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Introduction

Boise is the capital and largest city of Idaho, USA. Although its economic growth has its roots in agriculture, the city is now home to many high tech industries. Notable firms such as Albertson's, Micron, WinCo Foods and the J.R. Simplot Company are headquartered here.

Although the origin of the name is disputed, "Boise" is thought to be derived from the French les bois, or "the woods." The name is a reference to the tree-lined Boise River, which passes through the heart of the city. To this day the city takes its "City of Trees" moniker very seriously, although before settlement there were actually very few trees in the area.

Boise began its life in the mid-1800s as Fort Boise, a U.S. Army installation located at a strategic junction on the Oregon Trail between what were then the major settlements in southern Idaho Territory, the mining camps of Silver City to the south and Idaho City to the northeast. A city grew quickly around the fort, and by 1865 became the capital of Idaho Territory (much to the chagrin of northern Idahoans, namely residents of the original capital of Lewiston). By the dawn of the 20th century, Boise was far and away the dominant city in the region, having long eclipsed the likes of Silver City and Idaho City.

Today Boise is sometimes seen as the eastern edge of the Pacific Northwest, or the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, or both, depending on whom you ask. Downtown Boise and the North End neighborhood offer a PNW feel every bit as strong as anything in Portland or Seattle, while suburbs such as Meridian and Nampa steadfastly cling to the decidedly self-reliant ethos of the Intermountain West.

Boise is a sports town strongly supporting its local teams, especially the ECHL Idaho Steelheads (which as of 2018 have never missed the playoffs in their entire history), and the college football powerhouse at Boise State University. Slowly but surely, Boise is beginning to accept its role as a major metropolitan area in the western United States, while at the same time embracing its small town past.

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Neighbourhoods

Regions of the city are best distinguished by the age of construction (pre-1950s, 1950s-1980s suburbs, and post-1990 suburbs) and the affluence of their inhabitants, with the premier exception being the downtown core, which primarily consists of non-residential corporate and nightlife establishments. The North End refers to a distinct neighborhood due to the grid style of street construction, smaller pre-1940s suburban houses, relatively dense vegetation, and numerous amenities within walking distance of most residents. Boise has no culturally discernible neighborhoods, although a few ethnic restaurants and food stores exist.

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Sights and Activities

  • Idaho State Capitol Building, 700 W Jefferson St (Downtown at the northeast end of Capitol Blvd). M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM. If you are bold, you can ring the bell at the foot of the Capitol steps. The Capitol underwent extensive renovation and in early 2010 reopened amidst much fanfare after being completely closed (including to government officials) for the better part of two years. Guided tours are by reservation only, but there is an exhibit about Idaho and its government on the ground floor.
  • Basque Museum & Cultural Center, 611 W Grove St (Downtown between Capitol and 6th St), ☎ +1 208 343-2671. Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. The Boise area is home to one of the largest concentrations of Basque populations in the world outside of the Basque Country. The museum, in a part of downtown known as the "Basque Block," is a great place to visit whether or not you are of the Basque descent. Chock full of enriched heritage and even a bar to hang out at. A must see if you are in the Boise area. $5/adult, $4/concession, $3/child.
  • Julia Davis Park (Downtown with entrances on Myrtle St. and Capitol Blvd.). sunrise to sunset. This Olmsted-esque urban park contains many of the downtown attractions in Boise. It sits across the Boise River from Boise State University. Located within its confines are Zoo Boise, the Rose Garden, Boise Art Museum, a scenic railroad, and the Idaho Black History Museum.
  • Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Dr (In Julia Davis Park), ☎ +1 208 345-8330. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A great contemporary art at a very reasonable price. This museum is planned out beautifully and much more than most would expect from a town the size of Boise. Great local pieces as well as other western art. Free and open later on the first Thursdays of the month. $6/adult, $3/student, $4/senior, $4/military.
  • Idaho State Historical Museum, 610 N Julia Davis Dr (In Julia Davis Park), ☎ +1 208 334-2120. Temporarily closed for renovations. History of Idaho from prehistoric days to now. Includes exhibits on Native Americans, Basques, pioneers, and Chinese history. Due to renovations, a small temporary exhibit is at 214 Broadway Ave and open M-F 11AM-4PM.
  • Discovery Center of Idaho, 131 Myrtle St (next to Julia Davis Park at 2nd St), ☎ +1 208 343-9895, e-mail: webmail@dcidaho.org. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. An interactive science museum that offers educational programs sensory exhibits designed to make the sciences, technology, and math tangable. $12/adult, $10/youth, $11/senior.
  • Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, 777 S 8th St (Downtown next to Julia Davis Park), ☎ +1 208 345-0304. Park with reflecting pools, waterfalls, and a statue of Anne Frank. "Never Again," a moving tribute to the Dutch hero and all those who struggle to advance the dignity of us all. Free.
  • Idaho Black History Museum, 508 Julia Davis Dr, ☎ +1 208-789-2164, e-mail: request.information@ibhm.org. Tu 10AM-3PM, W Th 10AM-4PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Housed in the historic St. Paul Baptist Church building and located in Boise Julia Davis Park. Tours are by appointment only. free.
  • Zoo Boise, 355 Julia Davis Dr (in Julia Davis Park), ☎ +1 208 608-7760. 10AM-5PM. One of the most popular attractions in Southern Idaho as well as a living science facility that is home to over 201 animals from 83 various species. On Thursdays there is discounted admission. The zoo has two large areas under construction that are scheduled to open in 2019. Summer: $10/adult, $8/senior, $7/child; Winter: $7/adult.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

