20 Fun & Best Things To Do In Boise, Idaho

20 Fun & Best Things To Do In Boise, Idaho

Are you planning a visit to Boise, Idaho, and wondering what the best attractions are?

With its rich historyvibrant arts scene, and thrilling outdoor adventures, Boise is an exciting destination that can cater to any interest.

Enjoy our top 20 suggestions for fun things to do in Boise – I hope you find some inspiration!

If you’re looking for suggestions on some enjoyable places to eat in Boise, you can read our food guide here.

Key Takeaways

  • Boise, Idaho, offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy, including exploring the scenic Boise River Greenbelt, experiencing the fascinating history at the Old Idaho Penitentiary, and discovering the world of birds of prey at the World Center for Birds of Prey.
  • The city is also home to beautiful parks such as Kathryn Albertson Park and Julia Davis Park, where visitors can relax in peaceful surroundings and enjoy various outdoor activities such as picnicking, strolling through gardens, or renting paddleboats.
  • Art enthusiasts will find plenty to admire in Boise with unique experiences like glassblowing demonstrations at the Boise Art Glass studio and exploring the street art at Freak Alley Gallery. Additionally, visitors can learn about Basque culture at the Basque Museum & Cultural Center or immerse themselves in contemporary artworks at the renowned Boise Art Museum.

Top 20 Things to Do in Boise, Idaho

Discover the best of Boise, Idaho, with these top 20 suggestions, including visiting the Boise River Greenbelt, exploring the Old Idaho Penitentiary, experiencing the World Center for Birds of Prey, and so much more.

1. Boise River Greenbelt

best things to do in boise - boise river greenbelt
Boise River Greenbelt

One of Boise’s most frequented spots is the enchanting Boise River Greenbelt, a charming oasis within urban Idaho. As your route unfurls along the lush banks of this 25-mile stretch, you’ll immerse yourself in nature’s serene beauty while maintaining proximity to downtown life.

The sprawling greenway offers a variety of activities for all types of visitors – expansive hiking trails perfect for tracing the river’s flow and observing local wildlife, bicycle paths allowing exploration at a faster pace, and picnic spots under leafy trees that bring tranquility amidst the city hustle.

Dip your toes into adventurous waters by joining guided river rafting tours or relax in solitude with primitive camping experiences beside the glistening stream. From strolls at dawn to twinkling starlit nights, each moment spent at the Boise River Greenbelt presents an unforgettable Idaho experience.

2. Old Idaho Penitentiary

best things to do in boise - old idaho penitentiary
Old Idaho Penitentiary – 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise. This historic site served as a functioning prison from 1872 to 1973 and offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past.

Wander through the cell blocks, some of which retain their original layout, and imagine what life was like for inmates during those years. Learn about infamous prisoners held here, including bank robbers and serial killers.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary also features an intriguing museum that showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the prison’s history. Discover stories of daring escapes, riots, and daily life behind bars.

3. World Center for Birds of Prey

things to do in boise for couples - world center for birds of prey
World Center for Birds of Prey – 5668 W Flying Hawk Ln, Boise, ID 83709

The World Center for Birds of Prey is a must-see when visiting Boise, Idaho. Located just outside the city, this renowned center is dedicated to the conservation and study of birds of prey worldwide.

Visitors can learn about these majestic creatures through interactive exhibitseducational programs, and live bird demonstrations. The center also houses breeding facilities for endangered species, such as California condors and Peregrine falcons.

With its breathtaking views and informative displays, visiting the World Center for Birds of Prey will surely be an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers.

4. Idaho State Capitol Building

what to do in boise idaho - idaho state capitol building
Idaho State Capitol Building – 700 W Jefferson St, Boise, ID 83702

Explore the grandeur of Idaho’s political history by taking a tour of the iconic Idaho State Capitol Building. This architectural masterpiece, located in downtown Boise, showcases the state’s rich heritage and symbolizes democracy.

Admire its neoclassical design adorned with stunning marble columns and intricate artwork. You’ll find captivating exhibits that delve into Idaho’s past and present, offering insight into the state’s government and legislative processes.

