FX Excursions

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Boise, Idaho, for the Family

by Holly Riddle

Oct 17, 2019

Christiannafzger | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Boise often surprises with its wealth of interesting things to do, great eateries and bustling downtown. Just make sure you have a rental car handy (though if you plan to stay just in downtown, a bike will do) and you’ll be good to go exploring what’s been called “the biggest small town there is.”



If you like attractions that are one part historically creepy and one part beautiful, visit the Idaho Botanical Garden, which sits on the previous grounds of the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Check out the garden’s lineup of events, but visit any day to see the range of gardens that feature native plants, succulents, roses and other flowers, vegetables and herbs. If you visit in the winter, be sure to stop by for the holiday light show!


Of course, while you’re there, stop in the remains of the Old Idaho Penitentiary, too. The penitentiary opened in 1872, served the community for 101 years and saw thousands walk through its doors. Tours feature details on the institution’s questionable conditions and most famous inmates.


You probably associate Basque culture and history with Spain, but did you know Idaho has its own helping of Basque culture as well? The Basque Museum & Cultural Center will tell you all about it, as the only Basque museum in the United States. Special focus is placed on Basque peoples who settled near Boise as sheepherders.


Boise, Idaho. Photo: Christiannafzger | Dreamstime.com


If the weather is nice, don’t miss a chance to explore Boise Greenbelt. You can easily adventure through 25 miles of cycling and walking paths right outside and within the city. In fact, many locals use the Greenbelt as an easy way to commute, as it connects many significant points of interest, including Boise State University’s campus.



Keeping with the Basque theme, visit Boise’s Basque Block in downtown, and try the Basque Market, where you can try authentic tapas and wine.


Ask the locals where to eat, and someone will definitely tell you stop by Fork. This downtown restaurant has a great little patio and a menu filled with locally sourced ingredients.


For breakfast, Guru Donuts is a must-try. The from-scratch donuts include a wide variety of flavors and toppings, perfect for the most adventurous travelers with a sweet tooth among your family.


The Inn at 500 Hotel is a favorite boutique property in downtown Boise. The hotel is filled with local artwork and there are lots of desirable amenities, such as free parking, bicycle rentals and welcome drinks.


The Grove Hotel is also a popular pick, with its renovated rooms and nice location. City views make this modern property even better.


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