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.

Autumn is Awesome in Meridian. Here’s Why.

Think the end of summer means the end of Southern Idaho adventures? Meridian is here to prove you wrong. Autumn is an amazing time to visit — the temps cool but the skies stay sunny, kid-friendly activities are a bit easier to access without summer crowds, and local farms fairly burst with fresh produce and attractions (not to mention pretty, Instagrammable backdrops).

And then there are the events. Meridian is the ideal basecamp for the always-popular Boise Open, which this year will feature concerts by some of the most enduring names in rock. But you don’t have to leave town for fun — last year’s first-ever Oktoberfest was such a hit that it’s back for another round in Downtown Meridian.

Use these ideas for inspiration, then start planning your autumn escape by visiting choosemeridian.us or visitidaho.org.

Oktoberfest Is Back!

Last year’s inaugural Oktoberfest event transformed Downtown Meridian into an extravaganza of games, music, lederhosen, traditional German fare, and — of course — plenty of beer. Over 9,000 people attended, and this year’s event should be even bigger.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. October 7 and runs through 10 p.m. in Downtown Meridian (Idaho Street, Second Street, and Broadway Avenue will be closed for the duration of the event so attendees and move about freely). Here’s what you can expect during this action-packed festival.

Live music. No Oktoberfest is complete without a soundtrack of traditional “oompah” music; this year’s music will be provided by the Boise Edelweiss Band, which has been playing authentic German tunes for more than 35 years. At mid-day, longtime favorites The Moody Jews will take over with their high-energy klezmer compositions. Stick around for an evening classic rock performance by Redstone, a band that consistently tops “Best of Treasure Valley” lists.

Fun activities: Cornhole enthusiasts, this is your chance to prove your dominance! This year’s tournament promises to be fun for all ages. Prefer to stick to the sidelines? You’ll want to check out the amateur boxing lineup. Last year’s boxing event was a huge draw, and this year is expected to bring even more out-of-nowhere left hooks, uppercuts, and thrilling KOs.

Traditional Bavarian contests: Five super fun contests will keep you on your toes and test your mettle! Don your favorite dirndl for the costume contest, prove your strength during the stein-holding event, or scarf a record amount of pastry at the strudel eating contest.

Or, if you’re up for the challenge, you can participate in one of two more obscure games. Gelande quaffing has been dubbed “the most athletic drinking game in the world,” and it’s a ton of sloshy fun: A stein of beer is launched across a table at high speed toward the contestant, who must catch it and drink it before it falls on the ground. Hammerschlagen is a traditional Bavarian game that involves quickly hammering nails into a tree stump. Does it sound hilarious? Yes. Is it a surefire good time? You bet.

Beer, beer, and more beer: This year, Heritage Hop Haus, Loose Screw Brewery, and 127 Saloon will keep the brews flowing in the biergarten.

This one-day-only event is sure to be popular, so get your tickets ASAP!

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin and Scare Yourself Silly

Thanks to Southern Idaho’s gorgeous four seasons, autumn is golden and mild and laden with ready-to-pick crops. And, if you know where to go, it can be a frighteningly good time, too.

Will people be able to purchase a ticket and/or a stein? If so, what do they get in return (unlimited refills, one refill and keep the glass, etc.)?

Where can they get tickets in advance, and for how much? Also, what is the price of admission at the door? Is there a discount for kids?

Lowe Family Farmstead

If you need a one-stop destination for fall fun, Lowe Family Farmstead is your best bet. This sprawling farm in nearby Kuna features a u-pick flower field (always popular with Instagrammers), a pumpkin patch with more than 55 varieties of jack-o-lantern worthy pumpkins and gourds, hayrides running throughout the day and night, a “beach” made out of corn, farmyard animals, and fun one-off events all autumn. Of course, no trip to Lowe’s would be complete without wandering through the famous 18-acre corn MAiZE. The MAiZE is divided into two sections; try the mini version with the kids or brave the big maze yourself.

Berry Ranch

The Berry Ranch is just a few miles away from Meridian in nearby Nampa, but you might feel as if you’ve gone back to a simpler time. This working farm opens to the public to share its bounty — and fall is one of the best times to visit! Depending on when you visit, you might pick your favorite late-summer items like corn or berries … or load up on plump orange pumpkins and ready-for-dinner squash. The Berry Ranch also has a selection of grass-fed lamb and beef, as well as chickens, for sale.

Haunted World

Haunted World bills itself as the largest and scariest haunted house in Idaho, and we dare you to find out for yourself! For more than 20 years, this attraction in nearby Caldwell has been frightening folks with its intense scenes of murder and mayhem. (Although there is no age limit for admission, you might want to consider your child’s tolerance for scary situations.) Check Haunted World’s website for this year’s opening dates; tickets go on sale at dusk.