Boise has a semi-arid continental climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with four distinct seasons. Boise experiences hot and dry summers with highs reaching 38 °C eight days in a typical year and 32 °C on 51 days. Yet because of the aridity, average diurnal temperature variation exceeds 17 °C in summer. Winters are moderately cold, with a December average of -0.7 °C, and lows falling to -18 °C or below on around three nights per year. Snowfall averages 19 inches (48 cm), but typically falls in bouts of 8 cm or less. Spring and fall are mild. Autumn is brief; spring is gradual. Extremes have ranged from -28 °F -33 °C on January 16, 1888 to 44 °C, as recently as July 19, 1960; temperatures have reached -32 °C and 43 °C as recently as December 22, 1990 and June 28, 2015, respectively. Precipitation is usually infrequent and light, especially so during the summer months. It averages approximately 11 inches annually.

Tornadoes are rare in Ada County and the Boise area. Since 1950, only twelve tornadoes have been documented within the county, and four of those were during the same storm on August 3, 2000, which is also the most recent date a tornado was documented in the area. None of the tornadoes have been ranked higher than an "F1" on the Fujita scale, and no injuries or fatalities were ever documented

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max2.4 °C6.8 °C11.6 °C16.3 °C21.7 °C27.2 °C32.3 °C31.2 °C25 °C18.1 °C9.3 °C3.2 °C
Avg Min-5.8 °C-2.5 °C-0.1 °C2.6 °C6.6 °C11.2 °C14.3 °C13.8 °C9 °C3.9 °C-0.5 °C-5.3 °C
Rainfall36.8 mm27.2 mm32.8 mm31.5 mm27.4 mm20.6 mm8.9 mm10.9 mm20.3 mm19 mm37.6 mm34.5 mm
Rain Days7.96.36.85.64.73.81.7234.17.78.1

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Getting There

By Plane

Boise Airport. BOI IATA is less than 5 miles (8.0 km) south of downtown Boise. It can be directly accessed from both directions of Interstate 84 at Vista Rd (Exit #53). Getting downtown from the airport is simple, essentially requiring driving in a straight line (i.e. north on Vista Avenue). The airport is serviced by several airlines, including Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, and United. The airport sports a modern terminal building and offers free WiFi. Bus #3 runs hourly from the airport to downtown Boise and further. It costs $1 or a daypass is $2.

By Car

Boise can be accessed by car via Interstate 84, which connects to Meridian, Nampa, and eventually Oregon to the west, and to Twin Falls and eventually Utah to the southeast. Boise can also be accessed via State Highway 55 from McCall and Northern Idaho.

By Bus

  • Greyhound, 1212 W Bannock St (12th and W Bannock St in downtown Boise), ☎ +1 208 343-3681, toll-free: +1-800-231-2222. Greyhound travels primarily on Interstate 84 (Portland, Hood River, The Dalles, Baker City, Stanfield/Hermiston, Pendleton, La Grande, Ontario, Nampa, Boise, Twin Falls, Burley, Tremonton, Ogden and/or Salt Lake City) some eastbound buses continue contiguously from Salt Lake City to Denver. Passengers transfer buses in Portland, Salt Lake City and Stanfield, OR to reach additional destinations.
  • Northwestern Trailways, Greyhound Depot @ 1212 W Banncock (12th and W Bannock St in downtown Boise), ☎ +1 509-838-4029, e-mail: team@northwesterntrailways.com. Connects Spokane to Boise via Pullman, Moscow, Lewiston, Cottonbird etc.via US Hwy 195, 95, ID-Hwy 55. Some variations of the route connect through Couer d'Alene from Moscow.
  • Salt Lake Express, Bus stop at Boise Airport (load in the Shuttle/Taxi pick up lane.), ☎ +1 208 656-8824, toll-free: +1-800-356-9796. Travel primarily on Interstates 84 & 86 towards Pocatello via Mountain Home, Burley and Twin Falls. Passengers transfer buses in Pocatello to continue to their other destinations in Idaho, Montana, Utah and northwestern Wyoming.
  • Autobus Los Paisanos, 799 S Orchard St (S Orchard & W Cassia), ☎ +1 208 342-4147. M-Tu Th-F 8AM-3PM. Connects Caldwell, Boise, Jerome and El Paso, Texas.

