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The ultimate Boise travel guide

Downtown Boise from afar

Contrary to what you might assume, there are so many reasons to visit Boise, Idaho, including attractions for city people and nature-lovers alike. You’ll need a full day at the very least to explore a good amount of what this city has to offer! Here are my picks for what to do, where to stay, where to eat and drink and more in Idaho’s capital city. This Boise city guide is a living document that I’ll be updating after each future trip!

Building in downtown Boise
Idaho sign

THE ULTIMATE BOISE IDAHO TRAVEL GUIDE

WHEN TO VISIT BOISE IDAHO:

The warmer months are bet suited for enjoying all Boise has to offer; When I went in November, it was definitely too cold for some of the city’s main attractions. On the flip side, though, be careful not to wait until it’s too hot! I can say from experience that August in the city is absolutely brutal. For ideal temps, I’d recommend visiting in April or May.

WHERE TO STAY IN BOISE: 

I love the location of the Residence Inn Boise Downtown/City Center, which is just close enough to the action without being smack-dab in the center of downtown. You’ll be easy walking distance from plenty to do, see and eat, and rooms are clean and spacious. The hotel staff is some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered, too! Prices are generally super reasonable, but should you want to, you can also redeem Marriott points here.

Hotel room bed
Hotel room couch

If you’re more of the boutique hotel type, consider the Inn at 500 Capitol. I can’t personally vouch for it as I haven’t stayed there myself, but it looks clean and modern and has great reviews across the board. While it’s not part of a major hotel chain, Chase Sapphire cardholders can book it using Chase points through the Ultimate Rewards portal; alternatively, those who have the Capital One Venture can book through hotels.com to earn 10 points per dollar.

For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register for my next masterclass!

WHERE TO EAT IN BOISE:

Fork – Boise’s take on farm-to-table, with an emphasis on craft cocktails to boot

Juniper – Modern spot with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, wine and beer

Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro – A legendary diner in town—go early or face a lengthy wait! 

Boise Fry Company – It’s all about the fries (and wide variety of dipping sauces) at this establishment. When in Idaho, right?

Bittercreek Alehouse – A lively pub atmosphere with solid food options

The Stil – Some of the best ice cream you’ll ever have, made with local dairy (and sometimes infused with local booze!)

Fries at Juniper
cup of ice cream

WHERE TO DRINK IN BOISE:

Meriwether Cider House – Boise’s hub for all things cider. They make their own and also serve a wide variety from around the world. Flights offered!

District Coffee House – Airy coffee shop with lots of seating and a wide variety of baked goods, kombuchas and more

10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Central spot for craft beer, featuring a menu of elevated pub fare

District Coffee House interior

THINGS TO DO IN BOISE:

Freak AlleyThis downtown alleyway is home to blocks’ worth of vibrant and quirky street art and represents the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest.

Boise train depot – This historic building was once used as a train station, and while it’s not anymore, it’s still one of the best places in Boise for photography. Views of the city from here are stellar!

Shop hop downtown – Boise is home to so many independent shops and businesses, and you’ll find them all brimming with local pride. 

Idaho State Capitol – If state capitols are your thing, you can visit Idaho’s capitol building in downtown Boise. Note that you’ll need to schedule a guided tour in advance if you’re interested in taking one!

See the blue turf – Boise State University is known for its blue football field inside Albertsons Stadium, and you can see it by visiting the Allen Noble Hall of Fame

Camel’s Back Park – Head to this park and you’ll see why its name is so appropriate!  Those who trek up the hump will be rewarded with incredible Boise skyline views.

Table rock – Drive up this mountain for panoramic views and hiking opportunities.

Idaho State Capitol side view
Boise Depot tower
Graffiti mural with sunburst

STILL ON MY LIST:

Hyde Park – This historic district in Boise’s North End is part of the National Register of Historic Places and home to plenty of shops and eateries. 

Floating the Boise River – Floating down the river looks like the perfect way to beat the serious heat of Boise’s summers. Companies such as this one provide rafts, tubes and shuttles!

Idaho Shakespeare Festival – For theater lovers, catching a summer play during Idaho Shakespeare Festival looks like a special experience. The festival has been going on for more than 40 years, and the company puts on plays in a beautiful outdoor setting. 

Idaho Botanical Gardens – You’ll find a number of different gardens within the Idaho Botanical Gardens, including an English garden, an herb garden, a meditation garden and more. 

Julia Davis Park – This park, the city’s oldest, sits on 43 acres of riverside land. Its features a rose garden, a statue of Abraham Lincoln and so much more.

Basque Museum and Cultural Center – Did you know that Idaho is home to a large Basque population? That’s right—Boise’s affinity for cider is no coincidence. The Basque Museum’s mission is to “preserve, promote, and perpetuate” the history and culture of the Basque people.

Bogus Basin – Okay, this one isn’t actually on my list since I’m not a skier by any stretch of the imagination—but you may want to put it on yours! It’s a mountain recreation area with tons of winter activity options (as well as summer options, such as renting mountain bikes).

For more on Boise, check out this recap of my latest visit!

shops in downtown Boise

Hope this city guide inspired you to visit Boise, Idaho! What are your can’t-miss Boise attractions? Share them below in the comments! >>

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The ultimate Boise travel guide
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Boise, Idaho What to see, where to stay, where to eat & more

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Carly

March 3, 2019

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