Let the Kids Bounce Off the Walls (In a Good Way!)

Are your children buzzing with back-to-school energy? These interactive, immersive experiences are the perfect solution!

Roaring Springs and Wahooz

The Northwest’s largest water park has been buzzing this year thanks to a massive — and massively popular — new addition. And with temps in no apparent danger of cooling any time soon, there are still plenty of chances to check it out! The new Camp IdaH2O features seven kids’ slides and the Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket, Class 5 Canyon action river, and Critter Crossing adventure pool. And that’s not even counting more than 20 additional water attractions, ranging from mild to wild.

Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz Family Fun Zone right next door. Challenge the kids (or your partner!) to a game of mini golf, a laser tag session, bowling, or one of the dozens of arcade games inside. You can save $20 with a Triple the Fun ticket that gets you Roaring Springs full-day admission and a Wahooz Unlimited Fun Pass. Enjoy both parks in one day, or separately by Sept 17, 2023.

Children’s Museum of Idaho

Whether you’re traveling with a grab-everything toddler or a science-obsessed third-grader, you’ll find plenty to keep them occupied for an afternoon at the Children’s Museum of Idaho. This hands-on learning museum includes a pirate ship, toddler-friendly play spaces, and even a cave full of live creatures (safely behind glass, of course).

The museum’s classes and events, such as their “Let’s Get Messy” crafts and activities sessions or Monday Morning Legos, are the perfect bite-size activities for children. Be sure to check the museum’s website while you’re planning your trip — recent events have included a Space Day complete with actual astronauts!

Jump Time

Expect the kids to have so! much! energy! after their travels? Add Jump Time to your schedule. Not only can they bounce to their hearts’ content on a series of trampolines, they can don a virtual reality headset and explore action-packed worlds, test themselves on the Extreme Ninja Course, or work their way through the Lazer Maze. Be sure to bring grip socks — all kids need them to play at Jump Time.

Meridian Lanes

For more than 60 years, Meridian Lanes has been the go-to spot for family fun — it’s a classic old-school bowling alley featuring bumper lanes for kids and cold beverages (or boozy milkshakes) for their parents. Head there Monday-Thursday for $6 games, or reserve a lane Friday-Sunday nights for $30 per hour per lane. Be sure to check out the Bullseye Sports Bar & Kitchen, too, for their huge burgers.

Big Al’s

The entire family can spend all day (or all evening) at Big Al’s. Really! There’s just so much to do: Bowling, arcade games, a sports bar, great eats, and a massive beer and cocktail menu. And if you’re looking to save a little cash while your family is tearing through their own personal air hockey tournament, check out the daily deals page of Big Al’s website before you visit.

Ready to find the perfect place to stay for your autumn adventure? Check out our lodging list and make your reservation. Be sure to browse our trip itineraries, too — they are loaded with tons of additional action-packed ideas for your stay in Meridian.

Feast Your Way Through Meridian With This Roundup of Local Eateries

Kicked-up comfort food, delicacies from Argentina, out-of-this-world breakfasts, gourmet seasonal fare — when you’re in Meridian, just about any food you’re craving is minutes away. We’ve rounded up a sampling of some of the city’s most-loved restaurants and nightlife options, but there’s so much more to explore!

The real question is: How will you fit all this deliciousness into one trip? 

Lucky Fins

Yes, Idaho is several hours from the nearest ocean — but thanks to daily flown-in deliveries, you can enjoy sushi with fish that came out of the sea hours before. The dishes the Lucky Fins team whips up with those super-fresh ingredients have earned plenty of accolades, including an unbroken streak as the Treasure Valley’s top seafood restaurant in Boise’s Weekly’s annual “Best Of” awards. Have a bite of the lobster tater tots or the paella de Veracruz and you’ll discover why. 

Must-try dish: The decadent Lobster Mac and Cheese is the stuff of legend. 

Vintage ’61 Wine Bar and Kitchen

This cozy spot is a favorite of wine lovers and foodies alike, with a menu that features upscale takes on classics like prawns sauteed in Calabrian chiles, wine, and butter or a petite Angus tenderloin accompanied by Gorgonzola mashed potatoes. The wine selection includes carefully curated bottles from top growing regions around the world. 

Must-try dish: Splurge on the tasting menu that is offered every Wednesday (you’ll want to make a reservation). 

Louie’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant

This old-school Italian joint has been an Idaho mainstay for generations. Dig into comfort food like spaghetti with house-made bolognese, chicken parm, baked manicotti, or pizzas layered with olive oil and fresh garlic. You won’t walk away hungry. 

