Boise, Idaho – Cool Vibes and Warm Smiles

[NoHo Arts District, CA] –  This month’s Active World Journeys’ travel blog: “Boise, Idaho – Cool Vibes and Warm Smiles.”

I recently spent a few days in Boise, Idaho – and I gotta say that keeping my adventure spirit alive was no problem at all there. Boise is the quintessential “small town feel – big city excitement” destination. It has a great tasting scene, plenty of beautiful hikes in the foothills, and lots of activities along the beloved river that runs through it. And the locals are super friendly and hospitable. I grew up in Ohio and Boise has that same “midwestern” feel.

I stayed at this chic, vintage hotel called The Modern Hotel. I loved it. It’s one of those re-imagined motor lodges that makes you feel really cool the moment you arrive. The location of the hotel is perfect to be able to walk to everything in Boise. The rooms were very clean and spacious, and the hotel bar is one of those places where a lot of hipsters and professional locals hang out with the guests.

I just happened to be in Boise during a music festival called Hermit Fest, and The Modern Hotel was chosen as one of the venues in their courtyard and front parking lot. It just added an extra layer of awesomeness to my trip and the level of talent and songwriting skills from the artist was superb.

One of the fun things that you can do in Boise is take a walk or bike ride along the 25-mile, tree-lined “Greenbelt” pathway along the Boise River. There are several wineries and breweries that you can stop off at along the way and taste. I got a complimentary bike from my hotel and set-off to explore it. I ended up going to Telaya Winery, Barbarian Brewery, and Split Rail Winery. They were all fairly close to each other and in an area of Boise called Garden City, which promotes itself as the live-work-create district. It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Boise!

Wherever I go, I always like to go on a hike and there’s no better one in Boise than “Table Rock.” It’s a 3.5-mile hike in the foothills with spectacular views of the city. The trailhead is located behind the old Boise penitentiary and is well marked so you can’t get lost while hiking. There’s not a lot of shade, so do this hike in the morning for sunrise or later afternoon/evening for sunset.

If you’re a fan of NCAA football, then you’ve probably always been fascinated by Boise State University’s blue football field called the “Smurf Turf.” They are one of the few colleges to not play on the standard green football field. In fact, they actually own the copyright to “non green turf football fields” and any college that wants to have a color other than green must get their permission! I stopped by the college for a tour of this unique football stadium. But anybody can view “The Blue” Monday through Friday by entering the Hall of Fame Museum in the southwest corner of the stadium. They have a patio deck for pictures and selfies of the beautiful field.

Now for something Freaky…the northwest’s largest open-air, multi-artist gallery in located in downtown Boise and it’s called “Freak Alley”. I rambled through the collection and really enjoyed all the various themes and artists. It reminded me that without art and free expression our world would be a very dark and boring place.

Did you know that Boise is home to one of the largest Basque communities outside of Spain? There’s an area of downtown called “The Basque Block” that features Basque restaurants, a Basque Museum and Cultural Center, and the Basque Market, where you can buy Basque foods to eat in or takeaway, do a Basque Wine Tasting (it has the largest collection of Basque wine in the Northwest), and the special treat is every Wednesday and Friday they make a giant Paella dish outdoor on their patio.  

If Paella isn’t enough for you, Boise offers up a wonderful foodie scene around town and you can eat your way through Idaho’s capital on one of the many tours offered up by Indulge Boise, who were very helpful guiding me to some of the city’s tastiest restaurants. And I gotta say, Idaho fries are a cut above all else!

So next time you’re ready for some exciting adventures and exploring in a city that is really coming into its own as one of the fastest growing in the USA; head to the capital of Idaho in Boise and just like that; “out of the blue” …you’ll be swept away by this recreationalist’s paradise, and just might never want to leave. 


Jack Witt, MS, CPT

Fitness and Health Coach

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