15 Best Things to Do in Ada County, ID

Things to Do in Ada County, ID

Ada County, Idaho, is a gorgeous place I recently discovered.

A brief background of Ada County, it's situated in the state's southwest portion.

I wandered through Ada County's vast wilderness, deep canyons, pristine rivers, and rolling hills.

The further I explored, its long, winding roads took me to more scenic locations and historical places from charming small towns.

At the same time, I didn't slip the chance to enjoy activities such as sky diving, hiking, and sightseeing throughout the county.

There are plenty of amazing things to do in Ada County, Idaho, that I want to share with everyone, so read the full list below.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the region for yourself.

Visit Boise Art Museum

Exterior view of Boise Art Museum
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

The Boise Art Museum is in the City of Boise's downtown area, so I grabbed the chance to drop by and check out what's inside.

While touring inside, I discovered a vast collection of contemporary, traditional, and modern art from regional artists and those from other parts of the world.

I spent several hours hooked up and deeply fascinated by the artworks I encountered.

The artworks featured many styles, periods, cultures, and media, making it a haven for art lovers.

This art museum also hosts grand exhibits and various art-related events yearly.

Besides the free tour, this museum also holds regular educational programs such as workshops, art tutorials, and more.

However, I didn't have the privilege of time to join those.

So, I wrapped up my visit to the Boise Art Museum by checking out its charming gift shop and buying some souvenirs.

Connect with Nature at the Idaho Botanical Garden

The Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise spans 33 gorgeous landscapes, home to rare, exotic plants and trees.

This garden where the old Idaho Penitentiary grounds stood back in the day became one of the places I visited.

Even though I'm not a huge plant enthusiast, I still appreciated the garden's tranquil beauty and the abundance of thriving plants and trees.

Also, the garden has an herb and vegetable section I came across.

Like most botanical gardens, I had a serene experience strolling through its green and colorful sections.

I joined one of its meditation sessions for those looking for a more immersive activity.

During winter, the Idaho Botanical Garden becomes a winter wonderland covered in snow and decorated with colorful Christmas lights.

Shred Some Snow at the Bogus Basin Ski Resorts

Landscape of the Bogus Basin Ski Resorts
CSNafzger / Shutterstock.com

The Bogus Basin Ski Resort in Boise National Forest is one of the go-to skiing destinations in the area that I didn't fail to visit.

This ski resort, run by the Bogus Basin Recreation Association, has an elevation is 1,790 feet.

I didn't expect much when I visited the ski resort, but I was surprised by its landscape, which is perfect for testing skiing skills.

During my visit, the snow was thick enough for a good skiing session.

Skiing at Bogus Basin Ski Resorts
CSNafzger / Shutterstock.com

Also, I had no difficulties returning to the top since it has five chairlifts.

Meanwhile, during summer, visitors enjoy mountain hiking and sightseeing.

Also, the resort has a water park and a mini theme park, making it a wonderful family destination.

Something exciting awaits everyone at the Bogus Basin Ski Resort, whether winter or summer.

Visitors enjoying the cable car ride and skiing at Bogus Basin Ski Resorts
Bill Roque / Shutterstock.com

Discover Local Arts through the Garden City Artisans Pathway

The Garden City Artisans Pathway in Garden City is a unique attraction I highly recommend visiting.

The entire pathway is within the charming city of Garden City, sandwiched between Boise and Eagle, making it a convenient place to visit.

It's also where everyone can conveniently access the Bogus Basin Ski Resort.

While exploring, I can't help but appreciate the public art installations throughout the pathway.

These art installations are works from the region's best artists.

After strolling, I watched an art workshop conducted by a local artist, adding more meaning to my visit there.

Also, I explored Garden City Artisans Pathway's wineries, cideries, and breweries to complete my visit there.

Hike Through the Clearwater-Snake River National Recreation Trail

Ada County locals recommend hiking through the Clearwater-Snake River National Recreation Trail.

As an outdoor adventurer, I listened to the locals and headed out to this trail, not knowing what lay ahead.

I had a superb hiking experience since it has an easy, paved riverside trail along Snake and Clearwater Rivers.

