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Enjoy Home This Fall


Article by Shea Andersen

Photography by Charles Knowles + Provided

A hometown adventure is all about family fun, getting outside and exploring the hidden gems around town. With Boise Convention & Visitor Bureau's new Room to Roam promotions and discounts, October and November is the perfect time for a fall staycation or weekend getaway.

Outdoor Adventure

Boise makes it easy to play outside. The Ridge to Rivers trail network offers 130 miles of hiking and biking trails throughout the Boise Foothills just above town. Most trails start just minutes from downtown. When the weather is good (and even when it’s not), Boise’s resident mountain bikers, trail runners and dog walkers converge in “the Foothills.”

Yes, a river does run through it: the Boise River is a much-loved focal point for the city. Whether taking an inner tube down the river in summer, fly-fishing in the shadow of Boise State University or cruising the 25-mile paved Greenbelt path, Boiseans make good use of their river. For residents or visitors who just want to borrow a bike to get around for a bit, Boise Green Bike offers rentable bikes in kiosks throughout the city.

In the 2016-2017 ski season, Boise celebrated the 75th anniversary of Bogus Basin Ski Resort, the community-owned nonprofit ski area less than 20 miles from downtown Boise. With seven chairlifts offering 2,600 acres of skiable terrain by day—and 165 acres of night skiing—Bogus is a treasured community resource. In 2016, Boise celebrated two additions to its outdoor recreation mix. First, skateboarders welcomed the completed renovation of the 1.28-acre Rhodes Skate Park downtown. The million-dollar makeover was done by a world-class park design company, and drew attention—and investment—of Element Skateboards.

Boaters—and surfers—of all stripes applauded the opening of the Esther Simplot River Park, a massive development of ponds and other water features, including upgrades to the Boise River Whitewater Park.

Artistic Experiences

Boise’s cultural options have bloomed as the city grows. The city has a proud performing arts tradition, including a philharmonic orchestra, contemporary and classic theater companies, and modern dance troupes like LED. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, a beloved summer highlight of national renown, is a must for residents and visitors. And Boiseans watch carefully for new shows at The Morrison Center.

For lovers of visual arts, Boise is home to several art galleries promoting an impressive array of artwork by locally and nationally acclaimed artists. But some of the city’s more eye-catching art is on the streets: public art is easily visible throughout the city. Visitors can walk right by Freak Alley Gallery, the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest.

And there’s more. The Boise City Arts Commission can guide visitors to the city's many cultural locations and public art sites, which include sculpture, photography, tile work, tapestries, murals, stained glass and paintings.

Food and Drink

Boise’s hard-working culinary scene is drawing national attention as it flourishes. The city is abuzz with new and growing craft breweries, farm-to-table restaurants and a statewide wine industry that is pouring into Boise.

Dining options range from brewpubs and ethnic eateries to trendy bistros and a wide variety of patio dining experiences. Experience the flavors of the Northwest with wild game and fish, or enjoy a great steak and potato in a leisure setting. Ethnic restaurants are plentiful and range from Mediterranean to Ethiopian. And, with the Basque culture so prominent in Boise, don’t miss the opportunity to try delicious Basque food and wine.

Wine is Idaho’s fastest-growing agricultural industry. There are nearly 30 wineries and vineyards within a short drive of Boise—10 of which are in the Urban Wine District. These wineries produce award-winning Tempranillos, Syrahs, Malbecs, Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Rieslings and Pinot Gris. The Idaho Wine Commission has information about wineries and can tell the full story about the growth in the state’s wine industry. If you don’t have time for a vineyard tour, Boise has a range of urban tasting rooms just moments from downtown Boise hotels. Or stop in at Bodovino, the largest collection of wine taps around.

Alongside the booming wine scene is beer. Boise is home to a variety of handcrafted beers. At current count Boise has more than 15 breweries in town and many more in the surrounding metropolitan area. These range in scale from the Payette Brewing brewery and tasting room, recently relocated along the Boise River, to small-but-growing craft breweries all over town.

Basque Culture

It takes a moment to appreciate the fact that Boise and Idaho ares home to the most concentrated Basque population anywhere outside of the Basque country. Find out more at the only Basque Museum and Cultural Center in North America, and one of only two in the world. The facility, located on Boise’s “Basque Block” in the heart of downtown, was established in 1985 as a small museum in the historic Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga boarding house. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center has become one of Idaho's finest cultural institutions, interpreting the unique Basque heritage for the public through a variety of educational programs, lectures and presentations, exhibits and classes in the Basque language, dance and music.

Boise’s proud Basque descendants keep their culture vibrant with an every-five-year international festival known as Jaialdi. The most recent was July 2019, filling Boise to capacity with revelers from around the world. This event features a downtown street fair; orchestral, dancing and choir performances; sport and strength competitions; and traditional Basque foods. Performers and athletes from the Basque Country and across the United States and from around the world come to Boise to take part in Jaialdi.

For additional information about Boise, visit or call 800.635.5240. For additional images, visit Knowles Gallery.

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