The Jackson Hole Guide
I was born and raised in a tourist destination (Jackson Hole), so I often get asked about the best places to eat, play and stay in my little ol' hometown in cowboy country. Just the mention of the Grand Tetons makes me spill with excitement, so naturally I needed to share the goods with you friendly folks here at MindRight.
Generally people think of Jackson Hole as a winter destination because it has one of the best mountains (and steepest vertical drops) in all of North America, but because you're getting the inside scoop here, Jackson is phenomenal (and in my opinion, even better) in the summer. You can hike, mountain bike, ride horses, paraglide, camp, fly fish, and white water raft to name a few. The ideal time to hit Jackson is either August/September (summer) or January/February (winter).
Ok, so you want to have a good time? Check out the goods below.
GRANITE HOT SPRINGS - although you can go both winter and summer, I prefer the winter when you can either take a snowmobile or go on a sled dog excursion out to granite hot springs for an afternoon soak. The snow is generally insane and the pools are elegantly steaming and perfectly warm. Just make sure to bring your own towels and a picnic to enjoy (with gloves on) before heading back out of the woods.
JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT - this is a given but hit the ski resort while you're there (summer or winter)! It is a necessity to take the Tram (to the very top for scenic views and epic skiing). They have also recently put in a new lift called Teton that is worth scoping out. It's my favorite on the mountain these days. You can ride to the top of the Gondola for some solid views and some food or drinks.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK - home of the Grand Tetons and just a couple minutes outside of the town square you'll hit the park where you'll find snow capped mountains (year round), clear mountain lakes and hiking to your heart's content. Make sure to check out String Lake for some solid panoramic views. If you drive just a bit farther along you'll also hit the entrance to Yellowstone National Park where the buffalos roam.
JACKSON HOLE PLAYHOUSE - the Garnick family has created such a beautiful place for local play's with top-notch talent. Make sure to check out their website for the showtimes and grab a bite to eat there before the show (because even that is a show in itself). I recommend wearing your cowboy boots to get in the spirit.
SNAKE RIVER WHITE WATER RAFTING - there are a handful of companies that will take you out on the water to either scenic raft or white water raft at the base of the mountains. Please do NOT overlook this if you're given the chance to experience it. You'll likely see a bald eagle and get rocked by "lunch counter" (a massive wave on the river). Hold on tight, going overboard is just as terrifying as it sounds.
LOTUS CAFE - smack dab in the middle of the town square is an amazing little MindRight approved restaurant with healthy, organic and soul-fueling eats. They also have an insane drink menu that is not to be missed. I mean, they are putting PRASH in cocktails. Someone knows what's up behind that bar.
SNAKE RIVER GRILL - if you're doing the whole "I'm fancy and vacation in Jackson" thing, this is your spot. It's an upscale dining experience in an elegant setting in the middle of town. You'll walk past elk antler arches to get there. Here you can do the standard photo underneath them, pretending like you don't know what's actually up in Jackson Hole.
PEARL STREET BAGELS - this is the local spot for breakfast/lunch or your morning coffee stop. It's got the air of community the moment you walk it. You'll see everyone saying hello to each other and asking about their respective families. Good ol' Wyoming folks are abound.
MANGY MOOSE - this place is a staple in the apres ski scene. It's just at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and has live bands and great margaritas (and a full bar) for kicking your feet out of the ski boots and throwing a few back. If there's a chance to dance in your ski clothes with the live band, you best be getting your booty up on the floor.
TETON TIGER: another local favorite for indian and thai dishes. It's more of a low key joint. Just be warned that if you go for lunch the service is pretty slow, but the food is delicious.
STAGECOACH BAR - On Thursday nights it is Disco Night at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson. It's a bit out of the way if you're not staying on that side of town, but generally the trek is worth it. And while it's technically Disco Night you can show up in whatever you're wearing... ski clothes included. You're in Wyoming after all.
COWBOY BAR - here you'll be sitting on saddles instead of bar stools and watching the cowboys swing their ladies around on the dance floor. There's plenty of pool tables to get in a game or two and decor to keep your eyes wandering for a while. You should probably grab a whiskey drink here because... cowboys.
Well, I grew up here so I can't tell give you first hand experience on this one because I stayed in my home, but here's some of the popular spots to check out.
AMANGANI - again, for the high class trekkers you should stay at the Amangani just for the infinity pool alone. This place is luxury at it's finest.
THE RUSTY PARROT - this place is in a great location downtown and the service is fantastic. I highly recommend grabbing a service in their spa if those kinds of things tickle your fancy.
HOTEL JACKSON - this is right downtown and get's great reviews. This one is really all about the location.
SNAKE RIVER LODGE AND SPA - if you're looking to stay out at the ski resort (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort) check out Snake River Lodge. It's not as expensive as the Four Seasons out there but just as enjoyable. Here you can ski right up to the hot tub, so I mean... why not.
Ahhh, one more note... uber is not a thing in Jackson Hole and taxis are expensive and slow. I highly recommend renting a car.
Let me know if you're Wyoming bound! I'll connect you to my friends and family, and friends of family like a true small town lady.