of murals. However, each mural is made of corn though. The designers incorporate every piece of the stalk, ears, and silks to create detailed and surprisingly detailed images.

We saw work in progress on one side of the front of the building. They got a head start on the 2022 design. The other side was still in progress, so it was neat to see the layout for the design. It’s drawn onto the panel and tells what color to place in which section. Sort of like a paint-by-number. Corn by number? I crack myself up.

Since we actually got here late in the day, we stayed in the Corn Palace parking lot overnight. I felt safe and secure in the lot. No one bothered us and it gave us an early start to tour the Palace the next morning.

When we walked up to the building, we could smell the popped corn. Oh that buttery goodness. Steve went straight to the concessions for a bag. And I bought a popcorn ball for later. (It was also delicious, by the way.)

Is the Corn Palace worth visiting, for real?

The Corn Palace is worth visiting. However, I’m not sure I’d drive hours out of my way for it, but if you’re in the area, go check it out. The building’s arena has hosted many famous musicians from John Philip Souza’s Band in 1904 to Lawrence Welk stating in 1948 with subsequent appearances through 1969. More recently, the Corn Palace hosted stars like Kenny Rogers, Blake Shelton, Clint Black and even the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

When not in use as a music venue, the arena hosts basketball games for local and state athletes. It’s a multiuse facility that we enjoyed strolling through.

Around the perimeter, halls are pictures of past murals and some of the star appearances here. Then the arena itself contains past corn murals; all lined around it. It’s a site to behold. Visitors wander through art and more pictures upstairs before coming to the balcony.

We stepped outside to catch ourselves on the Live Corn Cam! First, of course, I texted my sisters and our kids with the link and proudly waved to the camera across the street. Quirky but fun! Then I even had to go back inside to find Steve to drag him back out for an appearance. It was neat for our family to see us waving to them.

Corn Festival!

Mitchell, South Dakota, hosts an annual Corn Festival to celebrate the yearly redecoration of the Corn Palace. So, yes, this event is worth visiting! It brings in headline entertainers and has everything a fair can offer. Midway rides and carnival games, food, and specialty vendors mixed with produce and creativity contests. There’s also an opportunity for locals to showcase creativity at the Corn Palace Festival. Entrants can bake a cake, color or create a picture, show off homegrown produce, design a flower arrangement, or make one of the many other options. Exhibits stay displayed in the Armory Gymnasium for the entire festival and are judged on their Originality, Visual Appearance, and Workmanship/Craftmanship.

What else could you want from a small-town festival? Corn murals, music, rides, and even a contest!

Go visit the Corn Palace

So, yeah, the Corn Palace is worth visiting. We had a fun couple of hours there before wandering downtown and buying a few too many corn souvenirs. It’s a fun stop and easily on the way, if you’re heading up to Fargo, North Dakota to visit the Hjemkomst Center and Viking Ship. It’s pretty awesome too!

If you liked this part of South Dakota, check out these other great locations too!

South Dakota’s Must See Destination: Wall Drug

South Dakota’s Monuments: Mt Rushmore & Crazy Horse

Top 3 Favorites in Fargo, North Dakota

Northern Black Hills of South Dakota


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