Bike lovers, get ready: the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is almost here.
Sturgis is the largest motorcycle rally in the U.S. each year. This huge, ten-day rally attracts hundreds of thousands of like-minded individuals and features some of the best scenic rides in the world, massive concerts, bike shows all down Main Street, hundreds of vendors, and much, much, more.
With so many things to do and attractions to see at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, you’ll want to plan out your visit strategically. We’ve created this ultimate guide to the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to help you make the most of this exhilarating event.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Then check out our chapter pages for more important details about rally week.
Introduction to Sturgis
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an annual motorcycle-themed event in Sturgis, South Dakota. This event always begins on the first Friday in August and spans ten full days. In 2022, the rally will begin Friday, August 5th, and end Sunday, August 14th.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place in and around downtown Sturgis. One of the primary attractions of this event is the scenic nature around the Sturgis area. You can ride your bike to famous attractions like the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, and other beautiful regions during the event.
Over 700,000 motorcycle enthusiasts attend the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally each year, and the average age range of attendees is between 50 and 60. You’ll find numerous activities and events taking place throughout the ten-day rally, such as:
- Bike shows
- Rally races
- Group rides
- Contests and competitions
Much of the action takes place at the Buffalo Chip Campgrounds. You can camp out at this scenic location and attend concerts from major headliners like Snoop Dogg and Lynyrd Skynyrd. This section of the rally is known as the “Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling” for a reason.
And that’s just the beginning. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally could be an experience you’ll never forget.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began in 1938, when Clarence “Pappy” Hoel and his motorcycle club, the Jackpine Gypsies, hosted a small Sturgis race as one of their club activities. This inaugural motorcycle race included just nine participants competing for a $500 cash prize. They rode in a single half-mile race for a small local audience.
Over the next few years, the event expanded exponentially, drawing in 800 attendees in 1939 and 5,000 in 1940. The rally began featuring exhilarating races and exciting stunts, attracting viewers from near and far.
By 1940, the rally had expanded into a weekend-long event. Nine years later, city officials began blocking off Main Street for its two-hour award ceremony.
The Sturgis Motorcycle rally has occurred every year since its inauguration except in 1942 and 1943, when the American Motorcycle Association canceled all events due to World War II. However, following the War, the rally continued to see record-breaking attendance each year, eventually stretching into a five-day-long event in 1965.
Motorcycling as a hobby gained momentum in the 1970s, leading the Sturgis Rally to grow even faster. In 1975, the rally expanded into a week-long event complete with vendors, fire in the streets, competitions, and more.
The rally saw its highest attendance on its 75th anniversary in 2015. That year, more than 747,000 motorcycle lovers flocked to Sturgis, South Dakota, to celebrate their passion for the ride. In 2017, the event expanded into a ten-day festival, and attendance continues to grow. Learn the full history of Sturgis here.
What To Expect
Every Sturgis Rally includes many of the same events, festivities, and attractions. However, as the festival continues to grow from year to year, attendees can expect a few new activities with each rally as well. Additionally, weather patterns and nationwide events can sometimes alter the rally slightly.
If you’re planning to attend the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, here are a few things you can expect:
While the bike rally saw slightly lower attendance in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can expect the rally to be packed with at least 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts this year.
Major Concert Headliners
The 2022 Sturgis Rally will host some of the biggest headliners in recent years. You can experience concerts from Snoop Dogg, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buckcherry, Bush, and more during this ten-day event.
Thousands of regular rally attendees chose not to visit the event in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. However, many of these regulars will be returning in 2022, leading to even bigger parties and more exciting rallying than in recent years. You can expect attendees to be louder and more enthusiastic throughout the ten-day rally.
Sturgis, South Dakota, can see pretty dramatic shifts in weather during the summer months. While you can expect the weather to be reasonably warm throughout the rally, you should also plan for sudden rainstorms and low nightly temperatures in the 40s and 50s.