Must-try dish: The limoncello crab ravioli is stuffed with fresh crab, ricotta cheese, and dressed with a sauce made with the famous Italian lemon liqueur. 

Tango’s Empanadas

Empanadas — savory Argentinian hand pies — are the ultimate on-the-go meal. At Tango’s, a casual, family-friendly restaurant, they come stuffed with a huge variety of fillings: pulled pork, chicken, cheese, potatoes, poblano peppers … the list goes on and on. They are then deep-fried to golden perfection right before they’re served. Monica Bremmer, the chef and co-owner, hails from Argentina and introduced empanadas to the Treasure Valley back in 2006. Locals have been going crazy for them ever since. The Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” featured Tango’s in spring 2023. 

Must-try dish: Tango’s also has a number of dessert empanadas. The Cafemello is laden with sweet dulce de leche laced with coffee. 

Jaker’s Bar and Grill

If you’re in the mood for beef, Jaker’s is hard to beat. This longtime steakhouse is known for its massive burgers, tender ribeyes, and prime rib served with your choice of add-ons like garlic shrimp sauce or black pepper demi-glace. But that’s just the start of Jaker’s huge menu — vegetarians and pescatarians will also find plenty to love here. Bonus: There’s a full bar with an equally gargantuan number of drinks. 

Must-try dish: The Prime Rib French Dip features hand-carved slices of the restaurant’s famous prime rib smothered with Swiss and served with homemade au jus. 

The Griddle

If you have to feed a hungry family, head to the Griddle. The breakfasts and lunches at this from-scratch restaurant are big enough to satisfy even growing teenagers, and the menu is deep enough to impress the pickiest member of your party. You’ll find classics like hot cakes, eggs benedict, and Quiche Lorraine, as well as not-so-traditional dishes like quinoa, chorizo, and egg tostadas. 

Must-try dish: The biscuit and gravy is a single, giant house-made biscuit topped with sausage gravy. Back that up with a beermosa made from beer and orange juice. 


This is your chance to break free of your pad Thai rut. Explore flavors such as seafood hor muk in coconut — a mix of mussels, scallops, shrimp, salmon, and squid steamed in a coconut — or how about SWD fried chicken sprinkled with fruits and nuts? No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong. 

Must-try dish: The colorfully named shrimp in the mud features stir-fried shrimp cooked with celery, ginger, other vegetables and egg dunked into a velvety curry. 

Twig’s Bistro and Martini Bar

After an afternoon shopping at The Village, wander over to this ever-popular restaurant where kids are welcome in the dining room. Nosh on poke nachos, fries dusted with cayenne and basil and topped with Gorgonzola fondue, or truffle penne. The restaurant’s takes on traditional cocktails, like the huckleberry lemon drop and key lime martini, will round off any rough edges. 

Must-try dish: The weekend-only brunch menu includes the crab lemon benedict: blue crab, tomato confit, and poached eggs on a classic English muffin and smothered in lemony hollandaise. 

Sid’s Garage

Sid’s Garage is casual, irreverent, and sure to pique your culinary curiosity. You can order milkshakes laced with whiskey or rum, truffle parmesan fries, Nashville hot chicken, or flash-fried tempura green beans — not to mention an impressive drinks menu. 

Must-try dish: Where else can you get a mimosa flight featuring four flavors of this classic breakfast drink? 

The Capri/Delsa’s

The Capri is a traditional diner featuring your favorite breakfast and lunch dishes like corned beef hash, pork chops and hash brownsust , and patty melts. You’ll want to leave room for dessert, though, so you can visit sister restaurant Delsa’s next door. Delsa’s homemade ice cream was voted the best in Idaho by USA Today — and we heartily agree. (Delsa’s also serves a full diner menu.)

Must-try dish: The Capri’s homemade cinnamon rolls are massive, pillowy, and can be ordered with maple frosting and a smattering of crispy, salty bacon. 

How About a Nightcap? 

There’s no need to end your evening with dinner. There are so many locations in Meridian to grab a beer, catch a live band, or try a new cocktail! 

The Roosevelt

Craft cocktail lovers will enjoy this downtown watering hole that specializes in whiskey and fun takes on classic drinks. Ask your bartender about their selection of rare whiskeys and prepare to indulge in a one-in-a-lifetime sip.

Heritage Hop Haus

This establishment delivers two experiences in one location. Will you head for a carefully mixed-and-shaken drink at The Lounge or indulge in a local brew at Hop Haus? Either way, you can add a side of house-made sushi from the on-site Sushi Shack. 

The Growler Guys

Idaho is known for its ever-growing selection of craft beers, and The Growler Guys is the place to explore them glass by glass. Just pop into this super-casual location and sample — then fill up your own growler to take home as a souvenir. 

