If you are new to the Boise area you might not know about all of the stuff going on around you or the different sites there are to check out. Boise is a big place with a whole lot of stuff going on all the time and it can be hard not to get lost in it while searching for the best parts. Sometimes, you need a guide to figure out what there is to do in Boise and what is going to excite you or leave you having learned more or just having had a good time. Boise is a thriving city with events and destinations and sights that are really neat to see for the whole Boise experience and I am here to give you at least the beginnings of a guide to help you to find the coolest parts of the city. Some of these places might not interest you that much or they might not take up much of a day and leave you wanting more, but hopefully, this guide at the very least gives you a good place to start and a number of options you might not have been aware of before reading it.
The first place I would recommend visiting is the Boise River Greenbelt. This is one of the few places in the city where different activities and events get concentrated. The whole city has fun things to do spread all over its surface area but the Greenbelt takes a bunch of those kinds of thing and smashes them together in one place. First, you have the greenbelt itself along with the river. It is a really nice bit of nature within an otherwise largely metropolitan city. It is almost like the Central Park of Boise but with a bit more going on from time to time. One of the coolest things you can take part in every once in a while on the Boise River is when everyone in the city gets together with their innertubes to float down the river together in the summer. It is quite a sight to see even if you do not take part in the float yourself. But even the float is only a yearly event. You can float it by yourself other times of the year but there are also other things going on to take part in like concerts. You can go to Zoo Boise which is right along the river or check out one of the different museums near the Greenbelt. If you are looking for something to do but you are not quite sure what exactly that something is, you can probably find it alongside or near the Boise River Greenbelt.
However, for a more specific and tailored experience, there are few places as interesting as the World Center for Birds of Prey. First and foremost, the Center is all about preserving endangered bird species. They research and breed different kinds of falcon, eagle, owl, or pretty much any kind of bird of prey you can think of. They release tons of birds into the wild every year to try and repopulate the different species. Peregrine Falcons are specifically the kind of bird they work the most with and which they are most famous for. However, while all of this might be very interesting to you and is good for the greater environment, the reason you are probably most going to want to visit this place is to see the different birds they have in captivity (Though I use the word captivity loosely. Their habitats are huge and varied when compared to your traditional zoo). They even put on little shows to give you an idea of how the different birds act and so you can get a nice and up-close look at them if you choose. If you like nature and really want to know more about some of the incredible animals that live within that nature, the World Center is going to be the best place for you to go.
Near to Boise, there is also a surviving segment of the Oregon Trail. There is a lot of history in Idaho and a large part of it is concentrated around the Oregon Trail, as it was and as it is now. If you head over towards Lucky Peak Lake (a place you might want visit regardless of what else you are doing in the area) and turn right before you cross the Boise River you can see a preserved part of the Oregon Trail. It will give you a taste of what it was like to make sure an incredible journey across the United States to find a new home and you might even be able to experience some of the same emotions the settlers felt at the time. A city has formed up around the trail and much the trail itself is hard to find but the hills and fields and the river all have changed very little since the days of the settlers. It might be hard to ignore the sounds of traffic or the jets flying overhead, but you can still see a little bit of what those original settlers saw.
The last place I want to recommend is a bit of a double feature and should also help to sate your potential curiosity for history and nature. To and up into some hills there is the Old Idaho Penitentiary and the Idaho Botanical Garden. I would highly recommend giving both of these places a visit. Start with the penitentiary where you can go inside the old prison walls and see what it was like to be a prisoner there so many years ago (though not that many years). Some say the penitentiary is even haunted so watch out for ghosts. Then I would recommend winding down your visit to the area with a stroll through the garden to check out something vibrant and alive. The penitentiary can be a little depressing and some flowers should clear that up very quickly.