Ultimate Guide to Boise in 2023: Explore the City’s Best Attractions

Guide to Boise in 2023

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Boise in 2023! If you’re planning a trip to Idaho’s capital in the coming year, you’re in for a treat. Boise has something for everyone, from outdoor adventures and cultural experiences to delicious cuisine and exciting events.

With this guide, you’ll discover the top attractions, neighborhoods, restaurants, and events in Boise, making it easier to plan your itinerary and make the most of your time in the city.

Key Takeaways

  • Boise is a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse population.
  • The downtown area of Boise is home to excellent museums, parks, and restaurants.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts will love the hiking trails, parks, and water sports available in Boise.
  • Boise has a lively cultural scene, including art galleries, theaters, and music festivals.
  • The city’s different neighborhoods offer unique attractions and characteristics.
  • Boise has excellent shopping options, from malls to local boutiques.
  • Foodies will enjoy Boise’s diverse cuisine, popular restaurants, and unique food experiences.
  • Boise has a calendar of annual events and festivals that showcase the city’s lively spirit.
  • There are several day trips and nearby attractions that can be explored from Boise.
  • Practical information on accommodation options, transportation within the city, and the Boise airport is available for visitors planning their trip to Boise.

Getting to Know Boise

Welcome to Boise, the capital city of Idaho and a welcoming community that celebrates diversity. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to explore new corners of the city, Boise never ceases to amaze with its charming neighborhoods, outdoor recreation, vibrant arts and culture scene, and an abundance of local shops and restaurants. The city boasts a rich history dating back to the 19th century, when it was a hub for gold miners and pioneers making their way to the Pacific Northwest. Today, it is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 200,000, known for its friendliness, outdoor lifestyle, and thriving economy.

As you explore Boise, you’ll discover its unique blend of influences from the Pacific Northwest, the Wild West, and contemporary urban culture. The city’s downtown core is a hub of activity, featuring a mix of historic architecture, modern skyscrapers, and public spaces that host year-round events. With a wide array of museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues, Boise’s arts and culture scene is vibrant and diverse. And with access to nearby wilderness areas, parks, and waterways, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, and more.

Exploring Downtown Boise

One of the highlights of visiting Boise is exploring the vibrant downtown area. With its charming historic buildings, bustling streets, and a wide range of attractions, downtown Boise offers something for everyone.

Boise Art Museum

The Boise Art Museum is a must-visit for art lovers. This museum features contemporary art exhibitions and collections of American regional art. Visitors can also participate in hands-on art activities and workshops.

Basque Block

The Basque Block is a unique neighborhood in downtown Boise where visitors can explore Basque culture. This area features several Basque restaurants, shops, and cultural centers, including the Basque Museum and Cultural Center.

Idaho State Capitol Building

The Idaho State Capitol Building is a stunning architectural masterpiece that is open to the public for tours. Visitors can explore the building’s rich history while admiring its neoclassical style.

Freak Alley Gallery

Freak Alley Gallery is a must-visit for street art enthusiasts. This outdoor gallery features colorful murals and graffiti art that showcase Boise’s vibrant artistic community.

Boise River Greenbelt

The Boise River Greenbelt is a beautiful park that runs along the Boise River, offering visitors stunning views of the water and surrounding nature. The park also features several attractions, including the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Idaho Botanical Garden.

Local Restaurants

Downtown Boise is home to a range of restaurants that offer delicious cuisine from around the world. From farm-to-table fare at The Fork to authentic Mexican dishes at the Matador, foodies will delight in exploring the city’s culinary scene.

Outdoor Adventures in Boise

Boise is a paradise for nature lovers, and the city’s outdoor activities offer plenty of opportunities for adventure. Here are some of the top ways to explore the great outdoors in Boise:

Boise River Greenbelt

Spanning 25 miles, the Boise River Greenbelt is a beautiful pathway that winds through the heart of the city. The paved trail is perfect for walking, jogging, and biking, and offers stunning views of the Boise River and the surrounding landscape. Along the way, you’ll find many parks and natural areas to explore, as well as several bridges that offer photo-worthy views of the city.

