Boise, Idaho was never on anyone's travel destination list. When travellers think about Idaho they always think of one thing - potatoes.
Travelling to Boise from the Canadian border I thought there would simply be open dirt fields with potato farmers scattered about. I think every traveller feels this dreaded anticipation of spud land. As we drove from Bonner's Ferry to Couer d'Alene it was all forest, all hills and small mountains, lakes and rivers.
And following Interstate 95 all the way down to McCall and then into Boise and seeing nothing but greens and blues I knew we had been fooled.
The potato is just a cover.
The potato image that everyone has in mind is probably done on purpose. You see, the folk living in Idaho are conservative and don't want anyone spoiling their natural habitat and clean and safe towns and cities. The secret was to hide behind a giant image of a potato and keep outsiders away.
But when travellers like you and I start to wander about we find these hidden gems, even in the United States, where things have yet to be discovered.
And if you want to discover America, the true, old, America - visit Idaho. The people are friendly, talkative, laid back and eager to share their backyard. Idaho is clean and safe - something a lot of US states cannot say anymore. It is no wonder everyone is moving to this state!
And Idaho is perfect for a single traveller, a family vacation or for someone seeking out adventure. Everywhere you go feels like a small town, but in the huge vast expanse of the west.
Idaho's capital city is Boise and it makes for a great base of operations for exploring the state of Idaho, especially in the southern portion, where you will find great hotels and accommodations, excellent restaurants, a ton of activities and area attractions.
Top Things To Do In Boise, Idaho
Boise River Greenbelt
The 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt is one of Boise's most beloved parks. The tree-lined pathway follows the river through the heart of the city and provides scenic views, wildlife habitat and pedestrian access to many of the city's popular riverside parks. The "Ribbon of Jewels" is a series of parks located along the pathway.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals. Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows. The site features thirty historic buildings and special exhibits including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, a collection of historic weaponry. Events and programs provide families, school groups, and visitors an opportunity to relive the Old Pen’s exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions. Click here for our full visitor's guide to this amazing attraction in Boise.
Idaho Botanical Gardens
Cultivate. Educate. Celebrate. Enhance your community and enrich your life. The Idaho Botanical Garden is a lush 15-acre tapestry of dappled shade and vibrant splashes of color. A peaceful haven nestled in the Boise Foothills, located in the heart of Old Penitentiary Historic District. The Garden promotes gardening in the Treasure Valley using native and domestic plants that are adapted to the inter-mountain region.
World's Center for Birds of Prey
Get nose-to-beak with raptors! Visit the World Center for Birds of Prey and learn all about how they are conserving raptors around the world! Meet live birds of prey up close, see California Condors, and more!
Museum of Mining and Geology
Museum featuring exhibits & educational programs about Idaho’s geologic history & mining heritage. Free Admission.
Antique World Mall
Antique World Mall offers budget friendly antiques and timeless vintage items from midcentury modern to victorian style. Over 30,000 square feet of mall includes reclaimed wood, shabby chic decor, farmhouse style furniture, rustic luxe copper and gold home decor, vinyl, retro style clothing and this is only scratching the surface. 160+ dealers keep their inventory fresh so there is always something new and unique.
Boise Whitewater Park
Despite the name being changed 3 times in 4 years, the Boise Whitewater Park offers enhanced recreational opportunities for kayaking, surfing and stand up paddle boarding. Our park was designed and is operated to attract paddlers from around the world and provide avenue for safety training, paddling techniques and competitions. One of the recent trends in whitewater recreation especially for kayakers and surfers is the importance of “park and play” spots. A “park and play” spot is a location on a river which is easily accessible and attractive because its’ hydraulic characteristics.
Best Restaurants in Boise Idaho
The Original Pancake House
Goldy's Breakfast Bistro
The Basque Market
Chandler's Steak House
Barrel Brewing Company
Edge Brewing Company
White Dog Brewing Company
Best Hotels & Accommodations in Boise, Idaho
If you are looking for a budget hotel that is near the airport, clean and safe, check out the hotel we stayed in while in Boise. Most hotels near an airport are not that great, but this one checked off all the boxes for us. For $60 per night, we had a clean, comfortable room that was located near all the attractions we wanted to visit. This is one of the best managed Inn America hotels we have come across and we highly recommend it.
You can book directly with them by following the link below:
Id the Inn America is booked solid, click the links below to find a number of hotels in Boise, Idaho. We have selected the most popular ones for you with the best possible prices:
If you think Boise is all flat and potatos check out this video highlighting the watersports and activities in and around Boise, Idaho:
Once you are done exploring Boise, start to explore different parts of the state of Idaho. Look for travel guides to Coeur d'Alene, McCall and much more coming soon!
In the meantime, check out our Visitor's Guide to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Eastern Idaho.