The Ultimate Travel Guide To Meridian & Things To Do

Meridian is the second-largest city in Idaho, sandwiched between the state capital of Boise to the east and Nampa to the west. It is located in the Potato State’s famed Treasure Valley and gets its name from the Boise Meridian, one of the 35 principal meridians in the United States, which the city lies directly on.

Meridian has experienced a population surge in the last three decades, from a meager 9,596 in 1990 to a whopping 117,000 in 2020, a feat that places it among the fastest-growing cities in America. With a growing population spurred by a strong job market and growing local attractions, Meridian is a city on the up and up, looking to claim its stake among the top destinations in the country.


From peaceful local parks and vibrant malls to activity centers and the biggest waterpark in the Northwest, the city is ideal for the ultimate family vacation, promising an overdose of fun and good memories. Fancy a trip to this budding tourist hotspot, check out this ultimate guide to visiting Meridian.

What To Know Before Visiting Meridian

Main streets
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Main streets passing through Meridian, Idaho

Meridian has a population of just over 117,000, having grown from a tiny suburb of the capital, Boise, to a buzzing city in its own right. It is among the safest cities for visitors, recording some of the lowest crime rates in the country.

The city hosts an increasing number of relocating families and tourists who come to experience its bounty of local attractions and some of the best adventures to have in Idaho.

For instance, Meridian boasts at least 20 parks and mini-parks spread across the city. Its location in the Treasure Valley provides multiple green spaces meticulously planned for community members to play or relax in the ideal outdoor setting.

Related:8 Idaho State Parks To Add To Your Scenic Bucket List

Meridian also is a shopper’s paradise, with The Village serving as the main tourist hub, offering enthusiasts 29 locations to sample everything from home goods and apparel to jewelry. There are more shops to explore along Overland and Eagle Roads.

Finally, the city has evolved as a culinary destination, carving an identity of its own with unique dishes that embody the taste of Idaho and diverse menus incorporating everything from local to Basque and Asian cuisines.

Tourists can expect an itinerary full of fun events, both indoor and outdoor!

Best Time To Visit Meridian

The best time for tourists in Meridian is between May and September. The weather is pretty warm with clear skies and little to no precipitation, creating the perfect environment to explore the open spaces and get lost in all the water-based thrills.

Unsurprisingly, this is also the busiest time in the city, with July welcoming the biggest crowds.

Meridian is a bee-hive of activities in the summer as tourists jostle for its diverse attractions, resulting in a festival atmosphere that any vacationing family will relish.

On the flip side, lodging and accommodation rates are at their highest, so tourists should book well in advance to avoid exorbitant prices.

Meridian winter
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Inter season in Meridian, Idaho

For those who want to skip the crowds and steer clear of the hustle and bustle, try the shoulder seasons in spring before the surge of visitors or fall when warm-weather travelers begin to skip town. This an excellent time to score a deal on lodging and discover the city before the weather gets too unbearable to be outdoors.

December is also a great time for those who can bear the cold as the town comes back to life with end-of-year festivities. Winter activities take center stage, and families can partake in skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling for an unforgettable Christmas vacation.

The least appealing time to visit is January and February. Meridian feels deserted with tourists gone, and the biting cold means many of the top attractions are closed.

The only consolation is that hotel prices are at their lowest, and there is free rein to roam the city.

Top Things To Do In Meridian

Meridian is home to endless attractions and some of the best spots to visit in Idaho.

Whether traveling alone or with family, there is something for everyone.

Shop ‘Til you Drop in The Village at Meridian

Water fountain
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Water fountain at The Village at Meridian

The Village at Meridian is an outdoor mall on the west and south sides of Kleiner Park. A popular tourist hub and the city’s “holy grail” of shopping, the mall features picturesque scenery surrounded by lush greenery and cool fountains.

The Village houses a bulk of the town’s boutiques and restaurants, and with over 20 shopping locations, shopaholics can hop from one trademark store to another, including big names like Nike, GAP, LUSH, LOFT, and Marshalls.

Most stores are lined on an arcing street with charming flowerbeds and cute little hedges.

The whole scene could easily be mistaken for a small utopian village, especially over the holidays when the outdoor area is decorated with beautiful lights.

After an exciting shopping spree filled with thrills, guests can sit down for some sumptuous meals in one of the many restaurants and eateries in the Village.

Make a Splash at Roaring Springs

There are at least 20 water attractions in Meridian, but none gets the party going like Roaring Springs.

Bearing the title of the largest water park in the Northwest, Roaring Springs is the ideal family vacation spot, promising intense fun for kids and adults alike.

