With its welcoming atmosphere, the Idaho Falls area is an easy place to meet new people. But just like any new city, it takes time for new residents to find family activities, restaurants and weekend expeditions. To help ease the transition, a few locals share their insider tips to help new families, couples and singles feel right at home.
Tips for Family Fun in Greater Idaho Falls
Parents with young children should head straight for the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park. For a $4.50 ticket (for children age 4 to 12), kids can see many animals of Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. The zoo also has one-day and week-long summer camps for kids up to age 13.
“The No. 1 thing we did when we moved here was buy a season pass,” says Jenny Weitzel, mother of two. “The experience was different every week. It provided us with a great opportunity to get out and explore.”
Weitzel also picked up a family membership to the Wes Deist Aquatic Center, which offers public and lap swimming, lessons and adult fitness classes. She says her sons liked the water so much, they both joined swim teams.
With so many outdoor activities available, kids have plenty of opportunities to expend their energy. Families can bike on the Riverwalk, which covers 6 miles on both sides of the Snake River. Meanwhile, Becker Pond offers fishing for all ages.
Weitzel recommends the many youth sports programs offered through the City of Idaho Falls, as well as ARTitorium on Broadway for younger kids.
Date Night Suggestions in Greater Idaho Falls
Whether they have kids or not, couples need quality time, and Idaho Falls offers many affordable options for date nights. On the first Thursday evening of the month, from May through September, couples can browse the Idaho Falls Gallery Walk, which features works from around the globe at local galleries and museums.
“The gallery walk exposes you to artists that you might not see otherwise,” says Leslie Jones, who often attends these events with her partner, Rick Dale.
Also on Thursdays in late summer, the city features the Live United Concert Series, a free weekly event held at Snake River Landing.
“You can buy food and beverages there, and all proceeds benefit United Way,” says Jones. “It’s a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and hear some good music.”
When the temperatures drop, Jones and Dale like to take in a show at the Colonial Theater or grab a nightcap at a small neighborhood bar called the Stein, which Jones describes as "relaxed, friendly and fun.
The couple doesn’t count out a good meal, suggesting Krung Thep for Thai food or The Cellar for special occasions.
Exploring Solo in Greater Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls’ proximity to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks makes the area a natural draw for outdoor enthusiasts. The mountains, as gorgeous as they are, may not offer the same company as a human companion. Fortunately, there are opportunities for single adults to socialize.
Guns-N-Gear indoor shooting range offers a Ladies Only basic handgun course for beginners. The 2-hour course gives women handgun fundamentals and a chance to hang out in an unusual setting.
Janet Barton, program and events coordinator for the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce notes several fun nightlife options, including a few pub crawls around town, trivia nights at Keefer’s Island Restaurant & Catering, and live music at The Celt Pub. Most of the social activity, however, takes place outdoors. The city’s free concert series and the Gallery Walk attract diverse crowds, and people of all ages like to walk around the Riverwalk or hang out at the Snake River.
Barton says she found a new set of friends when she joined a women’s city league basketball team, where she has fun and gets in great workouts at the same time.
“I didn’t think any other women would be interested in basketball, but I was wrong!" Barton says.