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Getting Around

By Car

Traffic in Boise is relatively light and peaceful, especially compared to Seattle or Portland. But Boise is no stranger to heavy traffic in certain places. Interstate 184, Capitol Boulevard, Meridian Road, Eagle Road and State Street should be avoided during rush hours. Interstate 84 between I-184 and the Garrity Boulevard exit in Nampa (and sometimes into Caldwell) can be challenging as well. I-84 traffic in eastbound lanes is heavy in the morning, and in westbound lanes in the afternoon.

If I-84 is in bad shape, Ustick Road can be a smart alternative from Boise to Canyon County and vice versa, passing north of Nampa and south of Caldwell. Ustick runs unbroken for some 35 miles (56 km), from the Boise Bench neighborhood to U.S. Route 95 northeast of Homedale, close to the Oregon border. Victory Road provides a similar but more direct alternate route between south Boise and Nampa.

Traffic east of the Idaho City (State Highway 21/Federal Way) exit on I-84 from Boise towards Twin Falls is rarely - if ever - problematic. However, winter storms can make the Mountain Home area treacherous.

If you're going downtown, expect to pay to park even though parking meters aren't enforced on weekends or after 6PM After hours you might get lucky finding a spot on the street, but chances are you'll be heading to a private parking garage and paying a $2 minimum. This is especially true on weekends. Fortunately, parking outside the downtown core (i.e. east of Broadway, south of Myrtle, west of 15th and north of State) is insanely easy - and almost certainly free 24-7.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

ValleyRide. Routes are lacking compared to other cities of similar size. Make sure to check schedules since most buses do not run on Sundays and many stop running at 6:45PM. $1/ride or $2/day pass.

By Bike

The Boise city center is extremely bicycle-friendly. The Boise Greenbelt is a paved pedestrian and bike path that stretches approximately 25 miles (40 km) from Lucky Peak Reservoir east of Boise all the way through town [1]. For avid bikers and walkers, much of the river and Boise's parks can be accessed this way.

Cyclists should avoid main thoroughfares west of downtown, particularly Meridian Road and State Street west of 27th Street. Several bicycle-related fatalities have been recorded in those areas in recent months. Stick to side streets in Meridian and western Boise.

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Eat

  • Lucky 13 Pizza, 3662 South Eckert Rd, ☎ +1 208 344-3967. Pizza and beer in a patio setting snuggled into the Harris Ranch area of East Boise. A great place to go on a warm summer evening. Smoking is allowed on the patio.
  • Flying Pie Pizzaria, 6508 West Fairview Ave, ☎ +1 208 345-0000. Possibly the best pizza in the Northwest. They have a great selection of beers which can be delivered (along with the pizzas themselves). Originally an August-only promotion but now on the menu for much of the summer, Flying Pie offers a habanero pizza which is definitely not for the timid - the heat equivalent of pounds of jalapenos. Flying Pie and their habanero pizza have been featured on the Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food." The "Pie" also has locations on State Street, Broadway, and in Meridian.
  • Rockies Diner, 3900 West Overland Rd, ☎ +1 208 336-2878. Featured on the Travel Channel series Man vs. Food, Rockies offers a eating challenge with an electric guitar as a prize for the intrepid, and great 1950s-themed offerings for everyone else.
  • Big Jud's, 1289 Protest Rd, ☎ +1 208 343-4439. Not to be outdone and with a national reputation in its own right, Big Juds offers quite possibly the biggest hamburgers in the state. They have one-pound burgers, and yeah, they do doubles. In 2013 Big Jud's completely rebuilt its restaurant. Gone is the original "hole in the wall" location, which featured a grand total of 10 tables and a capacity of maybe 25. In its place is a new building with a much larger dining area.
  • Cottonwood Grille, 913 West River St, ☎ +1 208 333-9800. An amazing place to eat. With its specialties in American and Caribbean foods, it is one of the most popular places to eat in Boise. Whether you're going on a date or just want a nice night out, you can't go wrong. Reservations recommended.
  • Asiago's, 1002 Main St, ☎ +1 208 336-5552. An intimate setting and very tasty Italian cuisine for a reasonable price. Reservations recommended.
  • Mai Thai Restaurant & Bar, 750 West Idaho St, ☎ +1 208 344-8424. A great selection of Thai cuisine. The lunch bento specials are a nice sampling of various dishes. Dinner runs on the pricier side.
  • Boise Fry Company, 111 Broadway Ave, Suite 111, ☎ +1 208 495-3858. Home grown, cut and made fries, "with a burger on the side." Choose your type of potato, the cut, and size and then fry them to order. Get a Bison burger to go along.
  • PizzalChik, 7330 West State St (in Boise, but close to Eagle), ☎ +1 208 853-7757. Touted on the Food Network and stone's throw from Eagle on State Street, Pizzalchik offers some of the city's best roasted chicken and most distinctive pizzas.
  • Shige Japanese Cuisine, 100 North 8th St, Suite 215, ☎ +1 208 338-8423.
  • Superb Sushi Downtown, 280 North 8th St, Suite 104, ☎ +1 208 385-0123. Touts itself as "The Ultimate Untraditional Sushi." Offers an all you can eat special on Mondays and Tuesdays. Occasionally hosts sushi classes, which includes a two-course mini meal and instruction from the chef on how to roll your own sushi.
  • Taste of Thai, 8053 W Emerald St, ☎ +1 208 323-8424. Thai food.

