Hill City ’s main shopping district spans just a few blocks, but that small space packs in just about everything a shopping vacationer would want to bring home. The atmosphere is festive. Music is broadcast from outside speakers, there is a boardwalk, and there is always someone walking around with ice cream.
Hill City looks and feels like summer. As with the lodging  and restaurant  locations in town, many of the small shops operate seasonally; hours outside of the peak summer months of June, July, and August can vary with the weather and traffic.
There are many fine galleries in Hill City. Jon Crane Gallery & Framing (256 Main St., 605/574-4440, www.joncranewatercolors.com , summer daily 9 a.m.–8 p.m., winter Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., closed Sun.) features namesake artist Jon Crane, who is well known for his nostalgic and finely detailed watercolor rural landscapes. Jon’s artwork is placed in galleries all over the country.
Sandy Swallow is an award-winning Lakota/Northern Cheyenne artist who is best known for her color-saturated block prints. Visit with her at the Sandy Swallow Gallery (280 Main St., 605/574-9505, www.sandyswallowgallery.com , June–Aug. daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m., May Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., closed Sun., Apr. and Oct.–Dec. Thurs.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Sun.–Wed., closed Jan.–Mar.).
Stepping into Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery (277 Main St., 605/574-4954, www.leatherframegallery.com , summer Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., winter Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., closed Sun.) can be a little unsettling. The work on the walls is bold and emotionally powerful. Two galleries share the space. The Warrior’s Work Gallery features powerful pieces by and about Native American peoples and culture. The Ben West Gallery specializes in contemporary art. Look for colorful pieces by Sarah Rogers. Between the two spaces, over 30 artists are represented. Owner Randy Berger also creates custom-designed leather frames that are works of art in themselves.
For those of you who wonder if the Runs with Wolves Gallery (253 Main St., 605/574-4700, summer Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., winter hours vary) is in any way a reference to the book of like title, it is. Owner Holly Kadis can be found behind the counter most days and is as direct, honest, and funny as they come. She stocks a good selection of local and regional books, in addition to a variety of creations by over 40 local artisans. Across the street, stop by the artist co-op run by the artist/members whose work is displayed there.
Artforms (280 Main St., 605/574-4894, mid-May–Sept. daily 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Apr.–mid-May and Oct.–Dec. daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Mar. Sat. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Jan.–Feb.) is in a quaint mall-like building that also includes an antiques gallery. Over 30 local and regional artists display their jewelry, painting, sculptures, and other pieces in the gallery.
The best way to find great shops in Hill City  is just to walk the downtown shopping district. There are many specialty gift shops up and down the boardwalk. Be sure to allow yourself a few hours to wander about.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a dancehall girl, you can make your dream come true at Buffalo Old Time Photo Co. (309 Main St., 605/574-3314, www.buffalophoto.net , Memorial Day–Labor Day daily from 9 a.m., closing hours vary, closed in off-season). A photograph of the whole family in cowboy duds and waving firearms might become a favorite souvenir.
For a great collection of science-related and educational items (including dinosaur items), visit the Everything Prehistoric Gift Shop (117 Main St., 605/574-3919, www.everythingprehistoric.com , summer Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., winter Mon.–Sat. 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m.). The gift shop serves as the entryway to the Museum at Black Hills Institute , so tickets for museum tours are sold here.
The Sturgis Rally  is one of the biggest events in South Dakota, drawing several hundred thousand bikers to the state each year. That was enough to encourage Harley-Davidson to open a shop in downtown Hill City. Find branded leathers and other cool items at Black Hills Harley-Davidson (261 Main St., 605/574-3636, www.blackhillshd.com , early May–late Sept. Wed.–Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., closed Mon.–Tues., closed in off-season).