CULTURE & HISTORY
The land that is present-day Southwest Idaho was once inhabited by Indigenous Peoples and the tribes of the Great Basin. Descendants of the Western Shoshone and the Northern Paiute occupy the Duck Valley Indian Reservation today, located on the border of Idaho and Nevada.
THE OREGON TRAIL
The Oregon Trail passed directly through Southwest Idaho, and in 1834, Fort Boise was established where Parma is today. Follow the dusty trail along the Main Oregon Trail Backcountry Byway from Three Island Crossing State Park to the Old Fort Boise Replica and Museum, or hike the wagon ruts in the Oregon Trail Reserve.
DOWNTOWN HISTORY AND ART
In downtown Boise, just off Capitol Boulevard, walk through the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, see the latest exhibit at the Boise Art Museum, and retrace much of the state’s history at the Idaho Black History Museum and the Idaho State Museum, which was entirely renovated in 2019.
THE BOISE BASQUE BLOCK
Boise is home to the largest community of Basque people outside of Spain. Visit the Basque Block in downtown Boise for a history lesson at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, then indulge in traditional food and drink at Bar Gernika or The Basque Market. Jaialdi, a celebration of all things Basque, happens every five years on the Basque Block.
HISTORIC GHOST TOWNS OF SOUTHWEST IDAHO
Step back in time visiting the historic ghost towns of Southwest Idaho like Silver City, Atlanta, Idaho City and Roseberry. Idaho’s Gold Rush began in the early 1860s and was one of the largest since California’s rush. By 1864, Idaho City was the largest city in the Pacific Northwest — bigger than Portland, Oregon. Learn more about the Gem State at the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology in Boise.
HISTORY TAKES FLIGHT
Learn about American flight history through personal accounts at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. The museum is filled with personal memorabilia from WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Korea, as well as 11 historic and replica aircraft made famous by war. Several planes within the museum have flown in Hollywood films like Death Race, Pearl Harbor and Valkyrie.
A GROWING MUSIC SCENE
Catch a local live band most nights of the week or grab tickets to an annual festival, like Treefort Music Fest in downtown Boise, Yellow Pine Harmonica Festival, and the National Old Time Fiddler’s Contest & Festival in Weiser.
Idaho Shakespeare Festival is a beloved summer tradition in Boise. Pack a picnic and enjoy a live play in the festival’s world-class outdoor amphitheater, tucked in a stunning habitat reserve. In the mountains of Garden Valley is Starlight Mountain Theatre, an outdoor summer playhouse on the bank of the middle fork of the Payette River.