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What is Boise Known for?

Boise is the capital city of the amazing state of Idaho. Boise has a rich history that has a strong Basque influence and a delicious food scene. The area features the largest population in Idaho and attracts thousands of visitors each year. 


Boise is known as the City of Trees, featuring several outdoor attractions and a rich history. The area was started by fur trappers and then became a gold hotspot. Today the area is known for their delicious foods, outdoor attractions, art and cultural events, and growing attractions. 


If you want a location that offers moderate temperatures and a variety of attractions, Boise is a great choice. The area is relatively inexpensive and has everything you need for a quality vacation. To learn more about the history of Boise and why you should visit here, keep reading. 



The Top Things Boise is Known For 

When it comes to Boise, there are several amazing things you can do when you are in the area and most who visit fall in love. In fact, many continue to move into this area each year as it is an amazing place to travel to and even live. We will discuss some of the major benefits of Boise, why many love the area, and what you can do while you are there!


It is Very Affordable

A major reason why those who live and visit the Boise area love it is because of the low prices and low cost of living. Though Boise is one of the major cities in the area, it remains one of the lowest costing areas you can visit. Housing in this area is very low, falling well below the national average in the U.S.


When traveling, you will find that hotels and attractions are priced lower than other similar locations. For most, visiting here will stretch your travel money and you can fully enjoy your time while in Boise. As always, you will want to look into the specific pricing of each thing you want to do and consider your own budget. 



It is Extremely Family Friendly 

One of the main reasons why many move into the Boise area is because it is so family friendly. However, this is also great for those who are simply visiting the area. There are countless family-friendly activities that you can enjoy while you are in Boise and feel very safe during your stay. 


Some of the top family-friendly attractions in the area are:

  • Zoo Boise – A great, safe zoo for you to walk around and enjoy with your children. 
  • Idaho State Historical Museum – This is an amazing history filled experience for you to enjoy. Children and adults alike will enjoy the interactive exhibits here. 
  • Idaho Botanical Garden – If you are in the area when the plants are in full bloom, you will fall in love with this botanical garden. 
  • Roaring Springs Water Park – When visiting during the summer months, you can enjoy the waterpark found here. It has all the classics you will love like slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and even more.
  • Discovery Center of Idaho – This is a great adventure for children and offers tons of hands-on STEM activities that they will love. 
  • Old Idaho Penitentiary Site – You can jump into history with a walk around this penitentiary site. You will get a better idea of the area’s history and enjoy several activities here. 


Overall, if you plan to bring your children along to your trip to Boise, they will not be disappointed, and you will all love the attractions found here. 


Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

Located in the Boise Cultural District, the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial is a bronze statue of Anne Frank and stainless steel statue of human rights figures along with over 60 quotes from activists from history.


Boise River Greenbelt

This 25 mile long path runs along the Boise River and through the city center. The greenbelt links 850 acres of natural areas and is the perfect setting for a bike ride, walk, or run. The path connects various neighborhoods, making it easy to navigate from one area to the next without having to jump in the car.


State Capitol Building

Though Lewiston, Idaho was the original capitol of the state, in 1864 it was changed to Boise, and in 1905 construction began on the state capitol building. The building is made of sandstone from the nearby Table Rock quarry.


Julia Davis Park

Located along the Boise River Greenbelt mentioned above, the Julia Davis Park is the perfet environment for a picturesque day outdoors with a duck pond, flower gardens, and lagoons for your viewing pleasure. The park is a cultural hub with attractions like the Idaho Black History Museum, Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum, and Boise Zoo.


World Center for Birds of Prey

Also the headquarters of the Peregrine Fund which preserves endangered raptors of the world, the World Center for Birds of Prey was moved to Boise, Idaho in 1984. Before Idaho, the facilities were in New York at Cornell University and Fort Collins, Colorado. The facility keeps falcons, condors, eagles, and other birds from observation and research as well as breeds and rehabilitates birds of prey for release into the wild.



You Can Get Outdoors All Year Long

If you are the outdoorsy type, you will fall in love with the Boise area. There are so many amazing things to do outdoors during almost every season. Even the hotter summer months are still somewhat moderate and can easily be enjoyed. 


The area is known as the City of Trees and this is a valid nickname for all the amazing outdoor opportunities here. Just some of the many outside attractions you can enjoy while you are in Boise are:

  • Hiking, biking, and trail running are all abundant in the area. The Camel Back Trail Loop is a great hiking opportunity, though it is a challenge to some who take it on. 
  • If you are more interested in the colder weather activities, you will have plenty of skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Visit the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area and Ski Resort to enjoy some slopes. 
  • The Boise River is a great option for those who want to enjoy kayaking, fishing, inner tubing, paddle boarding, and other water activities. 


