16 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Coeur d'Alene, ID
Author Brad Lane has traveled to Coeur d'Alene several times while living close by in Missoula, Montana.
Coeur d'Alene is a scenic city filled with fun things to do, located at the southern end of the Idaho Panhandle near the Washington Border. The city's most defining feature is the massive Lake Coeur d'Alene backdropping the downtown district to the south. Waterfront attractions and family fun embody this end of the lake, including hiking trails, camping, fishing, and boating.
But Coeur d'Alene's appeal extends well beyond the lake. The city is infused with the stunning natural environment of the Idaho Panhandle. These natural surroundings provide rewarding sightseeing opportunities and easy access to some of Idaho's best state parks. And recreation in Coeur d'Alene extends throughout the year, with snowy ski resorts not far away.
It's the culture and community of Coeur d'Alene that also draws a crowd. This people appeal is most prevalent in the lakeside downtown district, where several local shops, restaurants, and green spaces catch the eye. Learn about the best places to visit with our list of the top things to do in Coeur d'Alene.
1. Lake Couer d'Alene
Lake Coeur d'Alene is one of Idaho's best lakes and one of the largest natural lakes in the state. Campgrounds, hiking trails, and beaches line the shores of the 25-mile-long lake, and popular activities atop the water include jet skiing, fishing, kitesurfing, and launching watercraft at one of twelve public boat launches.
The northern shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene is the city's beautiful backdrop and the most developed area for tourists. Spots near the water, like Tubbs Hill and Coeur d'Alene City Park, offer excellent views across the lake and toward the opposing mountainsides. Other areas like McEuen Park and The Coeur d'Alene Resort are also top places to visit near the water.
For those looking to get on the water themselves, nearly every type of watercraft can be rented from surrounding marinas and concessionaires, as well as a variety of chartered fishing experiences. Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises, near City Park, also offers daily scenic cruises.
Simply looking out over the water from the beach at Coeur d'Alene City Park adds to the experience of visiting the city, especially when seaplanes land near the shore. A great wildlife spectacle occurs every winter on the lake when hundreds of bald eagles fly in to feed on spawning kokanee salmon, making for a great photo opportunity and a reason to visit.
2. McEuen Park
McEuen Park is a centerpiece public space of the city and the perfect place for the entire family to spend the day. It's home to the city's largest playground and also features basketball courts, impressive pavilions, and a leash-free dog park. The abundant green space is also conducive to activities like tossing frisbees, picnicking, and laying out.
Public art lines the bike trails and pedestrian paths that cross through the abundant green space of the park. Other eye-catching installments include a beautiful grand plaza area with landscaped waterfalls and garden beds. And a nearby Veterans Memorial facilitates a peaceful time for reflection during the day.
The trailhead for Tubbs Hill is at the southwest corner of the park next to the water. This popular trail system is one of the best spots in town to catch the sunset. And the adjacent Rotary Harbor House provides summer-fun concessions and seating with a view overlooking the lake.
McEuen Park is also within a short walking distance of the downtown district. This makes the public space a must-visit before or after strolling the charming streets, especially if the weather is nice. It's also a perfect spot for a picnic.
3. Stroll around Downtown Coeur d'Alene
With shopping, dining, and live entertainment, something is always happening on the streets of Downtown Coeur d'Alene. Backdropped by a beautiful waterfront area, the downtown area has over 100 retail stores, including specialty boutiques, fine art galleries, and antique shops for special treasures.
Dining is enjoyed throughout the day downtown, starting with breakfast spots like The Garnet Cafe and ending with Beverly's for fine dining in the evening. Another iconic spot in Coeur d'Alene, Hudsons Hamburgers, has served up hot Huddy Burgers since 1907. This classic no-frills burger spot is a must-visit on any trip.
Community celebrations that take place in the downtown district include holiday lighting events and festive parades. And a weekly Farmers Market takes place on Wednesdays throughout the warmer months of the year. The downtown district is also home to some of the best places to visit at night, with more than a few restaurants offering service into the evening.
4. Hike at Tubbs Hill
Tubbs Hill is a publicly owned natural space featuring elevation changes and Lake Coeur d'Alene overlooks. It's located near downtown, with the main trailhead next to McEuen Park. Miles of hiking trails stretch up and around Tubbs Hill including a 2.2-mile lakeside interpretive loop circling the entire hill.
