Meridian, ID


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The city of Meridian is a little brother to Boise, Idaho—this “big brother” and state capital is less than 10 miles east, across the valley. Residents of the smaller and younger southwestern Idaho community cherish the “old-style America” feel and take full advantage of the great outdoors.

Travelers who find themselves in Meridian should do the same. Roll down the windows and enjoy the views on a leisurely cruise down Highway 69, the Western Heritage Historic Byway that covers nearly 50 miles and leads to the Swan Falls Dam. To find Highway 69, take I-84 south to exit 44. Consider bringing your binoculars, and keep your eyes peeled for soaring raptors overhead, March through June.

Meridian’s valley location opens up opportunities to hit the mountain slopes and meadows. If your trip to Meridian takes place in winter, you’ll find no shortage of outdoor cold-weather pursuits. Ski areas within driving distance include the 2,600-acre Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area & Ski Resort, Sun Valley and McCall. If your Meridian trip is scheduled for summer, a round on the links might be in order. Reasonably priced public venues in town include par-72 Lakeview Golf Course, which also has a restaurant and lounge, or Foxtail Executive, a shorter par-61 course.

Those visiting Meridian can spend some time shopping. Art enthusiasts seek out Greg Olsen Art or Finer Frames, and collectors might peruse Sevoy Antiques in search of a hidden treasure. The Meridian Farmer’s Market runs April through September and offers produce, baked goods and crafts on Saturday mornings and Thursday nights.

Area restaurants focus on fixing American classics, so don’t expect a foie gras to make its way to your table. But thoughtful preparations are still in order, as diners at Steve’s Café attest. When describing Steve’s Montana chili, made with tri-tip, one critic said it tasted as though “cooked by someone who cared about you.” Another local favorite is Goodwood Barbecue Company, which features from-scratch dishes and closed-pit cooking. Remember the classics and order the barbecued brisket sandwich.

If drinks after dinner are called for while visiting Meridian, head for a night spot like the R&R Public House, where you can even take the kids. The pub’s hearty beer list ranges from Oregon’s Rogue to Germany’s Weihenstephaner, and wines from near and far feature an Idaho Snake River Valley Pinot Noir and an Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon. If a good seat to watch the big game is a priority, head for Pinnacle Sports Grill. Besides big-screen TVs, appetizers like fried chicken wings are sports-fan favorites, and Pinnacle makes an array of them—from House BBQ (mild) to Wild Bill (get the ice water ready.)

You can avoid “big brother’s” higher prices by staying over at one of Meridian’s many lodging options. You will find comfy chain hotels such as Candlewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn. Campers might choose Boise-Meridian RV Resort or Hi Valley RV Park. Travelers who re-charge here will have a second chance to explore the area in the morning.