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Drink

  • Bittercreek Alehouse (Red Feather Lounge), 246 N. 8th (8th & Idaho downtown Boise), ☎ +1 208-345-1813. 11AM-late. Very busy local independent downtown hangout, rustic northwest food & beer. Focus on local organic products and 30 beers on tap from small batch regional brewers. The above standard "pub grub" fare is also vegetarian friendly. lunch dinnner.
  • Red Feather Lounge. Sibling of next door's watering hole Bittercreek, these two bars/restaurants share a bathroom and a patio, but just about nothing else. Red Feather is a swanky, low-lit lounge with an amazing three story, award winning wine selection. Red Feather's menu emphasizes products that thrive in the southwest Idaho region. Both have freshly made cocktails and share an outdoor see-and-be-seen patio on the pedestrian friendly 8th street corridor.
  • Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery, 610 W Grove St, ☎ +1 208 426-0538. M 11AM-9PM, Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 10AM-11PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Bardenay, the first restaurant in the nation to include a distillery, features hand crafted cocktails of the finest ingredients. Bardenay distills rum, vodka and gin and uses them all in their drinks. This bar has an outdoor patio and a cool, laid-back vibe. Happy hour from 4PM-6PM.
  • Crescent 'No Lawyers' Bar & Grill, 5500 W. Franklin Rd (Franklin Road west of Orchard Street Boise Bench neighborhood), ☎ +1 208-322-9856. varies. When the owners of a then-nondescript Boise Bench neighborhood watering hole were sued by a lawyer neighbor over a residential dispute in the 1980s, they turned the experience into some free publicity and a theme for their business. Known citywide for its excellent bar food (as well as for turning lawyer jokes into a veritable cottage industry), today Crescent No Lawyers is one of the city's largest sports bars.
  • McCleary's Pub, 604 N. Orchard St, ☎ +1 208-342-3007. daily 8AM-2AM. A friendly neighborhood bar on the Bench which tends to get livelier as the night progresses. McCleary's also has a location on State Street towards Eagle.
  • Ranch Club, 3544 W. Chinden Blvd (Corner of Chinden and Orchard), ☎ +1 208-343-7447. 11AM-2AM daily. Perhaps best known for the large bucking horse statue featured in the 1980 Clint Eastwood movie Bronco Billy, the Ranch Club is a well-established venue for drinking and dancing which attracts a diverse clientele. Located just inside the independent municipality of Garden City, the Ranch Club is exempt from Boise's citywide smoking ban, a situation smokers take full advantage of.
  • Dirty Little Roddy's. Maybe a little what you might expect; Country music, sawhorse tables, peanuts and a mechanical bull that ladies can ride for free. You might not expect that this bar is popular with college kids and is nearly impossible to get into on a weekend night. It's in the basement, so be prepared to walk drunk up a narrow flight of stairs if you plan on spending any time here.
  • China Blue, 100 S 6th St. Owned by the same man as DLR, China Blue is the resident dance club, playing hip-hop music and catering to college-goers. There's an obligatory VIP section, as well as a bed and a gong to alert patrons to the presence of a big tipper. There is usually a cover, and drinks are expensive, especially for Boise, but on the up-side, the ladies restroom has a private champagne bar and bartender, so any annoying boys with too much bling can wait outside while you drink in the bathroom.
  • Mulligans. A typical would-be Irish dive bar with a very distinctive, but not altogether unpleasant smell. There's pool, of course, but also airhockey and foosball. And well shots sometimes. It's a great place to enjoy a drink on the patio and people-watch.
  • 10th Street Station. Located in the basement of the Idanha Hotel (now apartments) you can experience the relaxed crowd, friendly staff, and charm of a former speakeasy. As long as you don't ask for a 'pint' (only 10 oz glasses are served) you'll be welcome to stay the night. Note that they generally close early at 1:30AM.
