While you may not immediately think of Idaho as a culture mecca, abundant arts opportunities enhance the natural beauty of the state, enticing you with spectacular performances and unique entertainment opportunities. Explore just some of the vast arts, theatre and musical opportunities that await.

Photo Credit: Nicholas D.

Plays and Performances

The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre presents four professional Broadway musicals from June through August, while the Lake City Playhouse produces nine shows each season. Opera Coeur d’Alene’s July sunset cruise on the lake delivers the best of both scenery and music, with live entertainment on board. Performers at the Sixth Street Melodrama and Theater in the mining era town of Wallace encourage and sometimes require audience participation during live performances through July and August.

Theatergoers will enjoy performances by the more than 30-year-old Idaho Shakespeare Festival each summer season at an outdoor theater along the Boise River. More productions are offered by the Boise Contemporary Theatre, and the Knock’em Dead Dinner Theatre. Enjoy classic Broadway musicals under the stars at Starlight Mountain Theatre in Garden Valley, a scenic one-hour drive from Boise.

Sounds of Summer

For a musical treat, relax to the melodic sounds of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony, rock out at the summer concert series at Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, or just relish the music at the Festival at Sandpoint.

Each fall, music fills the autumn air as the Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree kicks into high gear, drawing jazz lovers from around the world to hear more than 200 talented musicians perform in the Sun Valley area. For those who love classical music, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony offers free outdoor concerts at the Sun Valley Pavilion in July and August.

The Idaho International Dance and Music Festival has been an annual tradition since 1986, kicking up its heels each August in Rexburg. With both free and ticketed events available, this is an unparalleled production in which performers share their culture through music and dance.

The Idaho Repertory Theater on the campus of the University of Idaho showcases several productions each year, while the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival features the best in jazz performances from world-renowned entertainers every February (and has for more than 40 years). Also in Moscow, you can enjoy a summer evening of music in East City Park with the Fresh Aire Concert Series.

Opera Idaho features an impressive schedule of highly-acclaimed productions, including special presentations at the Idaho Botanical Gardens. The best in orchestra music is performed by the Boise Philharmonic, also offering concerts for children. Combine music with dance and enjoy the delicate portrayal of art-in-motion at Ballet Idaho, producing a unique mix of classic and contemporary productions each season. Dance company, Trey McIntyre Project, performs contemporary ballet at local venues and around the world.

Music comes to the mountain in June at the Idaho Music & Wildflower Festival at Pebble Creek Ski Area, with guided wildflower hikes before the performance. The 65-member Idaho State Civic Symphony, established in the early 1900s, performs in the stunning Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Many of the music, dance, and theatre events in Pocatello are held at the L. E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, set on a hilltop overlooking Idaho State University and the cityscape beyond.

Enjoy the Arts

Collectors won’t want to miss the Art Spirit Gallery in Coeur d’Alene, which showcases rotating exhibits of fine art and crafts of both well known and emerging artists. The Art on the Green festival, also in Coeur d’Alene, features local artists with their handcrafted pieces in glass, clay, leather, wood, metal, and fiber.

The Pocatello Arts Center displays fine paintings, photographs, and porcelain art by professional artists as well as local art students. The center’s premiere event is the Sagebrush Arts Fest, which offers free art activities for children, food vendors, and live entertainment.

Ketchum is filled with unique and interesting art galleries including the Art Spirit Gallery, Gallery DeNovo, Anne Reed Gallery, and the Kneeland Gallery, all showcasing nationally recognized artists. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts offers visitors an interesting cultural experience, with visual arts exhibits, performing arts, and classes.

Learn and Explore

Experience Idaho’s pioneer history at the Mountain Man Rendezvous, held at Old Mission State Park. Costumed artists demonstrate their historic “skills” and sell their wares while fiddlers provide the music.

The Idaho Falls Cultural District along the beautiful Snake River offers museums, a repertory theatre, and glass and ceramic workshops. The outstanding Museum of Idaho in downtown Idaho Falls offers nationally acclaimed traveling exhibits and permanent displays of area history. The Eagle Rock Art Museum highlights the work of its four founding members along with other local artists. Each summer, the museum brings it all outdoors for a Sidewalk Art Festival. The Collectors Corner Museum has something of interest for everyone, including dolls, bears, antiques, trains, coins, stamps, and military memorabilia.

The Appaloosa Museum in Moscow proudly displays exhibits about the magnificent horse and its importance to the Nez Perce Tribe. Little buckaroos will enjoy the children’s area with saddles and horse-related activities.