We all know Boise from the time of the Gold Rush. But, ever since the end of the Rush, the city lost its charm to many people. However, it still happens to be the capital of Idaho, but not many people spare a few days to look around this hidden gem. Today, we are here with 15 top things to do in Boise that will make you think about planning a trip to this gorgeous city of beauty-
Enjoy a Walk Around Boise River
The town of Boise is centered around the Boise River. And, tourists flock over to see the sights along the river on the very first day of their trip. Even the parks and the various museum and other sights to see are located along the river.
In such a scenario, the object of affection that gets the most attention seems to be the Boise River Greenbelt that happens to be a 25-acre park around the Boise River.
People mostly come here for its undisturbed greenery for the park is lined with tall healthy trees and offers smooth views of the blue river.
There are a lot of walking trails across this park where tourists come for clicking some pictures and locals go on morning walks.
Explore Julia Davis Park
Located in the prime location of downtown Boise, Julia Davis Park is a center for tourist attractions. Not only is it extremely close to spots like Boise River Greenbelt and State Capitol, but it also has a whole lot of attractions within it! Exploring around Julia Davis Park will take at least an entire day. The park was named after the wife of the person- Jefferson Davis who gave away this huge 43-acres of land. It was located along the river and is extremely gorgeous. Some important sites that are present inside the park are the Boise Zoo, the Idaho Black History Museum, Boise Art Museum, and the Idaho Historical Museum. It keeps on expanding in size and now holds an area of almost 90 acres.
Visit the State Capitol
All my architecture majors will find this one to be truly blissful for their eyes as the State Capitol is a visual treat. The thing that attracts the tourist more about the State Capital other than its historic significance is its flawless architecture.
The most interesting thing is that the materials used in building this office building have been sourced not only from local places, but some international names can also be found in the list. Vermont, Georgia, Alaska, Italy, and many others are just to name a few of the important.
There are a lot of grounds surrounding the old building and all of them look as pretty as a picture. Also, there are a lot of tours operated by different organizations through which you can easily take a look at how the inside looks!
Admire the collection of Boise Art Museum
It is now time for us to introduce you people to one of the gems located inside Julia Davis Park. This one is especially for all the art lovers out there. The Boise Art Museum has one of the biggest art collections in the city of Idaho.
Originally it was an art gallery which was admired by famous artists all over the world. But, in 1973, the authorities wanted something a little more exclusive. The further renovations and alterations gave birth to the infamous Boise Art Museum after the inclusion of 10,000 square feet to the already existing space. It displays mainly contemporary art and sculpture and is something that will make an artist’s jaw drop!
Pay a visit to the Old Idaho Penitentiary
Old Idaho Penitentiary used to be a jail back in the 1870s. However, now it just stands there serving its purpose as a historic site of Idaho. It also houses a museum inside of it and the architecture is remarkably way too intricate for being a jail.
The entire building is made out of sandstone that has been hand-cut. You can still see the solitary confinement chambers, gallows, and the normal cells inside. You can even hire a guide who will make sure to tell you everything about the jail. Did you know it has a paranormal hunting tour every October? There is also a cemetery inside which you can check out. The Idaho Botanical Garden is within this old Penitentiary house.
Interact at the Discovery Center of Idaho
Are you interested in science? Are you particularly drawn to various engineering wonders? Discovery Center of Idaho is just for science lovers like you!
The permanent collection of this center has several 200 exhibits that include various discoveries, inventions, or just engineering goods. Centripetal Wheel and the Bubble wall are just some of the most interesting things among these displays.
There are always a lot of educational programs going on here along with events and classes. If you visit on any weekend, you will come across a lot of classes that you can sign up for. Overall, it is truly a great experience for people invested in science and children.
Check out the Boise Zoo
We discussed the diverse Julia Davis Park in our earlier activities. Now, it is time to explore one of the many things it houses- The Boise Zoo. If you are someone who takes a great interest in the wildlife, then you might find it appealing to spend an idle afternoon here in the Boise Zoo.
The zoo has a vast display and the animals found here are both native as well as international. Some of the animals that need special mention are sloth bears, giraffes, and many more. Also, you can interact with the animals. The children can feed some specific animals like goats and sheep. There are always presentations going on about different animals where you can learn freely about a particular species. The zoo also hosts special events for the children and the tourists.
Check out the Boise Aquarium
Are you interested in marine life? A mighty aquarium might serve your interests well enough! The Boise Aquarium is not an old building and opened its doors to the public in 2011. It was actually a huge warehouse of almost 10,000 square foot area. After certain renovations and remodeling, the Boise Aquarium came into being from that very location. Now, it is one of the most exciting places in Boise for people of all ages. But, families love this place and the aquarium is usually crowded throughout the week.
