Boise is one of the coolest cities in the country. It has a thousand things to do and they change from day to day. If you are visiting it for the first time, you are going to be hard pressed to visit everything you should do into however long your visit is going to be (Even people who spend a lifetime in Boise do not see everything there is to see or do everything there is to do), but there are definitely a few things that you should put at the top of your list. What are those things? I have a few in mind that most people are going to love. What follows are some of the coolest things Boise has to offer. However, you should not waste your time doing things that are boring or do not interest you. As I said, there is too much going on in and around the city to spend what little time you have on stuff you do not consider fun. If one of the things on my list does not excite you, move on to the next thing. Pick what does look exciting and if nothing looks fun, hopefully, this list can give you a place to start looking for things you do find fun.
My first piece of advice would be to spend a little while exploring what the city has to offer when it comes to food and drink. There are hundreds of amazing restaurants and bars in Boise and most of them are going to be excellent for your taste buds. Please, if you spend any amount of time in the city, do not waste a meal on some boring fast food joint that you could find anywhere else in the country. A few of my recommendations would be Gold’s, which serves traditional American food, focusing on health and vegetables and which sources many of its ingredients from the Treasure Valley area (If you are not familiar, the Treasure Valley is just a part of the southwestern region of Idaho in which you can find Boise and several other cities like Boise). If you have strong feelings about not eating vegetables, there is the restaurant known as Bacon. You pretty much know what you are going to get there. If you do need something quick, I recommend the Boise Fry Co. which specializes in delicious french fries. At Boise Fry Co, it is the main course that you have on the side.
The Boise bar scene is surprisingly varied and up to the high standards of some of the best watering holes in the world. If the day is coming to a close and all you want to do is recline in a seat with a nice cold drink in your hand, you are going to have a lot of options to do that in Boise. There are bars like you have seen everywhere, just with the quality of their service and product turned up to eleven, and then there are bars the push the envelope when it comes to atmosphere, trying out new things to liven up the normal bar setting. One of the most famous options in Boise is the Bittercreek Alehouse. You can try out their different beers and have some classic beer food on the side. For an old west feel, you should try Pengilly’s Saloon. It will feel like you have walked into a moment in history and all that is missing is your six-shooter.
Now, as far as things to do in Boise and not just things to eat and drink in Boise, you really have your pick of the litter. If you are visiting the city at the right time, you might be lucky enough to be there while the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is going on. Boise has one of the best Shakespeare festivals in the entire world, putting on some quality and accurate shows, both made up of the famous Shakespearean plays and other plays from a variety of different playwrights and sources. However, the only time you are going to be enjoying these shows is in the summer, and because the venue is primarily outside you will want to have some ways to keep cool in the sun. If you catch a show early in the summer though, it can still be a little chilly once the sun goes down, so just keep an eye on the weather and bring what you need to stay either cool or warm.
You should make sure to take a few hours to go up to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary and the Idaho Botanical Gardens. The jail has long since been shut down, but it is still open for visitors if you want to see what it was like for an Idaho prisoner in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There are cell blocks where you can get an idea of what it was like to live as a prisoner. There are the gallows, which will give you a morbid look at the death penalty of the time (Only slightly more morbid than what we have today, maybe). There are even exhibits for other things going on in the world and how the penitentiary was impacted and what impact it made on the world around it. Some even say that the penitentiary is haunted, but you will have to find that out for yourself. The nice thing is that if you get bored or creeped out, the Idaho Botanical Gardens are just right next door. Go from strolling through rows of prison cells to rows of flowers and other exotic plants. And, if you run out of things to do and see at both of these places very quickly, you can also potentially squeeze in a visit at the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology. Mining and Geology have been very important to the history of Idaho and its current role in the country’s economy. You can get a better idea of what that role is with a quick visit to this museum.