Construction Zone Bar and Grill

Beer, horseshoe pits, and karaoke. If you’re looking to do more than just sit and sip, the Construction Zone is a good bet for a laid-back-yet-fun evening. 

If you’re ready to start planning your trip, head to our Where to Stay page for a list of great ideas for your Idaho base camp. (Don’t forget to make restaurant reservations while you’re at it!) If you’re craving even more inspiration for your Idaho adventure, visit the Southwestern Idaho Travel Association and Idaho Tourism for plenty of ideas. 

Choose Your Adventure: 9 Ways to Amp Up the Fun This Summer

Summer is one of the busiest — and best — times to adventure through Southwestern Idaho. And with Meridian as your basecamp, everything is within reach! Mix and match these easy, family-friendly ideas to suit your merry band of vacationers. Every one of them is within 30 minutes of Meridian, so you’ll spend more time enjoying yourself and less time worrying about getting to your next destination on time.

The Adventure: Roaring Springs Waterpark

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Roaring Springs’ big new expansion makes it one of the largest waterparks in the country. Adventure awaits on the new Camp IdaH2O with seven kids’ slides and the Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket, Class 5 Canyon action river, and Critter Crossing adventure pool — plus more than 20 more water attractions, ranging from relaxing to thrilling. Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz Family Fun Zone right next door.

Pro tip: Save $20 with a Triple the Fun ticket that gets you Roaring Springs full-day admission and a Wahooz Unlimited Fun Pass. Enjoy both parks in one day, or separately by Sept 17, 2023.


The Adventure: The Village at Meridian

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: We know it’s cliche to say there’s something for everyone at this uber-popular outdoor mall. But in this case, it’s true! The hardcore shoppers in your group will find all of their favorite stores, plus local favorites — and when they’re ready for a break, they can pop into M. Vincé Nail Salon for a pedicure or Panache Hair Studio & Day Spa for a sleek blowout or soothing facial.

Shopping is just one of the perks of The Village, though. Settle into the Village Cinema’s plush seats and take in the latest summer blockbuster, lounge on the patio at one of The Village’s many restaurants, or even perfect your bowling game at Big Al’s. The Village also has great options for smaller children, such as “Story Time with Jesse the Theater Kid,” an interactive storytime that runs from 10:15-10:55 a.m. every Monday through July.

Pro tip: Be sure to check The Village’s events page before you head out to catch late-breaking events and sales.


The Adventure: Children’s Museum of Idaho

Age range: 2-8

What you need to know: Little kids adore the Children’s Museum of Idaho, where they can explore to their hearts’ content and learn at the same time. This highly interactive space includes a pirate ship, toddler-friendly play spaces, and even a cave full of live creatures (behind glass, of course).

The museum’s classes and events, such as their “Let’s Get Messy” crafts and activities sessions or Monday Morning Legos, are the perfect bite-size activities for children. If you’re traveling in July, consider enrolling your child in the three-day Dinosaur Camp from July 18-20 — you’ll love hearing about their newfound dino knowledge when camp ends in the afternoon.

Pro tip: Bring the baby! Kids under 24 months enjoy free admission.


The Adventure: Meridian Parks and Recreation

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Meridian counts an astounding 24 parks within its borders, ranging from dog-friendly Storey Bark Park to sporty Settlers Park to sprawling Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. Whether you’re searching for the perfect pathway for your morning walk, ready to challenge the fam to a game of soccer, or simply looking for a shade-filled al fresco dining spot, there’s a Meridian park to fit the bill.

Golfers, take note: The highly affordable Lakeview Golf Club is part of the city’s parks and rec system — and it’s open seven days a week. And when the summer sun is at its peak, you and the kids can cool off at the open-to-the-public Meridian Pool.

Pro tip: Challenge the family to a pickleball game at the Meridian Homecourt, a community center with four basketball courts, 14 pickleball courts, and seven volleyball courts. A day pass is just $4 for non-residents.

The Adventure: Zoo Boise

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Some of the world’s most extraordinary animals are just a 20-minute drive away from Meridian. Zoo Boise, located in the heart of leafy Julia Davis Park in Boise, is a longtime favorite of curious adults and kids alike.

For decades, this ever-popular zoo has been introducing people to animals from all over the world, from giraffes to meerkats to crocodiles and gila monsters. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with these animals; try your hand at feeding mealworms to a sloth bear or pile into a solar-powered boat and spot patas monkeys lurking around the zoo’s lagoon. You’ll be doing good, too: in 2007, Zoo Boise pioneered the idea of including a conservation fee in the admission price. Since then, millions of dollars have poured from Idaho to conservation efforts around the world.

Pro tip: You can schedule a private, behind-the-scenes animal experience with a tamarin, tiger, sand cat — even a lion! You must book your visit at least a week in advance, though.

