I don’t think I’ve ever been as pleasantly surprised in a new city as I was the first time I came to Boise. Tons of local pride, independent shops and businesses, a variety of attractions and more make this city such a fun place to visit. When we needed a stop to break up a long stretch in our moving road trip, I couldn’t add it fast enough!
GETTING TO BOISE
We drove to Boise from Salt Lake City, which took about 4:45. Because you’ll stay on I-84 almost the whole way, it’s not a very eventful drive. Still, keep in mind that rest stops can be few and far between; we ended up desperate for gas at one point and very nearly ran out!
We stayed at the Residence Inn Boise Downtown/City Center, which was perfectly located. It was just a couple blocks from most of what we wanted to do and see downtown, making for easy walks to grab dinner at night or coffee in the morning. Our room was also incredibly spacious, with a separate little living room area set away from the bed. And I’m not sure I’ve met friendlier or more helpful front desk people anywhere! They were full of Boise tips and recommendations on Boise’s attractions, which we happily accepted. I would definitely stay here again on a future visit to Boise!
As I had already been to local hotspot Fork on a previous trip, we chose to dine at downtown Juniper for dinner. The ambiance was refined but relaxed, with dim lighting and exposed brick walls. Food-wise, the highlight for me was definitely the rosemary fries. It’s hard to top the fries in Idaho, which is famous for them!
After dinner, we headed over to The Stil, which was a new addition to downtown since the last time I’d visited. The ice cream there was incredible, and I do NOT say that lightly. The shop uses local dairy and offers plenty of options for those with dietary restrictions. It also incorporates local beer, wine and spirits into its ice cream for some pretty interesting creations! I kept it simple with cheesecake ice cream and it was amazing.
The next day, we stopped at Bittercreek Alehouse to grab lunch on the way out of town at the recommendation of a staff member at the Residence Inn, and it didn’t disappoint! For more Boise dining options, check out my complete city guide here.
Boise has a large Basque community, and like the Basque region in Europe, the city has a great cider culture. We went to Meriwether Cider House and got a flight, trying a range of locally produced ciders as well as some from farther afield.
I also loved District Coffee House not only for its coffee, but for its baked goods and kombucha selection, too. Both of these businesses are right downtown, making them easy to pop over to from wherever you’re staying!
Our first stop in Boise was the Boise Depot, a former train station that affords some of the best views of the city. You’ll get a straight line of sight down to the State Capitol, as well as a clear look at the surrounding mountains! We got there right as the sun was setting and just barely caught the city views in the light.
After that, we made our way down to the Capitol itself (a recurring theme on this road trip—see here, here and here) and walked around the building. It’s one of the prettier Capitol buildings I’ve seen!
The next day we had more time to stop into some of the shops downtown and admire the old red-brick architecture. And finally, we took a walk through Freak Alley, an outdoor public art gallery filled with colorful graffiti. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the neighborhood!
One thing in Boise I haven’t done yet but would really like to do is float down the Boise River Greenbelt. It’s a great, fun way to relax and cool off during Boise summers, which can be extremely hot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly seasonal when I visited in November. But I saw people doing it on my first visit in July, and now I want to try it myself!
While the Residence Inn definitely won’t break the bank as far as hotels go, as we had lots of accommodations to pay for on our road trip, I opted to use points to cover the entire thing (as opposed to saving them and paying cash for the cheaper rooms). On the bright side, the stay was cheap in points as well, setting me back only 17,500 Marriott points.
For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass. For more on Boise, check out my city guide here. And finally, for more on my cross-country moving road trip, head to this post, which links to roundups from each stop on the journey!
What Boise attractions would you see with one day in the city? Let me know in the comments! >>
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