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20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Boise, Idaho

20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho, is the perfect mix of rugged nature in an artsy urban area. As the capital of Idaho, Boise is home to almost half a million residents. However, it’s become one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States over the last few years, with people wanting less of the big city life and more access to mountains and nature.

Visitors flock to Boise to ski Bogus Basin, attend the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, hike the Boise River Greenbelt trail, take one of the Boise Trolley tours, or hit the Boise Urban Wine Trail. There are also many opportunities for learning, such as the Idaho Historical Museum, the Discovery Center, the Boise Art Museum, and the Basque Museum, the only Basque museum in the United States.

Boise can be as adventurous as you want it to be, with guided river rafting tours, primitive camping, bouldering walls, and endless trails. Boise is surrounded by the Boise National Forest and the Boise Ridge Mountains, offering a plethora of outdoor activities like camping at Shafer Butte or skiing the Nordic trails.

But, you don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast to appreciate the town. Boise is also well-known for its restaurants, the Boise Farmers Market, wineries, cultural events, and annual festivals. There is something for everyone in Boise, whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or a champion of relaxation.

Boise, Idaho, is full of fun things to do, so keep reading for more ideas!

Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise 1
1. Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise Top Recommendation

This 3-hour tour is the perfect way to explore Boise’s vibrant food scene, culture, and history. Led by a local guide, you’ll follow a chef-curated route through the historic downtown, stopping for 6 or more tastings at food stores, markets, and restaurants. You’ll also have time to visit local parks and landmarks along the way. The Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise is a great way to sample some of the best food the city has to offer

Boise River Guided Rafting Swimming and Wildlife Tour
2. 3-Hour Boise River Guided Rafting, Swimming and Wildlife Tour

This tour provides a great opportunity to raft through the Boise Whitewater Park, see some amazing wildlife, and take a dip in some of the river's best swimming holes. And since it's suitable for guests of all skill levels and ages, everyone in your group can join in on the fun. Plus, knowledgeable guides will be there to help you every step of the way. So what are you waiting for? Book your adventure today!

Sunday Brunch Tour in Downtown Boise
3. Sunday Brunch Tour in Downtown Boise

This one-of-a-kind tour will take you to six of the city’s top breakfast spots, where you’ll get to sample some delicious brunch offerings. You’ll also get a guided tour of the history and stories of the lovely Capitol District, as well as a chance to stroll past the pretty parks and historic architecture. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also choose to add on a food and drinks pairing package

TLDR

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Boise, Idaho, here is a short list to get you started!

  • Most significant landmark – Idaho State Capitol Building
  • Best park – Ann Morrison Park
  • Best free activity – Capital City Public Market
  • Best activity for kids – The JUMP Park
  • Best activity for adultsCulinary and Cultural Tour of Boise
  • Best food – The Basque Market
  • Best nightlife – Amsterdam Lounge
  • Best all-around accommodationThe Grove Hotel

Best & Fun Things to Do in Boise, Idaho

1. Guided Rafting Tour on the Boise River

Boise River at noon

Address: 6515 N Glenwood St, Garden City, ID 83714

It’s only fitting that the first item on our list is a guiding rafting adventure on the Boise River. The Boise River is one of the primary features of the city, whether you are walking on the Boise Greenbelt trail next to the river, swimming, or just admiring its beauty from afar. 

This experience is suitable for families as long as children are at least 33 lbs. Previous rafting experience is not required, and the tour company provides everything you need. The company supplies the raft, equipment, life jacket, and a knowledgeable guide, and they also have loaner footwear and sunglass “Chums” to keep your shades from finding a new home in the river. 

This three-hour guided tour includes a trip through Boise Whitewater Park, an opportunity to swim, and a chance to see local wildlife. This is a small group tour with a maximum of 7 guests, so you’ll have easy access to your guide to ask any questions.

The tour begins at Westmoreland Park, located on the northwest side of town. When driving to the park, turn east on Riverside Drive and take the second right to access the park near the river by going through the parking lots. Ready to experience Boise with a paddle? This guided rafting tour is one of the best outdoor activities in town!

2. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation

Ice on Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation

Address: 2600 N. Bogus Basin Rd, Boise, ID 83702

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation is one of those places where you could spend your entire vacation. Just 16 miles northeast of Boise, Bogus is the ultimate four-season outdoor recreation area. You can also feel good about visiting because, as a non-profit mountain, your admission fees go right back into improving the site. 

Some of Idaho’s best mountain biking jumps are in Gravity Park, with 14 trails of varying skill levels. In addition, the Morning Star Express Chairlift allows you to ride up to 6 laps per hour. This bike park includes the famous Around the Mountain loop and is easily the best place to mountain bike. 

If your idea of fun doesn’t involve a bike, check out the 4,000-foot winding and twisting mountain coaster. It is SO much fun! At a speed of 25 mph, it takes you through the trees for a memorable ride. 

Wintertime provides an opportunity for snow tubing down an 800-foot tubing hill, with a conveyor at the bottom to bring you back up. Bogus Basin also has trails for Nordic skiing. Unlike traditional alpine skiing, you lift your heels to move across the snow. 

If you’re looking for an easy, family-friendly winter activity, stop by the Frontier Point Nordic Lodge to rent snowshoes and purchase a trail pass. While you may not think of riding a bike in the wintertime, it’s easy to pedal in the snow with a fat tire bike! There are specific trails designated for fat tire biking in the Frontier Point System. 

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation is easily one of the top destinations in the Boise area, with access to almost every type of outdoor recreation. Reserve a spot at the Pioneer Condominiums next to the Basin for easy year-round access to all the fun! 

See Related: Best Skiing Resorts in Minnesota

3. Ann Morrison Park

View of Ann Morrison Park

Address: 1000 S Americana Blvd, Boise, ID 83706

Ann Morrison Park is one of a dozen Boise parks along the river and Greenbelt. Spanning over 150 acres, the park has almost everything for outdoor lovers, including a playground, bocce ball courts, sports fields, tennis courts, a disc golf course, and a sand volleyball court. 

If you are traveling with your pup, the Together Treasure Valley Dog Island is a perfect place to let them run and swim. With an area to swim in the pond, Dog Island also has a “shy dog” area and a 5-acre area for more active and playful dogs. 

There is also an outdoor gym for visitors who want to exercise in the fresh air. Each piece of equipment has instructions, so don’t worry if you are a novice to exercise machines. 

Summertime brings an influx of visitors to float the Boise River, with a convenient take-out location at Morrison Park just before the bridge. Floaters usually begin at Barber Park and head to Morrison Park with a shuttle stop on the main park road. 

If you’re an expert disc golfer, the park features a challenging 18-hole course beginning at the main entrance to the park. The disc golf course was recently revamped, so it’s in prime shape for throwing discs!

Adjacent to Morrison Park is Kathryn Albertson Park, with walking trails and a couple of gazebos for relaxing and wildlife watching. Ann Morrison Park is easily one of the best things to do in Boise, Idaho, along with the other parks along the city’s greenbelt.

If you want to stay in a superbly-rated hotel next to these parks and the heart of Boise, consider the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown/Boise

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Idaho Falls, Idaho

4. Idaho State Capitol Building

Capitol building and square in Boise, Idaho

Address: 700 West Jefferson Street, Boise, Idaho 83702

The Idaho State Capitol Building stands out among the Boise foothills with its Renaissance Revival architecture and 200-foot dome. Located in downtown Boise, the building is a significant historic building, reflecting Idaho’s economic, political, and social history.

Lewiston was the original capital of Idaho until it moved to Boise in 1864. Construction started on the capital building in 1905 and took fifteen years to complete.

The structure is made of locally-quarried stone and is over 100,000 square feet spanning two city blocks. Local prisoners from the Idaho Penitentiary transported the 10-ton sandstone blocks from the quarry to the building site. While it originally cost $2 million to build in 1905, the same structure would cost well over $100 million today.

In 1976 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Idaho State Capitol still houses the state’s legislative and executive branches and various state offices.

Interestingly, the Idaho Capitol Building is the only one heated by geothermal water, tapped and pumped from 3,000 feet underground! The building is open daily (even on Sundays!), so if you enjoy history and architecture, you’ll find this attraction one of the best things to do in Boise, Idaho!

