Published: December, 2017
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Sun Valley, Idaho (Beth Scheer)

Your beer will come in a “schooner”.. just go with it
— Beth Scheer
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, Mountains
  • Activity level: high
  • Ideal length of trip: WINTER 7-10 DAYS. SUMMER - AS LONG AS YOU CAN!

to & from

Direct flights in peak times from LA, SF, and Seattle in Winter (Alaska and United). You can fly to Boise and drive 2.5 hours. Fly through Salt Lake on Delta as another other option. Driving from SF can take 11-13 hours depending on weather.

Where to Stay

  • Sun Valley Lodge - newly remodeled. Great spa, bowling alley, ice skating rink. The Duchin Room bar is a must. Note the SV Lodge is in the actual resort town of SV (not Ketchum where the town/main ski mountain is). They have free shuttles to town and the mountain. Dollar Ski mountain (kids mountain) is located in SV. Great place to stay for your first visit to SV.
  • The Limelight - brand new. Right on main street. Close to River Run entrance to the mountain. Great lobby/bar.
  • The Knob Hill Inn - located in Ketchum. Old world chalet charm. Wonderful restaurant.
  • House/condo rentals: Highly recommend renting in town if you are going to be in SV for longer than a week with kids. Airbnb and VRBO are good places to look.

Where to Eat and Drink

  • The Pioneer - A Ketchum Classic. No reservations. Bar opens at 4:30pm. You will wait over an hour if you don't get there early. Great steaks and fish. Make sure to order the "special" margarita (see below).
  • Michel's Christiana - Sit on the patio in the summer. Cozy in winter. Great French onion soup. Good place to sit at bar and eat at all. Small.
  • Bigwood Bakery - amazing bread, baked goods, sandwiches and salads. They cater.
  • Estas - Great for lunch and they cater.
  • Enoteca - Delicious Italian. Make reservations. You can eat at bar.
  • Vintage - Sit on patio in summer.
  • Rickshaw - Southeast Asian inspired food.
  • Cristina's - If you don't have time to come here for sit down meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner), stop by and get something to go. Amazing baked goods, cheeses, and Tuscan fare. Cristina caters and gets very busy during high season.
  • Wise Guys - Pizza. Eat in or delivery.
  • Coffee -- Try Java for coffee and a breakfast burrito. People love the "Bowl of Soul."
  • Wrap city - good place to pick up lunch before a hike.
  • The Duchin Room - located in the SV lodge. Very nice place to grab a drink and apps. Make sure to walk down the hallway and look at all the old photographs.
  • Grumpys - a must do in Ketchum. Go for lunch or dinner. Real local joint. Wear your ski boots if necessary. Your beer will come in a "schooner".. just go with it. Great burgers.
  • Whiskey Jacques - great live music and can bring kids in afternoon to play air hockey.
  • Lefty's - great in summer for sitting on deck. Early dinners in winter.
  • Apples Bar & Grill - good for lunch or Apres (located at base of Warm Springs)

What to Do

  • Winter AND Summer are great times to visit.
  • Skiing - River Run and Warm Springs are the 2 ways to enter the mountain. Dollar Mountain is the mountain for beginners and people learning to ski. The ski school is amazing and kids and adults get the best instruction.
  • Fishing - Hire a guide from Lost River Outfitters. They have clinics for kids which are great.
  • Hiking - My favorites are: Proctor Mountain, Chocolate Gulch, Adams Gulch.
  • Hiking up Baldy (the main ski mountain) can be fun and you can take the chairlift down.
  • Ice Skating - call SV company 415.622-4111 to make lessons or just go for it.
  • In the summer, a must see is the Sun Valley Ice show.
  • Horseback Riding
  • Sleigh Ride (Winter) - A must do with kids. A 45 minute sleigh ride (each way) to a cabin where you have dinner. Fun to do with other families. They give you blankets and adult drinks on the way back so you don't freeze. Highly recommend. In the summer they do hay rides.
  • Biking - rent bikes from Sturtevants in town or The Elephants Perch.
  • Rafting (Summer) - Try the Middle Fork River Company. Do a day trip or a longer trip.
  • Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch - owned by a San Francisco family who spends a lot of time in Idaho, the Rocky Mountain Ranch is located in Stanley, Idaho (about an hour from Ketchum) and is where a lot of the rafting trips take off from. This would be a great (dude ranch) to spend a night or 2 at before going on a rafting trip.
  • Rodeo - in the summer you should go to the Hailey Rodeo (10 minutes south of town) which happens over the 4th of July every year.
  • Sisters - in town.
  • Designer Consigner - high end consignment store
  • Panache - in Sun Valley village
  • Elle Rose - on Sun Valley Road
  • Brass Ranch - base of River Run and Sun Valley Village
  • Theodore Mann

inside scoop

  • Altitude is at 5,945 feet and may take you a few days to adjust. Drink LOTS of water.
  • Order the "bartender's margarita" at the Pioneer.
  • Take a yoga class from Beth Stuart at Gather Yoga Studio.
  • Get your groceries at The Village Market vs. Atkinsons. Easier parking and less of a scene.
  • The Starbucks in town is not like any Starbucks you've ever been to. They serve wine and paleo baked goods.
  • Bring the kids to the "town square" near the Starbucks on a summer night. Get ice cream at Leroys and let the kids run around.
  • If you have little kids (6 and under) bring them to Atkinson Park to picnic and jump in the fountain.
  • The Ketchum YMCA offers day passes and an amazing pool with slides which kids love.

skip it

What to Pack


See Megan Havey’s Sun Valley Guide here.

See Corre Larkin’s Sun Valley Guide here.

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