Boise Field Guide
It’s been nearly three months since I stepped foot on Idaho soil. Having never visited, my wife and I took the leap and moved from Chicago, IL to Boise, ID. While I haven’t found a deep dish pizza that competes with Chicago’s taste, I have fallen in love with this city in the foothills. It is jam packed with accessible adventures, kind people, and micro-breweries. If you’re planning to visit Boise, this guide’s for you.
Whether you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb, staying downtown won’t be a bad option. You’re in the heart of the city, can walk to all of the great restaurants, bars, and the greenbelt. The beauty of staying downtown is that you can wake up on Saturday morning and be immersed in the local farmers market within minutes.
If small historic homes are more of your thing, the North End is where you want to be. Located (you guessed it!) just north of downtown, this neighborhood separates the foothills from downtown. Hyde Park is also located in this neighborhood and boasts great restaurants such as: North End Pizza, Parrilla Grill, and Goody’s Soda Fountain. Within 15 minutes you can walk to downtown or to Camel’s Back Park and see Boise from above.
Located south of the river, this is the neighborhood directly west of Boise State University. Boasting walking access to Boise’s largest park, Ann Morrison Park, this neighborhood is a great option if you want to feel like a local for your days in Boise.
For the adventure lover
Let’s be honest, if Boise has one thing going right it is the Ridge to Rivers network. This network connects hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, dirt biking, you name it trails scattered throughout the Treasure Valley area. If you’re looking for some great single track rent a bike from one of the many bike shops in Boise, such as Joyride Cycles, ride to Camel’s Back Park and take off into the foothills. You can rent bikes, get to the trailhead, and be gone for 3+ hours all without ever getting in your car. That’s the beauty of how accessible the foothills are.
Looking for something a little more low key? Take a hike at Hillside to Hollow Reserve. You won’t believe you are a less than 10 minute drive from downtown once you get on the trail.
During the summer months you can rent or bring tubes and float down the Boise river. There is a shuttle service ($6) that picks up at Ann Morrison Park. You can float 5 miles (around 2 hours) back to Ann Morrison. Additionally, you can head to Quinn’s Pond for SUP or do freshwater surfing on the Boise River.
Visiting during winter? Leave downtown and be on a ski lift in under an hour. Winter trips call for a quick trip to Bogus Basin where you can ski and snowboard for the day. Additionally, many of the popular hiking trails can be used for snowshoeing during the winter months.
For the Life of the Party
While the deep dish pizza may not compete with Chicago, Boise’s beer and cider scene is top notch. With multiple breweries, a Basque district, and a great local restaurant selections you will not go hungry… or thirsty. Boise Brewing has been awarded 4 years in a row for various beers in their selection. 8th Street is home to many great restaurants and drink spots such as: The Mode Lounge, Bittercreek, Eureka!, The Matador, Funky Taco and right around the corner you will find Meriwether Cider Co. For dessert be sure to stop by The Stil for a wine + ice cream flight.
If you are a fan of live music head to The Knitting Factory or Nuerolux for a great show. There are plenty of local bands that are consistently booking venues each weekend.
While this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this city of trees, it should leave you wanting to extend your stay on the next visit to Boise.