I was born in Sun Valley and have lived there every since. I love where I'm from, and being away at college makes me miss it even more. This pride suddenly halts when someone asks me where I'm from. I cringe awaiting the reaction to my response. Usually, the response is a bewildered, "Wow, Idaho," as people are surprised that more than potatoes come out this mysterious state. This response is cringe-worthy, so here I am to set the record: Sun Valley is the best. 

1. Farm to table is real

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Blair Baker

One of the perks of being surrounded by nature (and so many farms) is the fresh produce. In the summer, there is a weekly farmers market that always has fresh fruit, veggies, and meat from nearby. 

2. Brunch is always an option

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Blair Baker

Sun Valley is a town that thrives on tourism.  One thing I know for sure: tourists love to brunch. This means that locals like to brunch too. A local favorite is Cristina's. This restaurant is located in a quaint, salmon-colored house just off of Sun Valley road. Cristina, the owner, is from Tuscany and proves Italians know their food.

Order German pancakes for breakfast, grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, and the San Francisco airport if you're feeling a salad (don't forget the raspberry lemonade). If you're looking for a more 'rustic' experience, try The Kneadery and order a big stack of pancakes or the country frittata. If you're lucky you could run into Arnold Shwarznegger or even Miley Cyrus. 

3. Family businesses means good hospitality

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Blair Baker

Sun Valley doesn't have many chain restaurants, so many restaurants are family run. Johnny G's Subshack is a local favorite. You can often find Johnny himself taking your order. If you come by enough, don't be surprised when Johnny calls you by your name and asks about your parents. The walls are covered with photos of celebrities like Shaq who stop by for these delicious subs. Fan faves are the Delbello or Mama Sass's Meatball sandwich. 

4. The freshest Idaho potatoes

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Blair Baker

Idaho is known for their potatoes, and for good reason. These local potatoes do not disappoint. Mash them, fry them, or bake them, you really can't go wrong. The best local place for potatoes is the Pioneer Saloon. This restaurant has classic 'old west' vibes. Steak and a loaded baked potato is a no brainer. 

5. Great skiing (without the lines)

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Blair Baker

Skiing is a staple in Sun Valley. Locals live for powder days and know the bliss of fresh tracks on a groomer. The best part: no lines. Unlike big ski resorts like Jackson Hole or Deer Valley, Sun Valley never has a line that lasts more than a couple of minutes. This means more runs before the obligatory hot cocoa break. Stop by The Roundhouse lodge for some fondue. 

6. Après ski means yummy food by the fire

chocolate, cake
Blair Baker

Nothing warms you up from a long day of skiing like some fresh pastries as you warm your toes by the fire. The Konditorei, located in the Sun Valley resort village, boasts a massive selection of sweet treats. 

7. Not into skiing? The options are endless

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Blair Baker

Sun Valley has many more activities besides skiing. In the winter, you can sled, ice skate, or curl up with a good book and a coffee and the bookshop and cafe, Iconoclast Books. In the summer, you can mountain bike, go fishing, or go for a hike. The options are endless.  

8. The coffee is good, the company is better

Blair Baker

Java is a local favorite. The quaint, eclectic coffee shop has delicious, fresh coffee and pastries. If you're looking for your friends, look at Java. You will always see someone you know there. Java is known for their bowl of soul (their speciality mocha), but my favorite is the London fog (a mix of steamed vanilla milk and Earl grey tea). All of their drinks pair perfectly with a raspberry muffin. 

9. Views, Views, Views

Blair Baker

If you're looking to get out of town for a bit, drive north for about an hour and you will reach Redfish Lake. Rent a boat and enjoy some lake activities or tan on the beach. Most importantly, pack a picnic and enjoy your meal with a view. It doesn't get much better than this. 

10. Locals make you feel like family 

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Blair Baker

Sun Valley is the epitome of a community. Locals are extremely friendly and are always full of suggestions for activities and can fill you in on the hidden gems. 

Sun Valley will always be my home and I am forever grateful that I grew up in such a great place (thanks mom and dad). Even if I can't convince you that it's the best small town, I will always know its #1 in my heart.