See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Minnesota

5. The JUMP Park

Jump park Idaho

Address: 1000 W Myrtle St, Boise, ID 83702

The extraordinary and creative park is just one part of JUMP, which stands for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place. Named after an Idaho entrepreneur, Jack Simplot, JUMP is a non-profit shared space to imagine, innovate, adapt, and explore.

The outdoor park features multiple play structures, sweeping terraces, an amphitheater, and plenty of space for roaming. In addition, kids have the chance to ride a five-story chute slide called the Spiral Slide. Adults can have fun on the Team Slide. Race your family or friends down the eight-person slide with a near-vertical curve!

The climbing structure is unlike any other; it’s a three-story net structure designed for kids and adults to take risks and climb higher than they’ve been before! Or, if you want to play pickleball or basketball, head to the Blue Top, a modern multi-purpose sports court. 

If you prefer to relax and people-watch while you get some work done, you can connect to JUMP’s Wi-Fi while chilling on the Front Lawn. The lush green oasis is the perfect open space to check your email, have a picnic, and maybe even take a small siesta. 

JUMP Park is just as fun for adults as it is for kids and is a free experience for all. It’s easily one of the top unique things to do in the heart of downtown Boise. 

Need to cool down after playing? Stop by The STIL nearby for some delicious small-batch ice cream. The ice cream shop even offers booze-infused creations for adults! 

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Twin Falls, Idaho

6. World Center for Birds of Prey

Birds at World at Center for Birds of Prey

Address: 5668 West Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, ID 83709

The World Center for Birds of Prey is a fantastic facility focused on the education, conservation, and recovery efforts of endangered raptors. Located south of the Boise airport, the center comprises almost 600 acres. Established in 1984, the center includes the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center, California condor breeding barns, and the Archives of Falconry.

The Interpretive Center is dedicated to teaching visitors about the rare and endangered raptors with exhibits, interactive displays, and outreach programs. Guests may also see live demonstrations with owls, condors, hawks, eagles, or falcons. Approximately 30,000 people visit the center annually.

Tourists can also explore the native and non-native birds in the courtyard and then tour the Archives of Falconry. The Herrick Collections Building houses collections of scientific specimens and an extensive research library.

However, one of the most extraordinary experiences is the fall flight demonstration. Visitors can watch some birds fly outdoors in the fall in a 45-minute live show. These fall flights are a great way to see an owl, hawk, or falcon close-up, sometimes flying mere inches over your head!

The World Center for Birds of Prey is a must-do item in Boise, whether you’re an expert bird watcher or don’t know anything about our feathered friends!

See Related: Best Things to do in Denali National Park and Preserve

7. Camel’s Back Park

Camel’s Back Park in the Northend of Boise, Idaho

Address: 1200 Heron St, Boise, ID 83702

Camel’s Back Park is easily one of the best parks in Boise, with 11 acres of land comprised of sports fields, tennis courts, playscapes, and an outdoor gym. It also connects to Hulls Gulch Reserve and Camel’s Back Reserve, both popular hiking areas. So, walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers often meet at the park before hitting the hiking trails.

If you hike up the stone stairway at Camel’s Back Park, you’ll see beautiful 360-degree views of Boise. It’s also a great viewing point for viewing shooting stars, the International Space Station, meteors, or fireworks!

Camel’s Back Park is one of Boise’s favorite parks, with so much to do and explore. In the spring, summer, and fall, visitors flock to the park to play sports, fly a kite, run on the trails, play tennis, or climb on the playscape. In the winter, people come to the lower hill for snow sledding and tubing.

If you’re visiting Boise, this is a great spot to add to your itinerary, especially if you’re bringing children or dogs. It’s a perfect place to expend energy and see the city’s beauty from the top of the park’s hill! Head back to relax in the hot tub at one of the many accommodations in the city center.

8. Capital City Public Market

Capital City Public Market in Boise
Valphotog / Shutterstock.com

Address: 827 W. Main St, Boise, ID 83702

If you happen to be in Boise during the summer or fall, a stop at the Capital City Public Market is a must. While it’s only open on Saturdays, the market is worth the trip. When you visit, you can meet with the local Boise farmers, artisans, and producers before purchasing their goods.

