Summer Guide to Boise

Everything You Need to Know About Summer Activities in Boise, Idaho

The summer months in Boise are hot, fun and fantastic. Whether you’re planning a trip to Boise for your summer vacation this year, or whether you’re a resident looking for fun stuff to do, the summer is a great time to see Idaho’s most populous city come alive.

We in Boise, pride ourselves on giving visitors and residents alike the amenities and facilities of a big city combined with the friendly and laid back attitude of a small town. Nestled in the treasure valley, we like to think that our location is aptly named. While there’s always something awesome to see, do, eat, drink or otherwise experience in our fair city, the summer is when our most beautiful treasures sparkle the brightest. Let’s take a look at the “must do” sights, activities, food and drink this summer and every summer thereafter in Boise.

What to See

Home to natural and man-made wonders plenty, summer is the perfect time to see Boise at its most… boisterous! When you’re visiting us this summer be sure to check out…

boise hawks stadium

Cycle through the Greenbelt - Summer is the perfect time to hop on your bike (or rent one for free all this month downtown) and enjoy the natural beauty of the Greenbelt. This is the perfect way to get to know our fair city while also getting your daily dose of nature. What’s more, Boise is extremely cycling friendly, meaning you can get just about anywhere in the city by bike.

Tour the Old Idaho Penitentiary - Want to take a step back in time? Explore Boise’s past in the Old Idaho Penitentiary. In this old complex, which goes back to the late 1800s you can see how the outlaws of old experienced their summers here.

Hike to Table Rock - What better way to celebrate the start of a beautiful summer’s day than by getting up early and taking a morning hike to stunning Table Rock for a beautiful view of the city.

See the only human rights memorial in the US - We have a whole lot of heart here in Boise. That’s why we have the only human rights memorial in the US. See the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial next to the library.

Boise Hawks Baseball Game - Boise has it’s very own minor league baseball team. Equipped with their own stadium, a Hawks game makes the perfect summer activity.

Check out the animals and events at Zoo Boise - This summer Zoo Boise will be opening another exhibit and expand the already existing facility. Along with the expansion, they will also hold events all summer long to check out.

Go to a concert at the Idaho Botanical Gardens - The Idaho Botanical Gardens are known as being one of the favorite outdoor venues in all of Boise. The gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but they also have a complete summer concert series with musical artists. Bring a blanket and the whole family for a picnic filled with music!

Boise Music Festival - Known for having a mix of all types of music, the BMF brings out the best in Boise from the people to the music. There are even carnival attractions and activities that surround the music aspect of the festival. Get your tickets before they’re gone!

Make a trip to Shoshone Falls - Located in Twin Falls, Idaho “The Niagra of the West” is definitely worth the trip.

Watch a Play at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival - Live plays, food and drinks? The Shakespeare Festival is a great outdoor event to enjoy a play put on by our local acting company. Tickets sell out quickly, so jump online to buy them in advance! 

Sit Down and Enjoy Bown Crossing - Located in Southeast Boise is this cute neighborhood community! With multiple restaurants to choose from, head over to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a nice happy hour. Don't forget to check out the sweet candy shop!

Catch a Film at The Flicks Theatre - Located in the heart of downtown Boise, The Flicks Theatre offers a variety of films. The best part? Rick's Cafe American serves entrees, snacks, wine and beer as you watch the movie!

Check Out the Beauty of Jump Creek Canyon - Perfect for a mini summer adventure, drive to Marsing and catch the 60-feet waterfall at Jump Creek. While there enjoy the surrounding view of vibrant rock walls from the canyon floor. 

Take a Trip to McCall - The beautiful mountain town is only a two-hour drive from Boise and is filled with summer fun. Spend time on the Payette Lake doing water activities or shop around the towns main street, either way you'll have a good time enjoying the beauty!

Bruneau Sand Dunes - The Bruneau Dunes are home to the tallest free standing sand dunes in North America reaching 470 feet. With hiking trails surrounding, campsites available and dunes to climb... what more could you need?

The Black Cliffs - Ideal for the real adventurer. The Black Cliffs are a range of towering columns of lava rock and are a popular place for rock climbing along the Boise River.  

What to Do

There’s a whole lot more to us than looks. We also have a lot of great summer activities for the entire whole family, including...

boise river summer

Take a leisurely walk through the Botanical Gardens - The summer is the perfect time to see our stunning Botanical Gardens in bloom. With awesome events every summer there’s always something fun to do here.

Take in a rodeo show - Stop by the 100-year-old Snake River Stampede to take in a rodeo show and see some of the state’s finest cowboys test their skills.

Zip Line from the Turkey 2000 - Thrillseekers will get a huge kick out of ziplining through the hills on the outskirts of Boise. Dare you take on the Turkey 2000, a 2,030-foot zip line that will set even the steeliest hearts a-flutter?

