So, you are back for more awesome activity ideas? Well, we have quite a few amazing one’s for you, and believe us when we say, you will certainly be having an awesome year if you decide to do any number of these activities. Even if you have just moved to Boise, after doing the things on this list, you will feel at home in no time.
9. Spend So Time at Lucky Peak Reservoir and State Park
There are few places as fun as Lucky Peak Reservoir and State Park. It is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon for anyone who enjoys to be in or around the water. Many people head up to Lucky Peak (which is only 20 miles out of downtown) to swim, boat, fish, picnic, and go on adventures. It is a very popular destination, but you will never feel like you are competing for space as the reservoir is massive and has many places to launch your boat and beaches for having fun.
However, aside from the usual summer activities, Lucky Peak is also a common destination for events of all kinds. Its beaches have played host to thousands of events, both professional and personal, that range from charity to just plain old fun. One of the most popular events that takes place on the shores of Lucky Peak is the Great Polar Bear Plunge, an awesome event that is put on by the Idaho Make-a-Wish Foundation on New Year’s Day. People pay donations to the foundation and get T-shirts and other merchandise for the occasion, and then jump into the frigid waters— all in the name of charity!
10. Take a Trip Down the Boise River
If you prefer your aquatic activities stay limited to the warmer times of the year, then you might like the Boise River floating season. Every year in late summer, groups and individuals will take tubes and rafts from Barber Park in East Boise and float down the river into downtown. It is a fun float that lasts about an hour or two, depending if you stop to take advantage of the great beaches along the way or not, but it is not a simple lazy river. In fact, it can be quite the opposite at times. Though the river is nice and calm in some spots, it can be a little turbulent in others. That being said, it is a fun and relaxing trip but should only be taken by people who can swim. No one who has difficulty swimming should float down the river.
11. Tour the Old Penitentiary
If you like history, then you will love the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Used as a functional prison for over a hundred years, the Old Penitentiary is a historical landmark that can serve as a very educational and fun trip. It was built in 1872 and was in operation until the new penitentiary was constructed in 1973. It has seen many a crazy story and, according to some, is haunted. This rumor has paranormal investigators knocking at the penitentiary’s doors pretty often. It was even featured on a ghost hunting show at one point. (The rumor of it being haunted has also made it so that there are many supernaturalist activities at the penitentiary every few weeks. The only event that are set in stone, however, is Friday the 13th. The penitentiary is always open late on any Friday the 13th).
In its many years in operation, the penitentiary saw many strange and historically significant things. It was the site of two prison riots, several hangings, and even housed a few famous criminals. One of these criminals was Harry Orchard, a minor turned assassin. He was convicted in the early part of the 1900s for the assassination of the Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Orchard spent the rest of his life in the penitentiary and died there when he was 88 years old.
12. Explore the Foothills
The penitentiary might be a fun place for you next Halloween out, but the Boise Foothills that the penitentiary backs up to, are a fun place to visit anytime of the year. The Boise Foothills is system of hills that bridge the gap between the city of Boise and the Rocky Mountains. They are home to thousands of plants and animals and are crisscrossed by thousands of miles of trails for visitors to enjoy. It is a fantastic place for people who like to bike, hike, take photos, or just be in nature. Most of the Foothills are public land, but there is some private land out there, you just need to be careful an try to map out your route before you go.
13. Wander the Greenbelt
If you like taking a trip down a shaded path that takes you in and out of both urban environments and lush riverbank territory, then the greenbelt is the place for you. The greenbelt is an awesome community amenity that connects bikers, walkers, and just people who like to travel outside, to the rest of the city. It is a path that goes from Lucky Peak all the way through Boise and Garden City to finally end in the City of Eagle. It follows the course of the Boise River and allows visitors awesome access to the river, the riverbank, and many of the parks that also line the river. The greenbelt passes by park after park and then a few libraries, and several other popular urban destinations making it the perfect path for those who want to be connected with both the city and nature.
