Exciting Things to do in Boise on a Weekend Getaway
Located in the heart of the Treasure Valley in southwest Idaho, Boise is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway. The activities in the area are boundless and the city is perfect for outdoor adventure-minded travelers. Whether traveling solo or getting away as a couple, taking a long weekend in Boise is a decision you won't regret.
Easy to get to, Boise offers enough activities to keep you occupied for your entire trip. Tick white water rafting off your bucket list, hike the Boise foothills and soak in the amazing views, or relish the atmosphere of local vineyards and wineries. Boise offers many big-city amenities with a small-town feel. It is the perfect city to get away and recharge.
Getting to Boise
Boise is a very accessible destination, especially if you live on the west coast. However, unless you live nearby, you're probably going to have to drive for several hours before you arrive. This can use precious time if you're only staying for the weekend. Flying to Boise is probably your best option.
All the major airlines, Delta, Alaska, United and American service the city via the Boise Airport. Southwest and Frontier also fly into Boise and can make getting there more affordable if you're flying longer routes.
Non-stop flights are offered to Boise from these locations:
- Salt Lake City
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- San Diego
This isn't a complete list, but it is the major cities offering non-stop flights. A total of 18 cities offer non-stop flights.
Flying is affordable even if you aren't using a budget airline, particularly if you fly from the Pacific Northwest. Generally, you can get a flight from Seattle or Salt Lake City for around $200 round trip and flights are no longer than one and a half hours. You should be able to find flights cheaper than that if you plan far enough in advance. Currently, flights a month from now from Seattle to Boise are $150. If you're flying from cities that are a little farther away, such as, Chicago or Houston, expect flights to be closer to $400 round trip and about 5 hours long.
Taking a road trip can be fun and a great way to save money and spend some time with some friends. If you're considering driving to Boise, you're in luck. Interstate 84 runs through the city connecting it to Seattle and Salt Lake City. However, be forewarned, Seattle is a 7.5-hour drive, Portland is 7 hours, and Salt Lake City is 5 hours.
Amtrak also offers transportation to Boise via bus. Tickets from Seattle are about $250 round trip and the ride is 9 to 15 hours depending on the route they take you. This option doesn't make sense considering it’s only an hour and a half flight and $100 cheaper from Seattle.
Five to six hours is about the maximum travel time to enjoy a long weekend getaway. Think about it, spending any more than six hours driving - not counting stops - is an entire day. That's a day of travel to get there and a day to get back leaving you with only 2 days to enjoy your getaway.
With that in mind, flying to Boise is probably your best option to get there and still enjoy your weekend and explore the city.
Accommodations in Boise
Boise, being a smaller city, doesn't have the choice of hotels and accommodations that larger cities have but that doesn't mean there aren't any good places to stay. Whether you prefer a luxury hotel, a chain hotel, or just Airbnb, Boise will have lodging that meets your style. There's a good chance you'll find better accommodations in Boise than you could in other cities for the same price.
We're a sucker for boutique hotels. They are all different and interesting - you never know what you'll experience and we enjoy the experience of staying in a unique place.
These are our three favorite boutique hotels in Boise in no particular order.
An affordable and full-service hotel is The Grove Hotel. Located in downtown, it is one of the more popular hotels in Boise. The hotel is only a few blocks from the state capitol building, and you know what that means, right? Lots of places to eat and other activities nearby.
One thing that is unique about Boise is that many hotels have bikes available for use for their guests, free of charge - The Grove is no exception. Biking makes it easy to explore the city without having to pay for Uber or wearing yourself out walking. Boise is one of the most bike-friendly cities we have seen with biking amenities everywhere. If you want to save on transportation costs while you're in town, staying downtown in a hotel with complimentary bikes will help.
Other amenities include an in-house spa and a hot tub and pool on the fifth floor with an amazing view.
If you're looking for a place a little more luxurious to stay consider the Inn at 500 Capitol. A sophisticated hotel in downtown Boise, it is located just blocks away from the capitol, Boise State University, and other attractions.
With a luxury Mercedes-Benz shuttle service to meet you at the airport, what more could you ask for? Oh, I don't know, maybe a beer? Sure! Upon arrival, you'll be offered a local beer or wine - sounds like the life.
