From its breathtaking nature trails to the tranquil flowing waters of the Boise River, Boise is an outstanding adventure city.
Perks of Parks
One of the “Ribbon of Jewels,” Ann Morrison Park is an urban park located on the Boise River. The 153-acre park features a distinctive spray fountain, bocce courts, disc golf course, horseshoe pits, an outdoor gym, sand volleyball court and much more. Visitors seeking another locale to stretch their legs can go on a run, walk or bike ride at the Boise River Greenbelt. Its tree-lined pathway is the perfect path for a ride with its scenic views and wildlife habitat. The greenbelt’s 25-mile trail is one of the most beloved riverside parks in the city. Bogus Basin is home to the only mountain coaster in Idaho. Experience 4,330 feet of high speed, twisting and turning, screaming and cheering through the woods.
Get in touch with nature at Ridge to Rivers, an interconnected network of road and trail courses throughout the Boise Foothills. With more than 190 miles of nature trails, Ridge to Rivers has something for everyone. For bikers, try out the many mountain bike loops. The summer is the best time for hiking and running as you will find yourself striding through the city’s bright yellow sagebrush buttercups.
Water Time Fun
Stay dry or take a dip in the water at Esther Simplot Park. The park features trails, docks, wetlands, boardwalks, shelters, grassy open areas, a playground, bridges and restrooms. Part of the Boise River Recreation and Management Plan, the Boise Whitewater Park is a public park with waveshapers that create waves suitable for wave surfing. Open from sunrise to sunset, the waves of the water are great for summertime surfing. Then paddle away at the 22-acre Quinn’s Pond, just a few steps away from Whitewater Park. The flatwater allows for many recreational activities such as kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding or you can engage in daily stand-up paddle boarding yoga classes. Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park, the park’s formal name (it is known by locals as Quinn’s Pond), includes fishing docks, a small beach for canoe landings and a picnic area.
After an active day, relax and float on the Boise River from Barber Park. This is a great way to soak up the sun and greenery of the city as groups and families can relax and enjoy the tranquil waters.
Wine and Dine in Boise | Garden City
Idaho’s first wine grapes were planted in 1864 and since then, its wine industry has been growing fast as more than 11 new wineries have surfaced since 2002. Start off the night with a cup of red or white wine (or both) and whatever else your heart desires at Cinder or one of Boise’s downtown tasting rooms. Cinder was named after the volcanic cinder beneath many of the company’s vineyards and hosts numerous events throughout the year including tasting room hours, dinners and opera.
For over 20 years, the Capital City Public Market has supported and promoted a sustainable local food system. Located in downtown Boise, you will feel part of the community after vendors show you the best way to choose a ripe ear of corn. Shop for food, buy local artist’s paintings and smell the fresh baked goods every step you take. The market is open every Saturday between April and December with more than 150 vendors such as Boise Brewing, City Peanut Shop and Wepa Café.
For a night out on the town, vibe with Diablo and Sons Saloon, a restaurant that mixes modern slick with motifs of the Old West. The taco platters will be calling your name. Or, for a tasty lunch option, you can enjoy the ambitious sandwiches at Lemon Tree Co., which offers creative combos like sausage and pear or a mushroom and artichoke cheesesteak. Enjoy listening to live jazz entertainment at Chandler’s Steakhouse. Your mouth will be watering over the flavor-filled menu of prime steaks and fine seafood. Located inside the Grove Hotel, Trillium is a Boise gem as the kitchen’s commitment to local ingredients is staunch. You can enjoy dishes like smoked trout poutine, bison meatloaf and huckleberry short ribs.
Festivals and Culture
Boise hosts diverse art fairs and festivals for visitors to learn about Idaho’s culture. For starters, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival has been bringing world-class theater to life in a stunning state-of-the-art outdoor amphitheater in Boise since 1977. Guests can enjoy a glass of wine or a gourmet dinner at Café Shakespeare before the show. Another spectacular event is the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic which takes place at the end of August. This event was first hosted in 1991 as a way to provide an exciting, family-oriented production for the community at no charge. Hosted at Ann Morrison Park, the event brings together visitors and locals alike who enjoy being surrounded by countless colorful hot air balloons and inspiring music.
Visit the Basque Block for a taste of Basque culture, dance, art and celebration. This establishment is home to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, the Basque Center (a meeting place for the Basque community), the Basque Market and landmarks like the Cyrus-Jacobs Uberuaga House. Bar Gernika is an old-fashioned Basque pub and eatery which hosts the popular appetizer, Tortilla de Patatas and also offers such delightful dishes as croquetas, a solomo sandwich (marinated pork loin with pimentos) and a famous chorizo sandwich. From Wednesday to Friday, enjoy a lunch paella by the Basque Market, and in 2020, plan for the Basque Festival, Jaialdi, that takes place in Boise every five years. After this visit, you will understand why more people of the Basque descent live in the Boise area per capita than any other place outside of the Basque region of Southern France and Northern Spain.
If you are lucky enough to be in Boise in mid-September, you will be able to attend Art in the Park and the Hyde Park Street Fair. Art in the Park is recognized as one of the premiere cultural events in the Northwest. This festival provides art from more than 200 artists. The Hyde Park Street Fair features three days of live music along with vendors, children’s activities, performances, scrumptious treats and wine and beer.