The Adventure: Boutique and independent shopping

Age range: 10+

What you need to know: When you don’t want to dress yourself (or your home!) like everyone else, boutiques are the answer. Meridian has a plethora of places that offer unique, handmade, and creative options. Check out women’s clothing stores such as Blue Fringe Boutique, Hope Ave Boutique, I Beni Boutique, and 44 East.

If you’re hoping to find the perfect piece for your house — or a memorable gift for an upcoming birthday — you’ll find something to love at independent shops that are just a short drive away. Antique World Mall and Annex and LA Junk Antiques in Boise, as well as Sweet Tea Living in Eagle, serve up a mind-boggling array of treasures.

Pro tip: You can browse a number of independent boutiques, listen to live music, and grab a delicious bite to eat every first Tuesday of the month in Downtown Meridian. First Tuesday events run from May-September and are a great way to explore the city’s charming and historic downtown.


The Adventure: Floating the Boise River

Age range: 5+

What you need to know: A leisurely float on the Boise River is an iconic Southwestern Idaho summer experience. On hot days, the clear and cold water of the Boise River is the best tonic — and it’s a ton of fun for both kids and adults.

It takes about two to three hours to float from the put-in at Barber Park to the take-out at Ann Morrison Park six miles away. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment besides your swimsuit to get started; you can bring your own raft or inner tubes, or you can rent equipment at Boise River Raft and Tube. (Don’t forget the life vests! By law, children 14 and under must wear them.) You can also skip the hassle of bringing two vehicles by hopping on the shuttle bus that travels in a loop from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.

For a full floating primer, visit Ada County’s handy online guide.

Pro tip: It is perfectly legal for kids to jump from bridges into the river below, so watch out — or join the fun!


The Adventure: Hiking and biking trails

Age range: All ages

What you need to know: Some of the best, most accessible outdoor spaces in Southwestern Idaho are just 25 minutes away from Meridian. The Ridge to Rivers Trail System is an absolute gem: 210 miles of trails that are open to the public for walking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. From the Foothills, you’ll enjoy unbelievable panoramic views of the valley below.

Challenge yourself with a hike up Table Rock Trail behind the Old Idaho Penitentiary (a favorite of early-morning hikers in the summer), take the kids through the easy loops behind Camel’s Back Park, or turn your legs to jelly by mountain biking Polecat Loop.

The Ridge to Rivers system is multi-use; some walking trails are closed to bikers, some allow dogs on leashes, and some do not. It’s best to consult the interactive trail map before planning your trip. If you happen to visit during a rare rainy week, stay off the trails altogether — using them while they’re wet can damage the paths and endanger fragile vegetation like sagebrush.

Pro tip: You’ll need to cool off after all that exercise. Good thing Meridian’s Roaring Springs has expanded its super-popular waterpark! Get your full guide to the expansion here.


The Adventure: Snake River Stampede

Age range: All ages 

What you need to know: One of the top 10 pro rodeos in the United States takes place in neighboring Nampa every July. The Snake River Stampede must be seen to be believed: Thousands upon thousands of folks pack the air-conditioned Idaho Center for four days billed as “the wildest, fastest show on Earth.”

We’re talking about everything you’d want in a rodeo and more — breakneck barrel racing, heart-pounding bronc riding, fast-and-furious roping, daredevil rodeo clowns, and beautifully talented rodeo queens. Of course, no top-tier pro rodeo would be complete without bull riding. Visit the Stampede and you’ll discover why it’s billed as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.”

Whether you attend for one day or all four, you’ll want to snag your tickets and hotel early — rodeo fans travel from all over the West to see the Stampede.

Pro tip: Get up early to attend the Buckaroo Breakfast, a pancake feed that benefits the Canyon County 4-H Endowment.

Which adventures will you choose this summer? Book your stay now and browse through our itineraries for even more ideas.

Your All-Ages Guide to Splashy Summer Fun at Roaring Springs and Wahooz

Your All-Ages Guide to Splashy Summer Fun at Roaring Springs and Wahooz
One of the largest waterparks in the country is about to get even more epic.

After an intense period of construction, Meridian’s Roaring Springs will unveil its eagerly awaited massive new expansion to the public on May 31. This expansion is phase one of a seven-phase plan to increase the Northwest’s largest waterpark by an astounding 40 percent over the next 10 years — and Roaring Springs is really kicking things off with a bang. Visitors can enjoy a seven-slide interactive play structure, a new wave action river, an adventure pool, luxury cabanas, and plenty of new dining options, including a bar.

There’s so much to see and do at Roaring Springs and its sister playland Wahooz that we created a guide! No matter the ages of your kids (or yourself), you can find endless entertainment options to double your fun and even make it a weekend getaway.