Take advantage of the opportunity to stand beneath the majestic dome or visit Governor’s Office to see where important decisions are made. A trip to this historic landmark is an absolute must for anyone visiting Boise!

5. Idaho Botanical Garden

free things to do in boise - idaho botanical garden
Idaho Botanical Garden – 2355 Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

Nestled in the heart of Boise, Idaho, the Idaho Botanical Garden is a picturesque oasis that offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. With over 30 acres of stunning landscapes and captivating plant collections, this botanical garden is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore the themed gardens, including the Herb Garden, Water Garden, and Meditation Garden, each showcasing unique flora and fauna worldwide. From vibrant blooms to serene pathways lined with towering trees, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to discover here.

Whether you’re strolling through fragrant rose gardens or simply basking in the tranquility of your surroundings, a visit to the Idaho Botanical Garden promises an unforgettable experience in one of Boise’s most cherished attractions.

6. Boise Art Glass

unique things to do in boise - boise art glass
Boise Art Glass – 1124 W Front St, Boise, ID 83702

In the heart of Boise, Idaho, art lovers will find a hidden gem – the Boise Art Glass studio. This vibrant space showcases the intricate and mesmerizing world of glassblowing.

As you step inside, prepare to be captivated by the skilled artisans at work, carefully manipulating molten glass into beautiful creations right before your eyes.

The Boise Art Glass studio offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness this ancient craft up close and personal. You can marvel at the delicate dance between heat and creativity as artists shape colorful orbs, vases, and other stunning pieces.

The studio also hosts workshops where you can try your hand at glassblowing under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply curious about this fascinating process, a visit to Boise Art Glass is sure to leave you inspired. Soak in the vibrant colors of fused glass panels or browse their selection of handcrafted jewelry for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

7. Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

things to do in downtown boise - idaho anne frank human rights memorial
Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial – 770 S 8th St, Boise, ID 83702

Imagine Boise’s profound and thought-provoking Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. This serene and beautiful space serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of human rights, tolerance, and inclusivity.

The memorial features a stunning sculpture of Anne Frank, whose powerful diary captures her struggles during the Holocaust. As you stroll through this peaceful sanctuary, please take a moment to reflect on our shared responsibility to promote equality and justice for all.

It’s an experience that will inspire and ignite your passion for standing up against injustice.

8. Kathryn Albertson Park

free things to do in boise - kathryn albertson park
Kathryn Albertson Park – 1001 N Americana Blvd, Boise, ID 83706

One of the best places to relax in Boise, Idaho, is at Kathryn Albertson Park. This beautiful park offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its lush greenery, serene ponds, and picturesque walking paths make it the perfect spot to unwind and recharge.

Take a stroll along winding trails lined with colorful flowers and towering trees. Find a quiet bench by one of the ponds and take in the peaceful atmosphere as you watch ducks gliding across the water.

The park also features picnic areas where you can enjoy a relaxing meal surrounded by nature. Whether looking for a place to read a book or soak up some sunshine, Kathryn Albertson Park provides an idyllic setting for relaxation in Boise.

9. Julia Davis Park

free things to do in boise - julia davis park
Julia Davis Park – 700 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702

Julia Davis Park is a another gorgeous option for relaxation. This expansive park offers something for everyone, from picturesque gardens to exciting attractions. Stroll through the rose garden or admire the beautiful statues in the park.

If you visit with children, they’ll love exploring Zoo Boise and playing at the Discovery Center of Idaho, located within Julia Davis Park. Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing day by the Boise River, or rent paddleboats and cruise along its tranquil waters.

With its stunning natural beauty and wide range of activities, Julia Davis Park will provide hours of fun for visitors of all ages.

10. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

free things to do in boise - bogus basin mountain recreation area
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area – 2600 Bogus Basin Rd, Boise, ID 83702

Nestled just outside of Boise, the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning natural beauty and wide range of activities, it’s no wonder this place attracts locals and tourists alike.

