Road Trip Series: Boise, Idaho
Stop number 5 of our road trip series is Boise, Idaho. Known as the City of Trees, there’s no shortage of greenspaces and parks. In recent decades, Boise has become a popular vacation destination due to its natural beauty, which lends itself to plenty of outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking.
As Boise has grown, its food and arts + culture scenes have thrived. (Hint, see our art gallery recommendation below.) Downtown Boise provides a lot of fun for all ages and families.
Thinking about visiting Boise? We’ve put together a quick list of places to stay, eat, and adventure. Before you hit the road for Boise or anywhere else for that matter, check out our article on tips for an epic road trip.
Where to Stay:
Riverside Hotel: The Riverside is a no-frills type of place. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have a good time there — especially in later spring and the summer. The Sand Bar is a really awesome pool and outdoor bar. The Riverside is located along the Boise River Greenbelt, and you can walk or bike downtown in mere minutes.
Inn at 500 Capitol: Feeling like something swanky after being on the road? Inn at 5000 Capitol is arguably the fanciest hotel in Boise. It offers beautiful views, a prime location (downtown), and a fabulous restaurant, Richard’s, on-site.
Idaho Potato Hotel: What else is there to say? The name speaks for itself. Located about 25 miles from downtown Boise, you have to see the Idaho Potato Hotel to believe it. Trust us, it’s worth going a little off the beaten path. After all, Idaho is known for potatoes and this hotel celebrates that proudly.
Where to Eat:
Lost Grove Brewing: With fun names for their beers such as Teeny Tiny Cowboy Everyday Beer and Teddy Bear Picnic Golden Session Ale, you know Lost Grove doesn’t take itself too seriously — except when it comes to delivering delicious brews. Relax and sip a pint on their large patio that features an outdoor bar, ensuring you don’t have to go too far for a drink. Foodwise, Pizza is the focus at Lost Grove as it offers some pretty unique pies.
St. Lawrence Gridiron: A mouthwatering menu built around a variety of smoked meats? It doesn’t get much better than that. Remember this area is considered cow country, so you might as well try the beef here. St. Lawrence Gridiron is a great spot for both brunch and dinner. Pro tip: Reservations are a good idea.
Bar Gernika: If you’ve never had Basque food, you’re in for a treat. Bar Gernika serves up truly authentic Basque dishes in a super cool bar setting. Sensing a trend here? Boise is known for its kitschy bar scene. Depending on the weather during your stay, we recommend sitting on Bar Gernika’s beautiful patio on the Basque Block in downtown Boise.
Westside Drive-In: Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this throwback restaurant specializes in burgers and sandwiches, as well as featuring random but delicious items such as beef stroganoff. If you are in the mood for dessert afterward, try Westside Drive-In’s Idaho baked potato ice cream treat.
Where to Adventure:
Bogus Basin: This non-profit mountain is a haven for adventure seekers year-round in Boise. From skiing to mountain biking, there is something for everyone no matter their age. Bogus Basin is a great place for novice skiers. We recommend snowshoeing here if you can. You won’t regret it.
Old Idaho Penitentiary: Built in 1870, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of four territorial prisons currently open to the public. During its 101 years of operation, there were numerous escapes and scandals. You can learn about some of those with a guided tour on your visit. Beware though, we’ve heard this former prison is creepy!
Freak Alley Gallery: Get ready to experience art like never before. The Freak Alley Gallery is Northwest’s largest open-air, multi-artist mural gallery — and is comprised of colorful and vibrant murals and graffiti-inspired artwork. Spanning several streets in downtown Boise, it’s worth checking out as you head out for coffee or a drink.
Hulls Gulch Reserve: Located north of downtown Boise at the base of the foothills, this 292-acre reserve features two trailheads. For those who prefer a different pace, Hulls Gulch has several easy walking trails.
Boise sounds like a pretty epic road trip waiting to happen. What are you waiting for? Let’s hit the road!