Kids 5 and Younger: Splashy Fun

Even the littlest kids can enjoy a sunny day of swimming and splashing at Roaring Springs. In fact, children ages 2 and under enjoy free entry into the waterpark. Once you’ve arrived, head to Bearfoot Bay — this area is limited to children 54 inches and under and is ideal for kids who want the thrills of the waterpark on a smaller scale. Check out the animal-themed play features, the extensive shallow wading pool, and a shaded sitting ledge so parents can safely watch while the kiddos are in the pool.

Of course, no Roaring Springs experience is complete without slides! Bearfoot Bay delivers with six slides that range from slow and leisurely to just fast enough to thrill younger ones. Parents, don’t miss your chance to book one of the six cabanas in this area so you can set up a shade-covered poolside home base during your visit.

The fun doesn’t stop there! Next door at Wahooz Family Fun Zone, smaller kids flock to Ballocity, a four-level play structure laced with climbing tubes, bridges, slides, and obstacles — and, of course, tons of squishy foam balls. Vacuums and blasters propel the balls for hours of interactive fun. If your child is a climber, head to the Tykes Course, a mini version of the three-story Sky Trail Ropes Course.

If that isn’t enough for your little thrill-seeker, check out the Frog Hopper. This seated ride lifts kids 16 feet into the air and then bounces them down for big fun with a big payoff. Who knows? All that excitement might even spur a nap on the way home.

Kids Ages 5 to 10: High-Energy Skills and Thrills

Critter Crossing, one of the features that will be unveiled at Roaring Springs on May 31, is a watery skills course that challenges kids to make it across the pool while jumping on lily pads that tip and dip. It’s open to adults, too, so this is your chance to see if you still have the balance of a kid! (Don’t worry, there are overhead ropes to help guide you and the kids along.) You’ll find three in-pool basketball hoops in this area for one-on-one and team challenges.

For even bigger fun, head over to the new Camp IdaH2O Wilderness Playground. This incredible, Idaho-themed area includes seven intermediate slides — keep an eye out

for the Idaho critters perched throughout — that are perfect for kids who aren’t quite ready for the more intense slide experiences. You’ll also discover 80 interactive features that are great for smaller children.

But the crowning glory of Camp IdaH2O is the world’s first-ever potato-themed tipping bucket. Tippin’ Tater is a 1,500-pound bucket that splashes an astounding 650 gallons of water down a chute into the pool below. Sounds like an awesome way to spend a hot day, right?


Or, grab a few float tubes and head to the Whitewater Bay Wave Pool or the Endless River with the kids — but watch out, because the rhythmic flow of these areas can be super addictive, and there’s plenty more fun to be had next door at Wahooz. You and the kids can make your own thrills on the Wahooz Twister: Just load the family into a swinging capsule, grab the steering wheel in the center, and spin to your heart’s content. Or let the kids immerse themselves in the XD Dark Ride, which pits riders against other riders as they journey through six different movie adventures.

Pre-Teens and Teens: No-Limit Excitement

Have a bored teen? With tons of heart-racing, stomach-dropping activities at Roaring Springs, you can bet they’ll forget about their phones for a few hours. Take, for example, the brand-new Class 5 Canyon: It’s Idaho’s first action river and it provides non-stop whitewater waves — like the most exciting parts of a rafting trip without all the paddling! In fact, all they’ll need is the provided kickboard.

Or challenge them to the award-winning Snake River Run — just load into a two-person raft (single rafts are available, too) and prepare to blast off! The slide launches into a dizzying double corkscrew, then drops into not one, but two “flying saucers” that boomerang riders through dueling 180-degree turns to a splashy finish below.

Once they’ve caught their breath, it’s time for Corkscrew Cavern, the first 360-degree looping waterslide in the Northwest. The anticipation builds as soon as they drop into the launching capsule and wait for a few heart-pumping moments — and then splash! The trap door drops into a narrow tunnel that ramps up the speed immediately. It’s fun and it’s fast: 38 feet per second, to be exact. For similar thrills without the loops, have them check out Cliffhanger, a six-story almost-vertical plunge, or Avalanche, which glides riders into a giant half-pipe.

Even if they’re not quite road-ready yet, pre-teens and teens can test their mettle at Wahooz on the Slick Track Go-Karts. This isn’t a clunky, old-school go-kart ride — thanks to the slippery track, it’s fast enough to let the kids play out their “Fast and Furious” fantasies.