The area boasts over 2,600 acres of pristine wilderness and features an extensive trail system perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Adventure seekers can also enjoy thrilling downhill skiing and snowboarding during winter.

In addition to its outdoor offerings, Bogus Basin offers a variety of amenities for visitors to enjoy. The mountain resort has excellent facilities, including a lodge with dining options, equipment rentals, and even live music events on occasion.

free things to do in boise - freak alley gallery
Freak Alley Gallery – 210 N 9th St, Boise, ID 83702

One of the more unique attractions in Boise; Freak Alley Gallery is a unique outdoor art gallery in situated downtown.

Known as the most extensive outdoor mural gallery in the Northwest, Freak Alley showcases an incredible display of vibrant and thought-provoking artwork.

Artists from all over contribute to this ever-evolving exhibit, filling each corner with stunning street art that encompasses a range of styles and themes.

From stunning murals to intricate graffiti, walking through Freak Alley Gallery feels like stepping into a living work of art.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or appreciate creativity, this open-air gallery will inspire and amaze you with the talent on display in Boise.

12. Basque Museum & Cultural Center

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Basque Museum & Cultural Center – 611 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702

Discover the vibrant Basque culture in Boise by visiting the Basque Museum & Cultural Center. Immerse yourself in this unique community and learn about its history, traditions, and contributions to Idaho’s cultural landscape.

Explore fascinating exhibits that showcase Basque art, artifacts, and stories of immigration. Gain insights into the language, music, dance, and culinary traditions that have shaped Boise’s diverse identity.

The museum offers a captivating experience for locals and tourists curious to explore different cultures in the heart of Boise.

13. Boise Art Museum

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Boise Art Museum – 670 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Boise by visiting the renowned Boise Art Museum. Located at Julia Davis Park, this museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and modern artworks from local, regional, and international artists.

Explore the thought-provoking exhibits that span various mediums, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and more. With rotating exhibitions throughout the year, there’s always something new to discover at the Boise Art Museum.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or appreciate creative expression, visiting this cultural gem will inspire and ignite your imagination while exploring Idaho’s capital city.

14. Discovery Center of Idaho

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Discovery Center of Idaho – 131 W Myrtle St, Boise, ID 83702

Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of science at the Discovery Center of Idaho. This interactive museum offers a hands-on learning experience for visitors of all ages.

From exploring the wonders of physics and chemistry to delving into the mysteries of space and robotics, there is something for everyone at this exciting attraction.

Discover how things work as you experiment with exhibits encouraging curiosity and exploration.

Learn about the laws of motion by constructing your roller coaster, or challenge yourself with mind-bending puzzles that test your problem-solving skills.

The Discovery Center also hosts rotating exhibits showcasing various scientific topics, ensuring there is always something new.

15. Aquarium of Boise

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Aquarium of Boise – 64 N Cole Rd, Boise, ID 83704

Discover the fascinating underwater world and explore marine life at the Aquarium of Boise. Located in the city’s heart, this family-friendly attraction offers an immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

There’s a vibrant variety of colorful fish, mesmerizing seahorses, playful otters, and many other aquatic creatures. The aquarium features interactive exhibits that allow you to learn about different ecosystems and conservation efforts.

Dive into a virtual reality ocean adventure or watch live feeding sessions to witness the incredible feeding habits of sharks and stingrays.

With its educational programs and beautiful displays, the Aquarium of Boise is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and those looking to have a unique experience in Idaho’s capital city.

16. Shop local at the Capital City Public Market

unique things to do in boise - capital city public market
Capital City Public Market – 8th St, between Bannock St and Main St, Boise, ID 83702

Located in the heart of downtown Boise, the Capital City Public Market is worth checking out if you are looking to support local businesses and experience the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling city.

This open-air market showcases various vendors offering everything from fresh produce and artisanal crafts to delicious food and beverages.

With over 100 vendors, you’ll find unique treasures and locally made products that truly capture the essence of Boise.

Whether searching for handcrafted jewelry, organic fruits and vegetables, or delectable treats, the Capital City Public Market has something for everyone.

