Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Boise, ID

  • Published 2022/11/24

The city of Boise is the state capital and largest city in Idaho.

Located in Ada County, Boise has an area that covers around 64 square miles.

It is popular with tourists because of its beautiful natural scenery.

The snow-capped Rocky Mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop.

The Boise River runs through the city.

Waterfront walkways make swimming, canoeing, and fishing more convenient.

Visitors can have a great time without breaking the bank, thanks to the city’s natural attractions and beautiful landscape.

Here are the free things to do in Boise, Idaho:

Visit Veterans Memorial Park

Patriot Walk Veterans Memorial Park 1

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Veterans Memorial Park in Boise, Idaho, is a 38-acre urban park located on the banks of the Boise River.

There are memorials, walking trails, and even a playground.

Boise’s Parks and Recreation Department oversees the park, which features a playground, picnic tables, and tributes to the city’s veterans and deceased service members.

In 1976, the land that once housed the Idaho Soldiers’ Home became the Veterans Memorial State Park.

Playground Veterans Memorial Park

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are picnic areas, covered picnic tables, and barbecue grills.

Trails from the park connect to the Greenbelt and Quinn’s pond park.

There are numerous options for exercising and biking.

The park is cool and pleasant because of the trees dotting the landscape.

It’s the ideal place to stroll with friends and family or enjoy outdoor time.

You may visit them at Veterans Memorial Parkway, Boise, Idaho.

1600px Memorials Veterans Memorial Park

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll along Bowler Park

Located in southeast Boise, next to Surprise Valley, is the 24.62-acre Bowler Park.

Original owners Beth and Bruce Bowler sold the property in 1995.

It is a fantastic place for families and their canine companions to play without spending a penny.

In addition, there are unique and imaginative playsets for the kids to enjoy.

There’s a dog park, a bocce court, an adult fitness course, and a disc golf course.

The new Bowler Park playground is designed to be easily accessible to all.

Mobility device users can enter and play with other kids and explore the playground and surrounding areas.

Playground equipment is made with both younger children (ages two to five) and older children (ages five to 12) in mind.

However, adults can also enjoy the vast park at S Surprise Way, Boise, Idaho.

Have a Picnic atBarber Park

Famous for its rafting, Barber Park also features walkways with views of local wildlife, a learning center, and a playground.

Barber Park is located five miles southeast of downtown Boise in the Barber Valley, on the banks of the Boise River.

Eckert Road bridge, just south of Boise Avenue, serves as the park’s primary entry.

There is a basketball court and a playground for kids.

The park’s entrance features six landing pads not far from the Boise River rafting launch area.

There is a picnic shelter and two barbecues at the park’s western end.

Over 121 species of birds, including bald eagles and Black-chinned hummingbirds, make this area their permanent home.

There are also a variety of other animals, such as beavers, white-tailed deer, foxes, squirrels, garter snakes, and raccoons. In addition,

Barber Park’s huge cottonwood forest is an essential habitat for owls, wood ducks, elk, and other birds.

Hike the Bethine Church River Trail

1599px Bethine Church River Trail 1

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bethine Church River Trail spans 1.6 miles alongside the Boise River.

This park was named after Bethine Church, an advocate of the state’s wildlife and conservation efforts.

It lies in a 24-acre natural area teeming with wildlife, nesting areas, riparian vegetation, and streams brimming with fish.

This area is accessible on foot and is ideal for anyone looking for some quiet time on their hike.

The trail is an excellent place to hike and observe the native flora and fauna.

Enjoy the incredible vistas of the Boise River and nesting grounds for several species of wildlife.

Great blue herons, foxes, coyotes, and even bald eagles may appear if you’re lucky.

You can access the trailhead at River Run Dr., Boise, Idaho.

Ride a Bike along Bob’s Trail

The Bob’s Trail is a scenic 3.9 miles near Boise, Idaho.

The trail attracts hikers, mountain bikers, and birdwatchers alike.

You can also take some time out during the day to relax and enjoy the trail.