Adults: Lazy-Day Luxury and Super Fun Games

Who says the kids get all the fun? Plenty of adults love to get competitive with their kids at Wahooz, where they can hit their targets at laser tag, crack a new level at the arcade, or sip a beer while bowling with the kids at the Pinz 24-lane bowling center. But Roaring Springs also puts a premium on simply relaxing. The new expansion includes 16 luxury cabanas with shaded, cushioned sectionals and full wait service. Don’t sleep on booking one of these beauties — they’ll go quickly, and it’s a good idea to reserve yours as soon as you can. Even if you miss out on a cabana, you’ll discover plenty of places to lounge poolside throughout the waterpark.

Roaring Springs has extended its upgrades to its new Asian-inspired menus at the brand-new Geyser Grill and Bar. Why not nosh on the Nom Nom Pork Bowl and snack on potstickers poolside? Of course, you can always opt for classic Roaring Springs options like their famous gourmet Corn Dog Cart (try the Spicy Jack option loaded with bacon, pickled jalapenos, and cheese sauce), funnel cakes, and refreshing hot-weather treats like Dippin’ Dots or Pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve. And, new this year, Roaring Springs will begin serving adult beverages at its first bar — so you can upgrade your visit with a chilled poolside beer or margarita.

It’s Not Too Early to Plan Ahead!

You could opt to visit just Roaring Springs or Wahooz, but why limit the good times to just one day? With the Triple the Fun ticket, the family can enjoy Roaring Springs one day and Wahooz the next. Triple the Fun tickets are $74.99 — a $20 savings. If you have time for only one location, don’t worry; the pass is valid throughout the season, so you can schedule more fun next time you’re in town. Roaring Springs and Wahooz offer many other deals, as well, so choose what works best for you and your thrill seekers.

Before you arrive, make sure you have what you need to maximize your fun:

  • Towels
  • Sunblock
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Bottled water (no glass bottles)
  • Your favorite summer read

Ready to plan your watery adventure? Wahooz is open year-round and Roaring Springs begins its 2023 season on May 6. The new waterpark expansion will welcome its first visitors on May 31. Skip the line and buy your tickets now (and those cabanas) on the Roaring Springs website. For plenty of other summer fun ideas, as well as a full list of lodging options, head to our Trip Itineraries and Where to Stay pages.

The Massive Meridian Things to Do List

Searching for the top 10 things to do in Meridian this summer? We have that — and so much more! Whether you’re using Meridian as a basecamp for your Southwestern Idaho visit, traveling with the family for a sporting tournament, or simply looking for some inspiration, you’ll discover it here.

Help Your Kids Make Summer Memories

Meridian is one of the most family-friendly cities in Idaho, with plenty of activities that will keep everyone — even the teenagers! — happy.

Roaring Springs Waterpark: It’s already the Northwest’s largest waterpark, and with a new expansion opening May 31, Roaring Springs is now one of the largest waterparks in the country! Trust us, you’ll want to plan your visit now so the kids can splash through Camp IdaH2O, a Gem State-themed interactive water playground featuring seven slides, multiple play features, Idaho animals and birds, and (of course) the 650-gallon Tippin’ Tater potato tipping bucket. Plus, navigate the whitewater of Class 5 Canyon action river and take on the challenges of Critter Crossing adventure pool. Treat your family to a VIP experience in one of 16 new luxury cabanas with wait service from the new Geyser Grill and Bar.

Wahooz Family Fun Zone: Make it a weekend getaway with a second day at Wahooz, conveniently connected to Roaring Springs. Wahooz is super popular year-round thanks to 15 indoor and outdoor attractions, including its newly remodeled mini golf course, kid-friendly bowling center, always entertaining go-kart tracks, an arcade and so much more, with enough attractions to keep everyone from the littles to the teens happy. This summer, buy discounted Triple the Fun tickets and spend one day at Roaring Springs and the next at Wahooz.

Children’s Museum of Idaho: If your little explorer loves to touch every exhibit they come across, the Children’s Museum is about to become their new favorite destination. This highly interactive space helps children learn about dinosaurs, outer space, machines, and so much more through play. They’ll pick up new information and unique experiences every step of the way.

Meridian Speedway: Loud, fast, and full of action, the Meridian Speedway is ideal for car-obsessed kids and their parents. Buckle up this summer and check out sprint cars, trucks, mini stocks, street stocks and so much more. For an extra dose of fun, choose a date that features a summertime fireworks display as part of the night’s events.

Non-Stop Shopping: From charming boutiques to sprawling emporiums, you’ll discover a shopper’s paradise in Meridian.

The Village at Meridian: This outdoor mall is more than a place to shop. It’s an entertainment extravaganza! After scoring new pieces for your summer wardrobe at top-tier chains like Anthropologie and Lululemon, relax in the cushy seats at Village Cinema or grab a margarita at The Matador. Be sure to check The Village’s website for special summer events, too.

