Skiing is just part of the fun in Jackson, WY
While Jackson, Wyo., is home to serious winter fun – on skis, snowboards, ice skates, tubes, snowmobiles and more – its cultural and recreational appeal spans all seasons. The city’s assortment of amenities helped it earn a spot on our Top 100 Best Small Towns list. Here are some of the best things to do in the town where Old West allure meets New World amenities.
Ski Jackson Hole
The uber-popular resort perennially ranked North America’s No. 1 Ski Area by Forbes magazine has it all: powdery slopes, minimal lift lines, world-class cuisine and majestic backdrops. Direct flights into Jackson Airport 16 miles from the base at Teton Village make the mountain especially accessible.
Savor Persephone’s Pastries
From its bread pudding French and fried-egg scone skillet to its chocolate croissant and morning glory muffin, mouthwatering café and pastry options abound at Jackson’s Persephone Bakery, Boulangerie & Cafe. Intelligentsia coffees and Bellocq Atelier teas headline the beverage selections. Lunch is just as savory; consider the crispy-pork Schnizelwich and a bowl of roasted tomato soup.
Explore Grand Teton National Park
A few miles north of Jackson, Grand Teton’s picturesque peaks rise as high as 13,770 feet above sea level (from 6,800 feet in the valley below). Hiking trails lead to crystal-clear lakes and meandering streams of the Snake River, making the views of the park’s jagged mountains even more spectacular.
Nosh at Nora’s
Enjoy a country-style breakfast at Nora’s Fish Creek Inn, nestled in sleepy Wilson just west of Jackson. At lunch and dinner, hearty fare (chicken fried steak, green chili cheeseburgers) coexists with lighter options (Idaho trout, Caesar salad) at Nora’s, which drew raves from Guy Fieri during his visit for the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.
Go Country at The Cowboy
Jackson native Resi Stiegler recommends the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (as it’s officially known) downtown for live country music on cool summer nights. “It’s always the most fun to get swung around the dance floor by some local cowboys,” says Stiegler, an Olympian and women’s U.S. Ski Team member.
Hike, Ride or Slide Snow King Mountain
The small resort rising above Jackson offers winter adventures along with summer fun, including a mountain (alpine) slide, scenic chairlift, bike paths and hiking trails that zigzag across the slopes. Note: Improvement projects will close part of the mountain during the summer of 2015.
Dine at Stiegler’s Austrian Restaurant & Copper Bar
Located in the Aspens, halfway to Teton Village, this favorite eatery bears the stamp of its owner, Peter Stiegler, brother of Olympic champion skier Pepe Stiegler and uncle of current U.S. Ski Team member Resi Stiegler. The menu features Austrian veal, pork and wild game, along with continental entrees. The towering Zwiebel Filet Steak is a must-try.
Visit the Wort Hotel and Silver Dollar Bar & Grill
Jackson’s first luxury hotel, opened in 1941, the Wort has kept its Wild West vibe while excelling as a top-tier destination; it was named America’s Best Small Historic Hotel for 2013-14. The Wort’s Silver Dollar Bar & Grill serves up regional specialties like beef filet mignon, steelhead trout, wild boar, buffalo brisket and savory salmon.
Throw Caution (and Yourself) to the Wind
Feeling especially adventurous? Paragliding above Jackson provides a bird’s-eye view of the valley and the Tetons. Experienced mountain pilots with excellent safety records are trained to put flyers at ease on breathtaking tandem flights.