This hotel maximizes the local experience with local artwork throughout. Other amenities include private butler pantries, complimentary snacks, and bicycles. They offer valet parking and room service as well. If you're looking for fine dining, there is an Italian restaurant on site.
The last hotel we'll mention is Hotel 43 - a cute hotel located downtown. Like the others, its location means it is also near food and attractions.
Again, like the other hotels, Hotel 43 offers complimentary bicycles to explore the city. But, unique to this hotel is the teddy bears waiting for you on the bed when you arrive. How cute is that?
If you book a trip through Weeklander, you will probably stay at one of those three hotels. However, there are also great accommodations to be found with some of the chain lines such as Marriot or Hyatt.
Things to do in Boise
There are many things to do in Boise to fill your weekend and make your getaway memorable. The main attractions in Boise involve outdoor recreation but there are plenty of things to explore in town as well. From shopping to white water rafting to vineyards and wineries there is sure to be something you'll enjoy in Boise.
Here are some activities that stuck out to us.
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area
No weekend in Boise is complete without a visit to Bogus Basin, a non-profit offering several recreation opportunities in the Boise foothills. Bogus Basin is located just on the edge of Boise about 2.5 miles from downtown. If you're wondering, that's about a 20-minute bike ride.
They are known for their skiing opportunities in the winter, but they have activities in the summer as well. In the summer they offer horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, a mountain coaster (like a roller coaster), and scenic chairlift rides. This is just some of the activities available there, several other options are available.
Winter activities include skiing, the mountain coaster, and tubing to name a few. Lessons for various activities such as skiing is also available. They have a complete rental service for all the equipment you need to ski or mountain bike.
The great thing about Bogus Basin is that it is a non-profit so 100% of the proceeds go back into the Boise foothills. Passes and activities are affordable with an unlimited day pass starting at $14.50. You can purchase stand-alone activities as well and not all activities are available with the day pass. The day pass also does not include rental equipment.
Hulls Gulch Reserve
If you're just looking for mountain biking or a hike and don't see the need to pay for that at Bogus Basin, then check out Hulls Gulch. The reserve is managed by the City of Boise and is free. The trails in this park connect to a 180-mile trail system in the Boise foothills. If you enjoy hiking there is plenty of opportunities for it in Hulls Gulch.
Mountain biking is allowed in the reserve as well however you'll have to either bring your own or rent one. Horseback riding is also allowed on the trails so be sure and keep an eye out for horses and other hikers if you're biking the trails.
White Water Rafting
Naturally, since Boise is in the foothills there is bound to be white water rafting in the area - and there is. The Payette River, 45 minutes to an hour from downtown Boise, offers excellent opportunities for white water rafting and there are several guide companies to choose from.
Depending on how much of an adventure you want or how much time you have, you can book a full day trip or a half a day. You can choose the skill level that you're comfortable with, from Class II to Class IV.
Bear Valley Rafting offers affordable trips starting at $50 per person for half-day trips and $90 for full-day trips. Lunch is included in the full day trip and is served on a beach along the Payette River.
Another company, and probably the most popular, is Cascade Raft and Kayak. They offer kayaking as well as white water rafting. Additionally, a ropes course with ziplines is located on-site if you're interested in ziplining. White water rafting starts at $45 for the Class II & III half-day course and $85 for the full day.
Both companies require a prior reservation for white water rafting and you can book your reservation through their websites.
When you think of Idaho you probably think of potatoes. Well, did you know that there are several vineyards in the Treasure Valley? In the past decade, the number of wineries in Idaho has quickly grown to over 50. Several wineries and vineyards can be found a short drive from Boise and is a great way to spend a day.
An interestingly bold winery located in nearby Garden City is Potter Wines. Known for their Jalapeno Wines, they are a unique winery with several other bold wines. Their tasting room is open in the afternoon on the weekends.
Another winery located in Garden City as well is Telaya Wine Co. Established in 2008, Telaya offers a variety of wines, both red and white. The winery is right off the Boise Greenbelt and their tasting room offers excellent views of the Boise River.
There are great vineyards in the Snake Valley about an hour west of Boise, just outside of Caldwell, Idaho. If you want to visit a vineyard you need to stop by some of the vineyards in that area.
