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Idaho Stops on the Way

On the Fly in Idaho Falls

Stroll, sip, dance and watch penguins strut in this charming town on the Snake River.

Basecamp in Idaho Falls, two hours from Yellowstone and Grand Teton, with direct flights from across the country. Here’s the top six reasons to visit.

1. Get to Yellowstone Faster

Fly into Idaho Falls Regional Airport on one of 16 direct routes from big cities across the U.S. like Dallas and Portland for easy access to the parks. Less than two hours from both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, the airport is served by major airlines including United and American.

Tip: The city is a great basecamp for your adventures with tons of lodging options.

2. See a Penguin

Head to the Idaho Falls Zoo, dubbed “the best little zoo in the West.” Small enough to see it all in a couple hours, this zoo has played a large role through its breeding program in helping ensure the survival of endangered species like red pandas and African penguins.

Tip: The zoo is closed in the winter.

3. Stroll the Greenbelt

Kayakers alongside Idaho Falls' Greenbelt
Kayakers alongside Idaho Falls’ Greenbelt (Photo: by Brian Brown courtesy of Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce)

Enjoy a walk along the Snake River where human-made waterfalls literally light up the town each night. They’re the source for the hydroelectric plant. Paved on both sides for five miles going through downtown, the Greenbelt is dotted with creative benches including one that looks like a grizzly bear. In addition to the falls, there’s often live music, a farmers market on Saturdays and a number of great restaurants. Snow Eagle Brewery & Grill serves American pub fare, Japanese dishes and sushi.

Tip: Don’t miss the potato pancakes at Smitty’s Pancake & Steakhouse, a local legend served with applesauce, bacon or sour cream.

4. Sip at a Speakeasy

Head underground to XVIII, a speakeasy with amazing cocktails. Utilizing local ingredients, the bar has an upscale, yet rustic feel. You’ll find an equally appealing zero-proof menu with ingredients like elderflower tonic and and bitters shining without the buzz.

Tip: XVIII doesn’t serve food, but head across the street to the Snake Bite Restaurant, owned by the same group, for gourmet burgers and other dishes with a Western flair.

5. Enjoy Live Music

The new Mountain America Center, which opened in 2022, is a great spot to take in big name artists, alongside other fun events like monster truck shows and motorcycle ice racing. For a more intimate setting, head to The Celt Pub which serves Irish fare and hosts live music many nights and weekends.

Tip: The Mountain America Center is also home to Idaho Falls’ semi-pro hockey team, the Spud Kings.

6. Stay Downtown

For a unique stay, book a room at Destinations Inn. Located right in the heart of downtown, this 14-room hotel has themed accommodations that will take you around the world. From Paris to Alaska to Thailand, the rooms each have special details that will make you feel like you’ve been transported. Tour all the rooms on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1 p.m.

Tip: Eat at Smokin Fins, just down the street, which is another trip around the world with sushi, paella and Nashville hot chicken sandwiches all sharing a menu.

For more information:
Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce &
Snake River Territory Convention and Visitors Bureau
365 River Parkway, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402