Truly if you love fresh air and enjoying the outdoors, this is a great area for you.


Camel Back Park

At the edge of the Boise foothills sits Camel Back Park, an 11 acre park with playgrounds, tennis courts, an outdoor gym, and plenty more green space for visitors to enjoy. This park is the perfect location for a family picnic where there is a little something for everyone to enjoy. There are several hiking trails throughout the park as well, including the Lower Hulls Gulch Trai and access to the Ridge to Rivers Trail System.


Kathryn Albertson Park

This 41 acre wetland habitat is fillled with birds and other wildlife and is linked to the Boise River Greenbelt. The park has many lagoons and even a foutain, as well as conservation stations to educated visitors with information on the flora and fauna in the area.


Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

Bogus Basin is just a short drive from the Boise core with hills and trails for downhill mountain biking and hikers looking for a bit more of a challenge with incline with beautiful views at the top. There are also live music events and yurts for rent at this recreation area.

In the winter it is a ski resort with 11 lifts and 2,600 acres of terrain. There is also a tubing chute for the non skiiers that is 800 feet long.



Boise is Great for Foodies

If you love food, you will love Boise. They have a wide array of food options and cuisines that you will fall in love with. There is truly something for everyone in this area and you can find something that everyone you are traveling with will love. 


From delicious food to amazing wineries, there are countless options for you to enjoy during your stay. Some of the top food choices that you can choose are:

  • Bittercreek Alehouse – This is one of the most well-known restaurants in the area. They even have really good poutine that you may just fall in love with. 
  • Luciano’s Italian Restaurant – A great option for those who want some classic Italian dishes. They have a wide array of Tuscan-inspired foods like a delicious Chicken Gorgonzola. 
  • Fork – A delicious restaurant with a unique name, this downtown Boise restaurant serves up American classics. You will find delicious options like a Grown Up Grilled Ham and Cheese. 
  • Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro – This is a great brunch spot for those who want a midday option. You will find all your classic breakfast options like Stuffed French Toast and Biscuits and Gravy. 
  • Chandlers Steakhouse – If you want the best steaks and seafood options in the area, this amazing steakhouse is a great option. You can even enjoy a yummy cocktail while you are here. 
  • Big Jud’s – A classic hamburger joint that has become famous for their delicious foods in the area.


Many of the restaurants in the area have become farm-to-table, offering the tastes of local agriculture. You can feel better knowing you are helping support local farmers and enjoying only fresh, free-range meats. Not to mention, the area is known for their international flavors and specifically Basque dishes due to the heavy Spanish influence in the area. 



There is a Rich Basque Culture 

Going hand in hand with this, the rich Basque culture found in Boise is a unique experience that you often will not get elsewhere. In fact, Boise today has more than 16,000 Basque residents, which is the largest population outside of Spain. Due to this large population, the Boise area is highly influenced by Basque culture and even has an entire block dedicated to this history. 


If you would like to learn more about Basque culture, some of the many things you can enjoy are:

  • The Basque Museum and Cultural Center – This is an amazing historical museum that details the history of the culture. 
  • Basque Market – If you want traditional Basque ingredients, homemade items, or even take cooking classes this market is a great choice. 
  • Basque Foods – There are many Basque-influenced restaurants in the area. The market also sells traditional Basque foods like bocadillos, paella, tapas, and more. 
  • San Inazio Festival – If you are in the area during this festival, it is a great opportunity to learn more about the Basque culture. You can even see Oinkari Basque Dancers performing during this festival. 
  • Jaialdi Festival – This happens once every five years and is a great Basque cultural event. If you are in the area during this festival, enjoy Basque culture, food, dancing, live music, and more. 


Not only is this a great way to enjoy new sights, sounds, and foods, it will also allow you to educate yourself on a rich, beautiful culture. 



Visit Boise State University 

If you are interested in sports, you probably already know that Boise State University is found here and a major attraction of the area. The university itself has more than 200 fields of study to choose from, making it a great choice for those who live in the area. Not to mention, will not be in Boise long before a local tells you about the Boise Broncos and football Saturdays!

Visit Downtown Boise 

Often referred to as BoDo, downtown Boise is a great spot for enjoying all the attractions you can while you are in the area. You can find everything that you would want in this downtown area and it continues to grow each year. Some of the many attractions found in Downtown Boise are:

  • Capital City Public Market – This market is open from April to December. You can purchase fresh produce, handmade items, fresh baked goods, and more. 
  • Re-POP Gifts – This is a great little shop for purchasing pop culture items from your favorite movies and comics. They even have mock sets from your favorite science fiction movies and shows. 
  • Slow by Slow Coffee – A delicious coffee shop for your daily pick-me-up. They take coffee seriously and you will fall in love with these flavors. 
  • Mixed Greens – This is a great shop for finding local artwork, jewelry, and other unique gifts. If you want to take home a piece of Boise and support locals, a visit to this shop is a must. 
  • Freak Alley – If you want to see local art, this is the largest outdoor art gallery in the Northwest. You can browse through the area and see amazing works of art from extremely talented locals. 