Tubbs Hill is a popular outing for families, trail runners, and photography enthusiasts. And it's great for anytime-of-the-year nature walks and bald eagle viewing in the winter.
Tubbs Hill is accessible via different trailheads from surrounding city streets, though the main trailhead is located next to the Rotary Harbor House in McEuen Park. This trailhead provides restrooms and concessions, alongside interpretive information about the area.
Tubbs Hill encompasses 165 acres and offers a few different routes to follow. The two most prominent trails include the Main Trail, which circles the entire space, and the Summit Trail, which climbs to the top of Tubbs Hill. For the best views, it's recommended to check out the Main Trail, where lakeside cliffs overlook the water. Several side trails extend from this Main Trail for other sneak peeks at the lake.
5. Bike the North Idaho Centennial Trail
The North Idaho Centennial Trail is a 23-mile pedestrian path taking in some of the best sights of the region. It stretches from the Idaho/Washington Border to Higgins Point on the eastern shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Bicycling is a popular way to navigate the trail, and walkers, joggers, and strollers also enjoy it.
Originally a railroad line, scenic stops on the Centennial Trail include McEuen Park and Mineral Ridge Scenic Area. Across state borders into Washington, the trail connects with the Spokane River Centennial Trail, which extends to some of Spokane's top attractions including Riverside Park.
6. Enjoy the Nice Weather at Coeur d'Alene City Park
Coeur d'Alene City Park features 16 acres of beach and landscaped green space on the waterfront west of downtown, complete with an inviting playground. Trees line a cement promenade near the waterfront, separating the green space and the lake, offering an excellent place for afternoon strolls.
Passing boats on the lake add to the attractive backdrop from the beach area, as do the seaplanes that occasionally touch down on the water. The historically themed and recently renovated Fort Sherman Playground is a big hit within the city park for young children and parents alike.
Coeur d'Alene City Park holds a variety of engagements and is a center for community attractions and events. A few park events include movies in the park and live music in the bandshell. The North Idaho Centennial Trail passes right through the park, encouraging further exploration heading toward the campus of North Idaho College.
7. Get a Good View on the Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail
Mineral Ridge is a historic, scenic area east of town. It's home to a 3.3-mile Mineral Ridge National Recreation Trail overlooking Beauty Bay of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The trail consistently ascends and switchbacks up Mineral Ridge starting from the paved parking area and picnic shelters of the trailhead. The total elevation gain is approximately 700 feet, giving this hike a rating of easy to moderate.
Interpretive markers along the trail correspond with a guidebook published by the Bureau of Land Management. The guidebook is typically available at the trailhead and details the flora, fauna, and history of this early-developed recreation site. Covered picnic shelters and vault toilets are also at the trailhead.
The view overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene is well worth the moderate effort. The top offers a couple of different scenic overlooks and additional picnic areas, but the best view comes from the westernmost point of the route, approximately two miles into the hike. Come winter, this viewpoint is a popular place to spot the hundreds of migrating bald eagles making their way through the area.
Read More: Best Hiking Trails in Idaho
8. Take a Trip to Silver Mountain Resort
Silver Mountain Resort is a family-friendly getaway featuring skiing and mountain biking forty minutes east of Coeur d'Alene. Over 70 named ski routes define much of the winter fun at Silver Mountain Resort. Other cold-weather attractions include winter festivals, day camps, and North America's longest gondola.
Lift-accessible mountain biking and hiking trails provide miles of fun things to do during the warmer months of the year. A trip on the scenic gondola ride is worth the visit alone. The Mountain hosts a Ride and Dine series throughout the summer, with live music and food at the top of the mountain every Friday.
Tee times are recommended at the adjacent Galena Ridge Golf Course, and the indoor Silver Rapids Waterpark at the resort appeals to young swimmers throughout the year.
Address: 610 Bunker Avenue, Kellogg, Idaho
9. Visit the Museum of North Idaho
The Museum of North Idaho is next to Coeur d'Alene City Park and the downtown district. It presents multimedia exhibits covering the history of the region, from railroads to recreation and logging history. The museum also includes a collection of artifacts of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.
