12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Idaho Falls, ID
Author Brad Lane enjoyed visiting Idaho Falls on a few occasions while writing on the region for PlanetWare.
Idaho Falls is a scenic city in southeastern Idaho surrounding the Snake River. Several outdoor attractions entice weekend visits and longer-term stays. One of the top spots to get outside is the city's sterling Idaho Falls River Walk, which provides five miles of sights to see on both sides of the Snake River. This popular pedestrian path also previews the city's namesake feature.
Art, culture, and a celebration of history also infuse the community of Idaho Falls. Places like The Art Museum, the Museum of Idaho, and the Japanese Friendship Garden at Sportsman Park add to the culture in this region of the state. Other family-friendly fun things to do are found at the Idaho Zoo at Tautphaus Park and East Idaho Aquarium, and tourists of all ages can find something of interest at the Collectors' Corner Museum.
And other world-renowned places to visit surround the city. Places like Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, including Grand Teton National Park, are less than two hours away and make Idaho Falls an international hub for adventure. Plan your travels with our list of the top things to do in Idaho Falls.
1. Idaho Falls River Walk & Greenbelt
Highlights: Paved pedestrian path in a landscaped park lining the Snake River
Encompassing five miles and surrounding both sides of the scenic Snake River, the Idaho Falls River Walk and Greenbelt highlight some of the most spectacular scenery of the city. The entire route is extensively landscaped and well-maintained throughout the year.
Cyclists, runners, and strollers are commonly seen utilizing the path. It's also a vital resource for community members commuting to and from work throughout the day.
The River Walk connects many of the city's top attractions and natural spaces, including Sportsman Park and the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho. It's a great place to bring a camera, or perhaps a date, or just for a casual afternoon spent outside. The scenery that surrounds the Snake River Greenbelt changes colors throughout the year.
2. Museum of Idaho
Highlights: Museum relating the long history of the state; discounted entrance for state residents
Near the shops and restaurants of the downtown area, the Museum of Idaho features over 25,000 artifacts and specimens relating to the history, biology, and cultural importance of the state. The museum is open seven days a week, with more limited hours on Sunday. Idaho residents receive a discount on admission.
The museum attracts over 100,000 visitors a year and is well known for its rotating exhibits and in-depth information on display. A few of the permanent exhibitions touch upon original inhabitants of Idaho, one-room schoolhouses, and the journey of Lewis and Clark.
The museum also hosts a wide variety of events catering specifically to children, as well as an "After-Dark" series for adults 21 and older. Different educational opportunities at the museum include classes, camps, and Discovery Trunks teachers can take into classrooms.
Address: 200 North Eastern Avenue, Idaho Falls, Idaho
3. Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park
Highlights: Popular public park home to a family-friendly zoo and amusement park
Tautphaus Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Idaho Falls and is packed with family attractions. Alongside the abundant trees and green space throughout the park, it also features baseball diamonds and picnic shelters. Funland Amusement Park is also on-site, complete with waterslides and miniature carnival rides.
But the Idaho Falls Zoo is the true centerpiece attraction of this popular park, also referred to as the Tautphaus Park Zoo. It hosts animals from around the world and special events throughout the operating season of March through October.
Animals of popular interest at the zoo include lions, snow leopards, and penguins. And like the family-friendly Boo at the Zoo festival on Halloween, the facility hosts several special events beyond the normal operating season.
Address: 2725 Carnival Way, Idaho Falls, Idaho
4. Sportsman Park
Highlights: Landscaped island park in the middle of the Snake River with Friendship Garden
Only accessible via the Idaho Falls River Walk, Sportsman Park is a small island park surrounded by the Snake River. It's at the site of the first bridge to span the Snake River in eastern Idaho. Within the park and garden, decks and viewing platforms overlook the bountiful space for scenic moments in the day. These city-owned spots can also be reserved for special occasions.
Sportsman Park also features a fantastic Japanese Friendship Garden, which commemorates the city's relationship with its sister city of Tokai-Mura. The Japanese Garden features a traditional Japanese garden gate and elaborately landscaped water and plant features that blend well with the Snake River backdrop.
