Locals will tell you “I visited other places, but always come back to Boise.” And it's with good reason — we've got a lot of hidden gems (this is the Gem State, after all). We're talking everything you get from a bigger Pacific Northwest city — locally-produced food, craft brew, wineries, and lots to do outdoors (think: natural hot springs, mountain climbing, biking, kayaking, and cave exploring) — but with small town charm.
True, Boise may not be the biggest city around, but biggest doesn’t always mean best, ya know? Here are 5 reasons to put Boise on your radar:
We go to extremes.
We take caring about well being — for our environment, our city, or ourselves — seriously. The proof? Without even leaving the city, you can kick back in a hot spring, bike along the Greenbelt, pitch a tent, or float down any one of the rivers. And, just beyond the city? Well, we've got a ton of amount of lakes, hot springs, and rivers. Speaking of extremes, Craters of the Moon Park is (you guessed it) a park full of craters. In other words, head there to make like an astronaut walking the surface of the moon!
We like food that tastes good and does good.
Plain and simple, we’ve got your back, food lovers! There are endless amounts of alternative restaurants (farm-to-table, vegan, vegetarian) and it's in our DNA to support companies who do good, be it for the planet or our local economy. A few of my faves are Guru Donuts, Boise Fry Company, and Taj Mahal — they've got great simple, everyday eats, genuine hospitality, and organic food. And if home cooking if your thing, check out our Boise Co-op and plan to spend your Saturday at the farmers market.
We too have quality craft brew.
It's hard to be in the Pacific Northwest without getting a taste of the microbrew scene and Boise does its part to represent. Grand Teton Brewing is the darling on the scene, having won an immense number of awards. Even beyon Grand Teton, craft brew heads have plenty of options right within Boise. A few worth check out (or odering if you see them on a menu) are: Sockeye Brewery, Highlands Hollow Brewhouse, 10 Barrel Brewing, Crooked Fence Brewing, Payette Brewing, Cloud 9 Brewery, and Edge Brewing Company.
Wine is making a name for itself.
The Snake River became Idaho's first wine appelation jus a few years back in 2007 and the scene's been growing since. The hot summers and colder winters means we do big reds (think Syrah, Cabernet, well) as well as the rarely-seen-in-the-U.S. ice wine-style dessert wines. If you only have time to check out one winery, have it be Koenig.
Our potatoes go way beyond fries.
Traditionally vodka is made by distilling grain, but we're the land of potatoes, so we specialize in potato vodka. Why should you care? Because it makes for a smooth, light vodka with little to no bite. There are quite a few distillers these days including 44 North Vodka, Zodiac Vodka, and the winery Koenig who also has award-winning potato vodka.
Opening photo by Dylan & Sara