The Capital City Public Market has been in operation since 1994 and is Boise’s largest market. However, it’s more than just a farmer’s market, with art vendors like glass, painting, pottery, and woodworking. Of course, you can also find local honey, fruits, meats, cheese, and vegetables! If you’re hoping to purchase specialty food, the market often has African sambusas, momo dumplings, crepes, spices, and bakery products.

Head to downtown Boise at the Grove Plaza to shop small, eat fresh local foods, and experience Capital City Public Market. If you don’t get enough to eat at the market, the highly-rated Basque Market is just a few blocks away, with Spanish and Basque-inspired small plates.

Stay just across the street at the upscale Grove Hotel for convenient access to Grove Plaza and many other attractions! Not only do they offer free bikes, but they also have an indoor pool and a hot tub- perfect for relaxation!

See Related: How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money (Yes, Actually)

9. Boise River Greenbelt

Boise River Greenbelt Boise

Address: A25-mile path through Boise with numerous access points

The Boise Greenbelt is a 25-mile hiking and biking trail that follows the Boise River. It begins at Eagle Island State Park just north of Boise and ends at Lucky Peak Recreation Area on the city’s south end. The greenbelt gives access to parks, scenic views, neighborhoods, and business districts along the way.

The city’s parks, known as the “Ribbon of Jewels,” are located along the Boise River Greenbelt with pedestrian access for each park. Kathryn Albertson Park is one of a dozen parks along the greenbelt, and it features wildlife, ponds, a fountain, gazebos, and more. Julia Davis Park is the oldest park in Boise, opened in 1897. Julia Davis Park is home to the Idaho Black History Museum, the Boise Art Museum, and Zoo Boise.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly spot to swim and bring your dogs, head to the south end of the Boise River Greenbelt at Lucky Peak. If you’re hoping to throw a line in the river, you may see Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Chinook Salmon, or Mountain Whitefish, among others.

Often called one of the “best river walks in the United States,” the Boise River Greenbelt provides visitors with access to swimming, fishing, biking, hiking, bird watching, and numerous additional outdoor activities. It’s no surprise, as it’s easily one of the best things to do in Boise!

10. Freak Alley Gallery

Address: 210 N 9th St, Boise, ID 83702

Attention art lovers, you must head to Freak Alley Gallery, downtown Boise’s open-air mural gallery. It’s been a local institution since 2002 and is the most extensive outdoor mural gallery in the Pacific Northwest.

What began with a single alley doorway painting extends to the gravel parking lot. The first mural was created by artist Colby Akers 20 years ago, painting the side of Moon’s Cafe. When other businesses in the alleyway saw his mural, they asked him to create more art to cover the back of the alleyway.

Old murals are replaced or updated with new murals every year. When artists add new works of art, they create an ever-changing visual experience at the Freak Alley Gallery. A large painting event in the summer allows community members and local artists to transform the alley space.

Even if you’ve seen the Freak Alley Gallery before, it’s likely changed since your last visit. So, take a trip downtown and see this fantastic (FREE!) collection of murals! After enjoying the murals, stop by Amsterdam Lounge for craft cocktails and small plates.

See Related: Best Minneapolis Murals You Need to Visit

11. Idaho Botanical Garden

Flowers at Idaho Botanical Garden

Address: 2355 N Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

In the heart of the Old Penitentiary Historic District lies 15 acres of tranquil grounds and diverse plant collections. The Idaho Botanical Garden is one of the oldest gardens in the area, opening in 1984. Before the site became the botanical garden, it served as the farm and nursery for the old state prison.

There are 12 unique gardens, but the grounds are also home to an outdoor art gallery, wildlife, fountains, and beautiful views. If you’re walking at a leisurely pace, you can expect to spend an hour or two exploring the gardens.

Visitors and locals love visiting the garden for wildlife like lizards, birds, frogs, rabbits, butterflies, and owls. The self-guided tour is helpful if you want to see the entire park, but you can also choose to select specific parts by theme.

