Boise transplant Diana DeJesus probably knows more about the City of Trees than most natives. That’s because for the past four years, she’s delved into the city’s happenings on her popular Instagram page, Boise Bucket List, which boasts nearly 58,000 followers.
DeJesus covers some great outdoor and culinary activities to make your upcoming weekend one to remember.
Sights to See
This Boise art staple began in 2002, when a local artist, Colby Akers, painted the back side of Moon’s Cafe, located on Idaho Street. Since then, it has grown enormously, stretching from the 8th to 9th Streets along the alleyway and into an open lot between Even Stevens Sandwiches and Meriwether Cider.
Patrons of 10 Barrel Brewing and Even Stevens Sandwiches have an excellent view of the empty lot portion of the outdoor gallery from their patios, and the murals are updated regularly to provide a fresh artistic experience.
Hikers and sightseers alike love this fixture of Boise’s majestic scenery. A 3.7 mile loop access trail starts near the Old Idaho Penitentiary and leads visitors through dusty switchbacks up to a 60-foot cross, which was erected in 1956 by the Jaycees Club, and is illuminated during nighttime.
Once hikers reach the top, or table, they are greeted by an amazing panoramic view of Boise and the nearby foothills. Visitors can stop for a rest, dangle their feet over the ledge, and try to point out their houses or apartments among the hustle and bustle of the city.
Table Rock also features sandstone left over from Lake Idaho, an ancient, massive body of water that covered what is now Boise for roughly 10 million years until about two to four million years ago.
Back in the 1920s, when train travel was still common in Idaho and the greater west, New York architects designed the Spanish-style Boise Depot, which sits on the bench overlooking Capitol Boulevard and downtown Boise.
This city fixture claims a 96-foot bell tower, 3,542 square-foot multi-story atrium with 44-foot ceiling, six arched entrances, outdoor gardens with a koi pond and benches for relaxing and enjoying the sights.
The depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and in 1993 the building underwent a $3.4 million renovation to restore it’s beautiful beige interior and red, blue, and yellow trim. In 1997 the last train to leave the station was a Seattle-bound Amtrak passenger train.
Train enthusiasts can check out Big Mike, a Mikado-style steam engine built in 1920 by the American Locomotive Company. The old steamer used to run along Union Pacific’s mail line from North Platte, NE, to Fruitland, Idaho. The engine is parked on tracks on the east side of the depot.
Camel’s Back Reserve Trails
Located on Boise’s north end, these biking, walking, and hiking foothill trails are beloved by Boiseans for their scenic beauty and easy access. Trails in Camel’s Back Reserve and Hull’s Gulch provide a fun outdoor experience regardless of a visitors exercise level.
The Camel’s Back Park Chute, essentially a large stone stairway, provides easy access from the park to the large network of trails that lead high into the hills. If you bring the family pooch, be aware that leashes are required for dogs at all times.
Visitors may catch a glimpse of wildlife like birds, fox, and deer on the trail. During spring and summer, the trails are surrounded by beautiful green native grasses, riparian trees, and shrubs. If you decide to check out the trail system, be sure to stay on designated trails to prevent soil erosion and damage to the local ecosystem.
8th Street Downtown
If you’re looking for a variety of eats and drinks, head downtown and take your pick of restaurants along 8th Street. From German fare to Mexican vittles, the stretch of 8th Street between Main Street and West Bannock Street offers a wide variety of sumptuous meals and refreshments.
Westside Drive In
For a 1950’s-themed classic Boise diner experience, head over to the West Side Drive In on State Street or off of Parkcenter Boulevard. They offer classic American food like shakes and burger and are famous for their ice-cream potato, a treat you’re obligated to experience as a Boise visitor or resident.