Best Places to Live

Hailey, ID

Population: 8,002
Christine Olsen

Located on Main Street in Hailey, Idaho, is a place called Power House. This hybrid of a bike shop and restaurant represents the type of atmosphere you'll find in Hailey. Cyclists come to power up on organic eggs, oat burgers and ahi tuna sandwiches or sip on craft beers while their bikes get tuned up and ready to hit the trails. Just like the town, Power House is a gateway to outdoor adventures and a place to recharge and relax.
In addition to good schools, low crime, low pollution and high community involvement, Hailey has the highest level of employment and the greatest income distribution of any city on this list. What that means is the gap between the haves and have-nots isn't as big as it is in most places. Nestled in the Wood River Valley, the city itself is located on relatively flat terrain, but outside the city limits, the elevation quickly rises. The area was first inhabited by Native Americans and fur traders, then became a mining town and later a home to sheep ranchers. Tourism plays a large role in Hailey's business scene today. The city is now home to several technology companies such as Marketron and the recruiting firm Redfish Technology.
The people who live in Hailey enjoy a laid-back lifestyle filled with outdoor excursions to nearby ski resorts, hiking trails and fishing holes. The city of Hailey maintains several parks and trails, including Hop Porter Park, which hosts the Northern Rockies Music Festival. The city is currently in the midst of improving its Rodeo Grounds by adding an ice skating rink, expanding the adjacent skate park and adding more parking spaces to the area. Also in the works is a plan to create a system of trails that would encircle and connect the entire community.
Restaurants in Hailey provide diners with an assortment of menus to choose from. Meals here range from grilled Idaho trout and seared lamb to barbecue, Thai and pizza. The Center combines artists' work space with a gallery that is routinely open for public viewings. The Liberty Theatre, built in the 1930s, was remodeled in 1996 and serves as the home of Idaho's Company of Fools, a group of actors and performers.