I had just 12 hours to spend in Boise, Idaho and they were, for the most part, nightlife hours, but I was pleasantly surprised by all that the capital city of Idaho had to offer. Here are five things that I wouldn’t miss in Boise (including one thing that I did miss that will necessitate my return)!
I was driving from Portland, Ore. on pace to arrive in downtown Boise by 8:30 in the evening to meet my friend Jeremy who had promised to show me a good time in his hometown, despite my late arrival. Then the time changed. Mountain time gets me every time!
So, I arrived at 9:30 in downtown Boise but, nonetheless, Jeremy was waiting with what he knew would be exactly what I needed: Wine…on tap
Number 1: Bodovino
Warm your feet at the cozy fireplace outside and warm your liver with the walls (and more walls!) of wine on tap at Bodovino. I spun in awed circles and wondered whether I had found my very own version of heaven. Find your perfect glass, insert card, and voila!
Jeremy and I chose a pinot noir called Refugio from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, which Bodovino described as having “mysterious origins”. That was intriguing enough for us! It was delicious.
Number 2: RamaPong
A quick eight-minute walk through downtown Boise brings you to RamaPong, known for, well, ramen and ping pong as the name implies. Jeremy and I took a long route so that I could see the Idaho State Capitol Building and then we dove in for a not-so-competitive game of ping pong (Jeremy won), all while surrounded by the smells of delicious, spicy noodles. Buying a bowl of noodles gets you half-off the $8 ping-pong table rental.
While we didn’t eat, I appreciated the Rouge Ale on tap (an Oregon favorite) and the fact that, while I lost, I made Jeremy chase the ball all around the bar. He earned that win. While we didn’t get there, the bar next door was jamming due to its real arcade games from the days when Jeremy and I were kids (gotta love the 80s).
Number 3: The Basque Block & The Basque Museum
It was far too late to plunge into the Basque Block of Boise, but Jeremy did walk me over there to bring me back to my Camino de Santiago experience.
When I was walking the Camino de Santiago, which goes straight through Basque Country, I heard all about how there is a huge Basque population in Boise. I had no idea that I would be standing on the Basque Block of Boise just over a month after finishing the pilgrimage!
I must come back to Boise to check out the food along this block as well as the Basque Museum and Cultural Center.
Number 4: The Hyde House
The next morning I settled in for a long writing session at the Hyde House where I would certainly hold court if I lived in Boise.
The bicycle theme was enough to draw me in, but this converted home turned restaurant also sources its food locally, including the large beer selection, featuring mostly Lost Grove Brewing selections (a Boise favorite) and, come to think of it, hitting up the tasting room at Lost Grove is another thing to do in Boise that will necessitate my return.
It was too early for beer, but I had the avocado toast and a ton of coffee before a walk around the…
Number 5: Boise River Greenbelt
Last…but certainly not least.
Walking along the Boise River is what brought me back to Boise (besides Jeremy, of course!) I passed through Boise on a work trip a couple of years ago and was surprised even back then by the absolute beauty that Boise spouts. But back then I was so busy working that I had no time to explore.
This regret has now been remedied. While I wasn’t ready to strap on my Camino shoes and walk the entire 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, a short stroll along the tree-lined paths was enough to ensure that I’ll make a return trip to Boise soon.
Thinking of a trip to Boise? Save this for later!