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Boise, Idaho

Local Details

Learn more about Boise, Idaho using the City Guide below. Plan a trip, find local shopping centers, or just discover what makes Boise, Idaho so great!

Current Temperature

  • 5:44 AM MDT Jul. 17

City Guide

Boise is the capital of Idaho as well as the largest city in Idaho. Although its economic growth has its roots in the Simplot potato industry, the city is now home to many high tech industries. Notable companies such as Albertsons and Micron are headquartered here.

Get in

  • Boise Airport (IATA: BOI) (ICAO: KBOI), 3201 Airport Way, is serviced by several airlines, including United, Delta, Alaska/Horizon and Southwest.
  • Boise can be accessed by car via Interstate 84.

Get around

Cars are pretty much mandatory to get around outside of the city center. There are buses downtown, but many destinations require your own car. Cars can be rented at the Boise Airport from many companies including Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Dollar, and Budget.

The Boise Green Belt is a paved pedestrian and bike path that stretches nearly 15 miles from Lucky Peak Damn to the east of Boise, all the way through town. If you are in to riding your bike or walking, much of Boise can be accessed this way, depending on where you are staying.

See

Boise is the administrative and cultural hub of Idaho. Many of the attractions in the city center around its status as the state capital.

  • Idaho State Capitol Building, Capitol Blvd. & Jefferson in Downtown Boise off Interstate 84. If you are bold, you can ring the bell at the foot of the Capitol steps.
  • Julia Davis Park - this Olmsted-esque urban park contains many of the downtown attractions in Boise. It sits across the Boise River from Boise State University. Located within its confines are Zoo Boise, the Rose Garden, Boise Art Museum and a scenic railroad. It also contains the Idaho Black History Museum.
  • Boise State University, The most famous landmark on campus is Bronco Stadium, best known for its eerily blue astroturf. This is also home to the New Year's Eve classic, the Humanitarian Bowl.
  • Barber Park. A local favorite. Barber Park is located in Southeast Boise and is a refuge for various wildlife, including: deer, elk, bald eagles, hawks, various birds, salmon, trout, and many more.
  • Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Warm Springs Ave. A great sight to see. This gem is a museum set in the old state penitentiary where guests can sit in old prison cells, solitary confinement, and explore the inner workings of a once scary place to be.
  • Idaho Botanical Gardens. A truly serene place to visit. The gardens have been the site of many weddings and performances because of its beautiful setting of vibrant flowers and other vegetation. At no cost, it is a superb setting for a picnic. If you happen to be visiting in the month of December, you will find the gardens decked out in an impressive display of holiday lights.
  • Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Drive. A great contemporary art at a very reasonable price. This museum is planned out beautifully and much more than most would expect from a town the size of Boise. Great local pieces as well as other western art.
  • World Center for Birds of Prey, 5660 West Flying Hawk Lane. The name explains itself. A fascinating place to visit, many birds of all types constantly in your line of sight. My hawks, eagles, and other big birds of prey. Fun for the family at a very reasonable cost.
  • Basque Museum and Cultural Center, 611 Grove Street. Great place to visit whether or not you are of the Basque descent. Chocked full of enriched heritage and even a bar to hang out at. A must see if you are in the Boise area. And if Phil is at the bar, ask for his drink.

Do

Boise is the starting point for many outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains, including rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking. Other local activities include:

