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You know those movies you love—situated in a small, country town where everyone knows everyone—where lights are strung overhead as the golden hour of dusk falls. Neighbors come together to celebrate a community event as a band plays. Gals wearing dresses and cowboy boots sip wine while laughing with friends. Guys swing their gals on the dance floor while Grandma plays with her granddaughter nearby. With its glorious sunsets, neighborly spirit, vibrant community events, and western charm—welcome to Caldwell, Idaho.
Located 25 miles west of Boise and a half hour from the Oregon state line, life in Caldwell is a little more down home. With a population of about 60,000, downtown Caldwell is experiencing a rebirth. The revitalization of Indian Creek Plaza has brought new life and vigor to this quiet town. The plaza offers an outdoor venue and hosts wine and art festivals, music events and more, providing a central gathering place for more than 250 days of activity throughout the year. One such event is the Caldwell Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Tuesday from May through September (5-9 p.m.) and runs in conjunction with the Summer Concert Series (6-8 p.m.)
A new, 11-screen movie theater opened last year, and trendy new restaurants and retail boutiques are popping up—10 new businesses in 2019 alone. In wintertime, the area transforms into a magical festival of lights with outdoor ice skating on the all-new
As you might imagine, rodeos and county fairs are a pretty big deal in this little section of the valley. The Caldwell Night Rodeo is Idaho’s #1, large outdoor rodeo. It is the largest and longest running annual event in Canyon County, attracting more than 45,000 engaging fans to this 5-night extravaganza.
The Canyon County Fair is the largest summer attraction in Canyon County, drawing more than 50,000 fair-goers from around the region. This four-day event is fun and affordable for families. Top country acts perform each night, and attendance is free with paid gate admission (just $5 last year). And what fair is complete without farm animals, hair-raising carnival rides, and sticky cotton candy?
What is surprising to many is the number of world-class wineries in southwestern Idaho. The rich soil found in the Snake River Valley, along with Idaho’s cool winters and hot dry summers, provide an excellent climate in which to grow grapes. As a result, 15 of the state’s 51 wineries are located within Caldwell’s vicinity. Serving as a gateway to the Snake River Valley’s wine country, the Sunnyslope Wine Trail attracts connoisseurs to the region for several annual events where wine lovers can visit the vineyards at varying stages during the growing process, tour wine cellars, and experience tastings at some of Idaho’s finest wineries.
Golfing is also a big deal in Caldwell with two great golf courses. Purple Sage Golf Course is one of the valley’s most affordable municipal golf courses, featuring 18 holes, and is home to many tournaments throughout the year. Fairview Golf Course features a 9-hole course and has character and charm that reflect the city that surrounds it.
The Indian Creek Festival is a favorite event for local residents. Taking place along (and in) Indian Creek in downtown Caldwell, this two-day event is full of family fun, including the popular cardboard kayak races. Yes, kayaks made of cardboard take to this fast-flowing creek and even overcome some rapid whitewater—something that is definitely worth checking out as you cheer on participants.
Residents of Caldwell love that their city is not too big, keeping it friendly and community-minded while only being a stone’s throw from the state capital. The local parks, splash pads, farmer’s market, and multi-million dollar downtown renovations provide charming locations that unite the city with a community spirit that is hard to beat. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the pride of Caldwell—Idaho’s first private college, The College of Idaho, a liberal arts college founded in 1891 and located in the city’s historic district.
Caldwell is the perfect mix of old and new, with enough room for residents to spread out and enjoy their surroundings. It’s where overalls and cowboy boots mix with designer jeans and high-heels. Where farm-to-table experiences take place in Grandma’s kitchen or at the latest restaurant downtown. Yes, this treasure of the valley is an exciting place to call home.