How to Visit the Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota

If you are planning a road trip in South Dakota, then the famous Mitchell Corn Palace is definitely a must see attraction!

Also known as the World’s Only Corn Palace, this roadside attraction is visited by almost half a million of visitors every year.

Located along the I-90 W just an hour west of Sioux Falls, the Corn Palace at Mitchell makes a great pitstop on this epic Midwest route.

You can easily spot the many billboards for several miles along the freeway advertising this famous Mitchell tourist attraction even before you reach it!

Stop and take a look – after all – you are knee-deep in the corn belt!

Then exactly where is the World’s Only Corn Palace located and how to visit it?

Find this and more information including hours and fees in this detailed guide to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Also Read: South Dakota 7 Day road trip itinerary

Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota
Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota

Where is the Mitchell Corn Palace located?

The World’s Only Corn Palace is an iconic roadside attraction located in Mitchell, South Dakota.

It is in the south eastern part of the state and about 75 miles / 1 hr 10 mins drive away from Sioux Falls.

The South Dakota Corn Palace makes a great quick stop on any Midwest / South Dakota road trip and is a great photo opportunity. 

How to reach Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD?

The Corn Palace, SD is located just 2 miles off I-90 and takes about an hour to visit. 

If coming from Sioux Falls, take exit 332 from I-90 W to visit this unique roadside attraction. 

If traveling from western South Dakota, take exit 330 from I-90 E to Mitchell.

The exact address is 604 N Main St, Mitchell, SD 57301.

Is the Corn Palace worth visiting?

Visitors often wonder whether the Corn Palace is worth visiting.

The Corn Palace pays a tribute to the agricultural economy of the prairies and to the Dakota Farmer for his hardship and efforts.

It boasts of several different colors and quantities of corn, elaborate themes, and intricate designs.

It is truly a one of a kind attraction and leaves most visitors impressed with the detailed facades.

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The Corn Palace is definitely worth a quick visit and makes an excellent addition to any road trip!

While you are there, be sure to walk around the Corn Palace and admire it from various angles. 

During the peak tourist season from May to September, you can even get free guided tours from locals.

They narrate history of the attraction, share the quantities of corns, glue, and staples used to create the design, and point out details hidden in the corn murals.

How much does it cost to go in the Corn Palace?

Not only is the Corn Palace beautiful inside out, but it is also completely free to visit.

The Corn Palace, South Dakota is open year-round; Corn Palace hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

The Corn Palace at Mitchell even has a basketball court located inside it. Corn murals on the wall decorate the inside as well as outside of the building.

What Is The Corn Palace? Is the Corn Palace made out of corn?

The Corn Palace is known by several names: the World’s Only Corn Palace, Corn Castle, and the Corn Museum!

The Corn Palace photos look amazing but they leave visitors baffled: Is the Corn Palace made out of corn?

While the building itself is an engineered structure, the facade of the Corn Palace which gives its unique identity is made entirely out of corn.

The exterior facade of the Corn Palace is decorated with murals made from corn cobs and corn stalks of different sizes and colors.

About 13 different shades of naturally colored corn cobs are used to create the stunning murals. 

Other grains and grasses are also used as needed to enhance the visual appeal.

A different theme and entirely new displays are created every year to decorate the Corn Palace.

The process of redesigning and updating the facade takes place throughout the summer season. 

Popular local artists have worked on the murals throughout the years including Cal Schultz and Oscar Howe.

But the Corn Palace is more than a work of art – it is a popular entertainment and sports venue in Mitchell.

The Corn Palace is home to a basketball court and many regional, district, as well as state level high school basketball tournaments take place in the building.

The Corn Palace also serves as a meeting venue and an auditorium.

Special events including trade exhibitions, dance shows, graduation ceremonies, and concerts take place throughout the year. 

Many top entertainers including Johnny Cash have performed at the venue.

History Of The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace has its beginnings in the 19th century, when buildings in the American heartland came to be decorated with produce to display a prolific harvest season.

The first Mitchell Corn Palace was created in 1892 by the locals to enjoy the corn harvest.

It was replaced in 1905 with a different design.

In 1921, the current building was built in a new, more prominent location on Main Street.

Since then the Corn Palace has stood there and is reimagined completely every year.

It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021 and is a landmark attraction.

