Commerical Break: 24 hours in Boise

If you only have 24 hours to stop in Boise, then here are a few things you should do while you’re there.

This place is beautiful and has a very small city/big town feel.  Going back 10 years later, I still see faces that I recognize, my family members are used to seeing the same people at their regular grocery stores and you can literally watch the growth of the city.

If you’re there in the summer:

  • Take a hike up to Camel’s Back Park.  This is located in North Boise and is right along the foothills.  There’s a great drive up to the park that is treelined and feels like your own little oasis in the middle of the city.
  • If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a hike up to Table Rock.  There is a trail from the Old Penitentiary to the top of Table Rock where you can get an amazing view of the entire city.  There’s a large rock bench at the top that you can sit at and watch the sunset over the city.
  • The Botanical Gardens and the Old Penitentiary.  They are in the same park and very beautiful.  During the summer they have concerts in the Botanical Gardens.
  • The Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  Every summer the Idaho Shakespeare Festival does  an average of 3-4 plays that they will rotate throughout the summer.  They will typically do 1 non-Shakespearean play and the rest will be the classics.  Plus, they love to do things with a new spin on it.  One of my favorites was Twelfth Night in the 60s.  They’ve also done Macbeth with Japanese style kimonos and drums which was absolutely amazing.
  • Float the Boise River.  This is a group activity that requires some coordination but it is a great way to relax and usually takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete.
  • You could also take a walk along the Green Belt which goes from Eagle to Downtown Boise.  The thing about Boise is that it is flat so the entire city is very expansive but the tallest building is about 10 stories.
  • If you’re hanging out in downtown, check out Freak Alley where they allow artists to cover the alleyway with amazing murals and graffiti.
  • At night, check out the bars or some of the concerts. The bars are all along the same strip of downtown which makes bar hopping very easy.
  • For a late night treat check out Pie Hole for cheap pizza, Pita Pit for something slightly healthier, or Merritt’s for diner food.

If you’re there in the winter:

  • Ski resorts are plentiful in southern Idaho.  Bogus Basin is just half an hour outside of Boise, and then outside of Boise you have Sun Valley, Brundage and Tamarackjust a few hours away.
  • Sledding. In North Boise there is a giant hill called Simplot Hill where the Governor’s Mansion sits. You can get to the top of the hill and sled down (during the summer people will ice block down it).
  • Hang in the coffee shops.  Coffee culture isn’t quite the same in Boise as you would find in other cities but there are some adorable coffee shops that are perfect for those winter days.
  • Check out the Flicks.  This is an independent theater company that plays some of the more obscure films you won’t see at a Regal or AMC theater.

Things to note: the summer time in Boise is hot.  If you’re not used to the heat, come prepared with sunscreen and lots of water.  During the winter, it gets cold and people will still drive when there is snow on the ground (Seattle isn’t as well versed in that…)Along with that, people in Boise are friendly. That’s why I call it a small city/big town because the people there will ask you a question and genuinely care what the response actually is.  You need a car, public transportation in this place is minimal.  There are only a handful of buses and so you could wait upwards of an hour for a bus. Lastly, Boise may not be a major tourist destination but it is quaint and full of character.  Definitely give it a chance.


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