Continuing with our series highlighting the hidden gems of the Pacific Northwest, we’d like to turn our attention this week towards Idaho’s capital: Boise. Located in the southwest corner of the state, not far from the border of Oregon, the city has long since maintained an important relationship with its neighbors in the region. With access to popular nearby skiing/snowboarding areas such as Bogus Basin, fishing hotspots like Lucky Peak Lake, and too many hiking/camping trails to name, it’s easy to see why Boise attracts scores of outdoors enthusiasts from throughout the country.
Boise State University
Home to Boise State University (BSU), the city is widely regarded as a “college town.”Its youthful spirit is on full display in the windows and shops of every cozy little shop and restaurant that line the streets. School pride is huge in Boise, and you’d be hard-pressed to avoid seeing the blue and orange colors of the Bronco’s on a drive through the city. In 2016, BSU’s enrollment was approximately 24,000 students, which makes up approximately 10% of the city’s total population. Most local businesses rely upon a staff comprised largely of students, who come to the city center from the BSU campus or the nearby satellite towns of Nampa and Meridian.
Boise is also well known as a center for the arts, largely due to its identity as a hub for students and youthful culture. There is a thriving music scene in the city, spurred on the flurry of experimental and indie bands coming out of BSU and other nearby schools. The Egyptian Theatre is a popular attraction, standing at the corner of West Main Street and South Capitol Boulevard as it has since its inauguration back in 1927. The oldest theatre in the city still maintains a regular schedule of films and has since become the center of the music scene in the area. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and has remained a benchmark location in the region. The hugely successful Bourne Trilogy made their premieres at the theatre, as did several episodes of the immensely popular Breaking Bad television series. If you plan a stop in Boise, be sure to check out the theatre and enjoy a slice of history.
If you plan on visiting Boise in the spring, more fun can be found in Ann Morrison Park, which runs astride the Boise River on the south side of downtown. The sprawling park is beautiful, providing some of the best views of the city and miles of walking paths to take a stroll. During this time of year, the trees in the park are a veritable painter’s palette of vibrant reds, golden yellows, and lush greens. Just across the river to the southeast of the park is the Boise Zoo, a popular attraction for travelers with families in tow. Both locations are sure to make your trip to the city an unforgettable one.