Emily Braun of the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau (a.k.a. Visit Brookings) is part of the team who are “tourism and event enthusiasts.” They’re also pretty big fans of Brookings, and show the community through images on Instagram or day-to-day updates on their Facebook (along with plenty of info and GIFs on their Twitter).
605 chatted with the marketing and communications coordinator about where she can be found in town, and what she’s looking forward to doing as life (slowly) returns to normal.
Content When Caffeinated
Coffee is a major part of my life, and luckily Brookings is equipped with eight different locations to fuel up. One of my favorite drinks is a Café Miel with an extra shot of espresso from Cottonwood Coffee. It’s made with natural flavors of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
5 Random Facts
+ In our freshman year of college, my best friend and roommate snuck a kitten into our dorm. Apparently playing Friends on repeat wasn’t enough to cover his meows. It lasted a week.
+ I firmly believe pineapple is a pizza topping, and a good one at that. #TeamPineapple
+ If Pretty Woman or Overboard (the original from 1987) is on television, I will sit and watch the entire thing, commercials and all.
+ I’ve had the same five best friends since middle school, which I think is the definition of ride or die.
Where to Brunch?
On the weekends, my husband and I are huge fans of breakfast and brunch (whatever you want to call it, as long as it means I get to stuff my face with hashbrowns, pancakes, bacon, and eggs), so we usually roll out of bed and settle in at Cook’s Kitchen downtown. What I love about Cook’s is the absolutely judgment- free atmosphere they offer. Pajamas, no makeup, crazy hair. Have a seat, here’s some coffee.
Raising a Glass
Hands-down my favorite place for a drink is Jim’s Tap. For me, it’s a family thing. Not to get all sappy, but when my father passed away, the owners at Jim’s offered us a happy hour after the burial with complimentary gin and tonics with a splash of orange juice and Grain Belts with a pickle. They were my dad’s favorite drinks. It was the perfect ending to an awful day.
“One of my favorite things about Jim’s Tap is their International Nights on Thursdays. They feature a different country’s popular drinks or local brews. It’s like a grown-up drinking game with prizes.”
After a workday of sitting and staring at my computer (I love my job, by the way), I need to get out into nature. Living so close to Larson Hill is a big benefit. The walking trail is a great place to stretch my legs and clear my head. For fun, the “hubs” and I will play a round or two of disc golf (or is it Frisbee golf? Whatever it is we don’t keep score) and we will load up a mini cooler of Grain Belts.
Popping at the Theatre
When it’s time to escape the summer heat, if there’s a raging blizzard outside, or if I have a craving for the best popcorn in South Dakota, you’ll find me at the Brookings Cinema 8 movie theatre. I love everything about going to the movies. The staff are incredibly kind. The recent renovations have greatly enhanced the experience. And did I mention the popcorn? It’s literally the best. It’s pretty common for residents to just buy a bag to-go.
Music at Sundown
I’m a sucker for free, outdoor, live music. Downtown at Sundown is one of my favorite local things to do. Cold beer, good food, and sunshine is pure happiness. Whether the band is great or not, I’m still there to catch up with friends and support our local businesses.
Antiquing is the “Happy Place”
If I’m bored or need a little inspiration, I’ll head over to Threads of Memories. It’s one of three antique shops in downtown Brookings. Don’t come with me if you don’t intend on being there for multiple hours. I will look at every booth, every nook and cranny. Antiques are my “happy place.” I love the stories, I love the charm, and I love incorporating little treasures into my home.
Mark it On the Calendar
One weekend I always keep free on my calendar is the second weekend in July, otherwise known as the Brookings Summer Arts Festival. I have been known to turn down other events because of the festival. It’s been a tradition among my friends and family for as long as I can remember. We will get in line for Fresh Donuts (a.k.a. “Larson Donuts”) before the festival opens, each our own bag. It’s where we start both days of the festival. In 2021 it will be the 50th anniversary of the festival—I can’t wait!
The Go-To (Sweet) Spot
When I want to surprise a loved one or elevate the Brookings experience for visitors, I pick up some local fudge at Choco Latte Coffee & Handmade Candy. They have 14 flavors of fudge to choose from, so really you can’t go wrong. When [ESPN’s] College GameDay came to Brookings, the CVB filled welcome bags for our special guests with chocolate candies from Choco Latte.
A Gift Shop Aficionado
As a proud Jackrabbit, I often find myself searching for the perfect Brookings-inspired gift at the South Dakota Art Museum Gift Shop and the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum Gift Shop. They supply such unique items you really can’t find anywhere else in Brookings. They both are my go-to shops for Christmas gifts.