I’d heard Boise was a fun, hip city with plenty to offer, but I was skeptical. Well, let me tell you how wrong I was! After a long long weekend trip to Boise, Idaho, it has now become one of my favorite cities. The drive to Boise from Salt Lake City is a smooth, relaxing trip that takes less than five hours. If you are a Utah local, I highly recommend driving over flying, even though there is an airport in Boise.
Boise Travel Guide- Road Trip Notes
I left on Friday morning and took a scenic detour on my way into Boise to stop at Shoshone Falls. In my research prior to the trip, taking an extra hour to go here was highly recommended, and it was definitely worth the extra driving time. Shoshone Falls is a waterfall often referred to as the “Niagara of the West” and offers stunning views. I went during autumn which is when the falls have significantly lower water levels, but I was not disappointed.
On the way into Boise, you can also stop at the Bruneau Sand Dunes. Unfortunately, it was raining as I was driving by them but it’s definitely on my list for next time.
If you are looking for a quick bite on the way in or out of Boise stop at the eclectic diner, Apple Barrel Deli and Bakery. The chicken alfredo panini was the perfect comfort food to get me the rest of the way!
Boise Travel Guide- Where to Stay
The Riverside Hotel: The Riverside Hotel is about five minutes outside of the city center and is a great family-friendly hotel. They offer a great pool, free bikes to take along the river, and a breakfast buffet I can’t stop thinking about. My room had beautiful views of the river and the fall foliage just beyond the patio. A big thank you to the Riverside Hotel team for having me. Between the location, food, and foliage, it was the perfect start to my trip.
Airbnb Yurt: I am a big fan of unique Airbnb experiences so spending my second night in a yurt was right up my adventurous alley. The yurt is about ten minutes away from the city center and five minutes away from the North End, tucked away in a small neighborhood. It had a heater, bed, and two futons and the bathroom was located in a separate area. They also have chickens in the backyard!
Boise Travel Guide- Where to Eat and Drink
The Wylder: If you are looking for a date night spot, I can’t recommend The Wylder enough. The atmosphere is on the casual side, and the dishes are priced reasonably. Be sure to try the crispy brussel sprouts and pick from one of their seasonal cocktails. I had the True Grit cocktail, created with bourbon, chili flake, lemon, and honey and it was the perfect levels of spicy and sweet.
Black Rock Coffee: You know I am always on the lookout for the best coffee and places to get a little work done. Black Rock Coffee offers just that. I don’t think I have met a more inviting staff. It literally seemed like everyone was best friends who walked through the door. If you only order one cup while you are here, I suggest the Caramel Blondie. The Caramel Blondie is a sweet espresso drink, with white chocolate caramel and mocha.
Madre Boutique Taqueria: For a unique spin on your tacos, Madre Taqueria hits the spot especially if you are into (or curious about) fusion tacos. Madre has some interesting options. My two favorites were the Avocado Taco and the Idaho Spud & Chorizo Taco. Including a potato option was a no-brainer. When in Rome … (or Idaho).
Bodovino: This hidden wine-bar gem was recommended to me before heading to Boise. At Bodovino, you can sample over 100 different types of wine with small pours. If you enjoy wine tasting or want to find a new favorite, this is the perfect spot to test a little bit of everything.
Fork Boise: On my last day in town, I decided to finish with a bang with brunch at Fork Boise. While perusing the bloody mary bar, I was sold that this is THE spot for brunch. The menu has all your favorite brunch staples like chicken and waffles and eggs benedict, but the must orders are items I didn’t even think about. Thank goodness we took the manager’s advice when she brought out the House Baked Cinnamon Roll and Asparagus Fries. Let me repeat that. House Baked Cinnamon Roll and Asparagus Fries. If you are prepared to take a long nap after brunch, you must order the Butter Cake. I was completely full but when this cake came out, I made a little extra room.
Boise Ale Trail: You can’t walk through downtown without stumbling on one or ten breweries. I didn’t make it to every one on my list, but if you are looking for a good beer, you will find it in Boise. I recommend downloading the Boise Ale Trail app that will show you all the breweries and you can use it to check in. This app will guide you through twenty breweries and if you make it to at least twelve of the breweries you can pick up a free prize from the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Pressed & Pony: My heart swoons for a swanky speakeasy. Pressed & Pony has a great seasonal menu, but even better is that the bartenders will create a cocktail just for you called Pick Your Poison. The cocktails are a little pricey but totally worth it, especially for the atmosphere. I had a myriad of cocktails but the standouts were the El Hefe, which is a fun spin on an Old Fashioned and a pick your poison cocktail that can best be described as a smoky lemon drop with a champagne float.
Boise Travel Guide- What to Do and See
Check out the North End: I stumbled on The North End on my last morning when I was grabbing a quick cup of coffee. This historic neighborhood has cute shops, restaurants, and is gorgeous to stroll along. The streets are filled with small-town vibes and quaint homes perfect for picture taking.
Take a Stroll Down Harrison Boulevard: You’ll see me living on this street in 15 years. I drove down this road three times and every time I was blown away by the fall foliage and houses. This street also has some fun, spooky Halloween history. You can read more about it here.
Farmers Market: Boise has a year-round farmers market with both traditional and unique vendors. I left with a fun jalapeno wine. I know, I know this sounds like a weird combo of flavors, but just trust me.
Walk Down Freak Alley: This alley is filled with tons of street art and is constantly being updated by local artists. I recommend going on the earlier side and bringing your camera.
I can tell I will be updating this list in the very near future. After this long weekend in Boise, I know I need more time to explore. Thank you to The Riverside Hotel, Madre Boutique Taqueria, Black Rock Boise, The Wylder, and Fork Boise for having me and making Boise one of my new favorite cities. All opinions are my own.
Photos by Camber Weiss.