If you are visiting Boise, Idaho and are looking for things to do in downtown Boise, Idaho — you will have plenty of options (even if you do not have a car). The city has grown so much in the last 10 years, and you there are plenty of Boise breweries, museums, art, and outdoor activities to see and do in Boise.
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There are now more than 10 breweries in Boise, and at least a handful of wineries — all within walking distance of downtown Boise.
10 Barrel Brewing is a local favorite — even though it’s not technically a local brewery (10 Barrel is based in Bend, Oregon). The location, outdoor deck, and yummy food makes it one of the best breweries in downtown Boise.
Another favorite is White Dog Brewing. Located in an old Boise building, it’s located right off of Capitol Boulevard in downtown Boise, and so has a great view of the downtown corridor.
Bodovino is a popular winery in downtown Boise, and the atmosphere makes for a great date night in Boise. The wine and food is top notch and the located in BoDo (“Boise Downtown”) means it’s right in the middle of everything.
Downtown Boise has a number of museums to visit, and many are free or very inexpensive.
Idaho State Museum
The Idaho State Museum is full of Idaho history. Run by the Idaho Historical Society, the Idaho State Museum is located right off Capitol Boulevard and in Julia Davis Park. The museum was closed for years to undergo a massive renovation, and the result is a beautiful building with thoughtfully-designed exhibits.
A childhood favorite is _____, the two-headed cow born in Idaho.
Boise Art Museum
The Boise Art Museum is located right next to the Idaho State Museum, and is also in an architecturally-interesting building in Julia Davis Park. The Boise Art Museum features art exhibits from different areas, and includes local artists.
The entire Basque Block features and incredibly interesting era of Idaho history, and the Basque Museum is at the center of the block. Boise is home to the largest population of Basque people, outside of the Basque Country, and the history of their emigration to Idaho over the centuries is featured in the museum.
Basque population is especially important to Idaho, because it’s both past and present history.
The Idaho Penitentiary is not exactly downtown, but we had to include it on this list because it’s one of the coolest things to do in Boise. The Idaho State Penitentiary was a prison for more than 100 years, and held thousands of criminals over the years.
The prison is now a museum you can walk through, and holds field trips and ghost hunts on a regular basis. The Idaho Penitentiary is a little more than two miles from downtown Boise.
Boise, Idaho is home to plenty of artwork, and some locals walk by it each day without even knowing it’s there.
Boise Art Walk
If you are visiting Boise, it’s worth signing up a Boise Art Walk, or taking a self-guided tour. This will take you through all the public art featured in downtown Boise — including information, historical importance, and the route to walk.
Freak Alley is only a few years but is one of the most visible public art displays in downtown Boise.
Boise’s Freak Alley was started by a local art studio, and features artwork from a number of local artists. They change the art every few years, and you can walk through the streets and see the variety of local artwork.
Tip: Freak Alley in Boise is also one of the most Instagrammable spots in downtown Boise.
If you are looking to go for a run, walk, bicycle ride, or just see the Boise River, the Boise Greenbelt is unlike anything you will see in any other city.
The Boise Greenbelt runs through downtown, Boise State’s campus, and a variety of other places in Boise. You will see runners and bicycle riders on the greenbelt yearround. No matter where you are in downtown, you are never more than a half-mile or so from the Boise Greenbelt.
Float the River in Boise
While this is only open for a few months a year, floating the Boise River is one of the most Boise things to do in downtown.
To float the Boise River, you will take a shuttle to Barber Park, rent a tube or raft, and then float all the way down to Ann Morrison Park.
The river is only open a few months a year because the flow is controlled by the government — they regulate the amount of snow pack that is brought downstream. Early in the summer, the river will be too high and fast for floating. But by June or July, the river is only a few feet deep and is a nice slow pace.
Floating the Boise River is a fun, relaxing day in Boise and is a favorite for both locals and visitors for things to do in downtown Boise.
See an Idaho Steelheads hockey game
The Idaho Steelheads are an ECHL-level hockey team in Boise, Idaho. Between August and March (or so) they play at the CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise. The games are a blast, and are fun for kids and adults alike!
Boise Frisbee Golf
Frisbee Golf, or Frolf, is a sport that is quickly expanding across the country. If you have never heard of it, if you have always wanted to try it, or if you’re a pro, Boise is the perfect place to play.
There is a full course at Ann Morrison Park, located in downtown Boise. You do need to bring your own discs, but once you get there, the community is welcoming and warm, and will help you learn the sport of frisbee golf.
Boise State sports
Depending on the time of year, there is likely a sport happening at Boise State when you are visiting. The Boise State campus is within walking distance of downtown Boise, so next time you are in town, check out the schedules for Boise State football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, or anything else!