“Boise? What is there to do in Boise?”
My journey to visit all 50 states has taken me to some weird, scary, and beautiful places. There are a few cities and states in particular that always raise some eyebrows. Usually, when I tell people how many states I’ve visited, they respond with, “really? What did you do in ____?” That blank is usually a state like Idaho, Iowa, or the Dakotas – places where the average American does not realize how many incredible things there are to see. Ultimately, that’s why I started this journey to all 50 states in the first place. I knew there was more to see than just Disney World and NYC – and Boise did NOT prove me wrong.
Here are some of the things we did (and some of the things we missed that were on our list) that I recommend checking out during your weekend getaway to Boise, Idaho.
Things to Eat in Boise, Idaho
Best Place for Breakfast in Boise – BACON Boise
The best breakfast restaurant in Boise is conveniently located on the main shopping strip downtown. BACON Boise serves flights of bacon so you can sample all of their differently spiced bacon, as well as a long list of tasty entrees – some that feature their bacon and others that don’t. I tried the bacon & brie panini and was very impressed (but I recommend ordering the half size, because it was a lot). My husband enjoyed the hash.
Best Place for a Steak and a Cocktail in Boise – Lock Stock & Barrel
Tucked farther back in downtown Boise is Lock Stock & Barrel. Here, you can make a reservation to enjoy a nice steak dinner in the dining room, or you can sit up front in the dimmed “lounge” and enjoy a cocktail (or both). They’re known for their barrel steaks and aged prime rib, but they also have an extensive list of local wines and beers as well as a well-crafted cocktail menu and a full bar. We arrived an hour before their official dinner opening and were able to relax and enjoy a drink and an appetizer before the kitchen opened. It was quiet and peaceful, even once the dinner crowd started rolling in, and we very much enjoyed our meal.
Things to Drink in Boise, Idaho
Best Outdoor Brewery in Boise – Payette Brewing Company
In your research, you may notice there is a long list of breweries and places to grab a drink in Boise. Payette is the best brewery to visit in your summer visit to Idaho, not only for the good beer but also for the fun atmosphere. They do have a large indoor tap room that I’m sure is fine in the winter, but it’s during the summer months when the patio doors are wide open and the bands are playing that Payette truly shines as a place to have a good time. There are corn hole boards, a bocce ball court, a fire pit, and lots of small, separate sitting areas outside. There are always food trucks right up front during the warm months. The beer garden is also dog-friendly!
Other Options for Brewery Hopping in Boise
If you have a designated driver or have more time to spend in downtown Boise, there are tons of breweries that have popped up over the last decade. Some honorable mentions other than Payette that you may want to check out are: Barbarian Downtown Beer Bar (be careful, they have two locations), Boise Brewing, and Sockeye Brewing (check out their new “Sockeye Alehouse,” including a putting course, coming fall 2022!).
Things to Do in Boise, Idaho
Visit the World’s Center for Birds of Prey
The Peregrine Fund’s World’s Center for Birds of Prey was built in 1984 to aid in the Peregrine Fund’s goals to prevent extinction, protect natural habitats, address threats, and educate & engage the public. The Peregrine Fund was established in 1970, initially focused on bringing the Peregrine Falcon back from near extinction. The Peregrine Falcon is an amazing raptor that can fly at speeds well over 200 mph, and it was taken off the endangered species list in 1999 thanks in part to the Peregrine Fund’s work.
When you visit the center, you’ll need at 90 minutes. You’ll want to spend at least 10-15 minutes wandering around outside, where you’ll see a few different live birds of prey (including a Bald Eagle), and then at least 30 minutes inside, longer if you want to stay for a presentation. Inside, you’ll find a museum with wall-to-wall exhibits teaching you about these majestic animals as well as a few live birds and a theater. I think my favorite was Grayson, a Harpy Eagle who was hatched as a part of a breeding program but was unable to survive in the wild (don’t worry, their breeding program is generally very successful). He was squawking quite a bit while we were there.
The main reason I recommend 90 minutes is so that you can wander around outside the grounds, as well. Across the parking lot, you’ll find the entrance to a quarter-mile bird-watching trail. You may not see any birds there, but the short trek will take you to a gazebo with an incredible view of the Idaho prairie.