Are you thinking about planning a trip to Boise, Idaho? I know you might be thinking, what is there actually to do in Boise? Trust us, there is PLENTY! We have done all the research (so you don't have to) to create the ultimate Boise travel guide.
The following is a list of the top-rated attractions you must see to get the full Boise experience.
1. Freak Alley
The local artists of Boise showcase their unique masterpieces in Freak Alley, the largest open air multi-artist gallery in the Northwest.
Searching for the perfect spot in Boise to take cute pictures with your friends? This is the place, as the murals in the alley have that unique, artsy aesthetic.
September is an amazing time to check it out because the art in this evolving gallery gets replaced around August each year, with the exception of a few legacy pieces.
2. Boise River Greenbelt
The Boise River Greenbelt stretches 25 miles along the Boise river and provides pedestrian access to Boise's most popular riverside parks. Make sure to keep your eyes out for deer, beavers, cranes, geese and lots more incredible Boise wildlife along the river.
If your visit to Boise is during the summer season, be sure to float the river while you can, and check out this Boise River Guide that includes tips, tricks and a packing list of everything you'll need for your river adventure.
3. Old Idaho State Penitentiary
A truly historic attraction in Boise, this unique prison has held some of the most desperate criminals in the west. Tour the many buildings and exhibits on the premises such as cell blocks and solitary confinement quarters, and learn about over 100 years of scandals, escapes, and executions.
The Penitentiary is located a quick 10 minute drive from downtown. Tickets can be purchased in person or online in advance (which is strongly preferred).
4. Hyde Park District
The Hyde Park District is truly a gem in Boise. Located along 13th street in the North End, this street looks like it came straight out of a movie with tons of cute shops and restaurants. Camel's Back Park is also just a short walk away where you'll find lots of hiking trails and enjoy an incredible scenic view of the Boise foothills.
5. Table Rock
Table rock is a mountain pillar that is best know for having a white cross statue that can be seen from almost anywhere in town. At the top, you'll find a scenic lookout point that you can hike to, but is also accessible by car. The entrance to the trail is at the Old Idaho Pen and the hike is about 3.7 miles. The trail is dog friendly and open from sunrise to sunset daily.
6. Idaho Botanical Gardens
The Idaho Botanical Gardens is of the first and oldest botanical gardens in Idaho. The garden promotes horticulture in the area by using native and domestic plants found in the intermountain region. The 12 unique gardens are located on old prison grounds in the Idaho State Penitentiary Historical District.
When you pay admission, you will receive a map of the grounds to help you navigate a self-guided tour. Guided group tours are also available upon reservation with a minimum 10 people. Be sure to check the schedule online before making your visit because the grounds are used for many different kinds of events, including outdoor concerts.
7. Bogus Basin Recreation Area
Bogus Basin is one of just a handful of non-profit recreation areas in the country. Although it is best know for it's skiing and other winter sports, Bogus is open year round for recreation and education.
Located about 30 minutes from town in the Boise National Forest, this Recreation Area is worth visiting any time of year. There are many scenic trails in the Bogus Area. In addition to hiking, you can rent mountain bikes, ride a mountain coaster, rock climb, take a scenic chairlift, and even go bungee jumping.
8. Boise Farmer's Market
The Boise Farmer's Market was previously located in the heart of town near the shops in downtown Boise, but after COVID-19 regulations were put in place, the market was moved to a location with more space to allow for social distancing. The new location is 1500 Shoreline Dr, just a few minutes outside of downtown.
This food-centric market focuses on creating a community space to learn about food and sustainability. As of right now (9/6/21), the market runs every Saturday from 9am-1pm. If you're looking for the perfect outfit to wear to the market, we have you covered with this farmer's market fashion guide.
9. Zoo Boise
The Zoo Boise is an amazing place to visit in Boise, especially if you're fascinated by learning about wildlife, species conservation and the environment! The Zoo is located just few minutes from downtown along the Boise River Greenbelt and the river.
10. World Center for Birds of Prey
The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey is a center focused on the conservation of the Raptor bird species. The Center was founded in 1970 to restore the Peregrine Falcon from the brink of extinction. They address the issues by protecting areas of high raptor conservation value, as well as engaging and inspiring the community to take action.
Not sure what to pack for your trip to Boise? Read our previous blog post on everything you need to pack to dress for the season you're visiting. Happy traveling!