Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Payette, ID

  • Published 2022/09/01

Payette is a small city and the center of Payette County, located in the southwestern region of Idaho.

A peaceful suburban area, Payette hosts many places to see for tourists, whether they’re looking to sightsee or participate in city life.

From various parks to establishments that offer delicious food, there are more than enough activities to fill your travel plans.

Payette is also surrounded by bustling suburban areas that will give you more things to do during your trip.

Here are the best things to do in Payette, Idaho:

Learn History at the Payette County Museum

Exterior of Payette County Museum

Ian Poellet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Payette County Museum was established in 1904 by the county’s historical society.

It is located along North 9th Street.

The brick building was formerly a Methodist church, and its architecture and large glass-stained windows are as awe-inspiring as the collection of artifacts it houses.

The museum features the furniture used by Payette residents centuries ago, personal belongings of prominent county figures, and historic photographs of the county’s development throughout the centuries.

Tour guides and attendants inside the Payette County Museum also helpfully provide trivia to deepen visitors’ learning and experience.

This fascinating glimpse into Payette’s past will help you better appreciate the city’s history and beauty.

Walk along the Payette River Greenbelt

The Payette River Greenbelt is one of the city’s most prominent natural landmarks.

Known for being easy to trek and even bike through, it is highly frequented by locals and tourists alike.

The five-kilometer trail starts at a paved walkway facing the Snake River, which acts as a natural water boundary between Idaho and Oregon.

After a while, it takes a turn down south as the Snake River merges into the Payette River.

At the trail’s end, there’s a famous pond that you can stop at to catch your breath, admire the view, or even fish.

The Payette River Greenbelt takes around an hour to complete and features many gorgeous sights of the rivers and Payette’s forestry.

Take a Swing at the Scotch Pines Golf Course

The Scotch Pines Golf Course is a sprawling 18-hole public golf course that’s been operating since 1962.

Located along the state border between Idaho and Oregon, the golf course is open all year round and fully equipped with a driving range, a short game area, and a golf shop.

Instructors are also on hand to provide lessons and programs for beginners at affordable prices.

For non-golfers, the Scotch Pines Golf Course features a restaurant that serves delicious grilled fare.

You can also enjoy the beautiful sights while having a drink alone or with friends on the patio of the adjacent bar, even if you’re not a golfer.

If you’re looking to get some physical activity in, the gorgeous greens of the Scotch Pines Golf Course are a must-visit on your trip.

Relax at Centennial Park

Built in 1991, Centennial Park is one of Payette’s public parks.

It is situated at the end of North 6th Street and offers various activities for you to enjoy.

Centennial Park is also where the beginning of the Payette River Greenbelt trail is located.

At the west end, the park’s boat ramp and docks allow you to park your recreational water vehicles along the Snake River.

You can use them in activities such as kayaking.

Inland, Centennial Park also has soccer fields where you can relax or engage in sports with other community members.

Read a Book at the Payette Public Library

The Payette Public Library is located on South 10th Street, in the middle of the city’s central park.

The humble establishment provides a quiet atmosphere where you can browse through its many materials.

Aside from print materials such as books, the library also offers print services and a considerable selection of movies on CDs.

The library also hosts weekly events and programs for children to develop their appreciation for reading.

If you are looking for a breather during your trip, the Payette Public Library is the place to go.

Liven up Your Night at Sundance Saloon

If you’re looking to have a fun evening in Payette, head over to Sundance Saloon on North Main Street.

Established in 2002, it’s a favorite among locals for its good food, stock of alcohol, friendly staff, and clean premises.

The menu features delicious items like wings, poppers, and onion rings, all set at reasonable prices.

Families or friend groups can even entertain themselves with the mini arcade set-up or billiards table located at the side of the saloon.

Sundance Saloon occasionally hosts live performances, making it the prime place for game nights and lively get-togethers.

Sate Your Cravings at El Kamaron

Located along North Main Street, El Kamaron is known for its mouth-watering Mexican cuisine.

From tacos to fajitas, their dishes are always cooked to delicious perfection.

Kid-friendly menu options like cheese quesadillas are also available for younger customers.

The restaurant serves cold draft beer and bottles along with the spicy fare.

Their cocktails are worth giving a shot if you want to add a kick to your meal.

El Kamaron is a must-try restaurant when you visit Payette, especially if you love rich Mexican flavors.

Rest and Recreate at Kiwanis Park

Kiwanis Park is located along 6th Avenue South.

Out of Payette’s several parks, it is the most popular.

This is because the park features facilities such as its community pool complex, which hosts an indoor pool with removable walls, a full-sized lap pool, and a shallow pool for children.

Kiwanis Park is also known for its skate park, which was constructed through donated funds and materials.

