Boise is known as the City of Trees—nature and urban lifestyle meld seamlessly in this Northwestern town. Geothermal energy powers much of the city, businesses share buildings, commuting is often done by bike and local-trendy restaurants thrive. An artsy vibe emanates from this Idaho nook, making it a cool eco-conscious escape.
Vehicle traffic is typically light, and Boise Green Bike rental stations are sprinkled all over the city. A unique road—the Boise River Greenbelt—stretches through the center of downtown; cars are not allowed on this path. Many essential business and points of interest are on the Greenbelt, so it’s easy to do without a vehicle. Even mail carriers travel by foot.
An overwhelming amount of fresh, local, organic and vegan food choices are situated throughout the area. Everyone seems to be connected; businesses feature each other’s products, which creates a unique system of local support.
Paddles Up Poke - Asian inspired bowls of rice, seaweed, fresh veggies and sashimi. Vegetarian Options
Boise Fry Company - Local and organic potatoes are used to make heavenly french fry selections that pair with different spices sauces, like blueberry ketchup. The vegan burger is perfect, and the gluten free bun is soft and airy. Vegan Options
Wild Root Cafe - Seasonally shifting, vegan driven, modern veggie dishes are served in a vibrant atmosphere. Chicken can be added instead of tofu, or the delicious grilled tempeh.Vegan Options
The Stil - Boise ingredients are handcrafted into out-of-the-box ice cream treats like local wine and beer floats! They have great coconut milk based ice creams (go for the cookie dough...it’s gluten free, too).Vegan Options
Guru Donuts - Local ingredients comprise Guru Donut’s fluffy dough. Vegan donuts, like the Blood Orange Basil and raspberry filled Jelly Lama, are made with flax seed, coconut milk and demerara sugar.
Boise goes to great lengths to preserve structures and history; the Egyptian Theatre is a great depiction of this, and still hosts shows to this day.
Basque Block is a deeply respected culture which migrated to Boise from the borders of Spain and France. The museum on the block details the significant role Basque culture played in history, while explaining unique practices and language. You can’t miss tasting Pintox—a basque version of Tapas—at the Basque Market.
While the Old Idaho State Penitentiary dives partially into a more grim historical perspective, it’s been a crucial piece of the state. The preservation of the structures, and documentation of past events, makes for an interesting walk through the old cell blocks and prison buildings.
Boise has no shortage of craft brews, ciders, wine and cocktails. Pure ingredients are a consistent key to each establishment.
Longdrop Cider - Purposes scraps from a regional sliced apple facility to make their crisp ciders that are flavored with local tea. By using extra apple pieces, they’ve helped reduce 60% of the apple company’s waste.
Telaya Winery - Sets along the Boise Greenbelt, driving in bike and foot traffic. Wines here have a unique, smooth taste—Idaho grapes, as well as a delicate barrel aging and toasting processes contribute to the sensational flavor. Local food and snacks are often featured at Talaya, and employees help select a variation of charities to support on a regular basis.
The Stil - Keeps with the unity theme of Boise through incorporating local wine and beer into crazy awesome desserts; for example, Telaya wine floats with Lavender Berries ice cream!
The Modern Hotel and Bar was once a Travelodge, and has been repurposed by a Basque descendant into a cool retreat with an artistic vibe and deep roots into the community. Their chef was prestigiously nominated for a James Beard Award—so it goes without saying the food is awesome.
The Inn At 500 sets on the other side of the spectrum in the luxury niche, but also ties in elements of the Basque community through themed rooms and mural tributes. Eco-friendly features, like lights that shut off when guest leave with their key card, reduce the environmental impact. Richards, the on-site restaurant, offers a seasonally changing, local menu; the chef has been a Boise staple for years.
Deep Nature and Wildlife Ties
Boise’s intermingling with wildlife and rugged landscape makes it a one-of-a-kind place; rarely does bustling downtown allow for a pristine river to run through its center.
The Idaho Fish and Game’s MK Nature Center is a habitat for fish, birds and other animals. A stream walk winds behind the center, through trees and over water. At one point, the path dips down and windows set along the river bed. Visitors can clearly observe life below the water.
Camel's Back Park overlooks the city—a short, steep path, and stairs that look of ancient stone lead to the picturesque top. Alternate trails weave through the area as well.
Boise is encircled with protected national forests and beautiful mountains. One side of the range has a desert feel, while a short drive will take you to the rocky, tree covered portion. It’s a gorgeous place for those who enjoy the creature comforts of the city, and the serene purity of nature.