15 Best Things to Do in Boise (ID)

Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Helen E. White

The city of Boise is the capital of the state of Idaho, and it is also a place where you will find idyllic parks, interesting museums and a host of other activities that offer fun for the whole family.

Best Things to Do in Boise

Boise is situated on the spectacular Boise River and is also home to the Boise River Greenbelt, where you’ll find a large protected area of ​​lush greenery, or if you prefer something more urban, you can stroll through the local markets and eclectic art galleries at the city ​​center.

If you’re traveling as a family, Boise won’t disappoint, as you’ll find plenty to do here with kids, including zoos, aquariums, and even an unusual attraction in the form of a center dedicated solely to birds of prey.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Boise

15 Best Things to Do in Boise

1. Boise Aquarium

Opened in 2011, the Boise Aquarium is an interactive aquarium that spans 10,000 square feet.

The aquarium is unusual in that it offers a variety of hands-on exhibits like touch tanks filled with corals, crabs, starfish, and even stingrays.

There are tanks that feature giant octopuses and a shark nursery where you can learn all about the life cycle of a shark.

In addition to the aquarium itself, you will also find other attractions such as a bird aviary.

2. Boise Farmers Market

Known for making its home on West Front Street, the Boise Farmers Market is a place where local vendors can come together and sell local produce and food.

Items for sale include delicious fresh baked goods, as well as local cheeses, fruits and vegetables.

There are also prepared dishes for sale, such as tasty tacos and delicious sweets like donuts.

You can even buy wine at the Farmers Market which includes local brands like Hat Ranch Winery and Cold Springs Winery.

3. Boise Museum of Art

Art lovers should not miss a visit to the Boise Art Museum.

Here you will find a huge collection of modern works of art, as well as static and rotating exhibits.

The museum first opened in the 1930s and now spans more than 30,000 square feet, including the main museum area, an educational center, an outdoor sculpture garden, and a museum store.

The galleries here are eclectic and there is something for every artistic taste.

See also  30 Best Places to Visit in Alabama

4. Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is actually a park area that stretches for 25 miles and follows the idyllic banks of the Boise River.

The greenbelt runs through downtown Boise and you can enjoy the local flora and fauna here, as well as stunning views of the city at the same time.

There are trails throughout the park and there is also a bike path that runs for ten miles.

There are also popular walks, one of which features a scavenger hunt covering important historically significant aspects related to the city.

Other themed hikes include the self-explanatory Idaho Birding Trail and the Bethine Church River Trail.

See More: Best Small Towns in Idaho

5. Barber Park

Barber Park sits along the banks of the Boise River and is located near downtown Boise.

The park is known in Boise for its variety of activities, and if you’re feeling extremely active, you can even go rafting or kayaking here, as there are access points to the Boise River from the park.

If you want to do something a little quieter, you can hike the many trails that run through this area, or enjoy the playgrounds dotted around the park.

If you like wildlife, bald eagles and deer are often seen here.

6. Boise Zoo

Zoo Boise is known in the local area for being a zoological park that is home to a large number of species for the enjoyment of visitors.

The zoo is divided into themed sections like Butterflies in Bloom and Sloth Bear Encounter, and parts of the park are even interactive.

These include the zoo farm where children can hand feed farm animals like goats and sheep, and there is an animal presentation area that acts as an educational center to teach children all about the different animals that live in the zoo.

7. Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Center

Northeast of Boise is the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Center, which first opened in the 1940s and is the perfect place to come if you love all things skiing.

The ski center has both downhill and cross-country trails that stretch for more than 20 miles.

The entire ski resort is spread out over 2,600 acres of land, much of which is lush forest, and there are a variety of slopes to suit all different levels of skiing ability.

See also  Cancun Travel Guide

One of the most iconic downtown areas is Shafer Butte, the highest peak in the Boise Ridge Mountains, where you can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the summer months, including horseback riding and hiking.

8. Idaho Discovery Center

Discovery Center Idaho is a science center dedicated to science and technology with a mission to educate visitors on technology, math, science and engineering.

To that end, there are over 200 exhibits on display here that are interactive in nature, and these include pieces like the Turbulent Orb and the Bubble Wall.

There are permanent galleries here, as well as rotating exhibits, and there are also children’s classes held every Saturday so youngsters can learn all about the joys of science.

9. Hulls Gulch Reserve

Hulls Gulch Reserve is known for its two amazing hiking trails in the form of The Grove and Lower Hulls Gulch.

The preserve encompasses nearly 300 acres of land and is located at the base of a set of picturesque rolling hills in north Boise.

The trails here run for over 150 miles and you can hike bike or horseback along them.

Along the way, you’ll be sure to see a variety of wildlife including native species such as alligators, coyotes, great horned owls, and red foxes.

10. Capital City Public Market

Opened in the early 1990s as an open-air market, the capital city’s public market now features more than 150 vendors from around the Boise area.

If you’re looking to try some fresh Idaho produce, this is the place to find it, and it’s spread out over four blocks in Boise’s downtown district.

At the market, you will find local baked goods, fruits and vegetables, and there are also live music performances to entertain you while you shop.

11. Idaho Botanical Garden

Located on 50 acres of prime land in Boise, the Idaho Botanical Garden used to be a farm belonging to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.

As a result, the garden is something of a historical gem and is divided into different thematic sections such as an Alpine garden, an English garden, and a cactus garden.

If you want to see the local flora in Boise, this is definitely the place to do it.

12. Boise Art Glass

For something a little different in Boise, head over to Boise Art Glass, which is a glass-producing company that makes its home in the iconic Bogie’s Building downtown.

See also  The 11 Best Small Towns in America

If you come here, you will be able to learn all about the art of glassblowing and watch talented artists as they work on their craft.

There are even take-it-yourself workshops and a range of products for sale in the hotel shop that will make great souvenirs for your trip to Boise.

13. Kathryn Albertson Park

Spread across an impressive 41 acres, Kathryn Albertson Park is known for being one of the parks in Boise that also straddles the river, meaning it has stunning views of the water.

The park is named for Kathryn Albertson, a local resident who donated the park to the city.

In addition to being one of Boise’s most famous gifts, the park is also known for its scenic touches like overlooks, paved trails, ponds, and waterfalls.

There is also a wide variety of wildlife in the park and there are stone inscriptions that will inform visitors of all the flora and fauna on display.

Much of the vegetation here has been chosen with local wildlife in mind, so you can see how this ecosystem works firsthand on a trip here.

14. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center

The Basque Museum & Cultural Center opened in 1985 and is reputed to be the only Basque museum in the United States.

The site of the museum is actually a former Basque boarding house and is also known to be the oldest brick building in the city of Boise.

For anyone who wants to know more about Basque history, this is definitely the place to come, as Boise was known as the place where the first Basque immigrants chose to live, and the museum aims to preserve their cultural and historical legacy.

15. The World Center for Birds of Prey

Conveniently located on West Flying Hawk Lane, the World Center for Birds of Prey first opened in the 1980s with a mission to protect endangered species.

The center is on a scenic hillside offering spectacular views of Boise and you can enjoy a variety of different educational activities here related to birds of prey.

These include live demonstrations as well as shows and you can also take a guided tour to learn more about this unusual center and its mission statement.

Leave a Comment