Some of the most beautiful cities are nothing more than hidden gems. But what better location to search for these dazzling jewels than in the "Gem State" itself? Nestled in the American Midwest, Idaho is a powerhouse of epic waterfalls, stunning landmarks, and stunning mountains carving out the skyline. So, to see this marvelous state like a fellow Idahoan, grab a glass of whiskey and a slice of huckleberry pie because these are the seven most beautiful cities you must see!
Founded in the shadows of Grand Teton, Idaho Falls is a bustling economic hub and refuge for outdoor enthusiasts. Only a stone's skip from Yellowstone National Park and a few national forests, photographers, outdoor recreationists, and animal lovers will rejoice at Idaho Falls's prime location. Yet, what makes this city a standout is its namesake, the very waterfall found at its heart, the Idaho Falls. Situated in Bonneville County, the Snake River flows through the city's center, giving way to one of the most beautiful downtowns in Idaho. While here, dive into the local history at the Museum of Idaho. Have little ones to entertain? Spend a day at the Idaho Zoo found at Tautphas Park. There's a bit of everything in this attractive yet cosmopolitan city to be discovered.
Revered as the Gateway to the Northeast, Pocatello is a charming university town that has it all. Founded by gold miners and settlers passing through on the Oregon Trail, this city in Bannock and Power Counties is among the largest in Idaho state. Grab some delectable cuisine at one of the local restaurants, walk around the historic downtown, and ogle at the many National Registers of Historic Places buildings. Or spend a day at the head-scratching Museum of Clean. That's right, Pocatello has a museum dedicated to cleanliness. Time your day just right, and catch one of the sunsets from the hiking trails as the last beams of the day tuck behind the skyline of the Bannock Range. But Pocatello is a destination of four seasons of fun! Come in the summer and float on the sparkling waters of the Portneuf River. Winter turns Pocatello into an unforgettable winter wonderland, with skiing a popular activity at the Pebble Creek Ski Area.
Twin Falls is an enigma, a quiet city teeming with jaw-dropping sights and adrenaline-pumping action; it even attracted the likes of Evel Knievel. Situated in Twin Fall County, many are drawn to it for its limitless natural beauty. Around every corner is another picturesque scenery waiting to be discovered. From the epic Shoshone Falls cascading over dense rock, the Perrine Coulee Falls plugging over a cliff, or the spectacular Perrine Memorial Bridge that expands over the Snake River, there are sights to be seen. Yet, as stunning as the natural views are, so are the attractions in town. Walk along the quirky and upscale shops in downtown, or meander among the Orton Botanical Gardens. However, the enormous appeal of Idaho Falls may shock some, and it is a prime location for base jumping. The Perrine Memorial Bridge is a popular spot for this extreme sport. Although, the Snake River Canyon was where Evel Knievel did a daring cliff jumping with a steam-powered rocket in 1974.
Tucked to the northwest of the capital, Boise, is the trendy and picturesque city of Garden City. A go-to spot for thrill seekers, wine aficionados, and music lovers, Garden City, is for those who enjoy the finer things in life with a hint of adventure. Come and enjoy a scenic hike along the Boise Green Belt Trail. Or, jump in the water to enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding; the Boise River is the jewel of this community. Perhaps something more leisurely is to your taste? Cruise down Chinden Blvd, taking in its history and named after the Chinese immigrants and the gardens; Chin-den. Be serenaded at the Visual Arts Collective or Revolution Concert Hall by a live performance. Or, sip on local adult beverages among the vineyards with family or friends while taking in the sights of the surrounding mountains. You, too, can discover the meaning of Garden City's motto, "nestled by the river."
What do the Selkirk Mountains, Lake Pend Orielle, and a 19th-century rail town in northern Idaho have in common? Each of these will you to the quaint city of Sandpoint. Best known as a four-season resort town, Sandpoint flaunts some of Idaho's best skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Or, go for a scenic summertime cruise of either of the byways; the Wildhorse Trail or Pend Orielle Scenic Byway, and see the Kootenai Tribes' ancient fishing path to Lake Pend Orielle from the eastern flank of the Selkirk Mountains. While in town, browse the Kinnikkinnick Plant Society Arboretum located at Lakeview Park, or gape at the impressive 20th-century architecture of the Panida Theatre while listening to a local performer. All this makes Sandpoint an undervalued yet astonishingly beautiful city found in Idaho.
You'll find Ketchum's cute and upscale city, where fine art meets the Wood River Valley. With breathtaking views of the Bald Mountain that engulfs the city, Ketchum is a mecca for four seasons of outdoor recreation. The aforementioned Bald Mountains tease world-renowned skiing, while many are attracted to fishing, hunting, and shopping. It should go without saying that hiking is a popular activity, with scenic vistas of the marvelous landscape worthy of a postcard. However, one of the biggest appeals comes from Ketchum's history for a famous former resident, Ernest Hemingway. Yes, it's true! Ernest Hemingway once lived in pretty little Ketchum until he died in 1961.
Last but not least, this next one might seem a bit short of hellish. Yet, it has everything to do with its close vicinity to Hells Canyon, Salmon River Canyons, and Hells Gate State Park, the top attractions of this outstanding city. Established during the gold rush in 1861, Lewiston served as the original capital city before Boise. Even though it's engulfed by mountain ranges and snaking rivers, Lewiston has another title that is the focal point of its bragging rights. This comes from an engineering defeat, having the furthest inland seaport. Thus, being founded at the Snake River and Clearwater River confluence, a series of locks and dams allow some sea vessels to reach the Port of Lewiston, Idaho's only seaport. Further, making Lewiston a remarkably stunning city found on the Idaho-Washington border.
While many searches for a scenic or awe-worthy destination, they overlook the potential of Idaho. With mountains that seem like they touch the sky, crystal clear rivers, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant flora, giving way to activities for all seasons, there are endless activities to do. Moreover, this list only scratches the surface of the most beautiful cities, with others being Rexburg, McCall, and Salmon. The only way to find your hidden gem is to search Idaho for your own beautiful city.