Sections of the park include an English Garden, Rose Garden, Meditation Garden, Herb Garden, Native Plant Garden, and Western Waterwise Garden. So, if you are interested in roses and drought-resistant plants, you can stop by the Rose Garden and Western Waterwise Garden.

Kids will especially love the Children’s Adventure Garden, with a sandpit, cave, hollow logs, and more! Exploring and engaging in the natural world is perfect for young kids.

In addition to the daily wonders available, the garden hosts annual events such as the Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series, Fall Harvest Festival and Scarecrow Stroll, Winter Garden aGlow, and the Great Garden Escape. The garden is a delight for all ages and worth the trip!

12. Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise

A bowl of food at the Boise Restaurant

Address: Downtown Boise

Downtown Boise is home to around 100 restaurants, so finding the best ones can be challenging. Thankfully, you can take a culinary tour of the area led by a local guide, so you don’t have to make any dining decisions!

This 3-hour walking tour goes through historic downtown Boise, with six or more tasting stops at restaurants, food stores, and markets. While you’re walking from one dining stop to the next, you’ll have time to visit local landmarks and parks. 

While the exact stops vary with each tour, some examples of dining stops include the historic Basque Market, BACON, the Boise Farmers Market, and many “Best of Boise” award winners. 

The tour starts at a central location where you’ll meet your guide and other tour members. Your guide will share stories about local culture and history while walking to your first stop. An award-winning chef designs the tour route, so you can ensure you’re getting to taste the best of Boise. 

Walking down the beautiful tree-lined streets, you’ll see historic mansions, public art, and local parks. The tour also includes a booklet with dining coupons and a map of Boise. 

Plan on meeting your group at 11 am for a delicious, fun-filled afternoon of dining. If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Boise, this culinary tour is one of the most fun, interesting, and delicious choices! 

See Related: Ways To Avoid the Fast Food Trap!

13. Albertsons Stadium

Albertsons Stadium Oustide view
Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock.com

Address: Boise State University Campus, 1400 Bronco Ln, Boise, ID 83706

With its unique blue turf, Albertsons Stadium is home to the Boise State University Broncos and the Famous Potato Idaho Bowl. For the Bronco’s first 44 seasons, the stadium was known as Bronco Stadium, but the name changed in 2014 when Albertsons Grocery Stores purchased the naming rights.

The original seating capacity was less than 15,000 and cost $2.2 million. However, the after several additions and renovations over the years, the seating capacity is now roughly 37,000. The stadium’s all-time attendance record was in 2019 when Boise State University played against Hawaii.

When the stadium opened in 1970, Boise State’s track and field team and local high school football games also utilized it. However, in 2012, high school football games and track and field events moved to the new Dona Larsen Park.

It’s famous for its blue playing surface installed when BSU was in the Big Sky Conference. The stadium had the only non-green turf in the NCAA for almost twenty years.

Since 1997, the stadium has hosted the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (previous to 2011, it was called either the MPC Computers Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl). This bowl game is the longest-running bowl game in a cold-weather venue.

To see this blue field in person, head to the Allen Noble Hall of Fame, as it’s the only public entrance to the Lyle Smith field. Whether you’re a Boise State Broncos fan or not, seeing the blue turf in an NCAA stadium is a unique experience!

14. Boise Train Depot

The old Train Depot in Boise

Address: 2603 W Eastover Terrace, Boise, ID 83706

The Boise Depot is a historic train station opened in 1925 by the Union Pacific Railroad. The depot provided service between Portland, Oregon, and Chicago, Illinois, with The City of Portland, the Portland Rose, and the Idahoan.

The historic station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 as the Union Pacific Mainline Depot After a significant decline in passenger service over a few decades, the Boise Depot saw its last passenger service train leave Boise in 1997. The Boise Train depot went through a significant renovation and is now used as a special events center and public museum.

The west wall of the depot features the original Barkalow Brothers Newsstand. While it’s been slightly restored, it remains in its original form. The ceiling of the Great Hall is lined with Spanish-style trusses that display imprints of antique train cars. 

