Known for its close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Jackson is also just minutes away from several famous ski resorts, including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which has one of the highest vertical drops (4,139 feet) in North America.
Some folks call it "Jackson Hole" after the valley it's located in, but the town's real name is simply Jackson. As the gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Jackson welcomes millions of tourists every year. As part of the original Lewis and Clark expedition, Jackson has a rich history, and was originally populated primarily by fur trappers and mountain men -- but the town was progressive enough to elect the nation's first all-women city council in 1920. Today, its population of 9,577 (2010 census) is augmented even more by its non-human population. At each entrance to the town square, you're greeted with huge arches made of shed elk antlers, which kind of sets the tone for this wilderness haven. Designated as a Preserve America Community in 2009, Jackson is committed to preserving its natural beauty and its heritage -- and this translates into a civic pride that elevates the town into much, much more than just another tourist mecca.
Moving to Jackson
When to Move
If you'd prefer not to drag your household goods through snowdrifts and blizzard conditions, you'll probably want to move during the spring, summer or fall. As for rental prices and availability, this is a tourist resort town where folks tend to stay through the summer months, so you'll find more available apartment and condo rentals (and better prices) in the fall and spring when the tourists have gone home after sunning or skiing.
Speaking of prices, these will vary greatly depending upon where you live. Mountain chalets can run into a lot of money, because you're paying more for those sweeping panoramic views (bragging rights, anyone?). In the more populated areas, house prices and rental properties tend to be lower -- but the good news is that there are plenty of views everywhere in this beautiful town.
What You'll Need
Before renting an apartment, you'll need your basic ID stuff (driver's license, state ID or passport), plus a few phone numbers from references and proof of current or future employment (in the form of pay stubs or letters). You'll also need some money -- enough to cover first month's rent and a security deposit; and since this is a popular resort town, some landlords may ask for last month's rent as well. In this mountain town you'll find plenty of pet friendly apartments, but be prepared to pay a deposit for your furry friends.
Houses and rental properties tend to be newer here, with many built within the last 15 years. All local neighborhoods are bike and pedestrian friendly, and the town is easily accessible by two wheels. Here are some popular residential neighborhoods to consider:
Deer Creek Drive: This scenic wooded area has lovely wooden mountain chalet-style homes. It's close to the beautiful Snake River, as well as amenities such as Hoback Market.
Snow King Loop: This area has a number of beautiful newly built condos with decorator touches such as granite countertops and travertine baths. It's close to the Snow King Mountain Ski Area.
South Park Loop: In addition to newer homes, this area also has some older mid-20th century houses as well, all close to amenities such as Roadrunner Apothecary, Maverick Country Store and Loaf 'N Jug.
Apartment Complexes in Jackson
Blair Drive: Here's where you'll find Blair Place Apartments, which offers spacious unfurnished and furnished apartments with plenty of storage space. It's close to amenities such as Smith's groceries and St. John's Family Health and Urgent Care.
Meadowlark Lane: This area is home to Aspen Meadows Apartments, which offers spacious units with plenty of storage and on-site laundry facilities. It's close to Loaf 'N Jug, Maverick Country Store and Kmart.
Corner Creek Lane: You'll find a number of apartment complexes here, including Aspen Creek Apartments, which has spacious one and two-bedroom units with plenty of storage space and a lovely community garden. It's close to Rendezvous Bistro and not far from the beautiful Bridger Teton National Forest.
Living Like a Local
The Practical Stuff
How do you live like a local? First, you learn to appreciate the weather -- including the 71 inches of snow every season. January highs are around 30, with lows dipping into single digits and below. On the flip side, July tops out at only the low 80s.
Need to get around? In addition to biking, you can avail yourself of the free shuttle buses (one of the perks of living in a resort town), as well as the county buses run by the Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit (cleverly called START).
Things to Do and Places to Go
Jackson is the gateway to two of the country's greatest national treasures -- Yellowstone National Park, which is just an hour and 12 minutes away, and Grand Teton National Park, which is just 20 minutes away. Both have miles of hiking trails, camping grounds and fishing and boating areas -- and they're virtually at your doorstep. In addition, there's the local National Museum of Wildlife Art, which features a permanent collection of works by the nation's foremost wildlife artists.
Jackson is known to be something of a regional arts destination, and folks flock every summer to the Grand Teton Music Festival, which features symphony orchestras and soloists from around the world. In addition, the Jackson Center for the Arts highlights local music, dance and theater performances throughout the year, and even hosts an annual Sing Off voice competition, so start practicing.
Eating and Drinking
Among Jackson's many popular restaurants, one of the most famous is the Snake River Grill, where you'll find specialties such as cedar-planked wild salmon and homemade doughnuts. One of the most popular local hangouts is the Snake River Brewery, where, in addition to excellent cuisine, you'll find handcrafted local beers, including the to-die-for Snake River Lager.
Jackson is a tourist destination, but unlike many a tourist mecca, you get the feeling that it really exists more for its locals. Even if the tourists weren't here, Jackson would still have the same level of civic pride, the same incredible natural beauty and the same amazing friendliness. Maybe it has something to do with living alongside all those animals.