Corn Palace 2022
Visiting Corn Palace in 2022? Here’s important information.
Corn Mural theme 2022: ‘Under The Big Top’, Circus theme
The 2022 Corn Palace Festival will be held from 24th August to 28th August.
See Live Corn Cam here

How are the Mitchell Corn Palace murals planned and created?

The unique concept of the Corn Palace makes one wonder – how do you even begin to create such a big endeavor!

The entire theme redesign process takes several months and begins far in advance of the harvest season.

Each year’s new theme is decided by a committee and the specific mural designs are carefully planned and created by Dakota Wesleyan University students together with local artists.

The final design is then projected on the Corn Palace: the art students draw and transfer it to the black roofing paper that is the base for the murals.

Different colored corn cobs areas are marked to differentiate them and then finally the process of decorating the murals begins!

Visitors can see the completed murals by early October.

Displays inside the Corn Palace. The Corn Palace is a tribute to American farmers.

Inside the Corn Palace

What is inside the Corn Palace? What do you do at the Corn Palace?

Several visitors often stop at the Corn Palace for a quick photo op then head back to I-90! Don’t be them!

Take the time to go inside the Corn Palace, SD.

There you will find a small corn museum just waiting to be explored.

You can see a variety of corn cob murals including Mount Rushmore depicted in produce, admire Corn Palace photos of previous themes, learn about the history of the corn belt, and understand the process of creating the corn murals. 

It is amazing to see the elaborate corn cobs designs from years past!

The Corn Palace gift shop, located opposite the Corn Palace, has quirky souvenirs including t-shirts, coffee mugs, magnets, etc. while the snack shop has corn dogs, buttered corn on the cob, and of course fresh popcorn!

Photographs of previous Corn Palaces adorn the walls. The display changes every year and is updated during summer.

Annual Corn Festival

The Corn Palace has remained true to its agricultural roots.

It hosts the annual Corn Palace Harvest Festival at the end of August to celebrate the generous produce.

The festival is one of the best times to visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of events including local bands performances, other live music events, food vendors, carnivals rides for kids, produce competitions, etc.

Other things to do in Mitchell

Fun fact: Did you know that Mitchell tried to replace Pierre as the state capital in 1905?!

While it was unsuccessful, Mitchell grew on to become one of the popular destinations in the state due to the Corn Palace.

Besides the Corn Palace, Mitchell has many other attractions including the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, Dakota Discovery Museum, and Lake Mitchell.

To know about the other great things to do in Mitchell, read our post now.

Mitchell also has plenty of lodging options including hotels, motels, and AirBnBs as well as great restaurants.

The charming town is a great place to spend the night on your road trip to Mt. Rushmore.

Be sure to stop by the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce to get a map of the area and inquire about the attractions.

Also See Mitchell Corn Palace Roadside Attraction

Best Places to Visit in South Dakota

South Dakota is full of amazing attractions and is one of our favorite states to visit in America.

Here are some of the popular attractions located near Mitchell which you can add to your itinerary.

Sioux Falls

The city of Sioux Falls is named after the waterfalls created by the Big Sioux River.

Visitors can see these cascading beauties at the Falls Park.

The park has historic structures, sculptures, picnic tables, hiking and biking trails, and platforms to view the waterfalls.

Sioux Falls is also home to many other attractions including museums, outdoor areas, artwork, restaurants, and shopping.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

South Dakota is popularly known as the Mount Rushmore State and naturally, the sculpture carved in the Black Hills are a premier tourist attraction.

Popular things to do near Mount Rushmore include hiking the Presidential Trail, visiting the Sculptor’s Studio, as well as attending the evening sculpture lighting ceremony.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide to Visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is one of South Dakota’s top tourist attraction and visited by over a million people every year.

The dramatic eroded landscape of the Badlands is a visual treat. 

Besides the views, Badlands National Park is also popular for its scenic drives, hiking trails, and wildlife.

The nearby Wall Drug store in Wall, SD is also worth a visit for its quirky attractions and activities.

Also Read: Best hiking trails in Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a geological wonder perfect for exploration

Looking for more? Read our post South Dakota’s 16 Most Underrated Tourist Attractions to know about hidden gems such as Needles Highway, Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, Historic Deadwood, and also Spearfish Canyon.