  • Neurolux. The stiffest drinks in Boise, bartenders here use a five-count pour, instead of the standard three-count. Arguably the best jukebox in town. The clientele are about as varied as their tastes in music, so nobody is judgmental of anyone else, just what's playing on the jukebox. This is the place for indie rock shows; the biggest bands played here before they played the arenas. Beware, it is always dark at "The 'Lux," despite the big picture window letting in sunlight (they have black blinds for when it's too bright for Rock&Roll).
  • Grainey's and J.T. Toad's. Across the street from China Blue and Dirty Little Roddy's, these twin bars (on two levels of the same building) typically charge a cover but provide relatively cheap beverages once inside. In addition, there are often two live bands playing, one on each level. The basement band typically cajoles more bar-hoppers into dancing than its upstairs counterpart. While somewhat low on atmosphere, these bars can be a lively stop, particularly for the younger crowd. Note that Grainey's may be the oldest 'original' bar in boise great charm for a happy-hour drink.
  • Montego Bay, Lake Harbor Ln (off State Street). You can't miss the billboards that show the way. Montego Bay is a bar and restaurant with a dock on the water, open from May until September-ish. The drinks and food are kind of expensive, but the ambiance is great, and if you're a non-smoker, the open air dock is a good way to escape the smelly smoke of the inside. There is a dance floor in the building, and patio furniture outside, with tableside service, and outdoor bars. edit
  • Les Bois Park Clubhouse & Turf Club. Tuesday Night Ladies Night will usually have around 2,500 people, free admission and a wide variety of drinkers. Beer is cheaper than most other sports entertainment venues (definitely colder) and has a couple of bars and multiple areas to get around and not be stuck at a table or bar until you fall over. There are two restaurants with pay-for tables and a patio with the same. Expect a lot of very lightly dressed women and hope for a longshot to win one of the races so you can get $2 drafts for 20 minutes.
  • The Balcony, 150 N 8th St #226. The most well known LGBT bar in Boise, The Balcony is so named for its wrap around, open-air balcony, right above the pedestrian center of downtown (beautiful view). The dance floor is big and has two separate raised areas for dancing in the limelight, and the latest remix of the latest Gaga song is sure to play twice. The drinks are of average strength, but keep your eyes open for some drag queens you wouldn't believe were "packing" (and some you would).

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Sleep

  • Cambria Suites Boise, 2970 W Elder St, ☎ +1 208 344-7444, +1 208 344-7446. A completely non-smoking hotel for business travelers located near the Boise Airport and 3 miles (4.8 km) away from Boise State University.
  • The Grove Hotel, 245 S Capitol Blvd. A part of the Coast Hotels chain, it's probably the highest end hotel in Boise.
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton, 7957 West Spectrum Way, ☎ +1 208 375-8500. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Free breakfast and light dinner. Free high-speed Internet.
  • Hotel 43, 981 Grove St, ☎ +1 208 342-4622, +1 208 344-5751. A boutique hotel in downtown Boise. Formerly known as Statehouse Inn.
  • Idaho Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast, 109 W Idaho, ☎ +1 208 342-8066. Built in 1904, former Governor's mansion, near downtown shops and dining, close to parks and historic district. Rooms $70-85, Suites $99-110. All have private baths and are furnished in turn of the century antiques. Free wifi. Free gourmet breakfast.
  • The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 Grove St, ☎ +1 208 424-8244. Boutique hotel with tiled spa-like bathrooms, 32" flat screen HDTV, free wifi.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Boise Spectrum, 7699 West Spectrum Street, ☎ +1-208-376-1000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $99.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Accommodation in Boise

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Boise searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

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Boise Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Boise

This is version 16. Last edited at 9:48 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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