It takes about an hour and 48 minutes to finish and is rated moderately strenuous.

If you’re looking for a little more challenge, Bob’s Trail is the place to go.

Keep an eye on the rocks littered across Bob’s Trail, and watch your step.

Bob’s is a famous downhill biking track because its ideal gradient is neither too steep nor too flat.

On the other hand, hikers and trail runners are more inclined to scale their slopes.

March through October are the best months to hike this trail.

Dogs are allowed, and off-leash access is possible in specific locations.

You can access Bob’s Trail at Hearthstone Dr, Boise, Idaho.

Take a Swim at Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park

Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park is a 31-acre park with access to Quinn’s Pond.

It’s common for people to swim, paddleboard, kayak, and fish in the park.

The park is well-maintained, with paved paths, lush vegetation, easy access to the pond, and a covered seating area with benches.

It is an ideal spot for some quiet contemplation or a refreshing swim.

In 2020, they unveiled brand-new facilities, providing enhanced river access, bank stabilization, and recreational activities.

As part of the initial greening phase, the park contains a new covered pavilion with seating, improved walkways, and landscaped grounds.

You don’t have to spend anything to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful view of Quinn’s Pond.

Travel to Boise, Idaho, and stop by the Bernardine Quinn Riverside Park on the banks of the Boise River.

Admire the Murals at Freak Alley Gallery

Allen Wright Furniture Co. Building demolished

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Freak Alley Gallery is known for its beautiful alleys and vibrant wall paintings.

It is free and open to the public 24 hours a day.

Between Bannock and Idaho on the 8th and 9th streets in Downtown Boise, Freak Alley Gallery (F.A.G.) is the largest outdoor, multi-artist mural gallery in the Pacific Northwest.

Additionally, they host local artists in an indoor gallery.

Freak Alley Ghost Sign

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Colby Akers drew the first mural in 2002 on the doorway of Moon’s Cafe that leads out to the alley.

The Gallery has matured through time to become a popular destination in Boise.

Murals and graffiti-style artwork have gradually taken over the alley’s walls.

960px Freak Alley Gallery

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take in beautiful artwork, which encompasses a wide range of techniques, colors, and emotions.

Head to N 9th St in Boise, Idaho, to see the Freak Alley Gallery.

Explore Marianne Williams Park

Marianne Williams Park in East Boise’s Barber Valley spans 72 acres and features scenic views along the Boise River.

This lovely park has a gazebo, a covered picnic area, and multiple walking paths.

In addition, there are ponds, picnic tables, and open spaces.

You can catch bluegills and other native fish species in the pond.

However, riding a bike through the park’s interior is not allowed.

Daytime strolls along the riverbank are an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife and relax.

The park can also be ideal for weddings and other special events, but reservations are required.

Visit the Park at E Barber Valley Dr, Boise, Idaho.

Breath in the Fresh Air at Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is a tree-lined paved trail that stretches for 25 miles along the north and south banks of the Boise River through the city’s central business district.

The Boise River Greenbelt is a favorite among locals.

It features beautiful views, wildlife habitat, and access to several of Boise’s most beloved riverfront parks.

Take in the pristine environment, abundant wildlife, towering trees, and colorful flowers.

Take a stroll and observe the passing bikes, scooters, and pedestrians.

Spend time watching the local critters, including deer, beaver tracks, owls, and baby geese.

The City of Boise commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Boise River Greenbelt in 2019.

Spend the entire day appreciating nature and breathing in the fresh air near E Kimberley Ln in Boise, Idaho.

Observe Wildlife at Idaho Fish & Game M.K. Nature Center

Situated on a 4.6-acre area along the Boise River Greenbelt, the Idaho Fish & Game M.K. Nature Center provides a unique wildlife experience.

The center is perfect for both solo travel and group trips.

Likewise, it is great for strolls, enlightening discoveries, and adventures.

Discover the diverse landscapes and plentiful animals of Idaho on StreamWalk.

Get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and watch the animals, including herons, deer, and herons.