While visitors can enjoy walking around the inside of the historic depot, the famous Platt Gardens is also quite a treat. The Depot gardens, built in 1927 by Union Pacific, showcases a koi pond, benches, and winding walkway. The Boise Depot overlooks the Idaho State Capitol, located a mile northeast, giving some of the city’s best views. 

Kids and adults enjoy “Bike Mike,” the historic train on display outdoors, and the Bell tower. The Boise Train depot is easily one of the most fun things to do in Boise!

See Related: Historical Landmarks in Iowa You’ll Want to Know

15. Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

Address: 770 S 8th St, Boise, ID 83702

Although Anne Frank never lived in Boise, her legacy resonated so strongly in the area that the city opened the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in 2002. Since it opened, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the memorial to understand her family’s plight and the human rights challenges in today’s world. 

Surprisingly, the memorial is the only Anne Frank Memorial in the United States. It’s also one of the few places that permanently display the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 

The Anne Frank Memorial includes a life-sized bronze statue of Anne Frank as she peers out an open window. It’s intended to appear as if she is staring out the window from her hiding place in the attic.

The markings behind Anne Frank’s statue depict the rooms in the cramped attic. The memorial also contains the Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights, the Attic Amphitheater, Rose Beal Legacy Garden, Memorial Quotes Wall, and the Water Feature. 

One of the more demonstrative exhibits is the 180-foot Memorial Quote Wall. It takes you through history, with the words of the unknown and the famous inscribed side-by-side. Another moving tribute to Anne Frank is the Chestnut tree planted at the Memorial, taken from the actual Anne Frank Chestnut Tree in Amsterdam. 

While you may not expect to learn about Anne Frank in Boise, the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial is a tremendous tribute to her and her family’s story. Whether a history buff or a human rights advocate, the memorial should be on your Boise to-do list. 

16. Old Idaho State Penitentiary

Old Idaho State Penitentiary Building
David R. Daniel / Shutterstock.com

Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

While you may not consider visiting an old prison in Boise, you should put the Old Idaho Penitentiary on your to-do list! It’s only one of four territorial prisons open to the public and is quite an experience.

The prison was built in 1870, and during its century of operations, it had jailbreaks and scandals like a stereotypical wild west movie. When you visit, you can imagine what life was like as a prisoner as soon as the guides close the steel doors behind you.

Self-guided tours are always available, and guided tours are available on most days for a small fee. Some claim the prison is haunted, as they sense a strange feeling when visiting the solitary confinement cells or the maximum security cell house. With no proof, however, the old Idaho Penitentiary leaves it up to individuals to decide for themselves.

See Related: Best National Parks in the Midwest (+ NPS Sites)

17. Table Rock Trail

Table Rock Trail Boise

Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

The Table Rock Trail is popular for locals and tourists, with opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and birding. In addition, many visitors flock to the trail to watch the sunrises and sunsets.

Most visitors to Table Rock Trail park at the Old Penitentiary parking lot, where there is signage for the trails and a kiosk. The 3.7-mile moderately challenging route takes an average of two hours to complete. Most people visit between March and November when the weather is best, and the trails are safe. When you visit, you’ll see nature lovers enjoying the scenic views, people horseback riding,

If you’re traveling with your pup (or horses!), bring them along for the beautiful views. Unfortunately, the area is restricted between sundown and sunup for safety reasons, and the parking lot gate automatically closes at sunset. If you’re looking for one of the best things to do in Boise, Idaho, the Table Rock Trail should be on your list!

18. Idaho Black History Museum

Idaho Black History Museum Building

Address: 508 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702

Located in Julia Davis Park, the Idaho Black History Museum is the oldest African American museum in the Pacific Northwest. The museum is housed in the former St. Paul Baptist Church, the first black church in Boise, established in 1921.

The museum focuses on African American history from the early 19th Century. With help from a local African American professor, Dr. Mamie Oliver, the permanent exhibit “The Invisible Idahoan: 200 Years of Blacks in Idaho” was created.

In addition, artifacts on local black athletes, activists, legislators, and artists are on display. The museum has educational exhibits and community outreach programs with musical performances, lectures, films, literacy programs, and workshops.

This museum is a must-see to learn about the lives of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in Idaho. The exhibits and artifacts on display show the vital contribution of black Idahoans to Boise.

