Okay so let me preface this post by acknowledging how weird it is to post a “travel” type blog post in the midst of a pandemic. I understand that unless you are living around Boise, Idaho you are probably not rushing to get there anytime soon HOWEVER I cannot tell you how many people have asked for Idaho related posts and how dear to my heart it is. SO if you do live in Idaho maybe I give you an idea of something to do and if you don’t maybe this is inspiration for your future non-COVID related travels.
I spend a lot of time in Idaho because my fella’s parents live there. For the longest time while A and I have been long distance it was a mid-station for us (though from South Carolina to Northern California I’m not sure how much “mid” there was). To be honest it was basically it was a place to stay, explore and fall in love with in every season.
There is so much I love about Boise and Idaho in general that I’m going to need to break this shit up so take this as a first post but most definitely not the last centered around this hidden Gem (of a) State.
With incredible hiking, golfing, and floating down the river on a hot summer day to snow tubing in the winter. Throw in it’s amazing restuartants, tons of shopping, and just generally interacting with the super nice Idahumans, my Boise suggestions list is a mile long but let’s just start with these 5 things.
1. Explore the Oregon Trial
While the Oregon Trail computer game (circa 1999 for me) was beyond brutal this walk is actually amazing. It’s a 2.8 mile trail set along the ridge to the east of the Boise Airport and provides amazing views of the foothills. It includes multiple overlooks and is very flat for anyone trying to get a little exercise while also learning about the history of the Oregon Trail and how it fits into Boise history. Visit the Oregon Trail Reserve here.
2. Eat Boozy Ice Cream at The STIL.
Wait you have to card me? For ice cream? Where do I sign up? If you feel me on this let me lead you right to The STIL! With fun flavors like Licking the Spoon which lays heavy on brownie batter to Idaho Wilderness with lavender and berries (Idaho is known for it’s huckleberry flavored things) this place has a little bit of everything and let me just tell you, everything is delicious! We bought the Ed & Carl Take Reno which is a boozy honey bourbon option for the 21+ crew and it was amazing! Rich, creamy and yet not too strong that a non-bourbon lover like myself is still very happy with it. They also have ice cream flights with beer/wine pairings which I did not know when we went so I must return immediately to experience. The STIL has two open locations (one quite conveniently located not too far from the Oregon Trail Reserve mentioned above) and one downtown which both make for an excellent stop on your Boise adventure.
3. Bike The Boise River Greenbelt
The Boise River Greenbelt is 25 miles long and covers SO MUCH OF THE CITY! It starts a little beyond the Oregon Trail Reserve, winding right through downtown and Boise State University’s campus (including the famous blue field) and all the way over to Garden City. This trail includes what’s called the “Ribbon of Jewels” which are parks named for various incredible women and their impact on the community. On a hot summer day you will find so many people wading in the water, floating the river and otherwise just enjoying the casual toe dip. Should you start over by the Oregon Trail Reserve you can take the trail for about 8-10 miles and bike right in front of the Capital building and into the vibrant downtown of Boise.
4. Brewery Hop
Downtown Boise is filled with shops, restaurants and my some of the most beautiful murals by local artists. It’s also a little brewery haven and if you’ve just biked all this way you are probably ready for a cold brew or two. Disclaimer: there will never be a time where I don’t admit to the fact that I am a beer snob so let me be the first to say that Boise, Idaho CAN HANG. It’s actually hard to put this in one little paragraph because I have so many suggestions for breweries so I’m making this just a downtown specific post about 3 breweries. What a problem to have, narrowing it down to just 3 fun breweries within a mile and a half to spend a day at… I’m truly not sorry for us.
Boise Brewing is a community owned brewery which is pretty cool to learn about and how the brewery came to be so check that out on their website. If you go you have to taste their Jillijuice & Broad Street Blonde! Jillijuice is so delicious on draft, I get it pretty much anytime I see it.
Payette Brewing has probably my favorite tap room on this list, the space is big with both outdoor and indoor seating. They have an awesome partnership with local food trucks and of course the beers are amazing. Their Rustler IPA has the perfect amount of citrus that makes it perfect for a hot day!
Cloud 9 Brewery is a bit further than the other two and located in a strip mall but don’t let that fool you, these beers are legit. I love the Double IPA which is so crisp and hoppy but maybe a bit too easy to drink. The Lemon Ginger Wheat is a fun summer drink to enjoy on their patio. Cloud 9 also has an awesome food menu if you need to fuel up after all this brewery hopping.
5. Shop at Mixed Greens
Did you even go to Boise if you didn’t bring back a souvenir?
I found this adorable little boutique on my first visit to Boise about 3 years ago and I go back every. single. time. I’m in town. It’s an awesome blend of local Idaho creatives and constantly rotating inventory that is in my opinion one of the best collections of curated pieces out there. From prints to jewelry, postcards to candles, home goods and lotions this boutique has a little bit of everything. Whenever I travel I look for these kinds of shops and honestly they are rarely as wonderful as Mixed Greens, it’s just the best.
So there you have it, the first 5 things you absolutely must do in Boise, Idaho. If you still aren’t convinced that it must be part of your future travels wait til I post my restaurant and hiking guides.
Have you been to Boise?