Boise, Idaho’s capital and the home of Boise State University, is filled with a diverse array of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation centered around the university and downtown area. Boise’s close proximity to outdoor recreation, exciting culinary scene, and vibrant downtown make it a great destination for an extended stay. Whether you’re traveling to watch a game, attending an event or just spending some time with your student, here are some suggestions for an action-packed visit.
If you’re traveling for sports, start by checking the latest athletic schedule for upcoming home games or events. There is a large tailgating community in Boise, so plan to spend some time with fellow fans before the football game and take the downtown shuttle to get to and from the games with ease.
Culture & History
Boise has the largest population of people of Basque descent outside of Spain and it is easy to immerse yourself in the Basque culture on The Basque Block in downtown Boise. Here you’ll find a Basque fine dining restaurant, a Basque pub and the Basque Market, which also serves tapas and themed dinners. The weekly Paella on the Patio dining experience here is a local favorite as well. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center and two historic Basque boarding houses can also be found on the Basque Block located on Grove Street between Sixth Street and Capitol Boulevard.
Idaho State Museum
Take some time to explore the newly-renovated and expanded Idaho State Museum. The museum is packed with educational and interactive exhibits for all ages. Learn about Idaho’s diverse landscapes, how and why people settled here, and Idaho’s history regionally and nationally. Be sure to give yourself a couple of hours to experience it all. For hours and admission information click here.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
The Old Idaho Penitentiary housed some of the West’s most desperate criminals for 101 years, from 1872 to 1973. Tour solitary confinement and cell blocks while walking through this historic complex. Hours vary with the season, but guided and self-guided tours are available year-round. If you have the time, visit the adjacent Idaho Botanical Garden to wander the beautiful grounds.
Hike & Bike
Ridge to Rivers Trail System
With over 190 miles of trail weaving in and out of the Boise Foothills and surrounding areas, this is the perfect way to experience Boise. Walk, run, bike or hike this interconnected network of roads and trails. Four-legged friends are welcome on the trail as well, just pay attention to leash restrictions on each path.
Enjoy the Boise Greenbelt, a 25-mile long bicycle and pedestrian path that connects parks and natural areas along the Boise River. You can access the Boise Whitewater Park, Esther Simplot Park, Zoo Boise, cultural sites, nature trails and culinary stops all from this path that stretches throughout Boise. Need a bike? Bike rentals are available downtown and several hotels have bikes as well.
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
For some winter fun, take a 30-minute drive north of Boise to Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. Whether you’re traversing one of the three double black diamond runs on the face, casually carving your way down the multitude of runs on the backside, or screaming with joy on The Glade Runner mountain coaster, you’ll find Bogus Basin to be an enjoyable adventure. A newly installed high-speed chairlift makes it easier than ever to pack in a full day of runs. Get more run information and ticket pricing here.
Indian Creek Plaza
Skate around on Idaho’s only ice skating ribbon in Caldwell, an easy 30-minute drive from Boise. Take a few laps around the rink and then cozy up by the fire. During the warmer months, visit Indian Creek Plaza to enjoy musical performances, markets, movies and more.
Feeling the need to see what’s just outside of town? Here are a couple of destinations to add to your itinerary.
The Springs in Idaho City features relaxing, natural hot spring pools and is about an hour’s drive from Boise. With the option of an evening soak, it’s a perfect location for stargazing or warming-up on a cool autumn evening, or anytime. Reservations are strongly recommended, as the number of guests is limited to provide the best experience. Extend your adventure and stay the night at the nearby Inn the Pines hotel then explore the historic mining town of Idaho City. Learn more about Idaho City here.
Sunnyslope Wine Trail
The Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), in particular, the Sunnyslope Wine Trail, near Caldwell is a must-sip wine destination. This trail showcases Idaho’s scenic vineyards and cozy tasting rooms. Schedule a tour or drop in for a tasting at one of the 15 wineries and vineyards along the trail. To learn more about Idaho’s wine regions and wineries visit the Idaho Wine Commission website.
Ready to explore more of Idaho? Order or download your FREE copy of the Official Idaho Travel Guide to find more adventure inspiration.
Published on May 28, 2021