Exploring Boise: Fun Things to do in the City

Boise is the state capital of Idaho. I had a great time in the city exploring the delicious food opportunities, outdoor activities, and running in the FitOne Half Marathon.

Reaching the City

Getting to Boise is a breeze through the conveniently located airport. Upon landing at the airport, I was able to take a Lyft to reach downtown, where I found many activities that were walkable.

city of trees

Where to Stay

Numerous downtown hotels provide comfortable accommodations. I chose to stay at the Hyatt as it was close to the race start line and in the heart of downtown.

Exploring Downtown Boise

For those looking to shop, eat, or just explore, check out 8th street. It is closed to traffic, allowing a safe place to walk and explore. I was only able to scratch the surface on the things to do in Boise. All the options that I will list are open and accessible to those looking for a weekend trip; note that many things are closed on Sunday in the area.

Embracing Nature Along the Greenbelt

The Greenbelt path offers many beautiful views of the Boise River with over 25 miles of path to walk. It’s a great place to take in nature right in the heart of Boise.


Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

A visit to the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, adjacent to the Greenbelt, is enlightening, free, and captivating. It was an easy walk to get there. As you walk thought the park, there are audio files that you can play for more information as you walk through the memorial. The Quote Wall walks though words from presidents, slaves, philosophers, poets, and many others.

anne frank sculpture

Exploring the Idaho State Capitol

Centrally located in downtown, is the capitol building. It is open for visitors to tour the inside; guided tours must be booked 2 weeks in advance, but self-guided tours can be done by visiting The Capitol Visitor Center. No time to tour, it’s still pretty impressive to see from outside, especially lit at dawn.

Idaho state capital

A Visit to the Boise Zoo

The zoo is fairly small, therefore easily doable in 2-3 hours at a leisurely pace. I visited the zoo with my friend the day after the half, before heading home. They focus on conservation while allowing people to observe a wide range of fascinating creatures in a safe and controlled environment. I enjoyed seeing lots of animals from around the world.


Boise Rose Garden in Julia Davis Park

Visible from the zoo’s parking lot, the Boise Rose Garden in Julia Davis Park is a pleasant destination for those interested in strolling through beautiful gardens. It is the oldest park in Boise. We did not make it here as we were hungry after walking around at the zoo.

Consider a Day Trip

If you have more time to spare or opt to rent a car, there are numerous day trip options to explore.

World Center for Birds of Prey

We drove out to the Birds of Prey where we were treated to see many birds, including those on the endangered species list up close. It is not only a valuable resource for avian enthusiasts but also a crucial player in the global efforts to conserve and protect these magnificent birds. They even breed Condors and release them at the Grand Canyon to preserve the species. There are lots of exhibits and educational materials about the different birds species available. We got to watch a feeding and the bird fly around up close, which was pretty neat. The center is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with live bird programs at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm.

birds of prey

Where to Satisfy Your Culinary Cravings

Boise offers a wide range of dining options you can explore. I found a variety of options downtown. These are the ones that I tried and loved.

Flying M Coffee

If you love coffee, this lovely inclusive shop is a must-stop. My friend and I enjoyed delightful cups of coffee in the lovely atmosphere and explored the fun gift shop.



With a mission for local farm-to-table food, I absolutely loved my dinner here. I enjoyed a nice vodka-infused berry lemonade, friendly service, and the food was mouthwatering. The asparagus fries with are a must have.


Tupelo Honey

This is the place to go for authentic southern food. My friend and I sat outside on the patio where we could enjoy the fresh air and take in the downtown sites. I had the shrimp and grits and fried green tomatoes; they were so delicious.

shrimp and grits
fried green tomato

Weather Tip

Keep in mind that the FitOne event takes place in September, and the weather in the Pacific Northwest can be quite unpredictable. Be sure to plan ahead and prepare for all weather, as it could be cold in the morning, transition to shorts weather by afternoon, and raining by evening. Embrace the unpredictability and make the most of your experience.

allegator mosaic


There are many things to do in Boise. While this guide highlights only my personal experiences, I had an incredible weekend filled with running and exploration alongside my friend. I encourage anyone looking for a fun weekend to explore all that the city has to offer. My journey began with an early afternoon flight, allowing lots of time for packet pick up, a walk downtown, and a satisfying dinner. On Saturday, we ran the FitOne Half Marathon. By taking a late afternoon flight out, we were able to explore the zoo, Birds of Prey and catch a wonderful lunch. I hope you have as much fun as I did exploring Boise.

Share Your Experience

Have you been to Boise? What was your favorite thing to do? Do you have a favorite run that is welcoming to walkers and slower runners? Let us know on social media.