When you hear Boise, Idaho, you probably think, potatoes? However, there is so much more to Boise than potatoes. As the capital of Idaho, Boise is located in the Treasure Valley, and it’s a treasure indeed. Although the area is the largest metropolitan area in Idaho with a population of over 700,000 people, there’s a small-town feel in both structures and people.
The city is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and, in a matter of minutes, you can exchange urban for rural. The location provides visitors and natives with plenty of outdoor options such as hiking, biking, or swimming. In addition, the area is less than sixty minutes from mountain towns such as Idaho City or Cascade and hot springs!
Top 10 things to do in Boise, Idaho:
1) BOISE RIVER GREENBELT
The Boise River Greenbelt stretches twenty-five miles from Eagle, Idaho to Lucky Peak Dam along the Boise River. An entrance to the Greenbelt can be found less than one mile from BBC and many students find themselves longboarding, walking, and bike riding to take breaks from homework.
2) CAMEL’S BACK PARK
Camel’s Back Park is located in the lovely Hyde Park and connected to Hulls Gulch, which is popular for hiking and mountain biking. The name “Camel’s Back” accurately describes the park — There’s a huge hill to hike. Also, sometimes RA’s at BBC hosts student life events for students in the Spring. During the summer, the park hosts Hyde Park Street Fair. In addition, you can get a great view of the city or go sledding in the winter.
3) FREAK ALLEY GALLERY
Freak Alley Gallery is located in downtown near 8th Street. The alley contains exuberant murals and artwork from local artists around the Treasure Valley.
4) HYDE PARK AND HARRISON BLVD.
Historic Hyde Park and Harrison Blvd. lay just north of downtown Boise. Hyde Park is known for its architecture, street fairs, and coffee at Java. If you want a neat place to stroll for an afternoon, Hyde Park is the place to be.
5) FLOAT THE BOISE RIVER
The climate of the Treasure Valley in the summer can be hot and dry, so it forces many to the river. Whether you’re floating or swimming, the river is a cool place (pun intended). Every year, more than 125,000 people float the Boise River and take part in the fun. To float the Boise River, many begin at Barber Park and end at Ann Morrison Park. The float is six miles and about two to three hours from start to finish. In addition, there’s a free shuttle from Ann Morrison back to Barber Park.
6) THE BASQUE BLOCK
Located downtown between Capital Boulevard and 6th Street on the Grove, The Basque Block hosts one of Idaho’s examples of conservation and documentation of a living ethnic neighborhood. Idaho is home to one of the largest populations of Basques outside of Spain. On the block, you’ll find the Basque Center, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Bar Gernika, Leka Ona restaurant, and the Basque Market. Every Thursday at 6:00 pm you can eat up some traditional Paella or take a cooking class at the Basque Market.
7) CAPITAL CITY PUBLIC MARKET
On Saturdays from April to December, you can walk down 8th street to see local vendors at the Capital City Public Market. For the last twenty-five years, it’s been a vibrant place to experience Boise. From goods to food, you’ll find it all.
8) JUMP COMMUNITY CENTER
JUMP is a place to gather and discover new possibilities. JUMP stands for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place to honor the late Jack Simplot and to inspire, grow, and innovate the community. The goal and mission of JUMP is to get you to try new things. At JUMP, you can take a cooking class or dance class, or maybe a graphic arts class. In addition, JUMP hosts many markets such as the Wintry Market or Summery Market.
9) 8th STREET MARKETPLACE
Located downtown, 8th street stretches full of restaurants and shops for three blocks. Many would say this is the heart of downtown Boise. Some of Boise’s most iconic places such as Pie Hole and Rediscover Books can be found here. There are always events happening on 8th Street such as Alive After Five or First Thursdays, so be sure to check out the Downtown Boise Association website.
10) TABLE ROCK
BONUS: Popular Eateries
BOISE FRY COMPANY!
The place where burgers are the side, Boise Fry Company offers an entire green, natural, sustainable process. They use all-natural, local, and, whenever feasible, organic products. It’s a treat indeed! Plus, there are one less than 5 minutes from Boise Bible College!
This popular, family-owned cafe is located a few minutes from Boise Bible College. Since 1975, they’ve been offering the best scones in Boise. This hold-in-the-wall cafe is an experience for everyone.
THE DISTRICT COFFEE HOUSE
The District is a popular destination for many college students. They serve excellent craft coffee as well as food. Enjoy a bright, airy atmosphere with a chill vibe in Downtown Boise.
TIPS: PARKING IN DOWNTOWN BOISE
Parking in Downtown Boise is no different than many downtown’s. However, a few things to note:
- Many of the parking garages offer the 1st hour free.
- Three different zones encapsulate downtown Boise parking. The further out you go, the more perks – cheaper and free after 6:00 pm vs. 8:00 pm M-F and free on Saturdays in zone 3. Also, Sundays are free in all three zones!
- You can park in zone 3 and easily see all of downtown Boise by walking, biking, or scooting!
Boise, Idaho is a great place to live and explore. Even though Boise is a large city, but it’s safe and clean. The fact that you can float the river through downtown Boise without worrying about its cleanliness tells a lot about the city. Many Boise Bible College students love the coffee shops, outdoor activities, and diversity of this city.