Address: 600 Broadway Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho
5. Art Museum of Eastern Idaho
Highlights: Free art museum on the Idaho Falls River Walk
Accessible via the Idaho Falls River Walk, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho has provided an important cultural outlet in Idaho Falls for over a decade. It features five galleries and a children's interactive art area and caters to all family members interested in expressing themselves.
The museum has a low-cost admission, and anyone can check out The Art Museum for free every first Saturday of the month. Special events and classes at the museum range from portrait painting and watercolor classes to poetry slams with always something new adding to the calendar.
Address: 300 South Capital Avenue, Idaho Falls, Idaho
6. Russ Freeman Park
Highlights: Green space, picnic shelters, hiking trails, Vietnam memorial, disc golf course
On the north side of the city adjacent to the Snake River, Russ Freeman Park is a former refuse area turned sprawling natural space. It's a great destination for families or anyone who enjoys the outdoors. This day-use park has hiking trails, abundant green space, and access to the Snake River.
An 18-hole disc golf course at the park is popular for local and regional players alike. And the Vietnam Memorial at Russ Freeman is considered a must-visit within the park. Baseball fields, horseshoe pits, and a band shelter are also found within the city-owned space.
Address: 1290 Science Center Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho
7. Idaho Falls Civic Center for the Performing Arts
Highlights: Historic live entertainment venue with several weekly shows and performances
From Louis Armstrong to Johnny Cash, the Idaho Falls Civic Center for the Performing Arts has a longstanding history of bringing musical talent to the city. Open to the public in 1952, this Civic Center for Performing Arts has had numerous upgrades to the stage, seats, and lighting systems over the years. Today, it's a central spot for Idaho Falls culture.
Hosting Broadway musicals, civic events, and various touring performances, the Civic Auditorium is also home to symphony engagements, ballet recitals, and religious-themed musicals. With seating available for nearly 2,000 people and state-of-the-art acoustics throughout, a bad seat doesn't exist in the house.
Address: 501 South Holmes Avenue, Idaho Falls, Idaho
8. Giant Eagle Waterfall Nest
Highlight: Picturesque wilderness memorial in the middle of a busy roundabout
Idaho Falls is home to one of the largest eagle monuments in the country, situated in a roundabout intersection near the Walmart Supercenter on Utah Avenue. This scenic roadside attraction is also easily accessible via the Idaho Falls River Walk. The enormous statue presents two larger-than-life eagles tending to their roost atop native Idaho rock, while a mountain lion predator lurks below.
The memorial is referred to as Giant Eagle Waterfall Nest or Eagle Rock Fountain, but the artist behind the work, Vic Payne, titled the piece The Protector. The scale and detail of the monument are breathtaking. While many appreciate the artwork from behind the windshield, it's well worth the time to get out of the car and walk the sidewalk surrounding the memorial.
Address: 1075 S Utah Avenue, Idaho Falls, Idaho
9. East Idaho Aquarium
Highlights: Aquarium open seven days a week with touch tanks and other interactive opportunities
The East Idaho Aquarium is a non-profit organization founded in 2013. It features hands-on exhibits and displays relating to aquatic and non-aquatic ecosystems. Permanent exhibits at the aquarium include a shark tank, bird-feeding stations, and freshwater life on display.
Other areas of hands-on interest include opportunities to feed and touch several animals. A few animals to interact with include stingrays, bearded dragons, and giant river fish. Scheduled activities that occur throughout the week include animal encounters, mermaid shows, and special feeding events.
A popular place to visit for field trips and school visits, the East Idaho Aquarium is also a great place to host birthday parties. The museum is open seven days a week with more limited hours on Sunday. Daily and weekly passes are available.
Address: 570 East Anderson Street, Idaho Falls, Idaho
10. Collectors' Corner Museum
Highlights: Small museum displaying owner's massive collection of memorabilia
Within a one-story building on a quiet street, the Collectors' Corner Museum displays thousands of collectibles and memorabilia from throughout the ages. The owners of this unique museum have been married for over 50 years and collecting various keepsakes for even longer.