It boasts several thrill rides for adults, including the Snake River Run and the Cliffhanger, highlighted by a six-story high-speed drop (not for the faint-hearted).

For a greater adrenaline rush, tourists can try the Corkscrew Cavern, a 360-degree looping waterslide and the first in the region.

Kids will be more at home at Bearfoot Bay, where they can wade in the pool and have fun on the friendlier Kiddie Kowabunga tube slide.

Don’t worry when the kids start complaining of hunger, the four restaurants at the park will cater to everyone’s taste buds.

Guests can rent a cabana for a more exclusive experience with convenient waiter service.

Keep the Party Going at Wahooz Family Fun Zone

A kid swimming

Within walking distance from Roaring Springs, Wahooz Family Fun Zone is the pinnacle of family fun attractions, offering exciting indoor and outdoor recreational activities.

The arcade features everything from a laser tag arena, amusement rides, a bowling alley, a playground, and a climbing zone, ensuring the young will be spoiled for choice.

For a more laid-back activity, there is an 18-hole miniature golf course to learn the perfect swing, and parents can join in the fun with the adult-sized go-karts and bumper boats.

While the mini-golf course is open all year round, other activities, such as the go-karts are weather-dependent and will only be available when the condition allows.

  • Address: 400 West Overland Road Meridian, ID 83642, USA
  • Operation hours: Attractions may be open on a rotating basis when necessary, while hours and prices are subject to change.

Check the site to check whether an activity will be available and confirm the price in advance before including it in the itinerary

Break a Sweat on Two Wheels Along the Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River connects Meridian to the state capital of Boise, running north and east.

It features 25 miles of pedestrian and bike paths along its banks that crisscross 850 acres of park area on the way to the neighboring town

Related:10 Incredible Scenic Road Trips To Take In Idaho During The Winter

This is the ideal opportunity to sneak in some exercise and sweat it out by walking or biking while enjoying the amazing surroundings comprising lush greenery.

With diverse wildlife along the way, the Greenbelt is a beautiful spot for birding, offering glimpses of the Great Blue heron, wildfowl, and other passerine birds in summer and the majestic bald eagle in winter.

Tourists can also opt for a more laid-back experience by renting a raft or standup paddleboard on the slow-flowing River.

Get up close with Nature at the Idaho Botanical Garden

The Idaho Botanical Garden was reclaimed in the 1980s from an idle closure on the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. Today, it is a gorgeous natural paradise with 13 different gardens, offering the ideal place to be one with nature.

The English Garden is a crowd favorite where visitors admire more than 1300 perennials meticulously planted around a charming summer house. It is a sight filled with colors and a cool vibe.

Kids can continue their mischief at the Children’s Adventure Garden, with fun activities such as crawling, leaping, and climbing on the offing.

Elsewhere, the Idaho Native Plant Garden and Herb Garden showcase some resilient native species and other old-age plants used for cooking, medicine, and cosmetics.

The Idaho Botanical Garden hosts seasonal events during Thanksgiving and, Christmas and Santa sightings are not uncommon.

Discover Downtown MeridianFall in Meridian

One of the best ways to explore a city and its culture is to visit the downtown district. Meridian’s downtown is a vibrant area of the city rife with local shops, restaurants, and cool outdoor spaces.

Those who want to mingle and interact with the locals and fellow tourists can explore the nightlife at the different bars, pubs, and restaurants downtown.

The Generations Plaza is also a popular spot where tourists gather to admire the flowers and relax by the fountain.

Indulge Your Need for Speed at the Meridian Speedway

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The Meridian Speedway

Roaring engines and the distinct smell of burning tires engulfed in loud cheers describe the Meridian Speedway atmosphere.

Fast car lovers converge at this short track, which has been entertaining spectators since 1951.

The speedway is a popular attraction for NASCAR lovers who come to catch weekly races in the summer and spring.

Related:10 Things You Can Experience In Sun Valley, Idaho

Guests can also participate in special events hosted at the facility, like the exciting fireworks display dubbed “Eve of Destruction.”

Racing aside, the free-flowing buckets of beers and tasty snacks add to the experience, making the Meridian Speedway one of the best stop-overs for thrill seekers.

Where To Eat In Meridian

Thanks to a growing population and increased tourist activity in the city, Meridian has had to establish itself as a cultural and social hub. While it may not be famous as a culinary hub, multiple local eateries and chic restaurants will cater to all preferences.

The downtown area is rife with some of the best the city can offer in terms of dining and several watering holes for a taste of Meridian’s nightlife.


Sunrise Café

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the spot to visit for a sumptuous first meal to kick-start the day is Sunrise Café.