Throughout the year, the park’s bandshell hosts live band performances and similar events to entertain visitors.

Surprise Your Tastebuds at Mandarin Restaurant

If you’re looking to explore different cuisines and flavors, Mandarin Restaurant opens its doors to you.

Located along South Main Street, Mandarin Restaurant serves Chinese dishes inside its humble store.

The menu features dishes like chow mein, Mandarin chicken, fried wonton, and fried rice.

The restaurant is also ideal for bigger parties, offering set menu options at reasonable prices.

With its speedy service and generous servings, Mandarin Restaurant will satisfy any rumbling stomachs while giving you a new food experience.

Boost Your Energy at Agape Coffeehouse

Agape Coffeehouse is a local cafe any visitor is sure to love and is located on South 16th Street.

The friendly staff serves delectable brewed coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and smoothies.

The coffeehouse’s comfortable seating, painted walls, and mellow music provide a cozy, artsy atmosphere where you can recline and unwind with your cup.

True to its artistic vibe, the cafe also sells knick-knacks and crafts created by its staff and other local artists.

The unique but soothing ambiance of Agape Coffeehouse and its delicious drinks are sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Heritage at Four Rivers Cultural Center & Museum

Four Rivers Cultural Center & Museum is a large 85,000-square-foot facility that hosts various exhibits.

Opened in 1997, the museum is located in Ontario, just 15 or so minutes away from Payette by car.

True to its name, the exhibits focus on the four rivers of the Western Treasure Valley: the Snake, Malheur, Owyhee, and Payette Rivers.

Aside from information about these natural landmarks, the museum also gives insights into the cultures and history of the people who live along these rivers.

One of the most interesting exhibits in the museum is the 1.3-acre Hikaru Mizu Japanese Garden, which commemorates Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II.

The diverse cultural and environmental knowledge found in Four Rivers Cultural Center & Museum is bound to be a fascinating and eye-opening experience for visitors.

Buy Special Souvenirs from The House That Art Built

A 15-minute drive away from Payette, The House That Art Built offers a fascinating art adventure for curious passersby.

It showcases a variety of artworks created by local artists, such as paintings, knitwear, mosaics, pottery, and many more.

These unique, one-of-a-kind crafts are on sale at the store.

Since the wares are handmade, the store’s inventory rarely sells the same thing more than once.

Art classes are available for those interested in delving into the world of art.

If you’re looking for a special item to gift your family or friends back home, The House That Art Built is the place to shop.

Unwind at Ontario State Recreation Site

Ontario State Recreation Site is a 10-minute drive from Payette.

The park is situated along the banks of the famous Snake River in northern Ontario.

It’s a great place to go if you want to observe Oregon’s natural flora and fauna, as diverse kinds of plants and various bird species live in the park’s forests and riverbanks.

Aside from admiring the sights, you can also picnic, kayak, and fish at the park.

People looking to relax and take things slowly will surely find Ontario State Recreation Site a scenic, tranquil getaway.

Grab a Drink at The Crescent Bar

The Crescent Bar is located in the neighboring city of Weiser, approximately a 20-minute drive from Payette.

It’s known as a great place where you can grab a cold beer or cocktail with friends.

The bar also serves delicious side dishes like bacon cuts to complement your drinks.

Customers looking for entertainment can also indulge in playing a round at the bar’s pool table.

With its welcoming atmosphere, The Crescent Bar is an excellent venue for casual and fun get-togethers.

Visit Keeney Pass Interpretive Site

Keeney Pass Interpretive Site is 40 minutes away from Payette.

The site marks a section that makes up the larger Oregon Trail, which stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the state of Missouri in the center of the United States.

The section spans two-thirds of a mile, and the natural scenery has remained largely untouched.

Aside from marking a part of the Oregon Trail, the Keeney Pass Interpretive Site also protects the historic wagon ruts found along it.

Informative exhibits provide facts about the site and the natives and emigrants who wore the wagon ruts into the ground while traveling.

When you’re exploring attractions near Payette, be sure to check out the Keeney Pass Interpretive Site.

This will help you better appreciate the area’s history and culture and enrich your tourist experience.

Final Thoughts

Payette is a quiet but rich area that tourists will enjoy exploring.

From rich natural sights to lively business ventures, the city has something to offer to everyone who visits.

As such, Payette offers the perfect balance between the slower, peaceful pace of a small town and the busy, bustling energy of urban areas.

In addition, Payette and its neighboring cities also involve a wide variety of cultures in their way of life, which may be eye-opening for anyone who visits.

Don’t hesitate to list Payette as a to-see destination the next time you travel.

If you need a handy guide on where to go, bookmark this list of the best things to do in Payette, Idaho!

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