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This is a list of activity recommendations for three days, two nights in Boise, Idaho, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Boise consistently places in top ten lists like the best U.S. downtowns, the best city to raise a family, the healthiest cities in America, and the best place to retire. It’s no wonder why this city’s second name is Treasure Valley.
- Getting there: arrive to Boise Airport via flight; it is a one-hour flight from San Jose and San Francisco, California and 1.5 hours from Seattle, Washington.
Native American tribes like the The Northern Shoshone and the Bannock lived and occupied the Boise valley for thousands of years, using the area to trade with other tribes and hunt for salmon in the Boise River. The early 1800s saw a trickle of explorers and missionaries pass through the area. By the 1860s, miners and settlers flooded the area, with early pioneers using Boise as a stopping point en route to the West Coast and miners setting up supply and service businesses in the Valley.
The U.S. military created Fort Boise in 1863 and Congress founded an official city a few months later. As mining activities and settlers claimed more land, Native Americans were pushed to the fringes of the valley and were ultimately forced to relocate to the reservation Fort Hall in 1869 (Boise City Department of Art & History, 2021).
From the time Boise was settled as a town, there was a large number of Basque, Chinese and Mexican immigrants. In the mid-1990s, Boise became a “primary settlement location for refugees from Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East” (Boise City Department of Art & History, 2021).
- Boise is home to the largest population of Basques outside of Spain
- City’s unofficial Restaurant Row is on Eighth Street
- Chinese immigrants make up 25% of Boise’s population as of 2021
- The statehouse in Boise is geo-thermally heated from underground hot springs, pumped from a source 3,000 feet underground
Day One: Arrive to downtown Boise; walk through historic neighborhoods
Welcome to Boise!
Walk through Historic Neighborhoods
Preservation Idaho sponsors a Heritage Homes Tour, a series that features historical homes in neighborhoods throughout the city. Every year the tour location changes to feature a different neighborhood and has previously included Harrison Boulevard, Kootenai Avenue, East End Historic District and Hays Street District.
The mile-long street was named in honor of President Benjamin Harrison, who signed the act that gave Idaho statehood and paid a visit to Boise in 1891.
Day 2: Tour downtown, State Capitol & Basque District; Boise State University
Idaho State Capitol
Pop into Freak Alley
Since 2002, Freak Alley is where local artists display their graffiti, art and murals and is rumored to be the largest outdoor gallery in the Northwest.
Walk around Downtown Boise
Basque Neighborhood in Boise
Dine at Excellent Local Restaurants