A Summer in Sun Valley, Idaho
In the midst of Idaho farmland, a completely different landscape forms consisting of mountain ranges, pine forests, natural waterways and wildlife. Here is where you can find Sun Valley, a small ski resort town located about three hours away from Boise, Idaho's capital. I called this place home for 18 years of my life and it will always have a special place in my heart. Read along as I give you a local's insight for daily activities and top-notch dining, all of which can prepare you for your summer trip to Sun Valley!
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Where to stay in Sun Valley, Idaho
Limelight Hotel Ketchum
Chic alpine hotel with refined rooms and luxury amenities in downtown Ketchum.
Sun Valley Resort
Part of the Sun Valley Mountain Resort, this elevated alpine stay boasts 17 restaurants and bars and three outdoor pools in picturesque Idaho.
Knob Hill Inn Sun Valley
Warm luxury hotel in Sun Valley with refined rooms and an indoor pool.
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Things to do in Sun Valley, Idaho
Shopping in downtown Ketchum
Take a short visit to Ketchum and spend some leisure time shopping! From athletic wear to finery, the town has a handful of shops that you can choose from.
Gondola ride up Bald Mountain
During the months of June to September, tourists and locals can take a scenic ride up Bald Mountain in a gondola. From there you can bike or hike down if you don't want to ride back in the gondola. Tip: if you're looking for the best view of the valley, hop off the gondola and take the chair lift all the way to the top!
Every Tuesday during the summer season, the Forest Service Park hosts an evening filled with live music, drinks and food trucks. This is definitely one of the best activities in Sun Valley and is a must-do!
Days of the Old West Rodeo
If you happen to be in town over the 4th of July, be sure to grab tickets for the local rodeo! South of Sun Valley, the town of Hailey hosts this annual tradition for three nights. Besides, for the typical cowgirls and cowboys, inexperienced locals often sign up for mutton bustin' and bull riding, which makes for an even greater show.
Sun Valley Music Festival
For over 35 years, the Sun Valley Pavilion has hosted one of the best classical music festivals in the country. The event lasts from July to August and is a one-of-a-kind experience. Bring some blankets and appetizers and lay out for a warm, sunny evening of classical music!
The wilderness around Sun Valley has countless of beautiful hikes. Whether you're interested in an easy or difficult hike, you'll be sure to find one. I recently submitted a post titled "5 Hikes around Sun Valley, Idaho" on my Instagram account @traveling.with.maddy if you'd like to read more! I posted the top five hikes from my local's perspective and included pictures, rank of difficulty and round-trip length.
The Hemingway Memorial
Tucked right off of Sun Valley Road and on a short trail rests Ernest Hemingway's memorial. Hemingway had a deep love for Sun Valley and spent much of his time writing here, he actually passed away at his home nearby in Ketchum. The memorial is simple and modest, yet meaningful nonetheless.
Day trip to Redfish Lake
Located about an hour north of Sun Valley, Redfish Lake sits in-between the Sawtooth Mountains. Here you can spend your day fishing, swimming, boating or simply tanning on the beaches. It's also the perfect spot for camping, if that's something you're interested in! Just make sure to arrive early, as spots fill up quick.
Places to eat & drink in Sun Valley, Idaho
The Konditorei: pastries, crepes and typical brunch food.
Bigwood Bread: Breakfast sandwiches, omelets and bowls, all of their bread is made in-house.
The Kneadery: Typical breakfast food, definitely the most popular spot in town so arrive early!
KB's: Burritos and other Mexican-infused meals.
Johnny G's Sub Shack: Sandwiches.
The Roundhouse: Sitting at the top of Bald Mountain you can get typical lunch food with a spectacular view!
Grumpy's: Hamburgers and other grilled food. Best drinks in town.
Smoky Mountain: Italian food.
Pioneer Saloon: Meat entrees, western-themed and the most popular dinner spot in town.
The Ram: Historic dishes like pork tenderloin and goulash, the original restaurant of Sun Valley and has been open since 1937.
Grill at Knob Hill: New American food with a view.
Michel's Christiania: Traditional French cuisine.
Saffron: Indian cuisine.
Sushi On Second: Sushi and other Japanese fare.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Weekend in Portland, Oregon.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to North America.