I ended up hiking through miles of paved trails while others explored the trail on bikes.

All I can say is the trail is worth visiting because of the sceneries and abundant wildlife meandering the river I came across while hiking.

I saw some Canada geese, which flock to the area seasonally.

So, remember to pack some hiking gear and hike through the Clearwater-Snake River National Recreation Trail.

Rub Elbows with Locals During the Western Idaho Fair

People enjoying their day at Western Idaho Fair
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

The Western Idaho Fair in Garden City is one of the biggest fairs in this region.

As a huge fan of festivals and events, I seized the chance to participate in the fair, which has been happening since 1897.

Like most fairs, it features the best Idaho livestock, crops, arts, heritage, and culture.

A kid playing with a toy tractor at Western Idaho Fair
txking / Shutterstock.com

I had fun exploring the fair, especially experiencing its carnival rides.

Also, the number of food vendors gave me choices, but I ate a corndog and paired it with some craft beer.

I wrapped up my Western Idaho Fair experience with a serenading concert from a popular country singer.

Ice cream potato shop at Western Idaho Fair
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Get Up Close with Majestic Birds at the Peregrine Fund's World Center For Birds of Prey

I also checked out the Peregrine Fund's World Center For Birds of Prey out of curiosity to see up close these majestic animals.

This place is a unique outdoor education center at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center in Boise.

It was founded in 1970 and aims to rescue and preserve the population of birds of prey.

While at this place, I had a great experience interacting with eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and vultures through its keepers during its live raptor presentation.

Also, I learned a lot about these birds' importance in our ecosystem through its wildlife and education center.

So, remember to spend a day at the Peregrine Fund's World Center For Birds of Prey for an amazing wildlife experience.

Feel the Speed at the Firebird Raceway

The Firebird Raceway in Eagle has been a premier motorsport racing venue since 1968.

This raceway has witnessed countless races defying physics and human limitations for over 50 years.

Despite being under new management, this raceway maintained its signature adrenaline-pumping experience by hosting various racing events.

During my free time while visiting Ada County, I drove to Eagle to see what race was scheduled at the raceway.

The race I watched was more thrilling and fun than I expected, and I ended up watching the heats and the final round the whole day.

The loud cheers from the crowd and the noise from the race cars' engines add more adrenaline to my experience.

Also, the raceway, which spans over 24 hectares, conveniently has food stalls and projectors, which made my experience there more worthwhile.

Overall, Firebird Raceway is a perfect place to enjoy.

Stroll Through Meridian Downtown

Bird's eye view of Meridian Downtown
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

Meridian Downtown boasts the city's old and modern life, which I witnessed firsthand during my visit there.

I was amazed by the city's streets, home to many mid-century bungalows, old-brick buildings now serving as shops and century-old oak trees.

A brief background of Meridian, it was founded in the late 1800s, and the city became an industrial hub in Ada County after the establishment of various industrial plants.

It grew bigger, paving the way for constructing various historic buildings that remain standing today.

Besides my historical side trip, I enjoyed hopping from one shop and restaurant to another to treat my palette to local dishes and drinks.

Of course, I also enjoyed window shopping from its charming local boutiques that add more color to the downtown area.

Besides its history and charm, Meridian Downtown is where most of the city's biggest events happen, such as the annual Dairy Days Parade, Christmas in Meridian Night Lights Parade, and the Growing Farmer's Market.

Buy Local Produce at the Eagle Saturday Market

There's no better local experience than visiting a farmer's market.

So, I dropped by the Eagle Saturday Market in the City of Eagle one weekend morning.

The City of Eagle Parks and Recreation manages this weekly local market.

I had a heartwarming experience seeing and interacting with local farmers, artisans, and vendors gathered at Heritage Park in Eagle's downtown area.

I mingled with them and enjoyed talking about their products.

Of course, I bought some of their products, such as freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, meat cuts, herbs, flowers, pastries, and preserves.

The lively music from local musicians adds more fun to my experience while browsing the market.

Besides food, this weekly market also features woodwork and arts and crafts.