Boise Foothills

Rising above the city, the Boise Foothills offer a rugged natural landscape that’s perfect for hiking and mountain biking. There are over 190 miles of trails to explore, ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs. Some of the most popular trails include Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch Reserve, and the Table Rock Trail. From the top of Table Rock, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Julianna’s Pond

Julianna’s Pond is a serene oasis located in the heart of Boise’s Julia Davis Park. The pond is stocked with fish, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the surrounding area offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching and birding.

Bogus Basin

If you’re looking for winter sports, head to Bogus Basin, located just a short drive from downtown Boise. This ski resort offers a range of activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tubing. With over 2,600 acres of skiable terrain, you’re sure to find something to suit your skill level.

No matter what your preferred outdoor activity is, you’re sure to find something to love in Boise’s picturesque landscapes. Plan your adventure today!

Boise’s Cultural Scene

Boise’s thriving arts and culture scene is a testament to its vibrant local community. From galleries to theaters, music festivals to cultural events, there’s always something to see and experience.

Art Galleries

Explore the artistic side of Boise by visiting some of its top galleries. The Boise Art Museum showcases contemporary art, while the Flying M Coffeegarage is a great spot for emerging artists. The Penrod/Hiawatha Gallery is located in a century-old home, offering a unique experience.


Experience the thrill of live performances at Boise’s renowned theaters. The Morrison Center hosts Broadway shows and performances by the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra. The Knock ‘Em Dead Comedy troupe regularly performs at the Playhouse Boise.

Music Festivals

Boise has something for every music lover. The Treefort Music Fest is a popular event that showcases a variety of artists across multiple genres, while the Boise Blues Festival is a celebration of the blues. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival also incorporates live music into their performances.

“Boise’s arts and culture scene is not to be missed!” – John, a frequent visitor to the city.

With so much to see and do, Boise’s cultural scene is truly one of a kind.

Exploring Boise’s Neighborhoods

Boise is a city with a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and appeal. Whether you’re looking for a bustling city atmosphere or a laid-back suburban feel, Boise has something to offer. Here are some of the top neighborhoods to explore:

North End Boise

The North End is one of Boise’s most historic and picturesque neighborhoods, known for its tree-lined streets and charming old houses. It’s a popular spot for walking and biking, and you’ll find plenty of local shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore. Don’t miss out on Camel’s Back Park, with its stunning views of the city and a popular hiking trail.

The Bench

Located south of downtown, the Bench is a neighborhood with a suburban feel, known for its mid-century homes and friendly atmosphere. It’s a great spot for families, with several parks and schools in the area. Check out the Hillcrest Country Club for a round of golf and some beautiful views of the Boise foothills.

East End Boise

The East End is a diverse neighborhood with a lively arts scene and plenty of local businesses and restaurants. It’s home to the popular Hyde Park area, with its outdoor cafes and eclectic boutiques. You’ll also find several museums and galleries in the area, including the Boise Art Museum and the Museum of Mining and Geology.

Boise Suburbs

Boise has several suburbs just outside the city limits, each with its own unique character and attractions. Meridian is known for its family-friendly parks and recreation options, while Eagle is a popular spot for golfing and outdoor activities. Kuna is a small town with a charming downtown area and several local festivals throughout the year.

Exploring Boise’s neighborhoods is a great way to experience the city’s local flavor and unique charm. Each area offers something different, from historic architecture to friendly locals and stunning natural surroundings. Be sure to check out these neighborhoods and find your own favorite spot in Boise.

Shopping in Boise

Shopaholics, rejoice! Boise has a wide range of shopping options to satisfy all your retail needs. Whether you’re looking for high-end luxury boutiques or locally-made artisanal goods, Boise has it all.

One of the most popular shopping destinations in the city is the Boise Towne Square Mall. This sprawling mall features over 150 stores, including major brands such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Nordstrom. You can spend hours browsing the latest trends in fashion, electronics, and home goods.

If you’re seeking a more unique shopping experience, be sure to check out the locally-owned boutiques that dot the city. Boise’s North End neighborhood is home to many charming shops, offering one-of-a-kind gifts, clothing, and accessories.

Shopping Destinations in Boise: Address:
Boise Towne Square Mall 350 North Milwaukee Street
BODO Boise Downtown
Hyde Park 13th Street

Another popular spot for shopping in Boise is the BoDo district. This chic, pedestrian-friendly area offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Hyde Park is also a great destination for shopping and dining, with charming storefronts that cater to a variety of tastes.

