Boise offers a plethora of outdoor amenities, including stunning views of the Great Basin desert to the south, multiple rivers meandering throughout the city and the Rocky Mountains to the east. Additionally, this city includes several tight-knit communities where culture flourishes. Head to the Boise’s Basque Block for a unique meal, the Hyde Park Street Fair for local crafts or Table Rock for a scenic hike.
Check out the locals’ scoop on Boise’s best places to move, shop, dine and hike.
1. What’s the best free attraction in Boise?
I’ve always loved visiting the park outside the Boise Train Depot. Not only do you get to see an old Union Pacific train, but the park gives you a fantastic view of the city; it never fails to amaze me. – Mariella Hunt of Life, Literature, & Coffee
First Thursday offers free wine sampling and art in Downtown Boise and has my vote for best free attraction. It is fun to taste different wines from the surrounding region and check out our local artists at the same time. It is a great way to spend an evening in downtown Boise. – Shari of Pure Grace Farm
The best free attraction would have to be Table Rock. I know hiking isn’t for everyone, but you would be crazy to pass up on a Table Rock hike. It is a fairly easy hike; you’ll see kids, parents, teenagers, grandparents and dogs making the trek on any given day. Once you get to the top you’ll understand why Boise is called the City of Trees. It is absolutely breathtaking. – Deidre of Deidre Emme
2. What neighborhood would you move to if you’re seeking a beautiful view?
Quail Ridge, in the surrounding Boise foothills (or anything in the foothills for that matter!), offers stunning views of the entire Treasure Valley, but is a little pricey. If you’re looking for a view of the foothills, choose a location in South Boise or Meridian on the Bench! – Annelise Rowe of Aunie Sauce
I would have to say anywhere in the North End. It isn’t a view of the city, but it without a doubt the best view from your front porch. There is so much character on the North End because it is full of historic homes. The streets are lined with beautiful tall trees. And, as you drive down the streets, you feel like you just entered a movie. – Deidre of Deidre Emme
3. What are your favorite potato toppings?
Chili, sour cream and cheese. – Emily Benson of The Benson Street
I love my potatoes with classic chili, or else with a Peruvian cream called huancaina sauce; it’s a spicy cheese sauce traditionally served with potatoes and eggs. – Mariella Hunt of Life, Literature, & Coffee
I grew up putting homemade ranch dressing and grated cheese on my baked potatoes. I also love real bacon bits and steamed broccoli on mine with cheese! Mmmmm! – Tonia L. Clark of Whynotmom
4. What’s your favorite venue at the Hyde Park Street Fair?
Any or all of the food! Funnel cakes by far are my favorite! – Jess of Positively Oakes
Spending time in the Hyde Park area is always fun, but add a street fair with live music, great food and a wine garden … perfection. – Shari of Purse Grace Farms
5. Why do you think Boise was ranked #1 as the best city for kids?
Home grown values and respect for others is ingrained in the Boisean culture, making it a safe place and a great environment to raise a family. – Shari of Pure Grace Farms
Boise may have a “big city” feel (a nice variety of events are always going on!), but overall the community is very much small-town minded. We look out for each other. – Linda Greaves of The Dragonfruit Diaries
6. What’s your favorite mural in “Freak Alley”?
I absolutely love the MLK mural made of broken glass. It is stunning! – McKenzie Guymon of Girl Loves Glam
The Jimi Hendrix mural is unique because it is constructed out of small mirrors. The poetry is also striking. – Mariella Hunt of Life, Literature, & Coffee
There are so many good ones up right now, and that happens to be one of my favorite spots to walk to when I’m downtown. Recently, I can’t get over this colorful, monster-themed mural by Dane Goodwin. The pastel shades chosen are playful. Cartoon monsters are so fun! – Linda Greaves of The Dragonfruit Diaries
7. What’s your favorite restaurant on Boise’s Basque Block? What would you order?
I actually love Epi’s which is in downtown Meridian (near Boise). The mushroom soup is the best I’ve EVER had to this day! – Tonia L. Clark of Whynotmom
The Basque Market! Order the paella … it’s divine! They only serve it on Wednesdays and Fridays at noon for lunch or Thursdays for dinner at 6:00 PM. Be sure to be there right on time because they sell out quick! – Annelise Rowe of Aunie Sauce