  • Inner tubing on the Boise River - this is something of a local tradition. The put-in site is at Barber Park. The five mile float takes around 3 hours, and ends at Ann Morrison Park. There you can take a shuttle bus back to your car at Barber Park.
  • Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Of course, this is why you come to Boise. During summer, shows are performed at the theater at the base of the Boise foothills.
  • Bogus Basin Ski Resort. From early November to early April, Bogus Basin entertains skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and cross-country skiing. With easy accessibility, Bogus Basin Road is located in North Boise and takes only forty minutes to get there!
  • Hyde Park Fair. Held every august, the Hyde Park Fair is in the North End of Boise at Hyde Park. It houses various indie rock bands and various hippie cultured events, clothing, and accessories.
  • Lucky Peak. About 5 minutes out of Boise on Interstate 50 you will come to lucky peak. A huge reservoir that residents love to wakeboard, water ski, tube, hang out, camp, and even cliff dive. A great day trip for the summer.
  • Boise River Greenbelt. A great place for a walk, rollerblading, biking, or just walking the dog. The greenbelt is a walkway follows the Boise River through beautiful trees, through golf courses, and brings you through downtown. It is one of the more popular and beautiful walks that Boise has to offer.
  • Hull's Gulch Nature Trail, End of Eighth St. A great opportunity to explore Idaho. Very good for hiking, biking,sightseeing, and taking the dogs.

Buy

Much of the souvenir industry in Boise is based on the potato-rich history of the city. You can find T-shirts with just about every potato-themed pun (e.g. Darth Tater - Spud Wars) you could imagine.

  • Boise Towne Square is the city's main mall. It is a fairly large mall, mostly due to its lack of competition from any other similarly sized shopping center in the city. Its anchor-stores include Dillard's and a particularly upscale Macys (formerly the Bon Marche). The mall also contains its own free-standing MAC makeup store.
  • Eighth Street Marketplace - located in the center of downtown Boise, the eighth street marketplace is a popular sight to go shopping, have a bite to eat, and go dancing at night. It's all three in one! This area has recently undergone significant revitalization and is often referred to as "BoDo," short for "Boise Downtown."

Eat

Most of the fancier restaurants are in the downtown area.

  • Lucky 13 - pizza and beer in a patio setting in the Hyde Park area. A great place to go on a warm summer evening. Smoking is allowed on the patio.
  • Flying Pie - Easily Boise's best pizza with two locations: 6508 Fairview - (208) 345-0000 and 4320 State St., Phone: 208-384-0000. They use fresh ingredients and have great staff. They have a great beer selection and will deliver it to your house with your pizza.\
  • Cottonwood Grille, 913 West River Street. An amazing place to eat. With its specialties in American and Caribbean foods, it is one of the most popular places to eat in Boise. You can't go wrong.
  • Cazba, 211 North Eighth Street. A local favorite. Cazba serves European, Middle Eastern & African foods and is known for very good service. Amazing place to eat that is highly recommended.
  • Asiago's, 1002 W. Main St., Phone: 208-336-5552. An intimate setting and very tasty Italian cuisine for a reasonable price.
  • Mai Thai, 750 W. Idaho St., Phone: 344-8424. A great selection of Thai cuisine. The lunch bento specials are a nice sampling of various dishes. Dinner runs on the pricier side.

Drink

Boise has a surprisingly well-rounded nightlife, all stereotypes to the contrary, but once again, the best places to drink are all downtown.

