#1 Visit the MK Nature Center
This is the first place I recommend seeing when visiting Boise. The Idaho Fish and Game MK Nature Center offers a unique wildlife experience on a 4.6-acre site along the Boise River Greenbelt. The StreamWalk and Visitor Center provide a glimpse of Idaho’s many landscapes and abundant wildlife. Underwater viewing windows along the stream walk give visitors a fish-eye view of the world.
- It’s beautiful here in every season.
- Admission is FREE!
- Located in the heart of the city but feels like a remote retreat.
- Centrally located with plenty of free parking
#2 Check out a park
Boise motto is “The City of Trees” but I think it should be changed to “The City of Parks.” The city maintains over 130 parks and public facilities! Yes, Boiseans value open, public spaces. Click here for a list of all of the facilities.
My favorite is Kathryn Albertson Park. It is a 41-acre special use park located near downtown Boise. A haven for wildlife and quiet contemplation, the park features wide, paved footpaths and outdoor gazebos in a beautiful natural setting.
#3 Take a walk or bike The Greenbelt
The Greenbelt is a 25-mile paved path running along-side the Boise River. The tree-lined pathway follows the river through the heart of the city and provides scenic views, wildlife habitat and pedestrian access to many of the city’s popular riverside parks.
- Four season access
- Access points throughout the city
- There are establishments throughout the city to rent bikes. Boise Green Bike has locations throughout the city and near The Greenbelt. Best of all, rentals are made via an app, so you can get a bike anytime you need one.
#4 Idaho Shakespeare Festival
A theatrical experience like no other! In addition to all the magic, drama and passion of professional theater, and a 770-seat, state-of-the-art facility that was built to feature the human voice, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival Amphitheater & Reserve is nestled in a unique habitat that is home to an astonishing variety of plant and animal species. The Festival operates under an agreement with the Idaho Foundation for Parks & Lands and the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation. As you make your way into the theater proper, you’ll enjoy native plants, the songs of water birds and glimpses of deer, heron, ducks, geese and an occasional fox.
- Open June – August
- This theatre is outside…dress for the weather!
- More than Shakespeare offered
- Bring blankets and low-backed lawn chairs with seats no higher than 6 inches from the ground for both reserved and general admission lawn seating. Chairs are also available for rental at the souvenir stand for $2 (subject to availability.)
- You can pack your own picnic and beverages or purchase food and beverage from Café Shakespeare By Lisa Peterson. Chairs are also available for rental at the souvenir stand for $2 (subject to availability.)
- An experience you won’t soon forget!
#5 Boise Trolley Tours
Explore the historical sites of downtown Boise including the Capital, The Basque Block, The Idanha Hotel, The Egyptian Theater, Harrison Blvd, Mansions, Warm Springs Ave. Mansions, Fort Street, The Old Penitentiary and many more! Boise Trolley guided tours offer a unique way to view the city.
#6 Bogus Basin – Nordic and Alpine Skiing and More
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is located 16.5 miles north of Boise, ID and operates with a special use permit on the Boise National Forest under the USDA.
- In the winter Bogus Basin is open for full winter operation. Typically, the ski season runs early December through mid-April. Early and late season hours can change, so please check the Conditions & Webcams page or call 208-342-2100 for daily reports.
- During the non-winter season, Bogus Basin is open for outdoor recreation. The base area is home to several new activities, such as rock climbing, bungee trampoline, summer tubing, and gold panning. Deer Point chair lift operates for mountain biking service, and scenic chair rides.
- Hiking trails, biking trails, and bike skills park are open to the general public for free. Please pack in/pack out garbage and waste.
- Only 20 miles from the Boise Airport!
- Lift tickets, skiing lessons and equipment rentals are reasonably priced.
- Even if you aren’t a skier, the views from the top of the mountain are amazing and well worth the short drive!
#7 Botanical Garden
The Idaho Botanical Garden provides enriching garden experiences through educational programs, botanical collections, a variety of entertainment, cultural and community events. It is also a refreshing and inspiring year-round outdoor destination.
Nestled at the base of the Boise Foothills, the Garden offers a beautiful location to host weddings, celebrate birthdays and hold private events. Each year, the Garden invites the community to a variety of events that highlight the Garden through music, art, and seasonal celebrations. If you’re here during the holiday season, Winter Gardens Aglow is wonderful experience.
#8 Visit the Historic Basque Block
Home of Boise’s Basque Community the Basque Block is one of Idaho’s most compelling examples of conservation and documentation of a living ethnic neighborhood. Located downtown between Capitol Boulevard and 6th Street on Grove, the Basque Block is comprised of two boarding houses - the Cyrus Jacobs-Uberruaga house, and the Anduiza with its unique indoor frontón court (jai alai, now pala arena), the Basque Center, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Bar Gernika, Leka Ona restaurant, and the Basque Market.
#9 Check Out Freak Alley
Freak Alley Gallery, established in 2002, is the largest open air, multi-artist mural gallery in the Northwest. The outdoor mural gallery is free and open to the public all year long. You can walk through day or night to check out the ever-evolving painted murals.
#10 Eat! Drink!
Boise is a great place to visit if you’re a foodie or simply love to eat. The vibrant downtown sports a variety of local and chain restaurants. Here’s a guide to help you find them. The food scene is thriving in the city with so many excellent options. If alcoholic beverages are more your thing, Boise is home to numerous craft breweries, wine bars, and even a distillery.