by Casandra Karpiak
Looking for a weekend getaway that offers the perfect mix of city amenities and small-town charm? Look no further than Boise, Idaho. Getaways to and from “The City of Trees” are easier than ever, with 26 direct flights from cities across the US and 200 days of sunshine. Over 1 million visitors are flocking to the city, eager for a getaway full of fresh air and adventure.
Boise may be best known for its famous potatoes, but there is so much more to this vibrant city. The food and art scene is thriving, with delicious restaurants fused with local art popping up all over town.
The 25-mile, tree-lined Boise River Greenbelt runs through the city, offering stunning views of the Boise River and foothills. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring Boise’s nearby mountains and lakes for endless outdoor adventures.
Carrie Westergard, Executive Director of the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau, comments,
“Boise is a friendly, approachable city that offers visitors the best of all worlds: culture, easy outdoor access, natural beauty, and a nationally recognized food and drink scene. Come spend a weekend on the trails, sample an Idaho wine or local brew, or try one of our many restaurants. There’s always a mix of visitors and residents, especially in Boise’s vibrant, walkable downtown, giving guests a genuine experience. If you haven’t been before, I think Boise will surprise you in all the best ways.”
The Foodie in You Will Love It
The food scene in Boise is surprisingly mouth-watering. You can find incredible flavors at trendy restaurants like Juniper or have a unique dining experience at Fork restaurant, where many of their key ingredients are sourced from local Boise and Northwest suppliers.
At KIN, art and food merge together for an unforgettable five-course prix fixe meal. Or head next door to KIN’s bar, where the art of mixology is taken to a whole new level. It’s the perfect location for a date night in this thriving city.
“This place is foodie heaven. The dishes were creative, unique, and delicious,” comments a visitor from Seattle.
During summer, locally sourced food and drink are what to expect on any patio scene in Boise. While residents fill their days enjoying nature, they spend their evenings dining on locally sourced cuisine and sipping delicious cocktails.
For breakfast, get your steps in on your walk to Big City Coffee for a meal that will fill you up until dinner. The atmosphere is lively, the tables are always full, and the food is plentiful. This restaurant may just have the largest pastries you have ever seen.
Or, if you have a craving for bacon, you can go right to the source. BACON Boise covers all three B’s: Brunch. Boise. Bacon. Need we say more?!!
Art Lovers Rejoice
While many people think of Boise as a hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest, it is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene. Boise is growing and expanding in many ways, from music to modern dance to art. New collaborations are forming and taking root.
Freak Alley Gallery is an open-air mural gallery located in Downtown Boise between 8th and 9th streets and Bannock and Idaho. It is the largest such gallery in the northwest.
The Boise Art Museum is a well-known and much-loved establishment in the city. It not only showcases different exhibits throughout the year but also organizes community experiences, art fundraisers, and educational events.
Outdoor Adventure Awaits
Boise is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains and lakes, making it the perfect destination for outdoor adventures. The 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt is a scenic pathway that follows the north and south sides of the Boise River, providing access to many popular riverside parks in the city. The tree-lined route is a favorite among locals for its wildlife habitat, relaxing views, and easy pedestrian access.
Many hotels offer complimentary bikes for touring around Boise, or you can pick up one of the many electric scooters parked throughout the city and safely explore in one of the many bike lanes.
Unwind in Idaho Style
The Inn at 500 Capitol, Boise’s four-diamond boutique hotel, is ranked the #1 best hotel in Boise by Trip Adviser and offers guests stylish suites, uniquely themed rooms, and a clever butler’s pantry. The themed rooms are dreamy and vary from a soothing Sun Valley theme to a vibrant Boise Art Museum theme and everything in between.
Boise is an exceedingly walkable city, and the Grove Hotel puts you just steps from the city’s best shopping and restaurants, while the Hyatt Place offers business travelers some much-needed respite.
“Boise has a lot to offer, even on a short weekend trip. There is a multitude of activities, accommodations, and food options to enjoy, and the best part is they come at a lower price point when compared with popular getaway spots,” says Jessica from BudgetSavvyBride.
A Perfect Vintage
The city of Caldwell is the gateway to Idaho’s wine region, specifically the Snake River Valley AVA. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of wineries along the Sunnyslope Wine Trail, a short drive from Boise.
This wine region is still in its infancy, but that is part of the appeal. Many wineries have a laidback and intimate atmosphere, allowing for conversation with the winemakers themselves.
Take your time to explore and taste wines at Ste. Chapelle, Williamson, Sawtooth, and Koenig Vineyards, where you can sample everything from Riesling to Syrah, and my personal Idaho favorite, Tempranillo.
“We are still this lovely coalescence of more of a neighbor mentality than competitors. There is so much friendliness and cooperativeness that you do not see in too many other regions,” says Beverly Williamson from Williamson Orchards and Vineyards.
For the perfect lunch stop on your winery tour, you must visit Peaceful Belly. It is a delightfully small seasonal restaurant with the most incredible plant-inspired menu options perfect for sharing. They specialize in ciders, but they also serve local wines from neighboring vineyards.
Boise has a large population of Basque Americans, and you can learn about the unique culture through food, events, and museums. Experience quintessential Basque cuisine at The Basque Market for lunch, where you can enjoy Paella on the patio or take it with you for an outdoor picnic.
Spend a few hours at the Basque Museum across the street from The Basque Market and visit the indoor fronton court used as a playing area for Basque pelota.
Jaialdi, a large Basque festival celebrated every five years, is a popular event that Boise’s Basque community organizes. Coming from all corners of the globe, thousands gather in Idaho to dance, eat and listen to music while enjoying each other’s company. The next Jaialdi will be held in Boise in 2025.
All About the Broncos
Boise State University Broncos are the pride and joy of the city. So on game days, it’s not uncommon to see people decked out in blue and orange, tailgating before heading to Albertsons Stadium.
BSU has a strong athletics program, and you would be remiss if you didn’t catch a Broncos game when visiting Boise. The campus has beautiful architecture, and the nearby Boise River Greenbelt provides a perfect spot for pre or post-game picnics.
A City Full of New Energy
“We have an underground culture that is underappreciated. We have great food, healthy and athletic people, educated people, and people who are dreamers. It’s a shame the nation doesn’t know what Boise has to share with the rest of the world,” comments Boise local Jake Logue Salutregui.
There is no denying that Boise is changing rapidly, and this is reflected in its recent inclusion on various “most livable” and “fastest growing” lists of US cities. The question you should be asking is not what’s happening in Boise currently but rather what will be happening by the time you arrive.