  • Dirty Little Roddy's - Maybe a little what you might expect; Country music, sawhorse tables, peanuts and a mechanical bull that ladies can ride for free. You might not expect that this bar is popular with college kids and is nearly impossible to get into on a weekend night. It's in the basement, so be prepared to walk drunk up a narrow flight of stairs if you plan on spending any time here.
  • China Blue - Owned by the same man as DLR, China Blue is the resident dance club, playing hip-hop music and catering to college-goers. There's an obligatory VIP section, as well as a bed and a gong to alert patrons to the presence of a big tipper. There is usually a cover, and drinks are expensive, especially for Boise, but on the up-side, the ladies restroom has a private champagne bar and bartender, so any annoying boys with too much bling can wait outside while you drink in the bathroom.
  • Bittercreek and Red Feather - Right next door to each other, these two bars/restaurants share a bathroom and a patio, but just about nothing else. Red Feather is a swanky, low-lit lounge with great food and a three story award winning wine selection. Bittercreek is a neighborhood watering hole with a huge, totally northwest draft beer list and impressive "pub grub". Both have freshly made cocktails and share an outdoor see and be seen patio on the pedestrian friendly 8th street corridor.
  • Mulligans - A typical would-be Irish dive bar with a very distinctive, but not altogether unpleasant smell. There's pool, of course, but also airhockey, and I think foosball, too. And $1 well shots sometimes. It's a great place to enjoy a drink on the patio and people-watch.
  • The Neurolux - The stiffest drinks in Boise, bartenders here use a five-count pour, instead of the standard three-count, so yes, that is a rum and coke, even though it is clear. Arguably the best jukebox in town, featuring Charlie Parker, George Jones, Cat Power, The Ramones, Wilco, and the Rolling Stones. And that's not even the best, just the ones you're most likely to know. The clientele are about as varied as their tastes in music, so nobody is judgmental of anyone else, just what's playing on the jukebox. The is the place for indie rock shows, if you couldn't tell. Beware, it is always dark at the Neurolux, despite the big picture window letting in sunlight, and it is always loud.
  • Tapas Estrella--With a large range of unusual appetizers (or tapas) and great happy hour specials from 4-6, this is the perfect place to try out a new wine in the early evening. Tapas Estrella boasts tasteful modern decor & a quieter atmosphere if you prefer to avoid the college scene. **NOW CLOSED**
  • Grainey's and J.P. Toad's--Across the street from China Blue and Dirty Little Roddy's, these twin bars (on two levels of the same building) typically charge a cover but provide relatively cheap beverages once inside. In addition, there are often two live bands playing, one on each level. The basement band typically cajoles more bar-hoppers into dancing than its upstairs counterpart. While somewhat low on atmosphere, these bars can be a lively stop, particularly for the younger crowd.
  • Reef'Worshiping the Tiki pioneers past and present... In the spirit of past American Tiki Restaurants, The Reef is Boise's Tiki outpost. Along with tasty Pupu's, a great menu and freshly made exotic drink The Reef is recognized as Boise's best small live music venue and dance club. Loaded with Tiki art & history. Terrific rooftop patio with full service outdoor bar this place is a must see in downtown Boise.

Sleep

  • The Grove Hotel, 245 S Capitol Blvd, [www.grovehotelboise.com]. A part of the Coast Hotels chain, it's probably the highest end hotel in Boise.
  • AmeriSuites, 925 North Milwaukee St., Phone: 208-375-1200. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Boise and within walking distance of the Boise Towne Square mall.
  • Best Western Safari Inn, 1070 Grove St. This hotel boasts a swimming pool, pets are allowed, and is wheelchair accessible. Ranging from $66-$86 a night.
  • Courtyard by Marriott, 222 S. Broadway Av., Phone: 208-331-2700. Located 2 blocks from Julia Davis Park, and nearby to Downtown Boise.
  • Doubletree Club by Marriott, 475 W Park Center Blvd. This nice hotel boasts a swimming pool, fitness center, and is wheelchair accessible. Starting at $69 a night it is a steal.
  • Hotel 43, 981 Grove St., Phone: 208-342-4622, Fax: 208-344-5751. A luxury boutique hotel in downtown Boise. Formerly known as Statehouse Inn. Renovated and reopened in winter, 2006.
  • Idaho Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast, 109 W. Idaho, Phone:208-342-8066. Built in 1904, former Governor's mansion, near downtown shops and dining, close to parks and historic district. Rooms $70-85, Suites $99-110. All have private baths and are furnished in turn of the century antiques. Secure wireless internet access. Gourmet breakfast included.
  • Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 Grove Street., Phone: 208-424-8244. The intimate boutique hotel has 41 rooms, all with tiled spa-like bathrooms, 32 inch flat screen HDTV, WiFi Internet accessand data ports, I-pod docking station, fresh luxurious linens, and pillow-top mattresses.

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