Coeur d’Alene (CDA) is a super quaint city in Northwest Idaho, known for its proximity to the lakes and hosting an Ironman race. We came for a friend’s wedding and spent a leisurely week hiking in the Coeur d’Alene National forest and walking through the downtown area. It’s a great city for outdoor and water activities (depending on time of year) and it has a beautiful golf course, but you probably wouldn’t need more than a few days here to fully enjoy its offerings. No problems with mosquitoes here, but they have do have a lot of wasps!
What to Eat
As expected, there isn’t very much in terms of variety in the food here, you’ll get mostly American and pub style food. There’s only a handful of ethnic restaurants and Yelp is still gaining traction here, so it doesn’t yet seem that dependable. On the bright side there is no end of beer in sight!
hudsonshamburgers.com, 207 E Sherman Ave, $, Cash only!
Hudson’s, or affectionately Huddy’s, is the go to burger spot in town. Known for being a no frills classic burger counter since 1907, no one leaves CDA without trying a burger here. Service is all smiles and beware of eating at the counter as you will be asked if you want another burger the moment you finish yours – and it’s hard to say no. The space is really small so you’ll want to order togo for larger groups. The burgers make a great picnic lunch though, so opt to get one togo and skip across the street to the lake and enjoy the burger with a view. Check their hours as it closes before your typical dinner time, but it’s open in time for breakfast!
craftedtaphouse.com, 523 Sherman Ave, $
A great variety of beers on tap and pretty tasty food too! The wall menu won’t have any descriptions, so you might have to snag a tablet drinks menu from a table, especially if the bar is busy. The outdoor space is really beautiful and accommodates larger groups around your very own fire pit. They also have turtle races every Friday evening at 10pm. Carl was an extremely good guesser and we were the evening’s highest scoring winner, which got us a free “mug”, which turned out to be a little snifter glass – not sure if that’s what they meant or if they just ran out of mugs. Oh, and be warned: the $1 beer cards you get for guessing a winner is only valid during the turtle races, and I believe only for select beers. None of this is written on the cards nor was it announced to us during the races – we learned the hard way when we came back another night and couldn’t use the coupons.
Fire Artisan Pizza
fireartisanpizza.com, 517 Sherman Ave, $$
When you tire of burgers, you can opt for some thin crust pizza. Fire was large enough for a big party and made for easy sharing. Each pizza is more than enough for one, but probably not enough for two. Their brie appetizer was also a big hit for the group. We had the Crimini and Camino pizzas and were not disappointed.
Coeur d’Alene Coffee Co
cdacoffeecompany.com, 418 E Lakeside Ave, $
If you’re looking for a pick me up after all the eating, all the beer, and all the ice cream sugar crashes… or if you need to be productive during your trip, definitely check out Coeur d’Alene Coffee Co. It’s a coffee shop in a great coworking space with super comfy chairs, a moderate-low noise level, and delicious coffee. There’s also a speakeasy somewhere in there, but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to check it out, maybe next time!
docksidecda.com, 115 South 2nd St, $$
We came just for their Gooeys, which are essentially giant goblet sundaes. They’re open later and do have quite a view, if you’re there when it’s still light out of course. A must make stop if you’re into doing things for the ‘gram. Think giant servings of gourmet Cold Stones; they’re impressive and tasty but if you’re an ice cream purist, than this is not the place for you, please read on.
Abi’s Ice Cream
abisicecream.com, 112 N 4th St, $
For such a small downtown, you’ll get a good number of ice cream options, but by far our favorites were Abi’s and Sweet Peaks. Both spots had a friendly face that had no qualms about letting us try flavors or ask questions (really, just a minimum expectation for a good ice cream experience, but we’ve had many a varying experiences and that’s always been a huge factor for us). Try the Cinnamon Roll and the Abi’s Rocky Road (delicious chocolate ice cream with white chocolate chips and toffee pieces, no nuts!) on a deliciously thin waffle cone.
Sweet Peaks Ice Cream
sweetpeaksicecream.com, 108 N 4th St, $
Try their Honey Cinnamon (more mild in cinnamon than Abi’s and a hint of that floral honey flavor) and their Bear Scat (chocolate and blueberries). Note that their specialty flavors are seasonal and run out fast, and once they run out, they switch over to the next batch of flavors.
What to do
Coeur d’Alene Golf and Spa Resort
CDA Golf, 115 S 2nd St, $$$
Carl loves to golf and highly recommends splurging for the experience here, he recommends this course over the one in Maui. The course is immaculate and the views are stunning, and the package comes with a caddy, practice tee, and a pre-round warm up massage.
Coeur d’Alene National Forest
The forest has a ton of trails and is mixed-use, mostly hikers, bikers and motorbikes. During the weekend there were a lot more of motorized vehicles about and the parking lot gets packed by 11am. GPS signal is strong here, so we were able to just use our AllTrails app and wander about. Most the trails intersect so you can build your own route as you go, but there are definitely some steeper trails and some bike trails that are very narrow. The trails aren’t that clearer marked either and they use trail numbers/letters and not the trail name, so you’ll want to have a map handy for reference.
There’s a good slightly shaded picnic spot with some barriers and blocks where Trail C, Trail 3, and North Nettleton Gulch Road meet. If you don’t mind the sun and want a view, you can stop at the first peak where Canfield Loop Road meets Trail 5.
Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch
sevenstarsalpacaranch.com, 2885 S Folsom Ridge Rd, $
For a short but sweet animal experience, check out the Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch and take their tour to learn a little about alpacas and take some photos. You’ll get to see and pet a variety of animals, including the unique experience of see the herd animals being let out to pasture. They also offer spaces on AirBnB, if you’d like stay out on their ranch. Definitely recommend if you’re a fan of alpacas or for the kids.
Another animal experience which we went to but hesitate to recommend is the Cat Tales Zoological Park over in Spokane (which we had to fly through to get to CDA), it seems that they’re doing really good work over here but the park itself is rather depressing and very small, though you do get to see some animals quite close, it just didn’t have great vibes.
Where to Stay
We loved our AirBnB The Emerald House, hosted by Ryan and Kaylise. The 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom and full kitchen home was a perfect choice for our two couple, 1 week stay. Ryan and Kaylise were very responsive, friendly, and gave plenty of suggestions for our visit. The location is just a short drive from both the forest and the Sherman Ave downtown. We would definitely stay here again.
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