Written by V. Estelle Rogers

The hub of Southwestern Idaho is calling out for a weekend getaway

The name Boise is derived from the Old French word “boisé,” which means “wooded.” Boise, Idaho, is indeed richly surrounded by woods, as well as trails, parks, lakes and mountains perfect for skiing. This adventurer’s paradise and city of more than 200,000 is the anchor to southwestern Idaho and the regional hub for outdoor adventure, culture and dining. Winter means mild temperatures, occasional snowfall with an average of eighteen inches per year, and wonderful experiences both indoors and out.


Richard’s Restaurant and Bar in Boise, ID

Date night at Richard’s Restaurant and Bar. Photo: Miseibel Photography, LLC

Award-winning Richard’s Restaurant and Bar is located in downtown Boise and features a classy business lunch-to-date night atmosphere. The namesake of the restaurant, Richard Langston, is also the executive chef. Enjoy choosing Clearwater Canyon Cellars wine from their wine list, a Lewis-Clark Valley AVA specialty.

Don’t miss locally famous, ranch-to-table gourmet burgers that can only be found at a small restaurant in front of a shopping mall. The Ranch-Scottish Highland Burgers are all-natural, grass-fed and cooked to order by the same cowboys that raise the cattle at Big Valley Ranch. Get drive-through takeout or dine at one of their outdoor tables.

Stop by the southside window of the fancy Petite 4 French restaurant on Saturdays for ricotta donuts, chocolate bouchons, and ham and cheese scones, or grab $2 oysters on the patio. Make a reservation for dine-in and enjoy such delights as pork belly or duck sausage followed by sticky toffee pudding.


The Springs hot spring retreat near Boise, ID

Photo: Idaho Tourism

Don’t miss the chance to visit a hot spring retreat less than an hour’s drive from Boise. The Springs offer hot natural waters perfect for cool winter days. Anticipate plunging into the main pool or soaking in a private tub.

With 2,600 skiable acres and ninety runs, Bogus Basin Ski Resort is an Idaho landmark destination, and is also just a short forty-five-minute drive from the city. The hill opened in 1942, 19 years before the first chairlift. The tubing hill is a great alternative to skiing, and the hot chocolate tastes the same after either activity.

Idaho IceWorld in Boise captures winter magic for all of us. Lace up those skates and take to the ice on one of two rinks during public skate hours. There is plenty of room for everyone from beginners to advanced twirlers.


Boise Freak outdoor art gallery

The outdoor, graffiti-inspired art of Freak Alley. Photo: @steve_averitt

Visit the Northwest’s largest open-air, multi-artist mural gallery. Freak Alley Gallery is an amazing showcase of graffiti-inspired art, all created over twenty years in an alleyway in the heart of downtown.

Boise has one of the largest populations of Basque people outside of the Basque Country in Spain. Visit the Basque Block on Grove Street, where you’ll find the Basque Museum, a Basque market and a handful of authentic Basque restaurants and bars.

Inside the Riverside Hotel, find The Sapphire Room, a 170-seat music venue featuring intimate concerts showcasing local and traveling artists. Some evenings, guests enjoy the sounds of Boise Jazz Society performing.


The Record Exchange opened in 1977 in Boise’s historic Hitchcock Building, and is the oldest and largest independent music store in Idaho. With new and vintage music on hand, they also sell local concert tickets.

For the most modern mall experience, visit The Village at Meridian on the outskirts of Boise. Explore shops and restaurants for toys to noodles and everything in between. Take in a movie, enjoy an ice cream cone and then buy some athletic shoes to work it off with a mall stroll.

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