This family-owned restaurant specializes in breakfast with a unique menu for a hearty family meal.

A dedicated kid’s menu experiments with fun options like sausage patties and homemade biscuits that any under 12 will relish.

Meanwhile, its old-fashioned interior with wood paneling offers a charming hometown feel to visitors in the town.

  • Address: 805 N Main St, Meridian, ID 83642, United States
  • Business hours: Monday to Saturday (6 am – 2 pm), Sunday (7 am – 2 pm)

Don’t forget to try the biscuits and gravy with a side of creamy scrambled eggs

Moe Joe’s Breakfast Eatery

Located near the intersection of Eagle and Overland Roads, this chic brunch spot is one of the new entrants downtown, having operated for over a year.

Serving a menu of original and hand-cooked meals, Moe Joe’s is popular with guests yearning for a fine traditional American breakfast.

Their specialty, Moe Joe cakes, are to die for, while the chicken fried steak sandwich and French toast are some of the crowd favorites.

Furthermore, the restaurant’s interior is spacious with comfortable seating and a relaxed vibe.

  • Address: 2961 E Overland Rd Suite 190 Meridian, Idaho 83642
  • Business hours: Monday – Sunday (7 am – 2 pm

small eatery
Via Shutterstock

Small eatery in Meridian

Lunch and dinner:

Calle 75 Street Tacos

For the best Mexican cuisine, guests should look for Calle 75 Street Tacos in the trendy Village tourist hub. This popular eatery started as a small food truck but has become one of the go-to spots for delicious Mexican dishes.

The sleek and contemporary design of the eatery features an open-plan kitchen for guests to see all the action, and its welcoming dining area is surrounded by large windows overlooking the beautiful square.

Guests will be spoilt for choice with tantalizing options such as tortas, burritos, and tacos served with luscious toppings like aioli, cilantro, and baja crema on the menu.

  • Address: 3635 E. Longwing Lane Meridian, ID 83646
  • Business hours: Monday – Thursday (11 am – 9 pm), Friday & Saturday (11 am – 11 pm), Sunday (11 am – 6 pm)

Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli

Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli is another popular downtown eatery that impresses with a diverse menu serving delicious meals with a creative spin on deli sandwiches.

Patrons can choose from options like Mountain Man made with bacon, lettuce, and potato salad.

The proprietor, Chef Wally, is a talented chef that can get adventurous with customer orders to create tailored meals with any desired combination of fillings.

Also, the recipes use freshly baked bread and high-quality ingredients, which add to the final flavor of the made-from-scratch meals.

  • Address: 1626 Wells Ave. Meridian, 1D 83642
  • Business hours: Monday – Friday (10:30 am – 6 pm), Saturday (10;30 am – 5 pm), Sunday (Closed)


The Curb Bar and Grill

The Curb is a trendy watering hole where locals and visitors converge to enjoy a refreshing drink while catching up on live sports.

This southwestern-themed joint features 8 big screen TVs and an upbeat atmosphere for the best of Meridian nightlife.

With creative cocktails on the menu, such as the Idaho Bloody Mary, Lime in the Coconut Margarita, and Holli Berri Tweet, guests will get right in the party mood. The bar also serves palatable meals like “adult” mac n cheese to hungry patrons.

  • Address: 1760 S. Meridian Rd #100 Meridian, ID 83642
  • Business hours: 11 am – 9 pm Daily

Yard House

This fun sports bar at the Village offers the best of both worlds with good food and fresh craft beer. It is the ideal meeting point for tourists looking for a nighttime thrill, thanks to an energetic vibe and upbeat music.

The Yard House ensures the drinks keep flowing through the night with more than 100 beer taps and a variety of cocktails on the menu. Add this to the festive atmosphere with a friendly crowd, and guests can expect an authentic taste of the city’s nightlife.

Aside from the drinks, the bar serves delicious meals, with favorites such as street tacos, pole nachos, and steaks, ensuring no hungry stomach in the house. This is just the place for a complete experience.

  • Address: 3693 E Longwing Ln Suite #140, Meridian, ID 83646
  • Business hours: Monday – Thursday (11 am – 11:30 pm), Friday & Saturday (11 am – 12:30 am), Sunday (11 am – 11:30 pm

Where To Stay In And Around Meridian

Meridian Idaho Temple lit by a dramatic sunset
Via Shutterstock

A temple lit by a dramatic sunset in Meridian, Idaho

There are enough accommodation options to cater to the growing population and tourists coming to Meridian. Choices range from quaint vacation rentals and luxury hotels to cozy B&Bs, suitable for all budgets.