Photos and information about the 1941 Playland Pier and the 1958 introduction of Hydroplane Races on Lake Coeur D'Alene are particularly interesting permanent exhibits. Other slices of Coeur d'Alene on display include the Scandinavian explorers that settled in the region and the municipal evolution of the nearby McEuen Park. The museum also oversees the historic Fort Sherman Chapel just a few blocks to the west.
The museum also oversees the historic Fort Sherman Chapel, just a few blocks to the west. A store at the museum offers a great selection of local-history publications and handmade jewelry and crafts. Free admission is offered during the city's Art Walk on the second Friday of each month.
Address: 115 Northwest Boulevard, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
10. Stay at The Coeur d'Alene Resort
Overlooking Lake Coeur d'Alene between Coeur d'Alene City Park and McEuen Park, The Coeur d'Alene Resort is a landmark place to spend the night. It offers over 300 accommodations ranging from lake-view tower rooms to spacious suites oozing with style. And with a central downtown location, guests never have to drive their car after arriving at the resort.
It's not just the rooms and suites that put The Coeur d'Alene Resort on the map. The facility offers several guest experiences that add up to an incredible vacation. Most notably, the resort operates a professional 18-hole, par-71 golf course just a few blocks east of the lakeside. The famous 14th-hole floating green is the most prominent feature of this popular course.
The resort offers other amenities, including spa services and several dining options. Special packages and deals are often available for different types of vacations. It's also a popular spot for large corporate events or special occasions, including weddings. The resort also features standard hotel amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness facility, and complimentary breakfast in the mornings.
11. Enjoy the Day at Cherry Hill Park
Cherry Hill Park is another excellent open space located northeast of downtown on the other side of Interstate-90. Several park amenities draw a crowd here, including a leash-free dog park and BMX track. The outdoor space also features a local-favorite 18-hole disc golf course. Tennis and pickleball courts are also available.
The playground areas at Cherry Hill Park are also popular amenities. The playground resembles a large firefighter's helmet and is dedicated as a 9/11 Memorial Playground. The surrounding Fallen Heroes Plaza at the park provides interpretive information and memorials for fallen heroes from Idaho and beyond.
Cherry Hill Park is also a popular place to visit in winter. The large hill adjacent to the parking lot is a magnet for sledding and kid-friendly winter recreation. After any snowfall in Coeur d'Alene, expect crowds of multi-colored sleds flying down the hill.
12. Camp at Farragut State Park
Farragut State Park is a sprawling natural space nestled within the mountains of north Idaho. The sprawling state park is 40 minutes north of Coeur d'Alene on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in Idaho. The park encompasses an impressive 4,000 acres and serves as an important piece of history, once being home to the Farragut Naval Training Center during the Second World War.
Hikers, cyclists, and horse riders use the miles of trails that span throughout the park. Lake enthusiasts also find their fill with available boat launches and swimming access at places like Beavery Bay Beach. And as one of the best places for camping in Idaho, the park offers over 200 sites, including access to shower houses and modern restrooms.
Farragut is also a well-known disc golf destination, with four professional 18-hole courses spread throughout the forest and meadows of the park. A beginner's putt and approach 18-hole course is also on the grounds. All the disc golfing at Farragut is accessible from a single parking lot within the park.
Address: 13550 ID-54, Athol, Idaho
13. Explore Coeur d'Alene National Forest
Coeur d'Alene National Forest encompasses the large swath of forest directly east of the city. It's part of the larger Idaho Panhandle National Forests, covering 2.5 million acres of land between Idaho, Washington, and Montana.
Numerous recreational activities stem from the forest land throughout the year. Some popular attractions include miles of multi-use trails; rustic campgrounds; freshwater lakes; and opportunities to fish, hunt, and experience nature.
Hayden Lake is one of the most popular places to visit from Coeur d'Alene, accessible within a 20-mile drive from the city. Remote spots within the forest like the Little Guard Lookout rental cabin enable unique overnight experiences, and popular developed areas to spend the night include the Honeysuckle and Bumblebee Campgrounds.
Come winter, the landscape of the national forest lends to snowmobile and cross-country skiing adventures. The entirety of the Panhandle National Forest can take a lifetime to explore. Other areas of high interest include Priest Lake, farther north, and the St. Joe River area south of the city.
