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Sioux Falls is the state’s largest city and most important commercial and cultural center. This fairly typical Midwestern city has a strong and diverse economy based not only on local activities like agriculture but also a significant presence in the service economy, especially banking and credit processing. Because of low taxes, a good labor force, and business-friendly state laws, Wells Fargo, Citibank, HSBC, and others have large processing operations here. This results in future job growth projections that are strong for the region.
Sioux Falls is also a healthcare hub for a large region of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The downtown area is clean but nondescript, as are most of the outlying suburbs. Aside from winter weather, the quality of life is high, with low crime and an assortment of modest cultural amenities. For those seeking more, other cities are a long way away (Minneapolis–St. Paul is 270 miles east).
Sioux Falls is located in the Big Sioux River Valley in southeast South Dakota. The surrounding terrain is gently rolling grassland with some wooded areas. The climate is Great Plains continental with frequent weather changes. In fall and winter, cold air masses can move in rapidly, bringing gusty winds and temperature drops of 20 to 30 degrees in 1 day. There are one or two heavy snowfalls each winter. Severe cold spells usually last only a few days, but long stretches of below-freezing weather can occur. Summers are warm but not excessively hot; temperatures above 100 occur only 1 in 3 years. Summer nights are pleasant. Rainfall is heaviest in spring and summer, and rain and melting snow can cause some flooding in the lower areas. Strong winds occur in all seasons. First freeze is early October, last is mid-May.