8. Would you rather visit Bogus Basin Mountain during the summer or winter?
Winter. The snow is just as nice as the snow in Sun Valley, only you aren’t paying the price of a “celebrity” ski hill! – McKenzie Guymon of Girl Loves Glam
Summer — technically FALL, the leaves are falling and it’s gorgeous! Go up there on a fall night with hot cocoa and blankets and it’s so much fun to watch the stars! – Jess of Positively Oakes
9. What’s your favorite item at the Boise Farmer’s Market?
This may be odd, but there’s this lady who sells really cute, handmade soaps. My most recent purchase was a white tea and ginger soap that resembles a cupcake more than a bar of soap! – Linda Greaves of The Dragonfruit Diaries
There is the best booth with handmade wood signs that are full of great quotes and a lot of different designs that have to do with Idaho pride. I love that people can celebrate this great state in their decor. – McKenzie Guymon of Girl Loves Glam
I can’t get enough of the fresh baked croissants at the Boise Farmer’s Market. I head straight for them whenever I am there. The next step is coffee. After that I can take my time and meander as I fill up my basket. There is always something new to see. I am a huge fan. – Shari of Pure Grace Farms
10. What’s your favorite downtown boutique? Why?
Apricot Lane! They have cute style, are priced well and have a lot to choose from for the whole family! – Jess of Positively Oakes
There are a lot of fun shops downtown that you will be drawn to because the name is familiar, but my favorite is Swank Boutique because it is unique to Boise. They’ve got a little of everything to make you feel like you entered a different shop than any other in downtown. Plus they have a Swank a-go-go truck which brings the boutique around town which I think is the most fun feature! – Deidre of Deidre Emme
11. Since it’s nicknamed the City of Trees, what’s your favorite hike in Boise?
Oh wow, there are so many great hiking places here. My favorite by far would have to be Table Rock. But if you go make sure you get there just as the sun is setting for a superb view! But bring flashlights for the hike back down! – Tonia L. Clark of Whynotmom
We like to hike at the Military reserve downtown, because there are cool rock formations such as Elephant Rock. There are some nice creeks there. A few creeks run beside beautiful red, iron-filled rock faces; the striking colors of those rocks are a memorable landmark. It’s also fun to hike Table Rock because of the view of the city. The caves up on top are fun to explore; it’s a challenging hike, but worth it. – Mariella Hunt of Life, Literature, & Coffee
12. What’s the best way to spend an afternoon on the Boise Greenbelt?
Drop your bikes at Joe’s Crab Shack in Garden City. Maybe enjoy a margarita (or two!). Then bike east all the way to Lucky 13 and grab a slice of pie and a cookie. Don’t worry, you’ll burn off all those delicious calories on your bike back! – Annelise Rose of Aunie Sauce
Floating the river is by far the best way to spend your time on the Greenbelt. The water temperatures can get cold for some, so I recommend going on a good hot summer day. Plan on it taking up about 3 to 4 hours of your day and bring snacks and drinks in a waterproof cooler you can put on your raft. The view along the way is worth every minute! – Tonia L. Clark of Whynotmom
13. What’s the best way to show your BSU football pride?
Be sure to go to a game and experience the blue turf in person — dressed in your Boise State gear of course. – Emily Benson of The Benson Street
Deck yourself out in blue and orange, and if you happen to own a horse head mask, rock it with pride! The home games are always very exciting and the amount of team spirit is incredibly infectious. You’ll be swept away by the Bronco fans surrounding you! – Linda Greaves of The Dragonfruit Diaries
14. What’s Boise’s next up and coming neighborhood? Why?
I believe Hidden Springs is the new up and coming neighborhood in Boise. Nestled in the foothills it offers lovely views and is close to a network of walking trails. The new housing, restaurants and schools nearby are sure to attract attention. It is easy to see how it could become the “place to be.” – Shari of Pure Grace Farms
Meridian! The corner of Linder and Chinden is alive and bustling with new commercial buildings and residential homes going in. You can bike to school, the store or a local eatery and it’s very close to the new hoppin’ place in town, The Village at Meridian. – Annelise Rowe of Aunie Sauce
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