Tips for Balancing Business & Downtime in Boise, Idaho

By all accounts, Boise, Idaho is where it’s at. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Actually, the secret about the “City of Trees” has been out for a few years, with the most recent accolade appearing on Forbes’ list of America’s fastest-growing cities: Boise was #1.

While Idaho’s capitol is enjoying the swiftest growth in the country, it also earned the top spot on Forbes’ list of best cities for young professionals and is known as one of the best cities for active families, best downtown scenes, and best job growth potential. You get the idea.

The next time you’re traveling through for business, be sure to add some downtime to unplug into your trip. Be forewarned, you may not want to leave. Here are some insider tips and hidden gems for fellow business travelers:

The Boise River Greenbelt

The Greenbelt stretches along the tree-lined Boise River for 25 miles and offers a great pathway for walkers, runners and cyclists to get some exercise and a real feel of Boise’s beauty. Its close proximity to downtown makes it easily accessible. It’s actually easy to get to from many locations throughout the city — including Kathryn Albertson Park, where you can watch surfers catch some whitewater on the river or rent a paddleboard at Quinn’s Pond.

You could rent a Boise GreenBike and cruise on down to the Greenbelt. Find and reserve a bike using their mobile app or rent one on the bike itself from various bike racks throughout the city.

Treefort Music Festival

This year’s festival takes place from March 21-25 in downtown Boise. It offers 460 bands, plus nine different forts, including Yogafort, Alefort, Comedyfort, Filmfort and Foodfort, to name a few. The city becomes a haven for music lovers and is akin to South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

"A lot of people know what SXSW is, and we'll definitely say that [Treefort has] organically grown a festival that captures those bands traveling from SXSW," said Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carrie Westergard. "Those musicians are coming through here, and [Treefort is] capturing them to perform in all these different venues throughout Boise. It really transforms the city for five days."

Hyde Park

A casual little neighborhood located in Boise’s North End, Hyde Park is a fun place to grab a beer at one of the outdoor patios (13th Street Bar & Grill and Parilla), people watch, and walk around. Hyde Park has a lot of cool, historic buildings and homes, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and an ice cream shop called Goody’s. Another great thing about Hyde Park is that’s it’s super close to Camel’s Back Park, which is the gateway to miles and miles of singletrack trails in the Boise Foothills.

Boise Downtown - “BoDo”

You can’t come to Boise and not go wandering around downtown where you’ll feel the pulse of the business district, fine dining spots, tons of pubs, and the beautiful capitol building with the foothills defining the backdrop.

If you’re downtown on the first Thursday of the month, you will be treated to special events planned by local merchants in-store. You can find cheese, wine and chocolate tastings, local art exhibits, trunk shows and live music. Most of the businesses participate in some form or another for First Thursday, and events typically run from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. If you’re in the market, it might also be a good chance to catch some sales on business clothes to ensure you are dressed for success while in town.

The Basque Block downtown is part of the Old Boise Historic District and consists of a handful of Basque cultural centers, businesses, meeting centers, and restaurants including Bar Gernika which is known for its famous beef tongue, served only on Saturdays until they run out. The Basque Market serves really good paella that you can buy straight out of the hot cast-iron pan. Numbering about 16,000 people, Boise’s Basque community is one of the largest such communities in the U.S.

Table Rock

One of the first geological features you’ll notice about Boise is probably Table Rock. The trailhead is less than 3 miles from downtown and can be accessed through the old Idaho State Penitentiary parking lot.

While most of Boise itself is heavily treed, Table Rock is pretty exposed, steep and doesn’t really offer any shade. So go at sunrise or sunset, bring your water bottle, and take in the grandeur from the flat-topped mountain whose vistas extend south and southwest to the Owyhee Mountains nearly 50 miles away.

As you can see, you’ll experience everything Boise has to offer while socializing and conducting business. The people are really nice and helpful in Boise. You should feel right at home, whether you’re there for business, pleasure or both.

About the Author

Avery Phillips is a freelance writer who thinks she has too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. She uses that obsession with human interactions to drive forward with people first innovation in marketing. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions—or to chat about making the most of your next business trip to Boise.