Residents and tourists alike love floating on the Boise River // © 2016 Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau
Feature image (above): The city of Boise has a great cultural scene. // © 2016 Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau
Boise native Adam Park knows the ins and outs of Idaho’s dynamic and nature-focused capital city. After leaving to pursue a career in film, Park returned to Boise in the early 2000s to serve as the press secretary for David Bieter, the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history.
Now, Park is enjoying life in Boise as a part-time speechwriter, volunteer at a local theater and full-time father to his 5-year-old daughter. Below are his tips to experiencing Boise like a local.
Many people don’t realize:
That “Boise” is pronounced “boy-see,” not “boy-zee.” Nothing will tag you as a tourist faster than including a “zee” in our name.
A tourist activity actually worth the hype is:
Floating on the Boise River. Every summer, thousands of residents and tourists hop on their inner tubes and inflatable rafts to take a leisurely 6-mile float through the heart of the city.
When hunger strikes, the best place to grab some grub is:
Eighth Street. Take a short stroll along this restaurant row (from Main to Bannock streets) and you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the state, including BitterCreek Alehouse, Fork, Red Feather Lounge and Juniper. If you jump around the corner on Bannock, you’ll find my personal favorite, St. Lawrence Gridiron, which has fantastic pulled pork and brisket.
It’s time for a night out. Head to:
Boise Contemporary Theater. Boise has a remarkably active cultural scene for a city its size, and Boise Contemporary Theater is one of the best for quality professional theater. Boise also has its own ballet, philharmonic and opera. Or, visit Old Boise. This historical end of downtown changes from a low-key business district in the day to a thriving mass of revelers after dark. Grab a cocktail at The Reef’s Polynesian-themed roof bar, enjoy an Old West saloon at Pengilly’s Saloon or, for the truly adventurous, drop in on Dirty Little Roddy’s or China Blue nightclub.
The best place to catch some zzz’s is:
The Modern Hotel and Bar. This former Travelodge has been converted into Boise’s trendiest boutique hotel. The design matches its name, and the restaurant serves some of the best and most innovative food in town. If modern decor isn’t your cup of tea, try The Grove Hotel or Hotel 43.
During a first trip to Boise, be sure not to miss:
Bogus Basin Ski Resort. If you’re a skier, Bogus Basin is one of the undiscovered skiing gems of the West. Just an hour’s drive from downtown Boise, Bogus has tubing and premier Nordic and alpine skiing, while the summer offers mountain biking and disc golf.