Things To Do In Boise

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Boise skyline // www.thejoyblog.net

Shortly before Independence Day, Justin and I decided to take some time off of work, and head off on an adventure. Basically, we wanted to get off the beaten path as far as vacations go. One of the things we talked about doing when we first got married, was to visit places people don't talk a lot about. Life got in the way, and we didn't have much opportunity to do this, until now.

So, for our first one, we chose Boise, Idaho!  Neither of us had ever been to Boise, with the exception of passing through on our way to Portland. We had no idea what the city was like, or if it was even a great place to visit. Since it was just a partial day's drive from where we live, we didn't plan anything until the day we got there, with the exception of booking a hotel the day before.

We didn't have a chance to hit up all of the things that are recommended in any "Things To Do In Boise" articles all over the internet, but here are a few things we checked out while there.

Western Idaho // www.thejoyblog.net

Parks & Greenbelt

Boise is full of greenery. The first thing we noticed when we drove in was that there are a lot of trees. The city is smack in the middle of the western Idaho flat-ish areas, and aside from the large farms along the highway, there wasn't much to see but flat lands, and tiny hills. As soon as you drive into town, though, there are trees everywhere. The Boise River cuts through town, and all along it are lush parks with a jogging/cycling/walking path that goes the entire stretch. There are bridges for viewing and crossing the river, and the parks are definitely worth visiting.

Our favorite was the Julia Davis park. It was just a block from our hotel, and had huge densely-leaved trees that shaded the entire park, the river cut through the middle of it, and the park also contained the Boise Zoo, the Boise Art Museum, and the Black History Museum, and a rose garden with hundreds of rosebushes in full bloom.

Julia Davis Park Boise Idaho // www.thejoyblog.net
Boise Idaho River // www.thejoyblog.net
Boise Idaho // www.thejoyblog.net

Julia Davis Park Rose Garden

I loved this rose garden right in the center of the park! It's free to all visitors and well taken care of. Even though it was really hot we still ventured over to take a look. I was in heaven. It looks like it can be rented for weddings as well, because there's a large gazebo and fountains in the garden.

Julia Davis Park Rose Garden // www.thejoyblog.net
Julia Davis Park Rose Garden // www.thejoyblog.net
Julia Davis Park Rose Garden // www.thejoyblog.net

Boise Zoo

For how small we thought the zoo would be, we were pleasantly surprised! All the animals are surrounded by lush greenery, and they do a great job at making it feel like you're not in the middle of the dry western United States. My favorite part aside from all the animals and the huge pond in the middle of the zoo, was the butterfly house. You stand in a little garden, and hundreds of tropical butterflies in gorgeous colors fly all over, and several land on you. What's not to love about that?

(I didn't take many pictures at the zoo, sorry.)


Nightlife

Boise is fairly sleepy as cities go, but at night the downtown springs to life. The area off 8th Street is teeming with restaurants, shops, and nightlife. At one point, there was a blues band playing in an alley with a huge turnout, and on the opposite side of the street, there was a large group of people doing outdoor yoga! All the restaurants have patios that open up to the sidewalk, and people really get together to eat, drink and hang out. The best part of this is, 8th Avenue is mostly made for pedestrians. Most of it isn't even accessible to vehicles, so the city has designed a great place for people to come and wander, bar hop, and connect.

Boise Downtown // www.thejoyblog.net

Downtown

Our hotel was right in the heart of downtown, just a half block away from the happening 8th Street that I mentioned. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown, and loved it! It was walking distance to a ton of restaurants, Trader Joe's, and the happening nightlife. The breakfast was good, the bed was incredibly comfortable, and our room was clean and well taken care of. The hotel also has bikes for rent to ride the Greenbelt pathway that runs through the city.

One of my favorite parts of downtown is that it's incredibly clean and walkable. Also, all the electrical boxes on the street corners have been covered with art. The city looks clean, and modern, and I was quite impressed to find that in the middle of nowhere. (Boise is literally in between lots of nothing.)

Boise Basque Block // www.thejoyblog.net
Boise 8th Street View // www.thejoblog.net

Places of note for downtown are: The Capitol, the Egyptian Theater, the Basque Block's museum and restaurants (they were making paella on a sidewalk grill), and Goldy's Breakfast Bistro. We couldn't get into Goldy's for brunch with enough time for what we wanted to do, so we ate elsewhere and regretted it. Everyone said Goldy's was where to go, and from seeing what people had on their plates, we should have waited! The wait was at least an hour on a weekday morning, and they close in the early afternoon.

Special mention: Rediscovered Bookshop. We wandered in there on our stroll down 8th Street, and were warmly greeted. They asked if I needed help, and I told them a book I loved, and they immediately popped over to a shelf and pulled out a book they think I'd love based off that one. They did the same thing for my husband. I love when I find a bookstore that knows their literature, and enthusiastically helps people find new good reads. I recommend stopping in here.

All in all, Boise was fairly quiet as tourism goes, but is a nice city. If you're thinking about stopping in for a day or two, it's not a bad idea.

++ Have you been to Boise? What did you do there? 

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