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, be sure to visit the Capital City Public Market. This bustling marketplace takes place every Saturday in downtown Boise and features over 100 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and handmade crafts to artisanal foods and live entertainment.

With so many options to choose from, shopping in Boise is a delightful experience for visitors and locals alike.

Dining in Boise

When it comes to dining in Boise, visitors will be spoiled for choice. With a diverse range of cuisine and a thriving food scene, the city offers something for everyone.

Those looking for a unique culinary experience should check out Boise’s farm-to-table restaurants, which emphasize locally-sourced ingredients and sustainable practices. Some popular options include Juniper, The Wylder, and Fork.

For those craving international flavors, Boise has a variety of ethnic restaurants to choose from. Try Bodovino for Italian tapas and wine, or Kibrom’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine for authentic East African dishes.

Of course, no visit to Boise would be complete without trying some of the city’s signature foods. Don’t miss out on a Boise Fry Company burger, a Basque-style meal at The Basque Market, or a slice of huckleberry pie at Flying Pie Pizzaria.

With so many options to choose from, visitors to Boise are sure to have a delicious dining experience.

Boise’s Annual Events and Festivals

Boise is a city that loves to celebrate, and there are plenty of annual events and festivals that take place throughout the year. From music festivals to art exhibits, there’s always something exciting happening in Boise. Here are some of the top annual events and festivals to add to your calendar:

Treefort Music Fest

Treefort Music Fest is an annual five-day music and arts festival that takes place in downtown Boise. With over 400 bands and artists performing across various venues, this festival showcases a diverse range of music genres, along with film screenings, food trucks, and other fun activities.

Boise Farmers Market

The Boise Farmers Market is a weekly event that takes place on Saturdays from April to October. This open-air market features locally sourced produce, meats, cheeses, and other artisanal products. Visitors can also enjoy live music and food trucks while browsing the market.

Boise Art Museum Art in the Park

Art in the Park is an annual event hosted by the Boise Art Museum that takes place in Julia Davis Park. This three-day event features over 250 artists showcasing their work, along with live music, food vendors, and children’s activities.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is a summer theater festival held in an outdoor amphitheater located near the Boise River. This festival features a range of classic and contemporary plays, along with pre-show picnics and other events.

Boise Pridefest

Boise Pridefest is an annual event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in Boise. The festival features a variety of events, including a parade, live music, and food vendors. It’s a great way to show support and solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community.

Boise Open Studios

Boise Open Studios is an annual event that showcases the work of local artists and artisans. It takes place over the course of two weekends, and visitors can go on a self-guided tour of the artist’s studios to see their work and learn about their process.

These are just a few of the many annual events and festivals that take place in Boise. Be sure to check the calendar of events when planning your trip to see what exciting celebrations you can be a part of.

Day Trips from Boise

While there’s plenty to explore within Boise’s vibrant city limits, there are also many nearby attractions that make for perfect day trips or weekend getaways. Here are some of the most popular options:

Destination Distance from Boise Highlights
Idaho City 30 miles A historic gold rush town with museums, hot springs, and outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.
Stanley 120 miles A picturesque small town with access to hiking in the Sawtooth Mountains and water activities on the Salmon River.
Sun Valley 150 miles A popular ski resort area with hiking, biking, and fishing in the summer.
Craters of the Moon National Monument 110 miles A unique geological area with lava fields, caves, and scenic views.

Other nearby attractions include the wine country in the Snake River Valley, the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and the Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park.

Whether you’re looking to explore history, nature, or adventure, there’s something for everyone within a short drive of Boise.

Accommodation and Transportation in Boise

When planning your trip to Boise, it’s important to consider your accommodation and transportation options to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit. Whether you’re looking for a convenient location in the heart of downtown or a peaceful retreat on the outskirts of the city, Boise has a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference.

For those who prefer the comfort and convenience of a hotel, there are plenty of options available in Boise, from well-known chains to boutique hotels. The Boise Marriott Downtown and the Grove Hotel Boise are both popular choices, located just steps away from some of the city’s top attractions.

