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Introduction to Sturgis

By now riders and non-riders alike have heard of Sturgis. This massive bike rally draws in thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts each year for an impressive selection of activities, concerts, vendors, group rides, and more. If you’ve never heard of this annual event, you may be wondering what all the hype is about.

Here’s a quick introduction to the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — what it is, when it takes place, where you’ll find it, and more.

What Is the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a huge, ten-day event that celebrates all things motorcycles. This rally has been around since 1938 and has continually grown since its origins 84 years ago. Today, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attracts more than 700,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world each year.

When Is the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

The Sturgis Rally always starts on the first Friday in August. This year, the rally will begin on Friday, August 5th, and end on Sunday, August 14th.

Where Does the Rally Take Place?

The rally takes place in several locations in and around the Black Hills of South Dakota. Many of the main attractions occur in downtown Sturgis on Lazelle Street, Main Street, and the surrounding side streets.

However, one of the largest appeals of the Sturgis Rally is its scenic rides. During the rally, attendees can visit natural attractions like Buffalo Chip Campground, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Historic Deadwood, and the Badlands National Park. Many of the rally’s biggest festivities take place at Buffalo Chip.

Additionally, numerous organizations and businesses throughout Sturgis help organize this event and host activities. Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Full Throttle Saloon, Lamphere Ranch, Glencoe Campresort, and the City of Sturgis are just a few of the rally organizers.

When to Arrive at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

While the actual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally begins on August 5th this year, the Sturgis Pre-Rally Party starts on August 1st at Buffalo Chip.

Some attendees will arrive at the rally in the early hours of August 1st and stay until dusk on August 14th. Others will come to the event for a few days during the middle of the week. And some will simply ride through town on the way to another destination.

The day and time you should arrive depends on how long you plan to stay and what attractions you want to see during the rally.

Where to Stay at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

You have two primary options for accommodations near the Sturgis Rally: hotels and campgrounds.

Numerous hotels and campgrounds within a 30-mile radius of downtown Sturgis offer lodging for the event. If you plan to spend most of your time riding to the area’s scenic attractions, you can also consider booking accommodation near these areas.

However, we recommend booking your hotel or campground spot as soon as possible. Many attendees book hotels a year in advance to secure the best rates. If you wait too long, you may run out of options or need to pay higher prices.

What Makes Sturgis Unique?

Sturgis isn’t the only annual bike rally in the U.S., but it is vastly different from many large rallies throughout the country.

For starters, many attendees consider this rally a controlled, orderly event. You won’t have to worry about being swept away in crowds or getting separated from your group.

Each year, the Sturgis Police Department invites officers from the eight surrounding states to help patrol the rally. Even though hundreds of thousands of bikers attend this event, it doesn’t tend to get out of control..

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally also feels more spread out than other big biker rallies. While the vendor booths line Main Street in downtown Sturgis, there are also many off-site locations to hang out and participate in activities. You can easily get away from the action for a few hours if you’d like.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has an average attendee age between 50 and 60 years old. This event is perfect for seasoned bikers looking to meet like-minded enthusiasts in similar age groups to their own. However, new bikers are also welcome to attend and learn from the pros.

Where to Park at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, city officials block off Main Street to only allow motorcycle traffic. You can park your bike on Main Street for free throughout the event. However, watch out for tow-away zones — your motorcycle may be towed overnight in these areas.

You can also park your motorcycle for free on many of the side streets surrounding Main and Lazelle Street. Keeping your bike nearby is essential if you plan to ride to any surrounding attractions and scenic locations each day.

Things to Do At the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota features numerous events and activities to keep you entertained throughout the ten-day rally. In fact, there are far more activities than you can reasonably participate in within ten days. As a result, you’ll want to gain at least a broad idea of the activities you’d like to hit before showing up to the event.

Here are a few classic activities and things to do at the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Downtown Sturgis

Downtown Sturgis, South Dakota, is the heart of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Most bike week vendors set up booths in the downtown area, and many attendees park their bikes along Main Street.

While plenty of events and activities occur downtown throughout the bike week, you can also head to this area if you need a break from the commotion. Rally attendees love to walk down Main Street, check out the bikes, people-watch, and browse vendor booths. You’ll also find famous saloons and biker bars in the downtown area.

Main Street is also where you can purchase souvenirs to commemorate the event. You can find rally t-shirts, pins, patches, bandanas, and motorcycle gear from various vendors down this central street.

Pro Tip: if you’re planning to attend the last few days of the rally, we recommend waiting to purchase your souvenirs until the end of your visit. You can typically get a pretty significant discount on memorabilia in the last few days of the event.


Most of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally concerts take place at the Buffalo Chip Campground. In the past, the event has hosted major artists like Willie Nelson, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and Toby Keith. This year, you can expect to see the following artists at the Sturgis Rally:

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Buckcherry
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Rob Zombie
  • Bush
  • Lita Ford
  • And More!

Be sure to check out the concert schedule to plan your concert attendance throughout the week.

Rally Races

In 1938, motorcycle enthusiasts formed the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as an event to host motorcycle racing and stunts. The event organizers continue this tradition today with top-level rally races throughout the week.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally hosts two American Flat-Track races, a tourist trophy race at Buffalo Chip, and a half-mile race at Black Hills Speedway.

Do You Need to Register In Advance?

We recommend registering online for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Basic registration is free and includes a Sturgis patch, pin, and welcome packet that you can pick up at the event.

You’ll also need to purchase tickets for many of the major activities and attractions throughout the rally, such as concerts, rally races, and bike shows.

So how did this all get started anyway? Let’s take a ride back in time and discover the history of the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

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