What to do in Boise, ID?
November 6, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

If I only go to Boise, ID once in my life what MUST I do there to get the Boise experience?

I am going on a business trip to Boise, ID from 11/10-11/13 (my office sends me to the nicest of places...). Google shows me a penitentiary for sightseeing and a golf course, neither of which really interest me.

My interests run to sightseeing, theater, or general tourist-y stuffs.

I'm not really a fan of museums unless they're really special. Same for zoos, etc.

I'm very into photography, especially nature photography if there's anything really scenic. I'm also a foodie if there's some great place to eat while I'm there.
posted by arniec to Travel & Transportation around Boise, ID (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The area around Boise is surprisingly beautiful.
posted by micawber at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2008

I've lived in Boise for 3 years. There isn't a great deal of historic stuff to see, but from your brief profile here, let me suggest a few things:

The Boise Contemporary Theatre is pretty great, but it looks like you won't be there during an active show.

Bogus Basin is a nonprofit ski resort. It won't be open for skiing but you can go hike around, beautiful drive on the way up, especially if there's been a dusting of snow.

The Foothills are pretty near to the heart of your average Boisean. Some pics here.

There are several very good places for food. Casanova Pizza , Front Door Pizza
(this place has the best selection of beer in Boise). Some other good ones: Mai Thai (somewhat Americanized Thai, but good food/atmosphere) , Andrade's (probably the best Mexican in town), Highland Hollow.

Unfortunately, you're coming to Boise in somewhat of an offseason. In the summer there is a lot to do, and in the winter there is a lot to do. But the fall is pretty much just good for the scenery. If you're up for a neat little drive, head up to Idaho City.
posted by nameless.k at 1:09 PM on November 6, 2008

I asked my sister, because I felt bad you weren't getting many answers. She used to live there.
She says:
Take a walk along the Boise river and/or the greenbelt - they're beautiful
Try the museum
Go for a Birds of Prey Driving Tour. More info in this link.
Eat at the Bittercreek Alehouse

I hope this helps!
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 1:09 PM on November 6, 2008

Boise is a nice place to visit, largely because it's so damn mellow. It's a great place to walk - downtown Boise has some neat old buildings to look at, and both the north and east ends are the kinds of old-fashioned neighborhoods that you didn't think still exist if you live in a big city.

Take your camera and get some pictures. If you're going now you may get to see some pretty fall colors - I'd drive down Harrison Blvd and Warm Springs Blvd for that. There are also some nice old historic houses, if you're into that sort of thing. You can also take a nice stroll down The Greenbelt alongside the Boise River.

I also recommend hiking or something like that - there's a whole lot of space for hiking in the area and it's really pretty there. Unfortunately I'm not a hiker so I can't recommend specific places to go. Worst case scenario, you could pop into one of the sporting goods stores downtown and ask them where to go - or heck, just stop some sporty looking person on the street. You'll find most people to be very helpful.

Goldy's downtown is a good restaurant - their smoked salmon hash is my all-time favorite breakfast, and I have it every time I'm in town (although the portion size seems to get smaller everytime...) Flying M Cafe, also downtown, is where to find the arty side of Boise, and their coffee is pretty good. I haven't visited in almost two years, so there may be more stuff these days, but things don't move real fast there.
posted by smartyboots at 1:13 PM on November 6, 2008

I love Boise.

The two funnest things won't be available though: skiing at Bogus Basin and tubing through the center of town on the Boise River. You may be able to mountain bike at Camel Back.

Walk around Hyde Park or the Greenbelt. There are a few great restaurants downtown, you won't miss them. I think Saffron, Bardonay (?sp), Bittercreek Alehouse were my favorites. People are super friendly.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:37 PM on November 6, 2008

Go to Goldy's for breakfast. Unlike smartyboots, I would recommend the Eggs Benedict. Whatever you get, it'll be good. Also nthing Bittercreek Alehouse.

I too was uninterested in the penitentiary when I was first told about going there, but it ended up being a really nifty place to visit. I liked looking around the Idaho Statehouse - it's a habit of mine whenever I'm in a state capital, so YMMV - but it may be closed to public access while work is being done on it.

Bring a warm coat.
posted by Picklegnome at 2:00 PM on November 6, 2008

Silver City is an authentic ghost town. It is a ways out of town but if you have the time....

Here's the google map.
posted by trinity8-director at 2:28 PM on November 6, 2008

If you go to Silver City you can stay at the Idaho Hotel, which dates from the town's heyday in the late 1800s. It looks like it's been fixed up a bit since we stayed there in 1994, but it's probably still quite, um, historic.

It's a ridiculously large and ornate hotel for the middle of nowhere and in 1994 served as the town's only watering hole and eatery (Silver City isn't a total ghost town - people have summer cabins there, although it's probably pretty dead in November). As such, it was a good place to hang out and listen to the locals shoot the breeze. They in turn seemed to enjoy acting the part of yarn-spinnin' cowboys tellin' tall tales for the tourists.

Some of the historic buildings were interesting, like the pharmacy and dentist's office, so the town is worth an overnight stay if you have the time. Definitely call the hotel ahead of time, as their regular season ends in October but they're open occasionally after that.
posted by Quietgal at 3:36 PM on November 6, 2008

I enjoyed the penitentiary, and the statehouse is very nice as well.

Watching a football game on the blue turf is awesome (and something I'm pretty sure you can't do anywhere else) - but I just looked it up and you'll be there two days too late for the Utah State game. It's unfortunate, because this is a big year for them. Maybe you could at least go look at the field.
posted by Nabubrush at 4:14 PM on November 6, 2008

Eat an ice cream potato?
posted by srah at 5:22 PM on November 6, 2008

Oh yeah - you should totally have an Idaho Spud Bar!
posted by smartyboots at 4:01 PM on November 7, 2008

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