If you’re looking for a more unique and personalized experience, consider booking a stay at one of Boise’s many bed and breakfasts or vacation rentals. The Historic Idaho Inn and the Riverside Hotel are both highly rated by travelers.

As for transportation, Boise’s public transportation system includes a network of buses that operate throughout the city, and the Boise GreenBike program offers bike rentals for those who prefer to explore on two wheels.

For those arriving by plane, the Boise Airport is conveniently located just a few miles from downtown and offers a range of transportation options, including taxis, rental cars, and shuttle services.

Getting Around Boise

Boise is a relatively compact city, making it easy to get around on foot, bike, or public transportation. The city’s downtown area is particularly pedestrian-friendly, with many shops, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance of each other.

If you’re planning to explore the city’s many outdoor attractions, including the Boise River Greenbelt and the nearby foothills, renting a car may be your best bet. Many car rental companies have locations at the Boise Airport, making it easy to pick up your vehicle upon arrival.

Overall, Boise is a welcoming and easy-to-navigate city, with a variety of accommodation and transportation options to suit every visitor’s needs. Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, you’re sure to find plenty to see and do in this vibrant and charming city.


Boise in 2023 offers a plethora of attractions and experiences that make it a must-visit destination for any traveler. From its rich history and vibrant culture to its outdoor adventures and lively festivals, Boise has something for everyone.

Exploring downtown Boise is a unique experience that allows you to delve into the heart of the city and discover its many hidden gems. The neighborhood of North End Boise is a particular highlight, with its charming tree-lined streets and historic architecture.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, Boise’s many parks and hiking trails will not disappoint. The city’s proximity to natural wonders like the Boise River and the Boise Foothills make it a perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts.

Boise’s cultural scene is also worth exploring, with its numerous art galleries, theaters, and music festivals showcasing the city’s artistic side. And for foodies, the city’s diverse cuisine and unique dining experiences will leave you wanting more.

Overall, Boise in 2023 is a vibrant and welcoming city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and adventure. With top-notch accommodation options and convenient transportation, visiting Boise has never been easier.


Q: What are the top attractions to visit in Boise?

A: Some of the best attractions in Boise include the Boise River Greenbelt, the Idaho State Capitol, the Boise Art Museum, and the Old Idaho Penitentiary.

Q: What is the history of Boise?

A: Boise has a rich history dating back to the 1800s, when it was founded as a military outpost. It has since grown into the capital city of Idaho and a thriving cultural and economic hub.

Q: What can I do in downtown Boise?

A: Downtown Boise offers a vibrant mix of attractions, including the Basque Block, the Idaho State Museum, and a wide range of acclaimed restaurants and shops.

Q: Are there outdoor activities in Boise?

A: Absolutely! Boise is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, and other outdoor adventures. There are also numerous parks and green spaces to explore.

Q: What is the cultural scene like in Boise?

A: Boise has a thriving cultural scene, with art galleries, theaters, music festivals, and other cultural events happening throughout the year. It’s a city that truly embraces the arts.

Q: What are some notable neighborhoods in Boise?

A: The North End neighborhood is known for its charming historic homes, while the Boise Bench offers stunning views of the city. There are also several suburbs that are worth exploring for their unique attractions.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Boise?

A: Boise has a diverse shopping scene, with options ranging from malls to local boutiques. The Boise Towne Square Mall and the Boise Farmers Market are popular destinations for shoppers.

Q: What is the dining scene like in Boise?

A: Boise’s culinary scene is diverse and thriving, with a wide range of restaurants serving everything from international cuisine to local favorites. You won’t be disappointed by the food options in Boise.

Q: Are there any annual events or festivals in Boise?

A: Yes, Boise hosts a variety of annual events and festivals, including the Treefort Music Fest, the Boise River Festival, and the Boise Art in the Park. These celebrations offer a taste of the city’s vibrant culture.

Q: What are some recommended day trips from Boise?

A: If you have the time, consider taking a day trip from Boise to explore nearby attractions such as the Shoshone Falls, the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, or the Snake River Valley wine region.

Q: What are the accommodation and transportation options in Boise?

A: Boise offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Transportation within the city is convenient, with public buses and rideshare services available. The Boise Airport serves as the main gateway for visitors flying in.