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Things to do in Boise

22 contributors

The top 9 attractions in Boise

Of Cultural Interest in Boise
The Basque Museum & Cultural Center
The BASQUE Museum and CULTURAL CENTER can be found in BOISE, Idaho, USA. The museum was created in 1985, on the site where the first Basque immigrant's house was ve came to this city. His name was Uberuaga Cyrus Jacobs, and he lived there for 40 years. This gentleman was a rich merchant in Boise had built his house in 1864. Ms. Adela Garro Simplot, also of Basque descent, bought the house in 1985, and once it was restored it became the operational BASQUE CULTURAL CENTER MUSEUM and BOISE. From the front of the building you can see on the pavement a great LAUBURU (Basque Cross four arms that was used on the handle of cane typical Basque). BOISE has the biggest BASQUE community in the world outside of Basque Country. In this center you can learn about Basque culture.
Historical Monuments in Boise
Old Idaho Penitentiary
This historical site in Idaho’s capital city is well worth your time if in the area, and especially for history fans. For just $5 (for adults), visitors can walk around the 100+ year old facility and get a feel for the environment inmates lived in when the prison was open. It’s interesting to see how the maximum security cells differed from that of regular ones, where those on death row were hung, as well as where laundry was done. The architecture is fascinating as well. Additionally, there is a museum on the premise that details the evolution of weapons throughout the years. If you take time to go through all the buildings, it should take about an hour or so to cover the grounds.
Museums in Boise
Freak Alley Gallery
This mural/graffiti art project in downtown Boise is an intriguing site right in downtown. It’s interesting to look at all the distinct and different paintings by local artists. Sometimes, you’ll even get to see the artists painting the walls, and it’s great to stop and watch them create for a bit. The alley is located on Bancock Street between N 8th and N 9th Streets. Beyond the immediately visible artwork in the spacious alleyway, visitors can continue walking toward the inside of the block to find more creations in the works. Even with some dumpsters lined up against the buildings, a walk through art in the alley is pleasant. It’s hard not to appreciate all the talent showcased in Freak Alley. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Historical Monuments in Boise
Boise River Diversion Dam
A scenic view and a brief history lesson are two gains you’ll make by visiting Diversion Dam in Boise. Located on the Boise River about 7 miles southeast of the city along Warm Springs Avenue, this dam is on the National Register of Historic Places. There doesn't appear as though there’s an option for a tour of the facility, but there’s a display with brief information about it. It’s also easy to take photos of the site. There’s a small area across the dam to park cars and a bike path between the road and dam, so watch out for cyclists.
Of Cultural Interest in Boise
Spacebar Arcade
Look no further than Spacebar Arcade in Downtown Boise for vintage games like pinball, Donkey Kong, and Pac-man! Games at this arcade are also only about 25 to 50 cents per play so it won’t hurt your wallet as much if you get carried away. You won’t get tickets to win prizes when you win, but who needs that when you’re having tons of fun? There’s also a bar with a nice selection of alcohol, a juke box, and tables and chairs if you want to sit and chat. You have to be 21 to even enter this place, so have your ID ready.
Gardens in Boise
Capitol Park
Capitol Park is a mini-park located right in front of the capitol building and a relaxing place to be. It provides places to sit, a picnic area, a lot of trees (which is awesome if for those who may end up visiting on hot days) and brick paths for brief walks. It is also a great place to take photos of the capitol building and even portrait photos. As it is right in downtown, the park is not too far from restaurants, bars, etc. Those who enjoy parks and soft scenery will like it here, and even those who aren't will probably enjoy spending at least several minutes in this area.
Gardens in Boise
Idaho Botanical Garden
The Idaho Botanical Gardens are the largest gardens in the state and occupy the grounds of what was once the Historic Idaho State Penitentiary's farm. The botanical gardens themselves are huge and filled with all kinds of hidden corners and theme gardens that make it a pretty magical place. Don't believe me? Spend a morning at the Meditation Garden enjoy the silence among the creeping ivy, ferny trees, and trickling stream. Or, take your significant other to the Heirloom Rose Garden in springtime and see the bright pink and green leaves against the historic penitentiary. It's beautiful, plain and simple. Another nice part about the Idaho Botanical Garden is that they organize monthly events and summer concerts so you get a chance to hang out in the gardens in the evening. Every month, they invite wine producers, farmers, and chefs from around the state to come and set up so the public can sample their products. If you're visiting in summer, keep an eye out for the Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series. They invite groups to come and play in the meadow and you can bring lawn chairs and picnics and enjoy some food and music in the great outdoors. It's honestly one of the best plans I can think of for a late spring afternoon. Admission to the gardens is $7 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors. Don't miss it!
Nature Reserves in Boise
Boise National Forest
The Boise National Forest has over 2 millions acres of pristine northwest wilderness full of pine forest, mountains, streams, and lots of wildlife like elks, bears, deer, and coyotes. As I said, the park is huge, so you should be a little bit of investigation before you go and decide what you want to see and do...after all, Boise National Forest has over 200 lakes, 500 hiking trails, and dozens of campsites. Personally, I'd suggest driving up to the Trinity Mountain Recreation Area, the highest point in the national forest. Once you get there, you can make a short hike to the Trinity Mountain lookout (over 9,000 feet above sea level) and lake in one of the most spectacular views in Idaho. If you go after the snow melts, the alpine lakes will be full and the whole place will be covered in wildflowers. Also, you might consider a kayaking trip on the Payette River during its course through the park. There are lots of little hidden beaches and campsites along the river and there are some companies in the area that'll rent you kayaks or even take you rafting if that's what you want to do. Seriously, Boise National Forest is beautiful. If you don't want to do something so active, you should try to rent a cabin. The cabins are spaced far apart so you won't be crammed between RVs and other campers. It'll make you feel like a true mountain man!
Museums in Boise
Boise Art Museum
The Boise Museum of Art (or BAM, as it's called locally) is a small but pleasant museum located near Julia Davis park in downtown Boise, Idaho. The museum's collection is definitely not one of the great collections of the American museum system, but it does make for a worthwhile place to explore and admire for a few hours during your trip to Boise. The permanent collection has a bit of everything but the focus on the paintings and ceramics by Northwestern artists is probably the most interesting part. The museum also regularly hosts traveling exhibits which bring something extra to the experience. To give you an example, the BAM has hosted everything from exhibits on embroidery to rock art to forward-thinking contemporary art over the past few years. Just have a look ahead of time at the museum's website to see what's on display when you're visiting. The admission price is $5 and it's worth it for the good service, clean space, and interesting exhibits.

The best things to do in Boise

Boise is the largest city in the state of Idaho and is
situated on the banks of the Boise River at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. One of the first questions that the visitor will ask when they've landed is what to do in Boise -- but take heart, because while this city is not well known, there are plenty of things to do in Boise.

Places to visit in Boise include the many city parks, the state capitol building, and the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, which located on the campus of Idaho State University. The center hosts performances of the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra and the Idaho Ballet, making it a major cultural site of the city and one of the main attractions in Boise.

More attractions in Boise are centered around the river, which on sunny summer days is full of people floating on tubes and small boats. More Boise activities can be found in the hills and mountains north of town, which are laced with hiking and mountain biking trails and a ski area called Bogus Basin. More places to visit in Boise can be found in the mountains further north, which are home to large wilderness areas perfect for hiking, and cool mountain lakes perfect for swimming.

Check out minube to find out more about Boise attractions and you'll be amazed at all the stuff to do in Boise!