While the museum is small, it’s jam-packed with good information! While you’re at Julia Davis Park, you can also go fishing, let your kids run wild on the playscape, or even play Bocce Ball.

See Related: ​​Best Museums in Europe to Visit

19. Julia Davis Park

A lake in Julia Davis Park

Address: 700 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702

Julia Davis Park is the city’s oldest park, donated by a former citizen and developer in Boise, Tom Davis. Named after his wife, Julia, the unique park comprises almost 100 acres of land.

If you visit the park, you may see street performers, bridal parties taking pictures, people rollerblading, riding paddleboats, or picnicking. This park truly has it all. Situated next to its “twin” park, Ann Morrison Park, Davis Park is one of the most beautiful attractions in Boise.

While the park has many amenities common to the other Ribbon of Jewel parks, you’ll also find many of the city’s attractions within Julia Davis Park. For example, Zoo Boise, Idaho State Museum, Idaho Black History Museum, and the Discovery Center of Idaho are all located on the park’s land.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy this park and its activities and attractions. Chances are, you’ll want to come back again and again during your trip, as it’s nearly impossible to do it all in one day!

20. Boise Bash Scavenger Hunt

People on the Boise Bash Scavenger Hunt Tour
Image source: Viator

Address: 1100 W Idaho St Suite 105, Boise, ID 83702

If you’re looking for a unique way to learn about Boise, this scavenger hunt is a must-do item for your itinerary! Instead of having a live tour guide, this nontraditional game has a remote host. This host will contact you through the phone number given during booking and provide the game’s rules. 

The hunt begins at Broadcast Coffee, which is a local Boise favorite. Once the remote guide gives you and your group the rules of the game, you get to start on your hunt!

You can request a carless hunt, but the original game involves car travel. This family-friendly (and pet-friendly!) game takes you to various carefully curated locations in town. 

You’ll have to solve clues and accept challenges when you get to the checkpoints. These challenges may get you outside your comfort zone but are creative and fun. 

The hunt has checkpoints alternating between outdoors and indoors. To document your progress, you send photos to your remote host. Many people who have done this hunt have used locals to help them solve clues!

This tour will have you laughing and making fun memories while uncovering the local secrets and hidden gems of Boise. If you want to learn a little bit of Boise history with surprises at every turn, this Boise Bash Scavenger Hunt is for you!

See Related: Best Gifts for Tour Guides

FAQ

What is the best thing to do with kids in Boise?

There are numerous family-friendly opportunities if you plan to visit Boise with kids! The Discovery Center of Idaho and Zoo Boise in Julia Davis Park are must-see attractions if you’ve got littles in tow.

There are also plenty of kid-approved outdoor options, such as floating in the Boise River, watching the marine life at the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, exploring the Children’s Adventure Garden at the Idaho Botanical Garden, and sliding down the spiral slide at JUMP Park. For something completely unique, head to the highly-rated Old Idaho Penitentiary for a glimpse into the life of former prisoners.

Is Boise worth visiting?

Absolutely! Whether you’re heading to Boise for a romantic getaway or family fun, there is something for everyone. There are plenty of opportunities for lovers of nature, culture, food, art, and history. With so many fun things to do including Boise Trolley tours, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, and Kathryn Albertson Park, you won’t be disappointed.

What is Boise known for?

Fur trappers established Boise, later becoming a gold mining hotspot. Boise is also home to a large population of Basques, as many immigrated to the area in the 1800s. The city’s rich Basque history, combined with beautiful scenery, makes the beautiful town a perfect vacation destination. Today, the city is known for its beautiful natural scenery, outdoor recreation, culture, art, and food.

What are some things to do in Boise when it’s raining?

If you make plans to visit Boise and it happens to rain, don’t fret! There are still plenty of fun things to do, regardless of the weather. If you’ve got kids in tow, there are plenty of indoor educational opportunities such as the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Basque Museum Cultural Center, the Idaho State Museum, and the Boise Art Museum. If you’re on an adults-only trip, take a glass-blowing class at Boise Art Glass, drink a glass of wine at Cold Springs Winery, or eat some delicious fries at Boise Fry Company!

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