Top 5 things to do in Boise

Things-to-do-Aug 8

Boise welcomes you to discover the Northwest’s best artists, explore pioneer heritage, and immerse in nature without leaving the city. Savor a symphony and enjoy exceptional performances of theater, opera, and ballet. The best part? It's all close to the Terraces of Boise. The Terraces is a premier life plan community located southeast of downtown. With proximity like this, our residents are able to enjoy all the sights and scenes of this vibrant city.

Nature escape on the Boise River Greenbelt

Looking for a simple way to see the great outdoors? Stretching from the vibrant downtown area to quiet outer neighborhoods, the Boise River Greenbelt has miles of paved, tree-lined paths along its namesake waterway. Enjoy scenic strolls past picturesque bridges and inviting green spaces including Barber Park. A three-minute drive from the Terraces, the park’s forested grounds have nature trails and picnic areas with barbecue facilities. Stands of soaring cottonwood trees are home to majestic bald eagles during winter. You're also apt to spot ducks, geese, deer and even the odd elk. 

Museums for heritage and history

Would you like to learn more about the history that’s all around you? For some local color, check out the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. Set in a historic, brick building in the celebrated Basque Block, the museum and its surrounding shops and restaurants honor Idaho’s deep-rooted Basque community. 

Darker days of yore await at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Once home to the West's most-hardened criminals, the 19th-century prison now offers visitors the chance to see what life was like for those who lived within its imposing, gothic walls.

History buffs can head to the Idaho State Museum, which houses exhibits and artifacts from the Bronze Age to modern times. Get a taste of frontier life at the museum's Pioneer Village and learn of America's expansion along the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail.

For an up-close look at tanks, fighter jets and other displays of military might, visit the Idaho Military History Museum.

Discover the art scene

How about seeing priceless art at the Boise Art Museum? Housed in a building that mixes modern, art deco and Egyptian revival architecture, the museum has exhibited works from an array of artists including Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe and Kara Walker. You also can view a large collection of pieces from notable Northwest artists, and create your own art at hands-on workshops.

Then there’s the Freak Alley Gallery, which showcases local art in a unique, open space. The Northwest's largest outdoor mural gallery lies in (as you might have guessed) an alley a few blocks from the Idaho State Capitol building.

Tour the Idaho State Capitol building

Speaking of the time-honored government seat, you can take a self-guided tour of Idaho’s stately Capitol building. Built with massive sandstone slabs mined from nearby Table Rock, the grand structure that dates to 1905 mixes Greek and Renaissance revival architecture. Fine marble from both Italy and across America adorns the cavernous interior. You can browse the monuments in Statuary Hall; step onto the balconies of the House and Senate chambers to watch public proceedings; and then, head down to the ground level to check out exhibits on local history.

Revel in refined culture

The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is a world-class venue on the banks of the Boise River that hosts performances by the esteemed Boise Philharmonic. Their eclectic season includes the revered masterworks of artists like Johannes Brahms’ and contemporary concerts such as celebrations of Star Wars and Harry Potter. Opera Idaho performs productions that span Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and La bohème to contemporary classics like West Side Story. Ballet Idaho stages favorites like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker 

And don't forget about the Bard. Against a dramatic backdrop of the Boise foothills, the summer-long Idaho Shakespeare Festival brings timeless tales to an amphitheater that's a two-minute drive from the Terraces.

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