Antiquing: Here’s a little secret: Meridian is one of the best places to find your next antique treasures. Two large specialty stores should be on the itinerary for every antique lover: Sevoy Furniture Gallery is a haven for mid-century modern lovers and Cherry’s Consignment Home Furnishings stocks high-quality furnishings from any era. With so many finds available, you might need to clear out extra space in your vehicle for the ride home!

Savor Every Bite of the Season: You’ll discover all of your favorite restaurants in Meridian, but these beloved local eateries offer out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Epi’s: You might enter this cozy bungalow hungry, but we guarantee you’ll leave full and happy. Epi’s serves traditional Basque food such as red bean and chorizo soup, marinated pork loin topped with roasted red peppers, and the restaurant’s famous garlic chicken. It’s a true Idaho experience.

Eight Thirty Common: This popular watering hole and restaurant dishes out grown-up pub fare, handcrafted cocktails, and 12 rotating beer taps to satiate your taste buds. Book a weekend brunch reservation and tuck into savory dishes like carnitas hash or sweet treats such as cinnamon roll French toast.

Bodovino Ristorante: Bodovino has a unique setup: 56 Art Wine Emotion machines dispense tastes or pours of some of the world’s most-loved wines. Grab your glass and settle into the patio lounge for a meal featuring Italian classics such as calamari, scampi, ribeye, and flatbreads.

Big Jud’s: Big Jud’s burgers are so impressive that they’ve been featured on the Food Network. The Meridian outpost of this longtime local favorite serves up juicy burgers and fresh-cut Idaho fries, as well as its most famous offering, the intimidating one-pound Big Jud cheeseburger.

Discover Fresh Inspiration: Whether you’re just enjoying stunning visual artworks or looking for the next painting to grace your home, Meridian has beauty to offer.

Initial Point Gallery: This carefully curated gallery is located within Meridian’s City Hall and hosted by the Meridian Arts Commission. Exhibits rotate every month and feature works by local artists, often with Idaho themes.

Idaho Art Gallery: Enchanted by Idaho landscapes? You can find a gorgeous souvenir at Idaho Art Gallery, which features a number of paintings that center on landmarks like Shoshone Falls, dancing aspen groves, and life along the Boise River.

Get Outside: Southwestern Idaho is revered for its easy access to nature, and Meridian provides the perfect base camp to see it in all its summer glory!

The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey: This corner of Idaho is one of the best places in the world to see magnificent birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, and owls. But if you’d like to skip the bird hunt and see these natural wonders close up, the World Center for Birds of Prey is ready to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience. See how many of their Avian Ambassadors you can check off your must-see list.

City of Meridian Parks: You don’t need to get out of town to get outside! Meander through sprawling Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, dog-and-kid-friendly Storey Park, activity-filled Settlers Park, or cast a line at Fuller Park’s stocked fishing pond.


Prepare to Party: Meridian’s calendar is crammed full of summer and early autumn events. Why not pencil in a festival while you’re here?

Far West Regional Championships: Hundreds of the best young soccer players in the country will flock to nearby Boise in late June 2023 — and Meridian is the perfect place to make yourbasecamp during all the excitement! Both boys and girls will compete at the Far West RegionalChampionships for a chance to play the nationals in July.

Dairy Days: Meridian’s oldest festival, a celebration of its agricultural roots, has been a community staple for nearly 100 years. This old-fashioned fest includes a carnival, diet-busting fair treats, animal shows, and the crowning of this year’s Dairy Princess.

Meridian Lions Rodeo: Let ’er buck! If you’ve never been to a rodeo, this is your chance to see real cowboys test their mettle against bucking broncos and tricky barrel courses. All proceeds help fund Lions Club projects.

Snake River Stampede: The Snake River Stampede is one of the biggest events in Southwestern Idaho, attracting thousands of onlookers to this rodeo that bills itself as “the wildest fastest show on Earth.” The Stampede is one of the top 10 rodeos in the country, so be sure to get your tickets early! (Bonus: It takes place in the air-conditioned Ford Idaho Center.)

Gowen Thunder Air Show: In late August, the skies over the Treasure Valley fill with military and civilian air performers who thrill the packed crowds below. Expect spine-tingling air stunts and soul-stirring patriotic moments all weekend long.

Oktoberfest: The inaugural Oktoberfest was such a hit that it’s now a permanent part of Meridian’s fall schedule! Enjoy live music, amateur boxing, food trucks, and (obviously) plenty of beer. All the action will be located in Meridian’s historic downtown.

For even more trip ideas, lodging information, restaurant suggestions, and things to do in Southwestern Idaho, visit the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, the Southwestern Idaho Travel Association, and Idaho Tourism.