Photo credit: The World’s Only Corn Palace
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, capitalizes on its proximity to the Black Hills. In fact, many of the families headed to Mount Rushmore will pass by Mitchell. Some might expect it to be on any SD road trip itinerary, but is the Corn Palace worth visiting?
The Corn Palace is worth a trip for farmer-types and fans of folk art. If you love state fairs, you’ll love the place. While recent dome replacements make it look much more like a palace, it’s still just a group of buildings covered in murals made of corn. The theme for 2019? A Salute to the Military.
What is the Corn Palace?
Touted as the World’s Only Corn Palace, the quirky site in Mitchell, SD, is a grand exhibition hall where concerts and conventions are held throughout the year. The exterior is covered in a new set of themed murals each year which are made completely out of corn parts – from cob to silk.
The first Corn Palace in Mitchell was built in 1892. It would move locations twice before the current location was completed in 1921. An estimated 500,000 people stop every year to see the murals and to attend events.
Is the Corn Palace Worth Visiting?
Some people really love the Corn Palace and stop once a year on their summer vacations. I can see the appeal in noting how the murals change from year to year. I can also appreciate the tremendous amount of planning and effort that goes into the creation of the buildings’ exterior. Unfortunately, while some visitors marvel at the designs, our family just didn’t get much out of the stop. Then again, we didn’t go during the Corn Palace Festival.
Every year, the town of Mitchell throws a huge festival to celebrate the creation of new murals at the Corn Palace. They have all the stops you’d expect a small town to pull out – music, food, carnival rides. And we’re talking top talent. The 2019 line-up includes Trace Adkins, Clint Black and Blood, Sweat & Tears. (Note: All shows require separate tickets.)
There’s also a chance for visitors to take part in an exhibition. It’s perfect if you haven’t had your fill of county and state contests. Baking, crafting, photography, horticulture and more. Children as young as three can take part, and all Beginner (Age 3-12) exhibits receive a ribbon. There’s also a Coloring Page category in Beginning, Junior (13-18) and Advanced (19+) age groups.
When is the Corn Palace Festival?
The Corn Palace Festival is set for 12:00 PM - 8:30 PM Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - Sunday, August 25, 2019.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to the Corn Palace?
Admission to the Corn Palace is FREE even during the festival. Carnival arm bands, tickets to concerts, food and vendor purchases are various prices. Entry fees might also apply to events held in the palace. There are free tours available throughout the year, which you can arrange in advance.
Obviously, you can stop and see the exterior at any time. Unless there’s an event scheduled, there’s nothing much to do inside the building. We didn’t think the Corn Palace was worth visiting inside at all. Even the gift shop is located across the street.
However, if you really want to get a look inside at some of the historical information they have available, please check out the contact information below.
8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily, Memorial Day – Labor Day
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, May 1 – Memorial Day, Labor Day – November
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon – Sat, December – April
The Corn Palace is closed the following holidays:
- New Year’s
- President’s Day
- Native American Day
- Veteran’s Day
604 N Main Street
Mitchell, SD 57301
If you’re traveling on I-90 W, take Exit 332 for SD-37 S/I-90 Loop toward Mitchell/Parkston.
Continue on S Burr St. Drive to N Main St.
Turn right onto S Burr St.
Take a left onto E 5th Ave.
Then turn right onto N Main St. again. You’ll see the Corn Palace to your right.
If you’re traveling on I-90 E, take exit 330 for SD-37 N toward Mitchell.
Continue on SD-37 N. Drive to N Main St in Mitchell.
Turn left onto I-90BL E/I-90BUS E/SD-37 N.
Take a right onto W 8th Ave.
Turn right again onto N Minnesota St.
Then turn left at the 1st cross street onto W 7th Ave.
And finally, turn right onto N Main St. You’ll see the Corn Palace on your left.