Ready to take a closer look at what to expect during Sturgis?
Planning and Preparation
Planning ahead is an essential step in having the best experience at Sturgis. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trip:
- Consider when to arrive and leave: Many rally attendees stay for the entire ten days of the event, while others arrive and depart on the same day. Be sure to consider how long you want to stay at the rally before making any other preparations.
- Pack accordingly: Be sure to pack plenty of clothing, rain gear, emergency supplies, and other necessities you may need throughout rally week.
- Check the weather: While Sturgis is typically warm at the beginning of August, you may experience cooler temperatures overnight and a few occasional rainstorms. Checking the weather before you leave can help you pack the appropriate clothing for the weather.
- Consider parking: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally includes ample parking for the hundreds of thousands of attendees, but you may want to figure out where to park before arriving. Motorcycles can park on Main Street or several of the side streets downtown. Additionally, the off-site event locations have their own parking that sometimes comes with a fee.
- Book your lodging: Hotels and campgrounds around Sturgis fill up fast during rally week. We recommend booking your lodging as far in advance as possible.
Check out our complete Sturgis planning and preparation strategy.
Where To Stay
If you’re planning to attend several days of the Sturgis Rally, you’ll need a place to stay. Here are a few of the top lodging options in and around Sturgis:
A few of the best hotel options include:
- The Hotel Sturgis
- Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham Sturgis
- Sturgis Lodge and Suites
- Historic Franklin
- Alpine Inn
A few popular campgrounds near Sturgis include:
- Buffalo Chip
- Rush No More
- Days End
- Hog Heaven
- Sturgis View
Other Lodging Options
You can also consider a more unique lodging option, such as:
- Renting a room from a Sturgis resident
- Renting an entire house through Airbnb or VRBO
- Staying in a cabin on a campground
- Renting a tiny house
There are a lot of options for where to stay at the Sturgis rally.
Sturgis Events for 2022
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally features numerous fun events and activities to fill your time throughout the week. Here are just a few of the most exciting events to look forward to at this year’s rally:
- Concerts from major headliners: Snoop Dogg, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Buck Cherry are just a few of the big names taking the stage at Buffalo Chip this year.
- Legendary Sturgis 5K: Grab your running shoes — this 5K will take you through the beautiful Sturgis City Park and end with a complimentary breakfast from the City of Sturgis.
- Buffalo Chip daily contests: Let your competitive side shine with fun daily tournaments ranging from the Best Beard Contest to the Homemade Bikini Contest.
- School’s Out Chopper Show: This chopper show celebrates Buffalo Chip’s history, as the first campers to ever roll up to the campground came on choppers.
- Hardcore Cycles Performance Show & Skinny Tire Bagger Build-Off: Watch some of the best bikers in the industry bring power to the road, then compete in a custom build-off for serious cash prizes.
- Legends Ride: Join celebrities and fellow bikers to enjoy a beautiful ride through the scenic Black Hills and raise money for local charities.
- Biker Bell’s Women’s Day: Calling all women! The Tuesday of the rally will feature special events and activities just for you. You can participate in an all-women group ride, hear from panelists and special presenters, and check out a women-only bike show.
Get the full list of 2022 Sturgis Events here.
The Top Bars and Restaurants for Sturgis Attendees
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be impressed by the extensive selection of top-tier restaurants, bars, and other eateries at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here are a few of the best places to eat and drink during your rally trip:
- The Knuckle Saloon: The Knuckle Saloon is a historic pub in downtown Sturgis offering motorcycle fanfare for rally attendees. This saloon features themed decor, such as bikes hanging from the ceiling, and a unique gift shop filled with Sturgis Motorcycle Rally memorabilia.
- One-Eyed Jack’s Saloon: One Eyed Jack’s is a biker bar that opens at the beginning of the summer each year. The saloon offers special hours during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, remaining open from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. each day. We recommend stopping by in the morning on your way to the rally for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.