Underwater viewing windows at the StreamWalk allow guests to see the aquatic attractions from a fish’s-eye view, free of charge.

Visit the Idaho Fish & Game M.K. Nature Center at S Walnut St, Boise, Idaho.

Explore the Capital City Public Market

Capital City Public Market is located in Boise, Idaho.

The Market is known for its assortment of handmade goods and fresh local foods.

It all started in 1994 when a small group of sellers set up shop in an open-air market in the area.

The Market has expanded to four blocks of downtown Boise and has over 150 vendors daily during the busy season.

Among the many things on offer at the Market are fruits, veggies, baked products, seafood, meats, and much more.

The Market frequently features live music and other performances.

There is no admission fee to visit the Market.

However, you are welcome to make purchases of the various locally produced goods.

You can visit them on Saturdays at W Main St, Boise, Idaho.

Spend the Day at Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park

1600px Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park is on S. Walnut St in Boise.

It’s a shaded urban park that spans 28 acres along the Boise River.

Located on land leased from the Boise School District, the park was built in 1918 by the Boise Commercial Club.

It was formerly known as Boise Tourist Campground, temporarily shut down in 1938.

Soon after, it reopened as Boise Municipal Park.

1600px Playground Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, the park was re-dedicated in 2016 to honor Kristin Armstrong, who won three Olympic gold medals.

The Boise Parks and Recreation Department currently maintains the park, which features a playground, bocce courts, and picnic areas.

Aside from their facilities, you can also enjoy observing the local wildlife, such as bald eagles, numerous fishes, crayfish, and other critters.

The Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park is a hidden gem ideal for enjoyment and learning.

Bocce Court Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Fishing at Parkcenter Park

Parkcenter Park, located at E Parkcenter Blvd, Boise, Idaho, is a 13-acre special-use park.

During the spring and summer months, ducks frequent the area.

The park is well-kept and has lovely places to sit and dine.

Parkcenter Park has a lot of exciting wildlife, and there’s also a large pond where visitors can sit and observe the different fish species.

This is a fantastic spot for hanging out with friends or family.

The area is perfect for a day of fishing or exploring nature.

There are clean restrooms with toilet paper, soap, and running water available.

You won’t have to stress about finding a place to wash after a day of fishing.

There are picnic tables and nearby restaurants to grab a meal together.

You can enjoy a day fishing for bass, catfish, perch, and bluegill of varying sizes.

You can pack a lunch and eat outdoors at one picnic table or from nearby restaurants.

Relax at Cassia Park

1500px Cassia Park Boise Idaho

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Found in the center of the Boise Bench, the spacious Cassia Park covers an area of 14 acres.

It’s a favorite spot for locals to take a stroll and relax.

There is a paved walking route, a covered pavilion, restrooms, a playground, a softball field, public art, tennis courts, and a horseshoe pit.

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, come to this park.

Kids will like the park’s clean and spacious play spaces.

They have a large baseball field with plenty of room to go around.

The park is a great place to host important events like weddings and birthday parties.

They are located at W. Camas St., Boise, Idaho.

Other Free Things To Do Nearby

Splash around at Stephen C. Guerber Park

Stephen C. Guerber Park, or just Guerber Park, is a beautiful park in Eagle, Idaho, 17 minutes from Boise.

A new splash pad, playground, and extended trails and fields opened in 2018.

In addition, it has a baseball/softball field, picnic shelters, a volleyball court, playground equipment, and restrooms.

The large dump bucket, spray cannons, and toddler area are just some features of the 4,500-square-foot splash pad.

The splash pads are open every day from morning to night.

Kids and adults will enjoy the Stephen C. Guerber Park at Hill Road.

Final Thoughts

In addition to its stunning scenery, Boise is renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene.

The downtown area of Boise is home to several of the city’s best establishments, including some of the best dining, shopping, and lodging.

East Boise’s Parkcenter Boulevard is a hub for the city’s retail, dining, and entertainment districts.

Enjoy the free things to do in Boise, Idaho!


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