Our family has been to Sun Valley a handful of times but never in the winter until now! It never gets old and is more beautiful than ever all covered in snow. I've written about visiting Sun Valley with kids before but wanted to share more recommendations for visiting during the cold, winter months.
Where to stay:
If you can find a place near the heart of Ketchum then you'll love the walkability and closeness to all the fun shops and restaurants. For all of our other visits we've stayed in various Airbnbs (usually with extra family members or with friends) but this time we stayed smack dab in the center of town at the Tamarack Lodge. We loved it! This recently renovated Lodge combines modern updates with the unique vibe of an "authentic mountain lodge." Our kids especially loved the heated indoor pool and year-round outdoor hot tub. We also had a blast sitting next to our very own fireplace and playing in the "glamping kit" they offer. Check here to learn more or book a stay!
Where to play:
Obviously one of the biggest draws to the area is the world famous Sun Valley Resort. Only my husband and oldest (age 7.5) know how to ski but that's clearly activity recommendation number one. Sun Valley has two main ski areas - Baldy and Dollar Mountains. Baldy is the "big-time" mountain with a TON of runs. Dollar Mountain is actually home to the world's very first chairlift and a great spot for beginners. Scattered throughout are four lodges that each offer food and drink, cozy fires, and great spots to enjoy a break or spend the whole day!
There's also tons to do in the "Sun Valley Village" area. You can stay in one of their historic lodges, luxurious cottages, private condos, or spacious townhomes or just head over to eat, shop or play like we did!
On this trip we enjoyed a round of bowling at the alley in the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge. It's such a fun little spot with lots of arcade type games, a small bar and of course, lanes for bowling! It's open from 3-9pm each day. Don't "spare" this fun activity during your next visit! ;)
Have you ever done a horse drawn sleigh ride? You can do one during most of the the winter on Fridays and Saturdays and kids 2 and under are free!
Another great option for families is to ice skate at the Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink. It's under construction right now but is set to re-open this summer. You read that right... it's open year round!
Looking to grab a souvenir? There's lots of great options for that both at the Resort and in Ketchum. We've been in and out of many of them but our favorites are The Toy Stores (there's one in the Sun Valley Village and one in Ketchum), Country Cousin (two levels of souvenir type items), Elephant's Perch (lots of cool outdoor gear and rentals), Huck and Paddle (realllly cool home goods) and the book store, Chapter One.
We spent a morning playing in the snow and attempting to sled a little on a hill called Penny Hill off Sun Valley and Saddle roads. We borrowed sleds from our hotel (Tamarack Lodge) but they're available for purchase (and maybe even rental?) around town. Here's a list of sledding options to check out from Visit Sun Valley.
If you encounter some rough weather or are looking for something indoors, Wood River Community YMCA does have an indoor swimming pool and climbing wall that you can use by purchasing a day pass.
Where to eat:
On this trip we walked from our hotel over to Grumpy's - the absolute definition of hole in the wall / dive bar for some burgers, corn dogs and beers. We loved the vibe and the floor to ceiling decor.
In the mood for something a little nicer? We tried Village Station in the Sun Valley Village and stuffed ourselves with delicious pasta, salad, drinks and desserts. They also serve up burgers, sandwiches, entrees and pizza so there's something for everyone - even your pickiest eaters.
We've tried a few breakfast joints and Bigwood Bread is hands down our favorite. Portions are ginormous and the menu is long and varied and everything is truly as delicious as it sounds. It's also a great spot for brunch or lunch (it closes at 2:30pm) or grabbing a baked good (or two or three) to go.
As a self proclaimed "coffee snob" I highly recommend getting your cup of Joe from Maude's. You might even leave with a cool vintage shirt! But are you a Starbucks only kind of coffee drinker? Well, you're in luck. There's one of the most "unique Starbucks in the world" in the same building as the Visitor Center in the center of town. Definitely worth a stop!
Check out my other Sun Valley post for more recommendations on great spots to eat!
Well, did I convince you to take a trip to Sun Valley with your kids? The drive from the Treasure Valley is smooth and easy and the hassle of packing all the things and wrangling kids is well worth the effort. If you go, let me know! And have a blast!
Looking for more? Visit Sun Valley has all kinds of great articles on their website. Here's a few recommendations: