Take it back to 1862: Idaho City and its History, Attractions, and Real Estate

An often overlooked city only about 45 minutes from Boise is the historic Idaho City. It is beautiful, filled with rich history, and has so much to offer. It is a great place to escape from your troubles from the week, and it is located within the mountains and through the trees. Experience the history and beauty of this small town through tours, museums, dining experiences, old-time photoshops, and more. Whatever it is you end up participating in over in Idaho City, it is sure to be fun.

Idaho City offers you the experience to step back in time. Have you ever wanted to know more about America’s Wild West, particularly how Idaho was involved in America’s frontier and gold rush? Well, this is the place to go.


Back in 1862, Idaho City was born. It was a lively town of quick-drawing men and cheap whiskey. The population grew rapidly as gold was found in the nearby Boise Basin (over $250,000,000 of gold ended up being discovered here). Thousands of prospectors flooded the tiny mountain town and made it a booming success. Its population soon exceeded that of Portland, Oregon, and it became the largest city in the Northwest.

In its heyday, Idaho City contained theaters, opera houses, music shops, tailors, drugstores, bakeries, breweries, and so much more. However, after all the gold was plucked out of the Boise Basin, the prospectors left almost as quickly as when they rushed in. The town’s population sank and fires caused the town to be rebuilt time and time again. Luckily, the money made from the gold rush at Boise Basin allowed Idaho City to be speedily rebuilt each time. Now, many of the buildings are new, but there are some original buildings still standing that you can go inside and shop within today.

Anyone and everyone either visiting Western Idaho or living in the state of Idaho should visit Idaho City at least once. It’s less than an hour from the capitol city and offers many fun attractions.


A lot of fun sits within Idaho City. Whether you want to walk into an ice cream parlor or take a walking tour throughout the town, there is so much to explore, and you won’t be disappointed. Here is a list of popular attractions found in Idaho City:

*Shops. There are fun little shops in Idaho City where you can buy memorabilia, old-timey toys, handmade quilts and crafts, personal old-fashioned photos, and more. Take a stroll through all the shops Idaho City has to offer so you can pick your fancy and find your favorite spot.

*Tours. Idaho City offers two types of tours: a walking tour of the town and a tour of the historical museum. Each tour is only $2 per person, with a minimum of $30.

*Dining. There are a few options of places to eat in Idaho City, whether it’s in a saloon and grill (for the full Western experience) or in a diner. There are also places where you can buy sweets and treats as well. If you want to head to a saloon, check out Goldmine Grill & Saloon or Diamond Lil’s. If you want something less lively and burley, check out one of the diners in Idaho City, such as Donna’s Place or Trudy’s Kitchen.

There are also parlors for ice cream, including the aforementioned diner Donna’s Place. If you are wanting the full 1860s experience, head over to Sasprilla. This little ice cream parlor has been there for what must seem like forever. Walking through its doors is like walking through a passage in time. However, if you want somewhere you can seat a lot of people or eat a large assortment of both dinner/lunch food and ice cream, stop on down to Donna’s Place. Here, you can order from a variety of menu options, such as burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, and even their infamous $125 peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At Donna’s Place, there are 17 booths and a wider space for more people, as 86 people can be seated in there.

Don’t get confused with the other Donna’s Place, which is a country market nearby in Placerville. It is one of the surviving buildings that has stood the test of time and survived the fires of the late 1800s. If you want something quick to grab or are looking for anything in particular, you can find it at Donna’s Place, or they will go out and get it for you. *Staying overnight. If you have an RV you want to park or are interested in camping out in the beautiful area surrounding Idaho City, the town offers such services. Enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Idaho, within a mountain of trees and the smell of fresh air.

On the flip side of things, if you drove up there and wanted to stay overnight in a little inn, there is a place for that too. So you can rest assured that after a long day of fun and play, you can unwind in a comfortable bed without the need to leave in order to find a place to stay.

Real Estate

Idaho City has a much smaller population now than when it was a booming gold rush city. A little over 480 people live in Idaho City, but the homes for sale there are magnificent. With breathtaking views, acreage, and a whole lot of amenities, you can find a home or cabin fit for you within the $200,000 range (with around 2000 square feet and multiple bedrooms and baths). There are even homes with detached workshops that are heated and include a half bath as well. Idaho City is the perfect place to live for someone who loves history, Idaho, nature, and the tight-knit nature of a small town. There are stores, churches, and attractions in the town, and at only about 40 miles from Boise, you have access to movie theaters, fine dining, and Boise State University.

Be sure to stop by Idaho City sometime, whether you want to visit or find a place to sit down and live for a while. It’s worth your time to visit; you will not regret it.

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