When visiting Boise, going downtown is a must and you will find countless attractions here. 



Enjoy a Delicious Idaho Potato 

If you know anything about Idaho, you know that they are well known for their potatoes. Idaho farmers produce billions of pounds of potatoes annually and they source potatoes to the entire United States and beyond. Boise supports these amazing potato farmers by featuring the Idaho potato in several ways. 


The Boise Fry Company is a great option for enjoying a delicious potato. They offer six different types of potatoes and have several available cuts. Some other great potato-based restaurants are:

  • Westside Drive In – Home of the Ice Cream Potato, which is a sweet treat that is made to look similar to a baked potato. 
  • Pie Hole – This amazing pizza company features a Potato Bacon Pizza. 
  • Goodwood Barbecue Company – A barbecue restaurant that features potato skin appetizers, potato salad, and other delicious Idaho potato-based meals. 


You can also rent a potato Airbnb that will bring this funny potato adventure full circle! 


Adults Will Love the Nightlife

When it comes to nightlife, Boise may not be the first place that comes to mind, but this city still has a lively night scene worth checking out. Those who are traveling to the area and want to get a delicious drink or enjoy a night out dancing will have a great time in the Boise area. Just some of the nightlife attractions you can enjoy are:

  • Liquid Laughs Comedy Club and Lounge – This is a great choice for those who want to enjoy an open mic night. You can have a drink and enjoy local comedians. 
  • Cactus Bar – A great bar for enjoying a local drink in downtown Boise. They have drink specials like the classic Keep Calm and Cactus On. 
  • Prost German Pub – This is a top choice if you want an authentic German beer in a hefty mug! 
  • Neurolux – This lounge offers live music often performed by indie bands and offers late night dancing. 
  • Spacebar – Enjoy classic arcade games while you enjoy a craft beer. They even have live music most nights. 


Overall, if you want to enjoy a night out, you can get this as well while in the area. 



The History of Boise 

Before Boise was established there was the Hudson’s Bay Company, which served as a trading post along the Oregon Trail. This area along the Snake River began being called Les Boise by those in the area.


Les Boise translates to the English word wooded and was started by the French-Canadian fur trappers who passed through the area. Over time, thousands of immigrants passed through this area as they traveled the Oregon Trail. In the 1860s, gold was found in the area which caused a large number of prospectors to move to this location. 


As more and more people moved into the area, it became the territorial capital in 1864. Over time, it became a city and by 1868 it had hundreds of permanent structures. It was not long until the area was highly populated. 


Boise History Over Time

If you go to the area today, it is clearly not a gold mine but rather home to many farms and businesses. As the gold boom began to settle down, the population declined slightly in the area. Those who decided to stay in Boise knew they had to make it more self-sustaining, which is when they began to focus on crops and agriculture growth. 


Some major historical moments for Boise are:

  • 1864 – The city became the state capital when Idaho entered the Union. 
  • 1920 – The capital building was finally completed after over 15 years of construction. 
  • 1925 – The first railway service ran through the area; this was called the Union Pacific Depot or the Boise Depot today.


Now that we have touched on some of the history of what made Boise what it is today, we will discuss why you should visit this amazing area!



Why Go to Boise

Boise is Idaho’s capital city today and remains one of the most populated areas in the state. One reason why it attracts so many visitors each year is it has something for almost every lifestyle from family-friendly attractions to a rich nightlife. Downtown Boise is much more urban and has all the shops, restaurants, breweries, and other attractions you could need. 


Only a few minutes away from the downtown areas are skiing attractions. This is a major attraction for many who visit here. Another major attraction for those who are adventurous and love the outdoors are the many hiking trails throughout the area. 


When to Visit 

Boise is an area that has relatively temperate temperatures throughout the year. However, the ideal time to visit for most travelers is between March and May. This is when the temperatures are great for enjoying the outdoor activities and great for hiking. 


However, if you are interested in skiing at the nearby slopes, you will want to go in the winter months. The area tends to get fairly cold during this time, but it makes for great skiing opportunities. June, July, and August will experience much higher temperatures while there is another moderate season during the Fall which is great for travel. 



Plan the Perfect Vacation in Boise 

As you can see, Boise has everything you need to create the perfect vacation. You can enjoy family-friendly attractions, art exhibits, delicious foods, wines, outdoor activities, and even a night out dancing all in one location. Boise continues to grow and improve each year making it the ideal place to live or visit.