So, remember to spend an hour or two at the Eagle Saturday Market when visiting Eagle.

Cool Down at the Roaring Springs Water Park

The Roaring Springs Water Park is one of Ada County and Idaho's most extensive water parks.

The entire water park situated in Meridian spans over a hundred acres.

I had a field day in this water park because of the many attractions and amenities that made my visit worthwhile.

I recommend families to spend their weekends at this water park because of the fun-filled water park experience that I had.

I enjoyed its water slides, huge wave pool, and lazy river.

I've learned that the water park continues to expand yearly with new features, amenities, and food options.

With that in mind, I plan to return with my family, maybe during the summer.

Overall, based on my experience, the Roaring Springs Water Park is a great outdoor destination.

It has everything everyone could ask for in a top-notch water park resort.

Tour Inside the Idaho State Capitol

Exterior view of the Idaho State Capitol
Robert Seibel / Shutterstock.com

The Idaho State Capitol in Boise isn't just the entire state's seat of power.

It's also a gorgeous tourist historical attraction that I can attest to being worth visiting.

Historically, Lewiston once served as Idaho's capital in the mid-1800s.

However, a territorial legislature transferred Idaho's capital to Boise in the same period.

That development paved the way for constructing the Idaho State Capitol, which I visited via a free tour.

Inside of the dome at Idaho State Capitol
Annette Shaff / Shutterstock.com

The state capitol stands about 208 feet, and I can't help but appreciate the magnificent Renaissance revival architecture.

While touring inside, I had the chance to learn more about Idaho's rich history, including the state's social, political, and economic history, which dates back over a century.

Besides my fascinating tour experience, I also grabbed the chance to have a photoshoot with the Idaho State Capitol as my background for a souvenir photo.

Interior view of the Idaho State Capitol
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Dive Deep into the Kuna Caves

One of the most unique natural places I discovered in Ada County was the Kuna Caves.

Kuna Caves were once lava tubes from an ancient volcano back in the day.

I descend in its long cave network several hundred feet below the ground.

It was a thrilling but fun-filled experience since I'm not a huge fan of cave explorations.

I descended through a 50-foot ladder to the bottom to reach the cave's entrance.

Inside, I was amazed to see the tunnel-like structure of the cave, which can only be explored through guided tours.

Overall, I recommend including the Kuna Caves in everyone's itinerary, especially those who are into a more daring outdoor adventure like I had.

Cheer for the Boise State Broncos at the ExtraMile Arena

Outside view of the ExtraMile Arena
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

As a football fan, I didn't miss the chance to watch one of the games of the Boise State Broncos at the ExtraMile Arena in Boise.

For those who don't know, the Broncos are the official men's basketball team of Boise State University.

The Broncos belong to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and are part of the Mountain West Conference.

I had the chance to sit beside thousands of Broncos fans, screaming their hearts out at every shot made by their team.

So, witness how Ada County locals express their passion for sports during Boise State Broncos' home games at ExtraMile Arena.

Taste Different Wines Along the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA wine region

The Lewis-Clark Valley AVA wine region is a famous area in Idaho.

I may not be a seasoned wine connoisseur, but who can resist tasting top-notch wines?

So, I headed out and drove through the wine region with the map to visit the vast vineyards and wineries spanning Idaho to Washington.

AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, a term used on wine labels.

AVA is a specific location that offers the best climactic and geographic features to grow grapes and manufacture wines.

My overall journey yielded me four wineries and vineyards whose owners gamely entertained me and toured me through their respective places.

Of course, it was a fantastic experience, especially during the wine-tasting sessions.

Based on my short but worthwhile experience exploring the Lewis-Clark Valley AVA wine region—it's a dream adventure for any wine connoisseur.

Final Thoughts

Ada County is like my vast playground for various exciting outdoor activities.

I enjoyed every outdoor activity I experienced, every winery I visited, and the history I uncovered during my excursion to this area in Idaho.

With so many places to visit and activities to enjoy, I spent a few days trying to get the most out of Ada County.

This county has many hidden gems waiting to get explored.

Still, my list detailing the best things to do in Ada County, Idaho, is surefire worth experiencing.

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