Photography by Chad Case.
WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL CAPITAL CITY OF BOISE, IDAHO? The Scout Guide Boise & the Treasure Valley editor Allie Mann can name a few reasons. “People come for the outdoors and stay for the people,” she says. “Plus, there are so many options for outdoor experiences at whatever time of year you visit. Last but not least, we’re part big city and part wild west. You’re just as likely to pass someone on a bicycle or in a car as you are a horse or tractor. And our pioneer spirit still shows in the success of our many local business owners and artisans.”
Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Allie shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHEN TO GO // Boise has something to offer during every season. Spring offers hiking in the wildflowers of the foothills, as well as the homegrown Treefort Music Fest. In the summer, you can cool off in the river or while running through the fountains at The Grove or Indian Creek Plaza. Fall is simply gorgeous—Boise is the City of Trees, after all. And winter brings plenty of options to ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, or cozy up by a fire and have a warm drink.
Photography courtesy of Boise Whitewater Villa.
WHERE TO STAY // Boise Whitewater Villa (2802 West Pleasanton Avenue, Boise). Centrally located just three blocks from the Boise whitewater park with easy access to the greenbelt, this three-bedroom, pet-friendly home has a year-round saltwater pool, a hot tub, and a large fire pit. And check out their sister property, Boise Whitewater Cottage.
Inn at 500 Capitol (500 Capitol Boulevard, Boise). This four-diamond-rated luxury hotel has a premier view of the capital city. With its contemporary-style rooms, suites, and penthouses, you will want for nothing. Located within the hotel (and available for room service) is Richard’s Restaurant, run by James Beard-nominated chef Richard Langston.
The ROOST (14559 Galloway Road, Caldwell). This newly completed modern barn is situated just outside of Caldwell near Purple Sage golf course. The quiet location has a home gym, pizza oven, and access to the orchard and gardens on-site. Enjoy a complimentary glass of wine around the fire pit during your stay.
Discover more of Boise and the surrounding area’s top places to stay in the Treasure Valley Lodging Guide.
Bogus Basin. Photography courtesy of Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.
WHAT TO DO // Basque Museum (611 West Grove Street, Boise). Immigrating from the Basque Country near the Pyrenees mountains in Spain in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Basque population in Boise is one of the largest outside of Europe. Visit the Basque block to learn more about this unique culture through its food and exhibits.
Bogus Basin (2600 North Bogus Basin Road, Boise). What began as a local skiing destination almost 80 years ago has now become a year-round recreation resort. There’s still plenty of skiing, of course, as well as snowshoe trails, a tubing hill, and nordic trails in the winter. Summer brings mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides, a mountain coaster, a concert series, and so much more.
Boise Art Museum (670 Julia Davis Drive, Boise). Idaho’s only accredited museum collecting fine art in Idaho and featuring education programs and special events. Also located in Julia Davis Park are Zoo Boise, The Idaho State Museum, and The Idaho Black History Museum.
Boise Bicycle Tours (733 South Pioneer Street, Boise). Exploring Boise from the seat of one of their comfortable bikes is an excellent way to see and learn about the things that make the city unique. Take in the local vibe on a fun ride with a Boise native and discover way more than you could ever find on your own. Their small group bike tours provide a more intimate experience, greater access to local landmarks, and more time to explore.
Photography courtesy of Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Boise River (Boise & Eagle). The jewel of the city is the Boise River, which runs through the middle of Boise and into Eagle. There are 25 miles of greenbelt path along both sides of its banks, a whitewater park, and plenty of rapids to float or kayak.
Freak Alley (Downtown Boise). Freak Alley is a “notable venue” for murals, graffiti, and public art located in an alley in downtown Boise. It is said to be the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest and has been a Boise institution since 2002. It began with a painting of a single alley doorway and now extends from the alley itself to a gravel parking lot. Don’t forget to take a selfie while you’re there.
Indian Creek Plaza (119 S 7th Avenue, Caldwell). There’s always something to see and do in downtown Caldwell. During the summer, Tuesdays on the Creek brings a summer concert series and a farmers market. During the winter, don’t miss the Winter Wonderland Festival with over one million LED lights on display, or go ice skating at Ice Ribbon & Rink.
Photography by Chad Case.
