Idaho is growing faster than any state in the country. As both the capital and largest city in Idaho, Boise is booming. When weighing the pros and cons of living in Boise, it’s clear the city has a lot to offer people of all demographics.
Boise is thriving, which translates to a treasure trove of activities available to anyone looking for things to do in the city. You can float relaxingly down the Boise River on an inner tube. There are no shortage of historical sites and museums if its culture you’re after. Check these sites out while you’re in Boise, Idaho.
#1: Boise River Greenbelt
The Boise River Greenbelt is one of the best-known and most popular parks in the area, running right through the heart of the city. A stroll, jog, or bike along its trails will give you access some unique wildlife, including great birding opportunities. Many of Boise’s great parks can be accessed via the Greenbelt.
#2: Idaho Botanical Garden
The Idaho Botanical Garden is both a site of great beauty and an important pillar of the community. The garden is a sensory delight, with splashes of color for the eyes, wafting fragrances for the nose, and soothing ambient sounds for the ears.
Located in the Old Penitentiary Historic District, the garden promotes the growth of native plants, giving you the chance to get familiar with local foliage during a relaxing activity.
#3: 6th and Main
Considered one of the best places to live in Boise, the city’s commercial district of has a rich history that stretches back to the mid-1800s. You can feel this history as you walk alongside the area’s stately buildings and large storefronts.
Guided tours of the district are available during the day, but at night you’ll likely want to experience the area on your own terms by heading to 6th and Main. There, you can head into any of the numerous bars, cafes, nightclubs, or restaurants. There’s a useful index of the area’s amenities on their website.
#4: Boise River
Is there anything more soothing than floating lazily along a winding river on an inner tube? There’s a six mile stretch of the Boise River—between Anne Morrison and Barber parks—where over 100 000 people make the trip each year.
As you bob along, you’re likely to see adventurous divers, jumping fish, minks, and eagle nests. Be sure to check out safety regulations and availability, as tubing is only available during the summer.
#5: Basque Block
If you’re just getting acquainted with Boise, it might surprise you to know that the city has a large population of Basques—a group that originates from Spain and France. The Basques came to the area way back in the 1800s, looking for gold. Instead, they wound up sticking around and herding sheep.
Today, the Basque Block is located between Capitol Boulevard and 6th Street on Grove. The block is filled with one-of-a-kind activities. The Basque Market has many interesting Basque and Spanish items. Festivals take place throughout the year, which you can learn more about on the block’s website.
#6: Ridge to Rivers
An iconic feature of Boise’s natural landscape is the Boise Foothills. If you’re looking to explore the area’s natural wonders, nearly 200 miles of Ridge to Rivers trails wind and stretch through these hills.
These trails vary in length and steepness, so whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging climb, you’ll find the trail for you. The Ridge to River’s trails are well-maintained, and are the perfect way to find inspiring views.
#7: Freak Alley
If you’re looking for a quirky activity, Freak Alley in downtown Boise boasts eye-popping visuals. The alley has been around since 2002, and is said to have begun with a single painting on a door.
Now, the painted alley stretches for an impressive length. Excitingly, it’s always changing. The murals are painted over ever few years, as the alley constantly refreshes itself. If you’re looking for art in downtown Boise, there’s no better place to start.
Summing Up: the Best Things to Do in Boise, Idaho
With myriad opportunities to experience nature, culture, dining, and sight-seeing, Boise truly has something for all visitors and residents to enjoy.
Our Top Choices for Things to Do in Boise, Idaho
- Hike the extensive Ridge to Rivers trail system
- Experience other cultures on Basque Block
- Check out some wacky murals in Freak Alley
- Float the iconic Boise River in an inner tube
- Soothe your soul in the Idaho Botanical Garden
- Navigate the city’s green scene on the Boise River Greenbelt