It changes its display and exhibits continuously as new species keep on being added. The best part about this aquarium is that you are allowed to touch the various objects of interest and you can interact freely with the aquatic animals. Take a look at the various corals, stingrays, sharks, and many other innumerable things.
Have a picnic at the Camel's Back Park
Camel's Back Park is one of the most favored picnic spots in all of Boise. It is popular mainly because of its background and location. It has some of the most graceful views of the Boise foothills and being an open space it gives off a calm and peaceful vibe.
Tourists like driving up to this place, sitting, and having a chill day. Also, if you are feeling adventurous- there are some trails that start from Camel’s Back Park and ride up to the Boise Foothills. You can try those out for yourselves!
Watch birds at Kathryn Albertson Park
Want some greenery right in the middle of Boise? Kathryn Albertson Park, located in the downtown area, is just cut out for some green views! The park itself is huge of 41 acres and is mostly covered by wetlands. Of course, there are a lot of aesthetic places inside. For example, a pretty lagoon resides inside where you can sit, dipping your legs.
There are also boardwalks or small bridges to help you cross the wetlands. Close to Boise River Greenbelt, Kathryn Albertson Park is home to some exceptional migratory birds which makes the hearts of bird-lovers flutter!
Learn about heritage at the Basque museum
Basque Museum is not just for the tourists’ pleasure. It also has an important purpose to serve. To preserve and promote the heritage of the Basque, the museum stands still teaching everyone.
There are a lot of artifacts put on display here at the museum showcasing the greatness of the Basque heritage and culture. It is located inside the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga house which is a building of great historic significance itself.
The entry fee is not too high and you won’t need a guide as the facts are written right beside the displayed item!
Watch the flora and fauna at Boise Botanical Gardens
We talked about the Idaho State Penitentiary before and mentioned that it also houses the botanical garden of Idaho inside. Now, you must be wondering what a botanical garden is doing inside a jail? Well, it did not always use to be a garden. What was once a prison yard has now been decorated and turned into an infamous botanical garden for the public.
Did you know that there are a lot of themed gardens inside this tourist attraction? It is true the botanical garden houses almost 14 themed gardens inside it. You can even find almost 300 variants of rose if you come at the right time.
There are a lot of festivals that are held within this garden during which the garden is decorated perfectly with lights and lanterns making it look like one of the prettiest places on earth.
Go skiing at Bogus Basin Mountain
One of the most enjoyed tourist activities of Boise during winter is skiing in the Bogus Basin Mountain. The ski area attracts a lot of tourists during winter for its wonderful powdery snow and is located in the north-eastern part of the city.
The area was opened back in 1942 and has been quite well known as downhill skiing since then. However, now it also offers cross country skiing as well as several summer activities too.
During the summer, when the snow melts away, the mountain gives a wide range of opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, and even golfing. Did you know you can hire the Bogus Basin Mountain Resort for several private functions too!
Have breakfast at Great Harvest Bread
Are you going to be busy the entire day? Did you get so busy sightseeing that you won’t be able to have a proper breakfast? Worry not, Great Harvest Bread of Boise has got your back! This bread shop located right on Fairview Avenue has been serving as the go-to breakfast location for the busy or lazy people as well as tourists of Boise for the last 33 years straight.
The best thing about their loaves of bread is that they are hand-made and made from scratch. The bakers do their jobs quite efficiently. Not only bread, but this bakery also sells a lot of good items like muffins, cakes, and scones too.
Missed breakfast time? Don’t worry, the shop serves breakfast till noon!
Pay Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial a visit
As we mentioned earlier that the entire town of Boise is built around its main river, and for this very reason its tourist spots are also huddled together. For example, after you take a stroll around the Boise River Greenbelt, you can easily drop by Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial to pay your respects.
The park is not even an acre, but the message it tries to spread among people truly touches hearts. The architect has done an excellent job in spreading the message via its various elements that have been displayed. Bethine and Frank Church Writing Table, Anne Frank Statue, and the 180-foot Quote Wall that displays some of the most favorite quotes given by famous people are some of the sights to enjoy in this park
We are done with Idaho’s capital city- Boise. We admit that you will not find any more gold here, but one thing is for certain- there are a lot of visual treats waiting here to greet you. You won’t have to drive a long road to look for the natural beauties for Boise is a place filled with them. You can find beautiful scenes no matter where you look!