COVID-19 has affected many activities and businesses in SW Idaho. Be sure to confirm hours and availability before your visit.
We’re spilling a few secrets on things to do in Boise to act like (or at least look like) a native.
- Paella on the Patio.
Paella on the patio every Wednesday & Friday at noon.
The Basque Block is super-cool, and many Boise natives descend from this special region – even the Mayor! But every Boisean delights in lunchtime paella on The Basque Market’s patio. It happens every Wednesday and Friday at noon – but you better plan to get there by 12:15 or it will be sold out!
- Hike Table Rock.
Table Rock Trail is a hike with an awesome view just waiting for you.
A lot of locals do this every week – it’s a tradition of sorts, and when you get to the top you will see why. The most popular route climbs steeply from the Old Penitentiary parking lot to the top. It’s an old road, so it’s quite wide for the majority of its length – just keep looking up! When you get to the top, take in the stunning views of the rolling foothills and cityscapes below.
- Play under the stars.
Shakespeare Festival at the outdoor amphitheater
Any evening at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is simply unforgettable. The stories. The intimate, river-front setting. The homegrown and nationally-regarded talent. All of it. Not a fan of the Bard? No worries, only two of the company’s five seasonal productions are the work of Shakespeare. To get the full local experience, grab a bottle of Idaho wine or beer, a picnic-style meal, and show up early for the Green Show.
- Bleed Blue & Orange (if only for a day).
Celebrating at BSU’s Albertsons Stadium
Heard of the “Smurf Turf”? It’s best seen in person. If you find yourself in Boise on a Boise State University home game day, you must attend – it is an experience unto itself.
- Progressive Dinner down 8th Street.
Dessert at Fork on 8th Street
Taking a walk down 8th Street in downtown Boise gives you a real sense of the up-and-coming culinary scene. Do a progressive dinner down the block and be sure to hit some of our favorites: Fork, Alavita, Juniper and Red Feather. All of these establishments have a fierce loyalty to showcasing local products – you can’t go wrong! If you’re feeling like a nightcap afterwards, head around the corner to the Coiled Wine Bar for a sip of some of Idaho’s finest.
- Attend an event at the Idaho Botanical Garden.
Whether it’s regularly scheduled events like Winter Garden aGlow or summer’s Great Garden Escape (or the Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series with big national acts), Boiseans can’t get enough of this beautiful family-friendly garden space.
- Wine & Bike along the Boise Greenbelt.
Telaya winery on the Boise Greenbelt
This 25-mile tree-lined pathway is a mecca for locals. It goes right through the heart of the city and provides scenic views, wildlife habitat and pedestrian access to many of the popular riverside parks. Bring your bikes down to the Greenbelt (or rent from Boise GreenBike), and cruise along the path, stopping at multiple Idaho wineries along the way. Telaya, Coiled, Cinder and Split Rail are just a few located off the pathway. Cheers!
- Get in the water!
Photo courtesy of Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau
Boiseans may not live next to the ocean, but they sure know how to get wet! In addition to the always-popular fun of floating the Boise River, locals also love to SUP (stand-up paddleboard) on Quinn’s Pond, and hit the Boise Whitewater Park. Join in!
- Drink Boise beer.
You can find the Payette Brewing Company right off the Boise Greenbelt.
Craft breweries abound in Boise, and many are located right in the downtown core (read: easy to get from one to another). Payette Brewing has a fantastic indoor/outdoor vibe, as does Boise Brewing. Barbarian Brewing has a cool 21-and-over taproom, while Lost Grove Brewing is located on a hip industrial block by the university. You can’t go wrong with sampling some Boise-born brews!
- Ski at Bogus… but at night.
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, located 16 miles north of Boise, is pretty fantastic Idaho skiing during daylight hours. Mother Nature blankets the slopes with 150″-200″ of natural snow, and the result is 2,600 acres of skiable, snowboard-able terrain with seven lifts and 53 named runs. But if you really want to explore like a local, head up later in the day. Their night skiing terrain (165 groomed acres) is more than any other ski area in the Northwest! Plus the view of the city from the top makes it all worthwhile.
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Wherever you go in Boise, be sure to ask locals for their favorite hidden spots and must-do items. Everyone has different things to share!