Every summer, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, grows from a small Western frontier town of locals to a worldwide tourist destination for 3 million visitors. According to The Scout Guide Jackson Hole editor Jill King, the draw is easy to explain—as she puts it, “What’s prettier than the Tetons?” Thanks to endless vistas, frequent wildlife settings, down-home Western vibes, and plenty of alluring accommodations, restaurants, and shops to keep visitors happy, the town is an ideal place for a summer getaway (and a popular locale for couples tying the knot). Here, Jill, who is also the owner of staging and styling company Styling the New West, shares insider tips for enjoying her mountain city like a local in the summertime.
WHERE TO HAVE AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE // With so many visitors flocking to Jackson Hole in the summer months, figuring out how to beat the crowds to the best hiking spots is a factor to consider when preparing for an outdoor excursion. Jill recommends getting up early to get a parking spot at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, where you can take a moderate hike to Phelps Lake. Or, get your heart rate going during a trek up Snow King, which includes 1.571 vertical feet of a 1.8-mile trail leading to the best views of downtown (don’t worry, for $5, you can ride the chairlift down). Jill also recommends seeing Grand Teton National Park from the water and the trails, or taking the scenic ferry ride across Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls or Inspiration Point.
Practically every local recommends that out-of-towners experience the Yellowstone Wildlife Safari from Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, Jill says. “A day with an experienced naturalist exploring geology, wildlife, natural history, and our beautiful Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks viewing moose, elk, deer, bison, fox, coyote, bald eagles, wolves, and even black and grizzly bears is a must,” she advises.
If you’re looking for adventure on the water, Jill suggests renting a paddle board or inner tube from Rendezvous River Sports (945 West Broadway Street) and heading out early to String Lake for a day of sun, making sure to pack sandwiches from Pearl Street Bagel (145 West Pearl Avenue) or New York City Sub Shop (20 North Jackson Street) for lunch. “For a real local thrill, jump from the infamous rock in the middle of String Lake,” Jill adds.
While all of these outdoor excursions will be Instagram-worthy, Jill and many locals ask that you skip adding a location tag when posting on social media, in an effort to keep the trails and other favorite destinations uncrowded (those in-the-know use the hashtag #tagresponsiblykeepjackonwild). Another local tip: don’t forget to clip your bear spray onto your belt loop. Last but not least, Jill recommends using locally made, high-altitude sunscreen by Trilipiderm to protect your skin while you’re out and about.
WHERE TO DINE AND DRINK // For early-morning fare, Jill recommends heading to Healthy Being Juicery (165 East Broadway), where her favorite juice blends are the Kale Yeah or Sexy Maca. After a morning of hiking, refuel with pizza at local favorite Pinky Gs (50 West Broadway)—Jill says their gluten-free veggie pie is must-try. If you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, indulge in the perfect European coffee, gelato, or a handcrafted Florentine at CocoLove (115 West Broadway) near the Wort Hotel.
Wind down after a day spent outdoors at Picas Mexican Restaurant (1160 Alpine Lane), where Jill likes to sit outside and sip one of the best and (cheapest) Margaritas in town with a side of warm, salty chips, authentic guacamole, and fresh salsa.
If you’re craving Italian for dinner, Jill suggests heading to Orsetto (161 North Center Street), where she recommends starting your meal with the housemade meatballs at the bar, followed by delicious Italian-American classics.
For a true Jackson Hole dinner experience, pay a visit to the old-fashioned soda fountain at the recently reopened institution Jackson Drug (15 East Deloney Avenue), known for its local beef and homemade ice cream. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, order “The Ralph Burger,” a three-pound organic beef hamburger with meat sourced from local legend Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch. If you can finish it by yourself in under an hour, your meal is free—plus you’ll get your photo on the wall.
If you’re seeking a great watering hole, you’re in luck. Jackson Hole is home to many iconic bars, including the famous Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel (50 Glenwood Street) and the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (25 North Cache Street), where visitors can sit on a saddle and revisit the old west.
WHERE TO TAKE IN THE LOCAL ATTRACTIONS // The mountains aren’t Jackson Hole’s only claim to fame. Jill suggests grabbing a Start Bike and wheeling around town to see the famous Antler Arches (2-60 North Cache Street) and “Howdy, Stranger” sign at the top of Grand Teton Pass. She also recommends finding a spot to dip your toe in the Snake River, a local rite of passage.
For a touristy but picture-perfect vantage point, catch a ride in the old-fashioned Stagecoach at the Wooden Shack on Town Square (located at the corner of Broadway and Cache), and then grab some taffy from Yippy I-O Candy (84 East Broadway Avenue).
WHERE TO SHOP // Want to dress like a local? Jill has you covered. First stop: go to HideOut Leathers (40 Center Street) for the leather coat of a lifetime. Then, grab a Copperdot Leather cowhide clutch from BelleCose (48 East Broadway Avenue). Pick up some new Levi’s and a custom pearl shirt from Western Range (36 East Broadway Avenue) and a new pair of cowboy boots from Wyoming Outfitters (12 Center Street). Last but not least, add a custom hat from Christy at Sing Hat Co. or from Sarah at Crown & Brim.
If you’re looking for a keepsake to commemorate the trip or simply seeking out a unique find, there are a variety of retailers to visit during an afternoon shopping excursion. Locals love to find vintage bargains at Womenfolk (140 East Broadway). Headwall Sports (520 U.S. 89) is the perfect place to find a backpack. Pick up a locally-inspired piece, like an antler bowl from Shawn Rivett Designs, at Twenty Two Home (45 East Deloney Avenue). Visit Altitude (48 East Broadway) and shop for a chic new sweater to keep you warm during cool mountain nights. Invest in a pair of Marsell boots from HABITS (35 West Deloney Avenue). Browse the western-chic attire at Rodeo at Teton Village. Or, if you prefer a sparkly souvenir, Jill recommends checking out the Teton Silhouette Ring or Snake River bangles from JC Jewelers Jackson Hole (132 North Cache Street).
WHAT NOT TO MISS // Experience the Jackson Hole Shootout every Monday through Saturday on the town square at 5:45. Saturdays, you’ll want to head to the Farmers Market in Town Square early in the morning and fill your basket with fresh cut flowers from Heides and feast on a breakfast of baked goods and fruit.
On Sundays, Jill loves to grab some charcuterie and a bottle of Prosecco from Bin 22 (200 West Broadway) and head to “The Vill”—what locals call Teton Village—for Concerts on the Commons. Also on Sunday nights, you can experience cowboy “church” by dancing it up at The Stagecoach Bar (5755 West WY-22), where Jill recommends treating yourself to the truffle fries and a longneck.
Wednesday evenings, stop by the People’s Market, a zero-waste, family-friendly event with local food and live music at the base of Snow King, for a local craft beer and pub fare from Roadhouse—or, any day of the week, pick up a six pack from the brewery, head up to Snow King, and crush cans on the summit.
Wednesdays and Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day (plus a few additional dates in July), go full wild west at the Jackson Hole Rodeo (447 Snow King Avenue), a tradition since the first cowboy settlers came to town more than a century ago. Jill is married to a cowboy rancher, and she loves that the Jackson Hole Rodeo delights tourists while also retaining an authentic local appeal. The views of the sun setting over the mountains from the Rodeo Grounds are pretty spectacular, too.
To learn about additional events in Jackson Hole, Jill recommends visiting the Center for the Arts website, as well as the events calendar maintained by nonprofit Center of Wonder. And, of course, follow The Scout Guide Jackson Hole for more insider information.
Photography by Sarah Averill Photography. Find more information about what to do and see in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, here.