Creativity, a laid-back vibe, and good old-fashion American soul make this capital city a national treasure.
It’s easy to imagine that Boise is the kind of city that Kris Kristofferson would sing about it. It’s got a hearty, wholesome Americana spirit at its core, that much is true, but it’s also rebellious enough in a sassy way to warrant a tribute from Pat Benatar and full of the kind of characters that only Tom Waits could do justice to. Situated toward the western end of Idaho surrounded by farms and 190 miles of trails, the nearest metropolis is Salt Lake City, a five-hour drive away, and that’s a very good thing. Boise’s isolation is a bear hug, an invitation, a warm welcome. After spending a week in this compact, walkable city, I was hardly restless. In fact, it didn’t even feel like I saw or did or ate half the things I had hoped to. And it became quickly apparent why Boise regularly ends up on all sorts of lists. In addition to often being called out as the being among the best American cities to raise a family and to retire to, the downtown has been recognized as among the country’s best and the people are among the healthiest. Bike Magazine deemed it the country’s best mountain biking town. Not bad for a city of less than 225,000.
Outdoorsy types are at home amid the 190-mile preserved trail system that goes from the Boise River Greenbelt to the Boise Foothills that surround the city. The Payette River, 30 minutes north, has intense Class V rapids, ideal for all sorts of sports. Culture vultures can choose from a range of museums, from history to art to birds. Oenophiles appreciate that nearly half of the state’s 50-plus wineries are within a 30 minute drive. And pretty nearly everyone offers a ready smile and easy conversation. Here are just a few things to put on your itinerary when you book a trip to this delightful capital city.