Boise is a dynamic city. It has just about anything and everything you could ever want in a western US city, but for newcomers, or people who are unfamiliar with Boise, it might be hard to know where to start when it comes to having fun. Well, if this is your predicament, then we have an amazing list for you (however, even if you do know Boise pretty well, you should still do them; they are fun). So, here you have it, 16 things to do in Boise in 2016:
1. Hop on Over to Jump
Jump? What’s Jump? Well, for those of you who haven’t take a trip downtown in a while, this may be news to you. Jump— also known as Jack’s Urban Meeting Place— is the creation of the J.R. Simplot Company, one of Boise’s oldest and most successful corporations. Started by Jack Simplot back in the mid-20th century, the Simplot Company has grown into one of the state’s largest producers of Potatoes and is currently the largest supplier of French fries for McDonald’s.
Jack’s simple company may have started small, but it has helped Boise grow and develop more than most businesses have. This is because the Simplot Family has always been advocates of giving back to the community and it is that sense of philanthropy that sparked the idea for Jump.
It is hard to explain Jump in just a few words, but it is, simply put, a mix between a community center, an urban park, and so on. They call it a gift to the community where there will be ballrooms for events, open rooms for classes and activities, and many opportunities to have fun. Not to mention a 5 story slide that takes you from the top floor to the bottom. Jump opened its doors at the end of 2015 and is really spreading its wings during 2016 so be sure to check it out for yourself!
2. Find Your Way Out of Boise Escape
Do you like solving puzzles? What about finding clues or challenging yourself to a challenge? Well, if that is the case, then you will love Boise Escape. Boise Escape is a cross between a theme park, a mystery novel, and scavenger hunt. Essential, what they do is you and your group are locked into a themed room of your choice and you have one hour to escape. There are clues, locks, and so on scattered about the room that are there to aid you in your escape, but with only an hour, the tension is on.
Boise Escape started very recently in our lovely city of trees and it has quickly caught the hearts of residents. It is a great way to spend an afternoon and, if you want to, a special event. The Boise Escape staff can help you with birthday parties, work teamwork exercises, and so on. You just have to ask. Pricing varies so you will want to check their website or call ahead before scheduling (which can only be done online).
3. Have Some Fun at the Gene Harris Jazz Festival
Music is a strong part of Boise culture. Whether it is folk music, jazz, or something else, we have it here. There are music events, classes, and stores all over the city and the Gene Harris Jazz Festival is definitely a well-loved event. Every year since 1998 the Gene Harris Jazz Festival has been held here in Boise at Boise State University. But why? What do they do at the jazz festival? Well, to understand the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, you will need to go back and look at Gene Harris and his colleagues.
In 1998 Gene Harris and a group of other Boise Musicians wanted to increase the quality of life in Boise by offering its people a way to share, celebrate, and learn all about jazz. It is a three day event of workshops, performances and so on as they celebrate their own love for jazz and try to inspire other of its greatness as well.
4. See Your Favorite Artists Live at the Boise Music Festival
Do you like more mainstream music and artists? The ones you hear on the radio all the time? If so, then the Boise Music Festival is for you. Every summer the Boise Music Festival is one of the biggest events of the year. Held at the Idaho Fair Grounds, the Boise Music Festival is a concert series like none other. Popular artists like Nick Jonas, Macklemore, Plain White T’s, Rob Tomas, and many others. 2016’s lineup has not been released just yet, but it is sure to be promising. The festival attracted close to 70,000 people and it is projected to be as large if not larger in 2016.
The date for 2016’s music festival has been set for June 25 at Expo Idaho. So, mark your calendars and keep an eye out for tickets. Usually, the sooner you buy them, the better price you can get on them.
5. Go Check out More of Your Favorite Artists as They Pass Through
Boise is in a great location. Due to it being one of the biggest city between Salt Lake and Portland, Boise has become a natural stop for many musicians as the travel up north. As such, we have played host to some great acts like Imagine Dragons, Lindsey Stirling, Skillet, and so on. Some of the bands and artists that have chosen Boise as one of their tour destinations are Maroon 5, The Piano Guys, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nightwish, Breaking Benjamin, Parachute, Tech N9ne, Celtic Woman, 5 Seconds of Summer, Blue October, and that is just the start.
So, if you are a music fanatic, then you will not be bored.
6. Experience a Sunrise or Sunset From the Top of Table Rock
Table Rock is one of the most popular natural landmarks in Boise. It is a massive sandstone outcropping that overlooks the valley from the Boise Foothills. Offering a magnificent view over the Treasure Valley and into Oregon as well as a view over the foothills that stretch up to the feet of the Rockies. This view makes for both amazing sunset and sunrise views. However, that isn’t its only purpose. Table Rock is also lined with caves, surrounded by trails, and, not to mention, a whole lot of fun. Not to mention a seemingly peaceful atmosphere.
To get to Table Rock you have two options: hike or drive. For those of you who want to take your time on the trail, then you are in for a treat. There are several trails that you can take, the most well-worn, and oldest of them all would have to be 1.5 to 2 miles long (3 or 4 both ways). However, there are longer ones that allow you to experience more of the foothills on your way up. These can be quite long though.
If you decide to drive, then all you need to do is to follow the directions that can be found on Google. These will take you 9/10s of the way up the peak until you reach a parking lot located on the back of Table Rock. From there you must exit your vehicle to go any further. You can then take the trail up and around some radio equipment, boulders, and so on until you reach the edge. It is a masterful experience to behold and can be quite amazing for photo ops as well.
7. Chcek out a Steelhead Game
If you are a fan of hockey, then the Idaho Steelheads games are going to be a great place for you to hang out. The Steelheads are a minor league hockey team that plays from the CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise. They have a regular season between autumn to spring playing almost every week. It is a great place for hockey fans of all kinds. Great seats, a charismatic team, and enthusiastic fans that will have you cheering along in no time.
8. Check out a Bronco Football Game
Now, you have probably heard about the Boise State Broncos and their blue football field, but you haven’t experienced a true Bronco game until you spend some time at Albertson’s Stadium yourself with the Bronco Nation.
Filled with excitement, great football, and even greater food, the Boise State Broncos know how to host a game. They play during the fall season and are often pitted against big universities like BYU, Washington, Virginia, Hawai’i, and the Air Force Academy.
Well there is part 1 of 16 Things to Do in Boise in 2016. Stay tuned for part 2 where we explore some of Idaho’s antique and outdoor attractions.