Boise On a Budget
For those looking to have the comforts of the city with an outdoor getaway thrown into the mix, Boise is located in a region surrounded by mountains, rivers, and lakes. You might prefer to spend one day hiking, fishing, and boating, and the next seeing some of the museums and entertainment that Boise has to offer. A blend of urban and outdoors is perhaps the best way to describe this destination.
SightsWhat started as a fur trading fort during the gold rush days of the 1800s has since grown to become the metropolis of Boise, capital of Idaho. As you spent a day touring the city you will see much to admire about what the place has become. The Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site is a popular attraction for visitors, who can tour the facility to see cells, the Gallow, and the solitary confinement area. Built in 1870 from hand-cut sandstone, the site includes 30 historical structures, some of which now feature educational exhibits. Also near the penitentiary are the Idaho Botanical Gardens, featuring 13 specialty gardens, from herb, rose, cactus, and alpine, to meditation, butterfly, and hummingbird. The State Capital is another feat of architectural achievement, built from 1905-1920 of sandstone with marble from Alaska, Georgia, Vermont, and Italy. The very top of the dome even features a 5-foot statue of a golden eagle, while the interior features various displays and temporary exhibits.
On the nature side of things, the city is home to many extensive park areas. The Boise Greenbelt, located along the Boise River, is perhaps the largest, linking 850 acres of natural area running through the city center. 25 miles long, The Boise Greenbelt offers a variety of bicycling and walking paths, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. Similarly, Kathryn Albertson Park offers 41 acres of green area southwest of downtown Boise. Most of this park is wetland habitat, with a fountain, gazebos, and walking paths along scenic lagoons. There are even some signs throughout the park that offer information on wildlife and habitats.
NeighborhoodsDowntown Boise is the city's cultural center. It is home to many small businesses with a variety of shops and dining options. The central location on 8th Street contains a pedestrian zone with sidewalk cafes and restaurants, and the place comes to life at night, full of vibrant boutiques and bars. The downtown area is also home to attractions like Basque Block, the Idaho State Capitol, the Egyptian Theater, the Boise Art Museum, and the Boise Zoo. Boise State University is located just south of the downtown area, whose campus features the 37,000-seat Albertsons Stadium as well as the Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts.
ActivitiesAs far as activities go, the Julia Davis Park has more than enough to occupy a well-rounded visit to the city. Created in 1907, the park not only provides a riverfront recreational area, but also lays grounds to many of the important museums in the city. The Boise Art Museum, for example, provides an epicenter for Boise's art scene. In addition to exhibiting contemporary artwork exhibitions, the museum also hosts an "Art In the Park" event to bring visitors interested in Boise's local art scene to the Julia Davis Park. The Idaho State Historical Museum exhibits Native American, Basque, and Chinese culture, while the Discovery Center of Idaho promotes learning in learning in science and technology. The Black History Museum is the oldest in the Pacific northwest and hosts many activities and events, while the Boise Zoo offers visitors a unique experience with wildlife from around the world from tigers, monkeys, and giraffes, to pandas, penguins, and giant tortoises. Whether you want to spend your days exploring the museums, or enjoying the outdoor attractions of the park, there is no doubt that this little hub of culture will have you busy for a few days.
For those looking for adventure on the outskirts of the city, the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is open year round offering activities like skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping.
Food and DiningThe hub for food in Boise, Idaho is definitely the downtown area. Chandlers Steakhouse, Goodwood Barbeque Company, and Barbacoa are some of the top rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, however, there is always a hidden gem amongst the lot. Big Jud's, for example, boasts itself as home of the 1-pound burger, and was even featured on the Food Network show Man vs. Food. Big Jud's is also a prime spot to get your fill of Idaho Potato fries. After all, Idaho is famous around the globe for its potatoes!
If you're looking for more options, check out this amazing guide to food and restaurants in Boise.
TransportationFor those traveling to the city by car, the major Interstate serving Boise is I-84, which connects Boise with Portland, Oregon, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The main airport for those flying to the city is Boise Airport, which is served by Allegiant Air, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
Once you reach the city, public transportation is available via bus system run by Valley Ride. Many locals also navigate Boise by bicycle.