Ridge to Rivers Trail System (Boise Foothills) If hiking or mountain bike riding are of interest, then you must check out the 190 miles of trails in this system. Go in the morning and you may see deer and other wildlife, or head up in the evening to view one of Boise’s amazing sunsets.
Sunnyslope Wine Trail (119 S 7th Avenue, Caldwell). Nestled in the scenic Snake River Valley, the Sunnyslope Wine Trail boasts 16 wineries and vineyards, award-winning wines, and intimate tasting and dining experiences, all framed by panoramic views. The trail begins and ends in downtown Caldwell, weaving through vineyards, orchards, and acres of some of the most scenic farmland in the Northwest.
Warhawk Air Museum (201 Municipal Drive, Nampa). Boasting a P-51C Mustang, a P-40E Kittyhawk, and a F-84G Thunderjet in its collection, the Warhawk Air Museum was created to preserve history and educate future generations about American veterans and their contributions.
Maison Blue. Photography by Ampersand Studios.
WHERE TO SHOP // Feather & Twine Home (3107 West State Street, Boise). Feather and Twine Home offers a carefully curated collection of gifts and home decor, hand-selected by award-winning interior designer Judith Balis with the goal of helping customers add those finishing touches that make your house a home. And be sure to visit her newest store, Bungalow Home.
Idaho Made (108 North 6th Street, Boise). Locally made goods by Idaho artisans. Whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind item, a gift for someone special, or a little something for yourself, you are sure to find what you are looking for at Idaho Made.
Maison Blue (50 North 2nd Street, Eagle). Run by a mother-and-daughter duo with a love of design and antiques, Maison Blue reflects the owners’ love of select pieces and quality brands that evoke the classic European style they find in their travels.
Re-POP Gifts (210 North 10th Street, Boise). This store is filled with an eclectic mix of pop culture wares with an added measure of local Boise/Idaho love.
Salvage Sisters & Son (1767 Broadway Avenue, Boise). Shop vintage goods that are a unique mix of rustic and industrial items ready to accent your backyard, kitchen, or home interior. Plus, Catherine, the owner, has her favorite gift and food items for sale as well.
Capitol Cellars. Photography courtesy of Capitol Cellars.
WHERE TO EAT // A’Tavola (1515 West Grove Street, Boise). House-made breakfast and lunch dishes for dine-in or takeaway, plus a specialty goods store and bakery.
Alyonka Russian Cuisine (2870 West State Street, Boise) Born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, Elena DeYoung created this restaurant after being involved in Boise’s Russian Festival.
Capitol Cellars (110 South 5th Street, Boise) Capitol Cellars serves Boise’s best business lunch and an elegant-upscale dinner that changes with the season’s bounty. Offering a world-class wine list and a full bar, it’s perfect for happy hour too.
Petite 4 (4 North Latah Street, Boise). Located on the Boise Bench, just minutes from downtown Boise, Petite 4 welcomes people to enjoy a friendly, laid-back environment while sipping bubbly and dining on freshly shucked oysters, chorizo croquettes, fancy eggs, duck terrine, and more.
Ragazza Di Bufalo (801 Everett Street, Caldwell). Explore creative flavors and dishes from chef Steve Topple, Italian classics, and twists on old Italian favorites. The restaurant strives to source local food and wine items from local farmers markets.
Discover more of Boise & the Treasure Valley’s top spots to eat in the Treasure Valley Dining Guide.
Western Collective. Photography by Ampersand Studios.
WHERE TO DRINK // Bodovino (404 South 8th Street, Boise). Located in downtown Boise, this is a total wine experience. Guests can take a tasting tour of the world and enjoy a sampling of 144 bottles of wines by the glass through their Wine Emotion machines, or choose from over 600 wines by the bottle. Tapas and sushi are also available.
Water Bear Bar (350 North 9th Street, Boise). A bar owned by bartenders, at Water Bear Bar you can expect approachable classics, modern cocktails, punch bowls, natural wines, and a lush “mountain tiki” escape in the heart of the city.
Western Collective (111 West 33rd Street, Garden City). While this is a brewery, they offer so much more than beer, including a new wine line, adult slushies, and the best coffee around beginning at 7 a.m.
LOCAL PRO TIP // The surest way to get on our good side is to pronounce the name of our city correctly. It’s pronounced Boy-See, not Boi-Zee.
For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Boise & the Treasure Valley, follow The Scout Guide Boise on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Boise & the Treasure Valley website.