- The Iron Horse Saloon: This famous saloon is only open during rally week, giving attendees exclusive access to its delicious food, drinks, and live entertainment. The Iron Horse spans 25,000 square feet of building space across three stories. Located in downtown Sturgis, this saloon is in a convenient spot to keep the Sturgis Rally festivities rolling into the early hours of the morning.
- Loud American Roadhouse: The Loud American Roadhouse lives up to its name as a boisterous pub serving American-style food. This restaurant stays open year-round and is a hot spot for local musicians to perform.
- Sturgis Coffee Company: Late nights at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may require a large cup of coffee each morning. If you’re looking for the best coffee shop in town, check out the Sturgis Coffee Company. This company roasts its own beans and offers fun souvenirs in a themed gift shop.
We’ve compiled a list of all the best places to eat at the Sturgis rally in 2022.
Concerts at the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The concerts at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally are some of the best attractions of this annual motorcycle event. This year, major headliners will be taking the stage throughout rally week. Here are the artists Sturgis organizers have announced so far:
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Rob Zombie
- Snoop Dogg
- Travis Tritt
- Aaron Lewis and the Stateliners
- Pop Evil
- Puddle of Mudd
Check out the full up to date Sturgis concert schedule.
Featured Rides During the Sturgis Rally
Riding alongside other bikers is one of the many joys of owning a motorcycle. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began as a way for local bikers to ride together in community and friendly competition, and this theme has remained throughout the event’s 84-year history.
Today, the Sturgis Rally features numerous self-guided, small-group, large-group, and charity rides that you can participate in during rally week. These are a few of the featured rides during the rally:
South Dakota’s beautiful scenery creates the perfect backdrop for self-guided bike tours. Here are the best scenic routes you can consider traveling when you have downtime during the rally:
- Mount Rushmore Loop
- Devil’s Tower Loop
- Bear Butte & Badlands
- Needles & Crazy Horse Loop
- Spearfish Canyon Loop
You can learn more about these Sturgis ride routes here.
Guided & Group Rides
The Sturgis Rally also schedules several group rides and charity ride events into its itinerary each year. Here are the featured group rides taking place during Sturgis 2022 that you can register for in advance:
- Buffalo Chip’s Legends Ride
- Gypsy Tour
- Sturgis Mayor’s Ride
- Custer Mayor’s Ride
- Biker Belles Morning Ride
- Pappy Hoel Ride
- Peace Love Happiness Ride
- Western Frontier Motorcycle Ride
- Rusty Wallace Ride
- Veterans Ride Code Talkers Honoring Native American Veterans
- Veterans Appreciation Ride & Poker Run
- Veterans Charity Ride
- Care Hart Good Ride
- 2022 Medicine Wheel Ride
Non-Rally Local Attractions to Check Out
While you’re in the Sturgis area, you may want to take the time to visit some natural and man-made attractions you may not have the opportunity to see otherwise. We recommend adding the following local attractions to your list.
South Dakota is home to stunning natural landmarks, parks, forests, memorials, and other attractions that highlight the beauty of the West. Here are a few natural attractions to add to your schedule when you visit Sturgis:
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Bear Butte State Park
- Badlands National Park
- Custer State Park
- Black Hills National Forest
- Spearfish Canyon
Other Local Attraction
Alongside South Dakota’s breathtaking natural beauty, the Sturgis and Black Hills areas also feature man-made attractions that can provide some entertainment during rally week. Here are a few local attractions you can consider visiting when you have a few hours to spare during the motorcycle rally:
- Sturgis Motorcycle Museum
- Black Hills National Cemetery
- Belle Joli Winery Sparkling House
- Saab Heritage Car Museum USA
- Old Fort Meade Museum
The Sturgis rally takes place among some of the most beautiful and exciting spaced anywhere. We’d be foolish to miss out on the many Sturgis rally local attractions while we’re there.Back to Top