Get a group to a bike bar - There are several companies that now allow you to rent their 15 person bike bars. Ride around while you enjoy a cold brew with all your friends and family!

Ride the Mountain Coaster at Bogus Basin - Bogus Basin Mountain Resort recently put in their latest and greatest attraction. You can ride the mountain coaster for $15 for a single ride, or $25 for tandem.

Rent a paddle board on Quinns Pond - Take advantage of the 22-acre recreational pond that is located north of the Boise River and rent a paddle board for the day.

Paddle Boat in Julia Davis Park - Spend the day in one of Boise’s most beautiful parks and spend just $15 for 1 hour of paddle boat fun!

Go to Alive After 5 concert summer series - Every Wednesday evening after 5 the Boise community has a chance to check out a new band in the Grove Plaza. Local breweries and wineries also attend. So grab a beer, wine or whatever you prefer and listen to some live music.

Float the Boise River - It almost seems as if the Boise River was made to float down. At the starting point, you can rent tubes or even grab a bite to eat at their snack shack. You can also determine how long you want your float to be with several different stopping points already made along the river.

Get a Glimpse of Basque Heritage - The Basque culture is recognized for it's presence in downtown Boise. Stop by the Basque Block to check it out and try some tasty food. We've also heard there's a super fun festival held at the end of summer... might be fun to immerse yourself in the culture!

Enjoy the Ste. Chapelle Concert Series - Ste. Chapelle one of our local wineries, located in Caldwell, hosts a great summer concert series. Sunday afternoons all summer long stop by for live music, tasty food, local vendors and of course... WINE! 

Shop, Eat and Drink at The Village - Our local outdoor mall, The Village, is nothing less than spectacular! Not only does it have some of our favorite shops, but throughout the summer live music is played right in the center of it all. Stop by on Friday evenings to enjoy food, yummy drinks, or to just jam out to good music.

Whitewater Raft Down the Payette River - Seeking adventure? Whitewater rafting is calling your name! Multiple rafting companies line the mountain, don't miss out on a wild adventure.

Take a Stroll Through the Saturday Farmers Market - There's nothing we love more than local vendors, tasty food and walking outside on a warm summer morning. Where's more perfect to do all of that than the Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Boise.

The Kids Guide

Enjoying summer with the kids is essential. Here's some of the best spots designed for the children.

Ivywild Pool - Ready to get your kiddos out of the house? Head to Ivywild Pool. Where a wading pool is designed for non-swimming children 6 years and under.

Boise City Aquatics Center - The perfect indoor public swimming facility connected to the Boise West Family YMCA. Open to Boise residents, as well as Y members.

Aquarium of Boise - Wanting to meet friends of the sea? Stop by the Aquarium of Boise to check out a variety of sea life... some you can even touch!

Zoo Boise - Giraffes, lions, lemurs and a crocodile? Something one usually can't find in Boise. Head over to the Zoo to check out a variety of exhibits from all over the world. Zoo Boise also offers a variety of kids camps, go online to plan a day (or night) of fun!

Camel's Back Park - Nothing like hiking up a huge hill to enjoy the beautiful views of Boise. Not only to Camel's Back present trails to walk, but you can take snacks for a picnic and enjoy the tennis courts nearby!

Lucky Peak - Just 10 miles east of Boise is Lucky Peak State Park, the perfect place for swimming, picnicing, fishing or boating. Keep driving and you will find Spring Shores with lakeside access for our boating enthusiasts! 

Settlers Park Family Movie Night - As the day cools down and the sun starts to fall, gather the crew and go to Settlers Park. Every Friday they host movies at dusk for the community to enjoy.

Movies Under the Stars - Fun-filled family evenings begin with free games for the kids! As soon as it gets dark grab a blanket and sit down to watch a movie on the 30' screen. Look online to find out which park is hosting the event each week!

Big Al's - With a bowling alley and arcade, your kids will love playing here! Fun tip: kids 15 and under can bowl for FREE everyday, all summer long. As for the adults, there's a full bar and tasty food to enjoy while you hang out.

Discovery Center of Idaho - This hands-on interactive science center provides fun, interactive STEM learning for children of all ages. Located in the heart of downtown, stop by to step out of the sun and enjoy a fun filled day of learning. 

Wahooz Family Fun Center - The capital for family fun! Ready to spend an afternoon inside? Take the family to Wahooz for all things fun including go-karts, mini golf, arcade games, and so much more!

What to Eat and Drink

boise eat drink summer

Finally, no major city is complete without its own treasure trove of essential food and drink and Boise is absolutely no exception. Some of our favorites include;

  • Start the day with the ultimate breakfast at Goldy’s
  • Enjoy a wide selection of cask-conditioned ales at the Bittercreek Ale House.
  • Get some barbecue you’ll never forget at Barbacoa.
  • Check out the innovative self-service system at Bodovino.
  • Take a bite out of the ‘50s at the distinctive Western Diner.

We can’t wait to welcome you this summer!

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