(Remember to always be safe in and around the river. The current can be strong in places and its flow is sometimes impeded by agricultural utilities.)
14. Catch a Show at One of Boise’s Oldest Theaters: The Egyptian
One of downtown Boise’s most beloved historical landmark is the classic Egyptian theater. Once the most popular theater in the valley, the Egyptian Theater is now a place for classic films to be shown, events to be had, and plays and presentations to take place. It is such an icon that all Boiseans, and honorary Boiseans, love and adore it.
One honorary Boisean that absolutely loves coming into town to see a show at the Egyptian Theater is the acclaimed filmmaker Frank Marshall. Marshall has worked on dozens of films (Seabiscuit and the Bourne saga to name a few). And despite his fame, he loves coming back to Boise— his claimed second home. However, it isn’t just classic films that he sees at the Egyptian, he watches the premiers of some of his own films there. For the past few years, every film that Frank Marshall has produced or directed has made had its premier showing here at Boise’s Egyptian theater.
15. Take Some Time to Play at Bogus Basin Winter time activities are a staple of the Treasure Valley.
Every year people are just as excited for the snow as they are for the summer. One of the things that makes Boise so amazing for winter sports enthusiasts is the fact that we have a ski resort within city limits. That resort: Bogus Basin. Bogus Basin has a colorful history that dates back to the gold rush of Idaho. However, aside from its not so pleasant past, from the early 1900s and on it has been a place where skiers, snowboarders, and other winter sportsmen and women gather for winter fun.
Now days, it isn’t just a spot for skiers and snowboarders, it is also a place for tubing, skiing lessons, and even night skiing. This wide variety of activities makes it a very popular place to spend a day and the fact that it is so close to town helps too.
16. Discover Some of Idaho’s Most Amazing Creatures at the World Center for Birds of Prey
One of Idaho’s most majestic and beautiful natives would have to be its birds of prey. Idaho is home to a vast variety of birds that range from the small kestrel to the massive eagle and everything in between. This large population of birds prompted the government to designate several hundred thousand acres of land south of Boise to be a birds of prey conservation area. It is an area that is free from shooting and development so that the birds will have a place to live for years to come. However, it is also home to many recreational areas for things like ATVs, camping, and bird watching (of course).
At the helm of the birds of prey community here in the valley is the World Center for Birds of Prey, home of the Peregrine Fund. The center is a place where people can go to learn about these amazing creatures, see them in action, and even help out in the conservation efforts as well. It is also home to the Peregrine Fund, a foundation that specializes in rehabilitating birds and helping endangered species. They started several decades ago when they took on the task of reintroducing the peregrine falcon back into the world, completely removing it from the endangered species list. It is now doing these same things to help the California condor. The center is open most days and can be toured for a small entrance fee. They also have volunteer opportunities if you might want a place to volunteer.
Bonus Activity: Big Jud’s Diner
If you spend any time in Boise, you have to take an evening to enjoy Big Jud’s Diner in downtown. It is a Boise icon that has a special place in the hearts of many residents. Big Jud’s Diner has been around Boise for a long time and is home to some of the biggest burgers in town— the Big Jud’s one and two pound burgers. (Note: these are one and two pound patties; the weight doesn’t include the bun or condiments). If that wasn’t enough, Big Jud’s also hosts the Big Jud’s Challenge (both the one and the two pound challenge) where contestants must eat their entire burger and order of fries as well as down an entire milkshake in under 30 minutes. Only if they eat all the food in the allotted time will contestants be added to the wall of fame and be able to own a coveted Big Jud’s Challenge T-shirt.
So, there it is, 16 must dos for your 2016. Boise is a great place, don’t spend 2016 cooped up inside— experience it with these classic Boise activities! To learn more about Boise, moving to Boise, or the Treasure Valley, contact one of our agents. They can answer any questions you might have about enjoying Boise while you are here, relocating to Boise, and much more. Just give them a call today!