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Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in our July 2016 issue. This version was fact-checked and updated (where possible) with current information for the 2017 edition of 5280 Traveler.
Despite debuting as the country’s first destination ski resort 80 years ago, Sun Valley, Idaho, really shines in the summer. Nestled between five mountain ranges and adjacent to the trout-filled waters of the Big Wood River, the area (which includes neighboring Ketchum) offers plenty of opportunities for warm-weather adventures. And with United Airlines having restarted its seasonal, daily direct flight between Denver and Sun Valley in June 2016, it’s probably easier to travel to Sun Valley than it is to battle traffic on I-70. Here’s how to enjoy your own private Idaho.
STAY: Sun Valley Lodge
You’ll sleep where Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway have—except you’ll have slightly bigger accommodations. A 2015 renovation created 108 larger rooms (which start at $320 per night) and added a cafe next to the pool, a game room, and a bar in the bowling alley.
While you’re here: Pamper yourself with a White Cloud Massage (it involves the relaxing scents of balsam- fir-needle essential oils) followed by acupuncture at the Sun Valley Spa.
EAT: Town Square Tavern
This two-year-old contemporary eatery in downtown Ketchum showcases Mediterranean cuisine such as Tunis-spiced chicken—complete with cucumber yogurt and hummus—and a duck confit linguine.
While you’re here: Take a two-minute walk to Warfield Distillery & Brewery and order a Mayday Mule (made with house-distilled vodka, ginger beer, bitters, and lime) while gazing up at Bald Mountain from the rooftop deck.
LISTEN: Sun Valley Summer Symphony
This concert series (July 24 to August 17) hosts big-name guests—including the New York Philharmonic, Renée Fleming, and violinist Joshua Bell on multiple occasions—but doesn’t charge for any of the 1,600 seats in the Sun Valley Pavilion or for spots on the adjacent lawn.
While you’re here: Find a spot to hear a full orchestra, four opera singers, and the American Festival Chorus perform Verdi’s Requiem on August 17.