The vast collections are kept behind glass panels or within pull-out drawers, and the wide mix of memorabilia ranges from Barbie dolls to presidential figurines. Also on display are countless stamps, tools, and model trains. Collectors' Corner keeps adding to their collection every year thanks to personal contributions from the public, providing something new to see with each visit.
Address: 900 John Adams Parkway, Idaho Falls, Idaho
11. Grand Teton National Park
Highlights: Stunning national park less than two hours away
In less than a two-hour drive from Idaho Falls, visitors can experience the mountain majesty found at Grand Teton National Park. Glacier-fed lakes, verdant alpine valleys, and the towering Teton Range comprise much of the atmosphere of Grand Teton National Park. This wild area is also infused with an abundance of wildlife, including moose, bears, and marmots.
Alongside postcard-worthy images, Grand Teton is well-regarded for a great collection of hiking trails. Just a few favorite paths to follow include the Cascade Canyon Trail, Jenny Lake Loop, and the all-encompassing Teton Crest Trail.
The best campgrounds at Grand Teton range from front-country sites with a view to backcountry paradises well worth the hike-in approach.
The park is minutes from the valley of Jackson Hole, including the resort town of Jackson and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, providing even more reasons to visit this adventure-rich region of the country.
12. Yellowstone National Park
Highlights: Hot springs, hiking trails, campgrounds, and geysers like Old Faithful
Encompassing geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and a growing herd of bison, Yellowstone was the first designated national park in the country. And today, it's still one of the most popular.
The west entrance of Yellowstone can be reached from Idaho Falls in less than a two-hour drive, lending immediate access to some of the best campgrounds of Yellowstone National Park, such as the Madison Campground.
With over two million acres comprising the park, exploring all that Yellowstone has to offer is a serious endeavor.
For a first-time visit, it's recommended to check out some of the best hiking trails of the area, including the Upper Geyser Basin Boardwalk, which showcases Old Faithful and a steaming collection of hot springs, geysers, and park history.
Other top attractions of Yellowstone include the West Thumb Geyser Basin, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Grand Prismatic Spring.
Where to Stay in Idaho Falls for Sightseeing
- Idaho Falls has many affordable hotels to choose from, and the Home2 Suites by Hilton Idaho Falls is one of the best hotels in the city. Near the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park, Home2 Suites embodies the home-away-from-home feeling with spacious rooms, full-size fridges, and free laundry service.
- Two miles southwest of the Home2 Suites, Sleep Inn & Suites also offers large rooms at a reasonable rate. Along the Interstate 15 corridor, Sleep Inn & Suites features a non-smoking facility, heated pool, and free breakfast in the morning.
- On the east side of the city, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Idaho Falls is a reputable hotel, which lives up to the cleanliness, friendliness, and overall satisfaction you'd expect from a nationally recognized hotel chain.
- For hotels that won't break the bank in Idaho Falls, Motel 6 Idaho Falls has clean facilities, comfortable beds, and a well-maintained outdoor pool area.
- Near the Motel 6 and with close access to Interstate 15, Super 8 by Wyndham Idaho Falls is another dependable option in the city, well known for its friendly staff. Alongside access to the interstate, Super 8 is also close to many tourist attractions of the city, including Sportsman Park and the Idaho Falls River Walk.
- For another affordable option, Motel West features clean, spacious, and comfortable rooms with one of the best rates in town.
Best Time to Visit Idaho Falls, Idaho
The best time to visit Idaho Falls is the extended summer season, including June, July, August, and the beginning of September. These months offer the warmest weather, sunniest skies, and longest days — great for exploring all of the city's outdoor attractions. The hottest temperatures occur in July and August, with daytime highs averaging in the 80s.
The fall shoulder season is short but a lovely time to visit. This includes the end of September through October, with winter usually taking over by early November. The fall offers cooler temperatures at night and fewer crowds to contend with during the day. Much of the scenic surroundings also take an autumn tone this time of year.
The landscape thaws out from winter beginning in March with steadily rising temperatures. However, plan a visit in late April or May for a springtime visit and warmer weather. This timeframe is typically dry and sunny, and less crowded than the ensuing summer season.
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