Nestled in the heart of the Gem State, Boise, Idaho, offers a delightful blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and vibrant city life. Known for its friendly atmosphere and scenic beauty, Boise has something for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Boise.
Explore the Boise River Greenbelt: Start your adventure with a stroll or bike ride along the Boise River Greenbelt. This 25-mile pathway winds along the river, offering breathtaking views of nature and the cityscape. Enjoy the serenity of the riverbanks, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the diverse birdlife that calls the area home.
Visit the Boise Art Museum: For art lovers, the Boise Art Museum is a must-visit destination. With a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional art, this museum showcases the talent of local and national artists. Check the museum’s schedule for rotating exhibitions, workshops, and events.
Roam the Old Idaho Penitentiary: Step back in time with a visit to the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This historical site provides a glimpse into the state’s past with its well-preserved prison cells, gallows, and eerie solitary confinement areas. Guided tours offer fascinating insights into the lives of the inmates and the prison’s colorful history.
Experience Basque Culture in the Basque Block: Boise has a rich Basque heritage, and the Basque Block is the cultural hub where you can experience it firsthand. Indulge in delicious Basque cuisine, visit the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, and attend events like the lively Jaialdi festival, celebrating Basque music, dance, and sports.
Hike the Boise Foothills: For outdoor enthusiasts, the Boise Foothills provide a stunning backdrop for hiking and trail running. The Ridge to Rivers trail system offers various difficulty levels, allowing both beginners and seasoned hikers to enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
Stroll through Downtown Boise: Downtown Boise is a charming mix of historic architecture, boutique shops, and trendy eateries. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets, explore local shops, and stop for a coffee in one of the hip cafes. The Grove Plaza, located at the heart of downtown, often hosts events and concerts.
Taste Local Flavors at Boise Farmers Market: Immerse yourself in Boise’s local food scene by visiting the Boise Farmers Market. Open on Saturdays from April to November, the market features a variety of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delicious treats. It’s an excellent place to support local farmers and artisans while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.
Attend a Performance at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival: If you’re a fan of the arts, don’t miss the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Held at the beautiful outdoor amphitheater, this festival offers a unique experience of enjoying Shakespearean plays and other theatrical performances under the open sky.
Discover Wildlife at the World Center for Birds of Prey: For nature enthusiasts and bird lovers, the World Center for Birds of Prey is a fascinating destination. Home to a variety of raptors, including eagles, falcons, and owls, the center provides educational programs and live demonstrations, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic birds.
Shop and Dine at the Village at Meridian: Experience the modern side of Boise by spending a day at the Village at Meridian. This outdoor shopping and entertainment complex offer a mix of high-end shops, diverse dining options, and family-friendly activities. Catch a movie, enjoy live music, or simply stroll through the beautifully landscaped surroundings.
Attend a Boise State University Football Game: Immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere of college sports by attending a Boise State University Broncos football game. The iconic blue turf at Albertsons Stadium is a sight to behold, and the passionate fan base adds to the excitement. Check the schedule and join in the cheers for the home team.
Relax at the Boise River Park: Whether you’re an avid kayaker or just looking for a relaxing day by the water, the Boise River Park is the place to be. This recreational area features a wave shaper for surfing, tubing areas, and scenic spots for a picnic. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Boise River.
Visit the Idaho State Capitol: Take a step into Idaho’s political history with a visit to the State Capitol building. The stunning architecture and informative guided tours provide insights into the state’s government and its rich history. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful Capitol Park surrounding the building.
Savor Craft Beer on the Boise Ale Trail: Boise has a thriving craft beer scene, and the Boise Ale Trail is the perfect way to explore it. With numerous breweries scattered throughout the city, you can embark on a self-guided tour to taste a variety of locally brewed beers. Many breweries also offer tours, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process.
Take a Day Trip to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area: Just a short drive from Boise, Bogus Basin offers year-round outdoor activities. In winter, enjoy skiing and snowboarding, while summer brings hiking, mountain biking, and scenic chairlift rides. The panoramic views of the Boise National Forest make it a picturesque destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Explore the Idaho Botanical Garden: Escape into a world of natural beauty at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Featuring diverse gardens, walking paths, and educational programs, this oasis provides a tranquil setting for nature lovers. Check the calendar for events like summer concerts and the Winter Garden aGlow light display.
Unwind at the Springs in Idaho City: Take a scenic drive to Idaho City and relax at The Springs, a hot springs retreat nestled in the mountains. Enjoy natural mineral pools, saunas, and stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. It’s a rejuvenating experience that combines the beauty of nature with the therapeutic benefits of hot springs.
Conclusion: Boise, Idaho, is a hidden gem with a plethora of activities for every type of traveler. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and delicious local cuisine, Boise invites you to explore its diverse offerings. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the charm of this vibrant city in the heart of the Gem State.