Our favorite vineyard is Koenig Vineyards located in Caldwell. The architecture of the place is amazing and sets the mood for the entire experience. Their tasting room is open daily from noon to 5 pm.
Another excellent vineyard, also in Caldwell, is Ste Chapelle. This winery is also a wedding venue and has spectacular views of the mountains in the distance. Their tasting room is open every afternoon during the summer. In the winter they are open on the weekends in the afternoon.
If you're looking for things to do in the city during your weekend getaway, there is shopping, museums, and other attractions. Often there are events and other activities going on downtown depending on the weekend you're there.
If you are in Boise during the week, every summer downtown Boise hosts the Alive After Five summer concert series. Every Wednesday from June to the end of August at 5 pm bands take the stage at the Grove Plaza and host a free concert.
Boise is home to Boise State University and if you're a fan of college football the Boise State Broncos play at the Albertson's stadium. If you're in town during the fall, and they happen to be playing a home game, it is a great way to spend an evening.
Every Saturday in downtown Boise from 9:30 to 1:30 vendors set up tents and booths for the Capital City Public Market. Vendor's products range from food to art to wine. If you're looking for a souvenir from your weekend away, or just like to shop locally this is the place for you.
Boise also has an aquarium, zoo, and art museum that are great places to visit while you're in town. The World Center for Birds of Prey is also in Boise and an exciting place to visit. Additionally, if you like STEM there is the Discovery Center of Idaho.
Places to Eat in Boise
We get it, food is pretty darn important. Bad food can ruin your whole getaway. Considering the size of Boise, it has loads of places to eat. It must be because it is the state capital and all the politicians need places to meet for lunch. That's my theory, at any rate. Either way, it is good for us because we like food.
These are some restaurants that stuck out to us.
The nation's first restaurant distillery, Bardenay is a fantastic spot to grab dinner. The atmosphere of this distillery and restaurant is Idahoan through and through. Entrees include burgers, sandwiches, and tacos along with other meals such as sea bass gnocchi or trout fillet. And of course, being a distillery, they have a phenomenal selection of drinks.
The Fork Restaurant is another great spot to grab lunch or dinner. Located in a historic building in downtown and offers patio seating with sting lighting making the atmosphere of the restaurant amazing.
Focusing on local sustainable food is a focus of Fork and they ensure that their food is sourced locally and sustainably as much as possible. This not only includes their food but their selection of drinks as well. But they didn't stop there, even some of their decor from their tables to their glasses were sourced locally from reclaimed Barnwood and glass. Fork is an incredibly creative restaurant.
Saint Lawrence Gridiron
One of the more popular establishments in town is the Saint Lawrence Gridiron located in the heart of downtown. With its humble beginnings as a food truck, Saint Lawrence Gridiron has a delicious selection of food to choose from. From market fish to brisket to sandwiches and salads. They also have a great selection of drinks to choose from.
If you're looking for fine dining, Richard's in downtown is the place to be. Located in the Inn at 500, Richards offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. If you are in town for a specific holiday they have separate menus for certain holidays. Reservations are recommended.
Boise Fry Co.
Idaho is known for its potatoes and it would be a real shame if you went to Idaho without eating potatoes. Boise Fry Co. is exactly what it sounds like, a french fry and burger joint.
They give you complete flexibility over your fries. You can choose what kind of potato you want your fries to be, whether that is a regular russet potato, purple potato or yam, they have you covered. You can also choose the style your fries are cut in, or just have them mashed and rolled into balls instead of cut.
Boise has many options for eating out, as with almost everything when traveling we recommend exploring a little. Go beyond the guides and check out a few hole-in-the-wall places that only the locals know about. The restaurants we've listed here are only some of our favorites, there are many others scattered across Boise. Be bold, check them out.
While Boise is probably not the first place that comes to mind to travel for a weekend getaway it has plenty to offer. This guide only scratches the surface of what there is to do in the area. There are amazing gems within a short drive from Boise that wasn't mentioned in this guide.
If you're looking to plan a getaway to Boise and would like more information on activities in the area, contact us and we would be happy to find the activities you are looking for.
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