Explore the stalls, chat with friendly vendors, and immerse yourself in this lively community gathering.

17. Get up close with animals at Zoo Boise

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Zoo Boise – 355 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702

Experience the wildlife wonders at Zoo Boise, where you can get up close and personal with various animals.

Located in Julia Davis Park, this family-friendly attraction offers an opportunity to see over 200 species worldwide.

Wander through exhibits featuring exotic creatures like tigers, sloths, penguins, and giraffes. Don’t miss out on the daily animal encounters and educational presentations that allow visitors to learn more about these incredible animals.

Whether you’re an animal lover or just looking for a fun outing, Zoo Boise will surely provide a memorable experience for all ages.

18. Enjoy nature at Hulls Gulch Reserve

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Hulls Gulch Reserve – 2445 N Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712

Nestled just north of downtown Boise, Hulls Gulch Reserve offers a serene escape into nature. This 292-acre natural area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering miles of scenic trails that wind through the foothills of the Boise Mountains.

Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities here, with trails suitable for all skill levels. As you explore the reserve, be on the lookout for native wildlife like deer and birds.

The breathtaking views from the trails are also worth mentioning – overlooking the city skyline and the vast natural expanse.

If you want to connect with nature in Boise, Hulls Gulch Reserve should be at the top of your list!

19. Learn about Boise’s history at the Boise Train Depot

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Boise Train Depot – 2603 W Eastover Terrace, Boise, ID 83706

Discover the rich history of Boise at the iconic Boise Train Depot. This historical landmark, built in 1925, served as a bustling train station for many years and now stands as a testament to the city’s past.

Step inside and explore exhibits that showcase artifacts and photographs detailing Boise’s railroad heritage. Admire the stunning Spanish-style depot architecture, complete with its distinctive clock tower.

With its fascinating displays and knowledgeable staff, visiting the Boise Train Depot is an opportunity to delve into the city’s captivating history.

20. Visit the Great Harvest Bread bakery

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Great Harvest Bread bakery – 5608 W Fairview Ave, Boise, ID 83706

Indulge in the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread by visiting the Great Harvest Bread bakery in Boise. This local gem offers a wide selection of artisanal bread, including their famous honey whole wheat loaf.

You can also find an array of mouthwatering pastries and cookies made from scratch daily using high-quality ingredients.

Whether you’re craving a hearty sandwich or a sweet treat, this charming bakery is a must-visit for food enthusiasts and bread lovers.

So, experience the warm hospitality and delicious baked goods at the Great Harvest Bread bakery in Boise, Idaho.

Conclusion

Boise offers up many exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. From exploring the beautiful Boise River Greenbelt to immersing yourself in history at the Old Idaho Penitentiary, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Whether you’re interested in arts and cultureoutdoor adventures, or enjoying the local parks and gardens, Boise has it all. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the 20 best things to do in Boise, Idaho!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the top attractions in Boise, Idaho?

Some top attractions in Boise, Idaho, include visiting the Boise River Greenbelt, exploring the Old Idaho Penitentiary, enjoying outdoor activities at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, and exploring the beautiful Julia Davis Park.

Are there any must-visit museums or cultural sites in Boise?

Yes, there are several must-visit museums and cultural sites in Boise. Some popular options include the Boise Art Museum, Discovery Center of Idaho, Basque Museum & Cultural Center, and Idaho State Capitol Building.

Where can I experience outdoor adventure in or around Boise?

Boise offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. You can go hiking or biking on numerous trails, such as Table Rock Trail or Hulls Gulch Reserve, whitewater rafting on the Payette River, or fishing and boating at Lucky Peak State Park.

What are some family-friendly activities to do in Boise?

Families visiting Boise can enjoy a variety of activities together. Some family-friendly options include visiting Zoo Boise, having fun at Wahooz Family Fun Zone with its mini-golf courses and go-karts, exploring exhibits at The World Center for Birds of Prey, or taking a stroll through Kathryn Albertson Park’s beautiful gardens.

What are the best things to do in Boise, Idaho?

