Though both places preexisted Sun Valley, the two old mining and sheep-ranching towns of Ketchum (pop. 2,728) and Hailey have more or less lost themselves in the upmarket resort aura of their famous neighbor. Ketchum, the more touristy of the two, has wall-to-wall art galleries and T-shirt shops lining its traffic-jammed streets. It also supports dozens of expensive resort hotels and restaurants that cater to Sun Valley’s country club set, plus a handful of more interesting and affordable bar-and-grills along Main Street: try the Pioneer Saloon (320 N. Main St., 208/726-3139) or Whiskey Jacques’ (251 N. Main St., 208/726-5297), which serves good pizzas steaks and strong drinks. The Harley-friendly Casino Club (220 N. Main St., 208/726-9901) is a local institution, serving beers and burgers in one of Ketchum’s oldest buildings. A block west of Main Street, Java on Fourth (191 4th St., 208/726-2882), serves addictive, rich hot chocolate.
The most central and affordable of Ketchum’s accommodations line up along Hwy-75, including the clean and convenient Best Western Plus Kentwood Lodge (180 S. Main St., 208/726-4114, $179 and up).