Oakland is often dubbed “the Brooklyn of the Bay Area” by national press and Portland has a TV show dedicated to its quirkiness, but an unexpected Northwest destination is giving its West Coast neighbors a run for their suspenders and expertly coiffed mustaches.
With an abundance of microbreweries, affordable craft cocktails, and farm-to-fork dining (not to mention a growing population of young folks fleeing the high-priced rents in San Francisco and Seattle), Boise, Idaho—also called the City of Trees—is poised to take away Portland’s crown as the city with the highest hipster-to-third-wave-coffee-shop ratio.
And with the annual Treefort Music Festival—Idaho’s iteration of SXSW that often attracts traveling musicians alighting from Austin—set to hit town March 21–25, there’s never been a better time to book a trip to Boise. You’ll quickly realize that this state capital is no small fry when it comes to cool cities worthy of an extended stay.
Boise’s Best Eats
Boise’s Best Restaurants
Make sure to order the asparagus fries to start your meal and the butter cake to end it at Fork (199 N. 8th St.), where other seasonal dishes like tomato-basil fondue, daily street tacos, and local ale–braised short ribs are bolstered by ingredients sourced from Boise and Northwest farmers and producers as part of owners Cameron and Amanda Lumsden’s “loyal to local” pledge. The restaurant also does a bustling brunch on weekends, including a build-your-own bloody Mary bar.
The Lumsdens also run Alavita (807 W. Idaho St.), a chandelier-lit Italian joint known for freshly made pastas highlighting hyperlocal seasonal ingredients and a from-scratch approach. This local-first ethos extends to the design, with touches by a local artist.