There are plenty of unique activities in Boise, Idaho. Some of the best things are exploring downtown Boise, visiting the Nature Center, staying in Boise, checking out the Basque Block, and enjoying the Boise Farmers Market.

What is there to do in downtown Boise?

Downtown Boise offers a variety of attractions and activities. You can explore the vibrant streets, visit the Boise Art Museum in Julia Davis Park, enjoy delicious food at local restaurants, and shop in unique boutiques.

Why is the Boise Nature Center worth visiting?

The Boise Nature Center is a beautiful place to connect with nature. It offers hiking trails, educational exhibits, and the opportunity to see local wildlife. It’s a great place to relax and appreciate the natural beauty of Idaho.

Where is the best place to stay in Boise?

There are many great accommodation options in Boise. Some popular places to stay include downtown hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels near the Boise State University campus.

What is the Basque Block in Boise?

The Basque Block is a cultural district in Boise that celebrates Boise’s Basque heritage. It features Basque restaurants and a museum and hosts events and festivals annually.

What is unique about the Boise Farmers Market?

The Boise Farmers Market is known for its variety of locally-grown produce, artisanal food products, and handcrafted items. It’s a great place to support local farmers and artisans while enjoying a vibrant community atmosphere.

What are some other fun things to do in Boise?

Apart from the attractions mentioned earlier, you can also enjoy a bike ride along the Boise River Greenbelt, visit the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, check out the Boise Fry Company for delicious fries, and have a thrilling experience at the Boise Whitewater Park.

What are some must-visit places in Boise?

Some must-visit places in Boise include the Idaho State Museum, the Idaho Black History Museum, the Boise Art Museum, and the beautiful Boise Foothills. These attractions offer unique insights into Idaho’s history, culture, and natural beauty.

Is there anything to do in Boise for families?

Absolutely! Boise is a family-friendly city with plenty of activities for kids and adults. Families can enjoy visiting the Idaho Black History Museum, exploring the interactive exhibits at the Discovery Center of Idaho, and having fun outdoors at the Boise Zoo.

What is the Idaho Shakespeare Festival?

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is among Boise’s best things to experience. It is a renowned theater festival held in an outdoor amphitheater. It offers performances of Shakespearean plays and other classic productions, attracting theater enthusiasts from all over.

What are some of the best things to do in Boise, Idaho?

There are many great activities to enjoy in Boise, Idaho. Some of the top attractions include visiting Boise State University, exploring along the Boise River Greenbelt, and checking out the beautiful Boise attractions.

Where is Boise located?

Boise is the capital city of Idaho and is located in the southwestern part of the state.

What are some popular attractions to visit in Boise?

Some popular attractions to visit in Boise include the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, the Boise Fry Company, and the Boise Whitewater Park.

Can you recommend some places to visit in Boise?

Absolutely! Besides the mentioned attractions, other places worth visiting in Boise are the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the Boise Depot, and Zoo Boise.

Is there anything specific to do along the Boise River?

Yes, there are many activities you can enjoy along the Boise River. You can take a bike ride along the Boise River Greenbelt, go floating in the Boise River, or visit the Boise River Park.

Are there any free attractions in Boise?

Yes, there are some free attractions in Boise. For example, you can explore the outdoor gallery of street art in downtown Boise or enjoy the beautiful views of the city.

Is Boise a good place to visit with kids?

Yes, Boise is definitely a family-friendly city. You can visit the Zoo Boise, which offers fun activities and exhibits for children, and there are also many parks and outdoor spaces for kids to enjoy.

Is Boise known for anything specific?

Yes, Boise is known for several things. It is home to Boise State University and the Boise State Broncos sports teams. The city also has a rich history and is influenced by the Basque people.

Are there any fun activities to do in Boise during the winter months?

Yes, there are plenty of fun activities to do in Boise during the winter. You can go skiing or snowboarding in the nearby mountains, or even enjoy ice skating at various outdoor rinks.

How far is the drive from downtown Boise to the Boise area attractions?

The distance between downtown Boise and the Boise area attractions varies depending on the specific attraction. However, most attractions are within a short drive from downtown.