While we were planning our six week road trip around the U.S. we knew we needed to make a stop to recover from several nights of camping at Grand Tetons and Yellowstone before driving on to Bend, Oregon and Crater Lake National Park.
Boise was the perfect distance. But we’d never been to Boise or knew much about it at all. We definitely weren’t expecting to absolutely love it.
After five weeks on the road, my husband asked me where I would like if I could live any of the places we’d been so far. St. Paul, MN was gorgeous, but I know I couldn’t survive the winters there. “Honestly…..I think Boise is the only place we’ve visited that I can really see myself living.” To my surprise, he agreed. Boise is cool, y’all.
Why did we love it?
1. It’s gorgeous.
Plenty of trees and right next to the mountains. It’s got history and culture, but it’s easy to drive in and still feels small enough to not be overwhelming.
While I love to travel and visit big cities, I am not a big city girl. But I’m not a small town girl either. I guess I’m a small city girl.
2. It has beautiful parks.
The kids had a great time playing at Camelback Park and climbing trees next to the play ground.
Nice city parks are a must for me and this one was just perfect with hiking trails nearby.
3. There’s plenty of great restaurants.
We were in town for less than 48 hours but we were given wonderful suggestions for restaurants. We ended up at Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro and it was splendid.
Located downtown with breakfast food to die for. They make potatoes a myriad of ways and I chose wisely with the sweet potato hash browns with salmon. I also devoured some of the blueberry pancakes. SO good. Goldy’s is a tiny little place and very busy. If you have a large party, expect to wait for a table because everyone wants to eat there.
They also had wonderfully quirky decor that reminded me of snitches from Harry Potter and something I’d see in Austin, TX.
We also went to the Westside Drive In, one of Boise’s original drive-ins to get burgers (with gluten-free buns for the kids! Hallelujah!) and truly amazing shakes.
Daniel was so disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to eat at some of the Basque restaurants! There are a few downtown because there is a large Basque community in Boise. The scent of the paella was alluring. Next time!
We also barely missed a big Basque festival.
4. The downtown is historic and lovely.
Speaking of downtown, Boise’s downtown is wonderful. Gorgeous buildings, easily walkable.
We wandered around and explored. The capitol building is heated by geothermal heat! So cool!
5. The Egyptian Theatre is to die for.
We happened upon a wonderful historic theatre built in the early 20th century in Egyptian style. The word on the street is that Jimmy Stewart used to play piano there for silent films so I felt like I was on hallowed ground.
The decor was stunning and apparently they play It’s a Wonderful Life! every year during the holidays and I think that’s pretty much all I need to be happy.
It was hot and summery in Boise during our visit, something I wasn’t expecting coming straight from chilly Yellowstone. And according to the residents we met, it doesn’t get as frigid during the wintertime as most of that part of the country. Everyone in Boise was so friendly and we had a blast.
We stayed at the Riverside Hotel which was wonderful (and so luxurious after several nights of camping in a row!).
If you’re traveling, I highly recommend it. It has a wonderful pool and the kids loved it there. (And we loved that they got so worn out from swimming in the pool.) The Riverside also had the best breakfast buffet we’ve ever seen. It was even locally-sourced food!
I can’t wait to go back! And who knows. Maybe we’ll end up there someday.
A big thanks to the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau for helping us set up this trip!