14. Weekend Trip to Heyburn State Park
Heyburn State Park is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest and is less than a 45-minute drive south of Coeur d'Alene. The sprawling state park encompasses over 5,500 acres and lends access to three stunning lakes: Chatcolet, Benewah, and Hidden Lakes. The St. Joe River also meanders nearby.
A few of the popular activities at Heyburn state park include hiking, bird-watching, and riding bicycles on the 73-mile paved Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. Aquatic recreation is also popular with so much water nearby. The park provides swim spots and kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals at Rocky Point Marina.
Heyburn is also a popular spot for camping. Nearly 130 sites spread throughout the park cater to primitive tent camping and full hookup RVs alike. Cottage rentals and group campsites are also available. Hawley's Landing is a popular campground at Heyburn, featuring immediate access to a lakeshore trail and beautiful bird blind.
15. Drive to Falls Park
Falls Park is a family-friendly and universally accessible play area 10 miles west of Coeur d'Alene. This popular city park is based around the Post Falls Dam, which helps regulate water levels in nearby Lake Coeur d'Alene. Alongside viewing platforms of the various hydrodynamics, Falls Park also features a large playground area including an ADA-compliant swing.
The half-acre children's fishing pond is also popular at the park and features accessible fishing bridges, shoreline, and platforms. Other nature trails in the park and interpretive information make Falls Park a fun destination or detour for a day.
Address: 305 West Fourth Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho
16. Hop on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a premiere rail-to-trail conversion in the United States, slithering along the southeast portion of the lake, south of town, for 73 spectacular miles of bicycle riding. The official trail spans from Plummer near Heyburn State Park to Mullan near the Montana border. The trail is open to any type of non-motorized travel.
Several access points line the entire trail, enabling easy low-mileage day trips. All of these trailheads also feature picnic spaces, and some have toilets. Every mile of the trail is notable for its natural beauty. Interstate 90, toward the east end of the panhandle, has several of these trailheads close to Mullan. Trailheads also line Highway 3, heading south from the interstate.
Because of its past status as a railroad grade, the entire route is generally flat without any major climbing. This makes all sections of the route family-friendly and caters to most abilities. It's highly advised to start on the eastern end of the route, near Mullan, and head west, following the gradual downhill grade.
Where to Stay in Coeur d'Alene for Sightseeing
- Great hotels at moderate prices can be found throughout Coeur d'Alene and surrounding the downtown district. Near McEuen Park and the downtown waterfront, the Blackwell Hotel is located within a historic mansion and is one of the finest boutique hotels in the city. Great for a romantic weekend, Blackwell Hotel is located within walking distance to the many shops and restaurants of downtown Coeur d'Alene.
- West of the downtown area near the shore of the Spokane River, Hampton Inn & Suites Coeur d'Alene is within walking distance of restaurants, a movie theater, and the Centennial Trail.
- Near the Hampton, SpringHill Suites Coeur d'Alene provides spacious accommodations complete with spa-like bathrooms, as well as complimentary breakfast and a well-maintained pool and fitness center.
- For a great downtown hotel that won't break the budget, the Resort City Inn is located near McEuen Park and features 18 clean and cozy rooms near the lake and the rest of downtown. Farther west near the Spokane River, the Days Inn by Wyndham is a pet-friendly hotel located two miles from downtown.
- Featuring a fitness center and pool, Days Inn also provides complimentary breakfast and newspapers with each stay. Near the Days Inn, the Super 8 by Wyndham Coeur d'Alene is another affordable option, which features clean rooms, friendly staff, and consistent repeat stays.
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More to Explore in Idaho: This state offers much to explore and experience, from seeing the attractions of Boise to spending time at the best resorts in the Idaho. Other cities worth exploring include Twin Falls and Idaho Falls. For a look at highlights around the state, see our article on Idaho's top tourist attractions.
Exploring nearby Montana: Bordering parts of Idaho on the east is Montana, another state worth taking some time to explore. The top-rated tourist attractions of Montana range from glacier-strewn peaks to underground caverns. The hip and historic cities of Bozeman and Missoula are both fun to visit and provide a collegiate appeal, and the resort town of Whitefish features access to world-class skiing and Glacier National Park.