Premium options:

The Riverside Hotel, BW Premier Collection

  • Address: 2900 West Chinden Boulevard, Boise, ID 83714, United States
  • Rates per night: $189 for 2 guests
  • Amenities: climate control, coffee makers, pillowtop mattresses with premium linens, flat-screen TVs with premium programming, refrigerators, microwaves, work desks, and free WiF, pool, well-equipped fitness center

Courtyard by Marriott

  • Address: 1789 South Eagle Road, Meridian, ID 83642
  • Rates per night: $139 for 2 guests
  • Amenities: microwave, mini-refrigerator, and tea/coffee maker, high-speed WiFi, Indoor pool, fitness center, free parking, room service, bar/lounge

Related: Idaho The Potato State: Why Not Sleep In A Hotel Shaped Like One?

Budget options:

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Meridian / Boise West

  • Address: 800 South Allen Street, Meridian, ID 83642
  • Rates per night: $112 for 2 guests
  • Amenities: refrigerator, Flat screen TV, fitness center, coffee maker, hairdryer, iron and board,Indoor pool, free high-speed internet, microwave, hard-wired internet, business center,

Best Western Plus Meridian

  • Address: 1019 South Progress Avenue, Meridian, ID 83642-3050, United States
  • Rates per night: $98 for 2 guests
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking, central air conditioning, telephone, digital safe, LED flat-screen TV, coffee/tea maker, minibar, heated swimming pool, onsite laundry facilities, health club with limited fitness center and spa.

Quality Inn & Suites

  • Address: 1575 South Meridian Road, Meridian, ID 83642
  • Rates per night: $74 for 2 guests
  • Amenities: free Wi-Fi, concierge, a 24-hour reception, a laundry service, outdoor pool, refrigerator, hair dryer, microwave, Spa and wellness center, business center, coffee machine, TV, restaurant

How To Get Around Meridian

Guests have multiple options to move around the city and explore the attractions in Meridian and even other nearby cities.

For public transportation, the Valley Regional Transit is the bus system for commuters between Meridian, Nampa, and Boise.

It has a fixed-line route that cuts through Meridian at Interstate 84.

The Valley Regional Transit is more suited for commuting to nearby cities than for getting around the city

Alternatively, tourists can rent a car or schedule Uber and Lyft rideshare services to move around town conveniently.

  • Rates: Average of $60 for a standard SUV carrying five passengers

Those who want to explore the city on two wheels don’t have to worry, as various bike rental services are available. There are also more than 400 bike routes to choose from, suited for an authentic outdoor adventurer in Idaho.

  • Rates: $15 a day or $30 a week

How To Spend The Perfect Day In Meridian

Meridian city hall
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Meridian city hall

Meridian offers first-timers a lot indoors and outdoors, providing visitors with the recipe for a fun family vacation. Start the morning with a fitting first meal at Moe Joe’s Breakfast Eatery downtown to get the kids prepared for the day.

A trip to Kleiner Park is perfect for these early hours to enjoy the lush greenery and open spaces or wander along the tree-lined paths.

Later, take an Uber to The Village for some shopping at the various trademark stores and boutiques before sitting down for a sumptuous lunch meal.

The afternoon sun is best enjoyed with some fun in the water, so head over to Roaring Springs to make the most of the thrilling water rides. This should be followed by more laid-back fun at Wahooz Family Fun Zone for further family bonding.

When the children are tired from the day’s fun, go back downtown to Fat Guy’s Fresh Deli for some delicious sandwiches.


Q: Does it snow in Meridian?

The coldest months when you can experience snow in Meridian are December to February. December is the snowiest month, with an average of approximately 3.1 inches of snow. Meridian’s outdoor adventures make it a viable Christmas holiday destination.

Q: Does Meridian have a downtown?

Yes! Meridian has a popular downtown where tourists go to explore the city’s shopping, dining, and nightlife. The area is highlighted by large oak trees, mid-century bungalows, and old brick storefronts that together offer a unique charm.

Q: Is Meridian a good place to live in?

Ada County, where Meridian is, is rated among the best areas to live in Idaho. Residents here enjoy a cozy suburban feel with a good number owning their homes. The city also has various outdoor attractions and fun activities well suited for the whole family. It’s also close to Idaho’s capital Boise, and sever other small Idaho towns worth visiting.

Q: Is Meridian a desert?

Meridian can be considered a semi-arid region. The Cascade and Blue Mountain Ranges in neighboring Washington and Oregon keep the moisture from the Pacific Ocean at bay, leaving Meridian with mostly dry air. The weather is comparable to a high desert environment.