Outside of Alaska, Idaho is the state with the largest area of remote and rugged wilderness in the USA — more than 2 million hectares.
This means that even in bustling Boise, the urban setting blends into mountain scenery and a lush, tree-filled location on the Boise River. This city is a perfect retreat for outdoor enthusiasts looking for city amenities, whether there's sun or snow. During the warmer months, Boise's access to nature makes it easy to take advantage of activities like floating down the Boise River or hiking in the foothills. During winter months, winter sports are only a 15-minute drive away in the hills of Bogus Basin. Here's how make the most of your weekend in Boise.
Boise, Idaho's capital and largest city, is known for its microbrewing culture, so get in on the action at Bittercreek Alehouse, located on 8th Street downtown. Grab a seat at the patio and soak in the city vibe. For a more upscale experience, head next door to Red Feather, where the food, like many restaurants in town, has a heavy emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
Taste a slew of local brews on a self-guided tour of 10 of the city's best microbreweries by purchasing a Boise Ale Trail passport. Get the chance to play bartender at the Boise HotSpot, Idaho's only automated beer wall.
Eighth Street, Downtown Boise
For a creative twist on your morning meal, try Wild Root Cafe or pick up some homemade treats at the weekly Boise Farmers Market downtown. The indoor winter market takes place from early November to mid-December, while the outdoors market in the heart of downtown is open April to October. Shop locally made jewelry, crafts and artwork at The Capital City Public Market between mid April to mid-December, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays only.
Cycling is the best way to get around town: Rent a bike from Boise GreenBike and cycle your way through the Boise Green Belt, a 40-kilometer pathway along the Boise River.
While cycling through "The City of Trees," make a stop at Julia Davis Park to visit the Boise Zoo. At the Discovery Center of Idaho, enjoy interactive science exhibits, or peruse local and regional artwork at the Boise Art Museum. If you're around in early September, hang out at the museum's Art in the Park open-air festival. Return your bike at a bike-share stand and reward yourself with a pizza slice and a pint of local craft beer at The Front Door, a Boise classic.
After a long day, take in some live music at Pengilly's Saloon, a longtime local favorite with amusing and vintage décor. For a quieter moment, enjoy a craft cocktail at the Modern Hotel's popular bar, before experiencing an unforgettable prix fixe menu in the cozy space of the lauded State & Lemp.
Boise hosts an annual indie music festival, Treefort, in March, which showcases emerging and well-known independent artists from the region and beyond. But the Treefort fun doesn't stop with live music. Nine other “forts" are part of the festival: The tech culture conference at Hackfort, workshops and talks from emerging directors at Filmfort, farm-to-fork feasting and food-themed lectures from Foodfort and Alefort, the tranquil space at Yogafort and entertainment for little ones at Kidfort. The rest of the year soak in the music scene at the Knitting Factory to catch musical acts from around the region and the country.
Fork in Downtown Boise
Wineries are on the upswing around Boise. Not far from downtown Boise, you'll find Garden City's tasting rooms of Split Rail Winery, Syringa Winery, Cinder Wines, Telaya Wine Co. and Coiled Wines. Try local cider nearby at Meriwether Cider Company with a side of delicious food truck grub.
Or take a walk around the Old Boise Historic District downtown, which has buildings dating back to the gold rush days in the 1860s.
For more ideas on exploring Boise and its surroundings, check out Year-Round Adventures in Southwest Idaho.
Idaho's capitol building in Boise