5 Awesome Reasons to Make Meridian Your Wintry Basecamp

When the temps drop and the Boise Foothills become a winter wonderland, Meridian heats up with a slate of cool activities. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, this is your chance to sample some of Southwestern Idaho’s best snowsports while still enjoying creature comforts like craft beer, boutique shopping, and even a few rounds of golf. 

And the best part? Meridian is at the center of the action. With skiing and snowboarding less than an hour away, a huge selection of fantastic restaurants to power your search for powder, and a host of local venues to enjoy an aprés-ski nightcap, Meridian is the ideal wintry basecamp. Here’s how to make the most of it. 

No. 1: Snow sports are a stone’s throw away. Although Meridian doesn’t receive a lot of snow (and what does fall usually melts within a day or two), the city still offers easy access to a fantastic range of snowsport experiences. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, the Treasure Valley’s closest ski area, is less than an hour away. This large non-profit ski area can accommodate everyone from downhill experts to Nordic newbies on its 90 named runs, but it’s especially great for families with kids. If they’re not up for a ski day — or you aren’t — try the 800-foot-long tubing hill instead. Public transportation to Bogus Basin is available on weekends for $10 per person, in cash. 

If you’re looking for a slower-paced experience, try one of the four state Park N’ Ski locations north of Idaho City, just an hour from Meridian. You’ll discover both groomed and ungroomed Nordic and snowshoeing trails — and a three-day pass for non-residents is just $7.50. 

No. 2: Plenty of shopping for the holidays (and beyond). Searching for the perfect Christmas present or hoping to refresh your home or closet for the New Year? If you’re a shopper, Meridian is downright heavenly. You’ll find all of your favorite brands at The Village in Meridian, where there’s enough shopping, dining, activities, and movies to keep you entertained for an hour or an entire weekend. 

Meridian’s boutiques are ideal for shoppers who love the thrill of discovering new and unique treasures. Head to Sevoy Furniture Gallery, the largest supplier of mid-century modern furniture in the Northwest, for sleek furnishings and hard-to-find art, or 44 East Boutique for adorable housewares and casually chic clothing. 

Ash & Jack Supply Co. has a well-edited collection of jewelry, stationery, accessories, and home goods like scented candles and dried flowers. And the best part? Everything in the store is made by women or minority-owned makers. Sought + Found Boutique offers its own spin on boutique shopping with faith-friendly clothing, accessories, and home goods. 

Or, for a truly personal spin, head to The Happy Hour Homemaker, a DIY craft bar inside Wood & Root Bar. Sip craft cocktails or your favorite full-bodied red while making your own sign to display in your home or learning how to create a stunning terrarium filled with plants. 

No. 3: Indulge your taste buds. Meridian’s locally-owned restaurants feature everything from upscale wine tasting experiences to sushi made with fresh fish flown in daily — and after a day on the slopes or hitting the town, you’ll be ready to sample it all! 

Jaker’s, a longtime steakhouse, hits the spot with massive burgers, perfectly cooked ribeyes, and always-popular prime rib. (Don’t worry, vegetarians and pescatarians will find a list of menu items to enjoy, too.) 

The sushi at Lucky Fins is made with fresh-off-the-boat fish that is flown in every day. But it’s what the chefs at Lucky Fins do with their daily catch that has made this restaurant a Treasure Valley seafood staple. Try the lobster tater tots or their fish and chips, which come in three different varieties (salmon, cod, or halibut). 

Gramercy Park Pub & Grill hangs its hat on comfort food, craft beer, and whiskey — and for good reason. Try the El Capitan sandwich, a take on classic Buffalo-style hot wings, or pillowy Gramercy Bites of puffy pizza dough coated with garlic parmesan and served with a side of marinara or ranch. Don’t forget to order one of the 12 rotating beers on tap or a glass of one of Gramercy’s well-curated whiskey picks. 

There’s a reason Sa-Wad-Dee has been such a mainstay in Meridian: Everything on this Thai restaurant’s menu is freshly prepared and bursting with classic flavors such as citrusy kaffir, savory curry, and sweet coconut milk. Leave room for the F.B.I., a fried banana wrapped in wonton skin and served with Sa-Wad-Dee’s homemade coconut ice cream. 

Or, if you’re looking for a great glass of wine, check out Bodovino. Their 56 Art Wine Emotion machines dispense tastes or pours of some of the world’s most-loved wines, as well as some of the most rare and expensive. Once you’ve made your selection, sit down to a meal featuring Italian classics such as calamari, scampi, ribeye, and flatbreads. 

No. 4: Nightlife that’s just the right speed. Meridian’s nightlife selection is heavy on craft beer, craft cocktails, and enough snacks to keep the party vibe flowing. Classic cocktail enthusiasts flock to The Roosevelt in Downtown, which specializes in smooth whiskey and updated takes on classic drinks. You won’t want to miss the rare whiskeys list — you might find your unicorn. 

If beer is more your speed, Idaho is the perfect place to discover your new favorite brew. The Growler Guys lets you explore glass by glass, then buy a growler to fill and share with your buddies back home. Or try Heritage Hop Haus, which offers a fantastic selection of Idaho beer or a cocktail experience in its lounge. 

830 Common has earned a rep for both its inventive dishes (hello, truffled cheesy tots) and drinks like the Sweater Weather, made with bourbon, lemon, and persimmon. Or, if beer and karaoke is more your vibe, check out the Construction Zone Bar and Grill. You’ll find solid drinks and enough fun activities to create the perfect ending to your wintry day. 

No. 5: Golf that lasts all the way through sweater weather. Thanks to 210+ sunny days per year and plenty of local enthusiasts, Southwestern Idaho is a regional golf destination — minus the sky-high greens fees and crowds. 

Stock up on gifts for your loved ones (or yourself!) at one of the newest PGA Tour Superstores in the country. Meridian’s PGA store opened in 2023 and features everything you need to hit the links, from crisp capris and comfy cleats to top-of-the-line drivers and irons. Don’t forget to make a reservation for an in-store lesson or fitting to help you make the most of your new purchase. 

If snow or rain prevents you from testing your skills at the public Lakeview Golf Club — or you just want even more chances to test your skills — head to Topgolf. Their climate-controlled hitting bays are great for solo exhibitions or full-on parties, but be sure to book before you arrive: Since Meridian’s Topgolf opened in late 2022, it has proven to be one of the most popular attractions in the region. 

Ready to try a new adventure this winter? For even more ideas on how to spend your time in Meridian, including even more restaurants and a truly massive list of things to do, check out our trip itineraries.