Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

12 Top Visited Tourist Attractions in Boise

Boise, capital of Idaho, was founded during the gold rush days of the 1800s. What was then a township next to Fort Boise has evolved over the past 180 years into the city life you see today. Although it is no longer gold that attracts so much interest in the city, Boise’s rich natural resources remain a great place to live. Natural attractions are hard to miss, including nearby ski slopes and a variety of urban parks along the Boise River Greenbelt. Other cultural attractions include Old Idaho Penitentiary and the State Capitol.

1 Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

Built in 1870 with hand-carved sandstone, the Old Idaho Penitentiary housed inmates for more than a century before regaining its status. museum and state historic site . The Old Idaho Penitentiary, or “Old Pen”, contains 30 historic structures, some of which now feature educational exhibits . Visitors can tour the facility to see prison cells, the Gallows and the Solitary Confinement. The Old Idaho Penitentiary also hosts events throughout the year, including paranormal investigations, cemeteries, and a festive holiday retreat in October.

Adres: 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://history.idaho.gov/old-idaho-penitentiary

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2 State Capitol

State Capitol
State Capitol

Construction began on the Capitol in 1905 and was completed in 1920. Most of the building was constructed of locally quarried sandstone with marble from Alaska, Georgia, Vermont, and Italy. The top of the dome has a five-foot tall statue of a golden eagle. The building features various displays and temporary exhibitions . In 2010 the building was rededicated after extensive restoration works. Visitors are encouraged to tour the Capitol at their leisure during opening hours and tours can be scheduled for groups of five or more.

Adres: 700 West Jefferson Street, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://www.capitolcommission.idaho.gov/

3 Boise River Greenbelt

Boise River Greenbelt
Boise River Greenbelt

Located on the Boise River, the Boise Greenbelt connects 850 acres of natural areas with parks and runs through the city center. The 25-mile Greenbelt offers a variety of biking and hiking trails, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. Used for both commuting and nature experiencing , this urban route also connects to other culturally significant parts of the city, including the Boise State University Campus and the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Bicycles, strollers and inline skates are welcome on the Greenbelt, although pedestrians always have priority.

4 Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Monument

Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorialdave ungar / photo modified
Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorialdave ungar / photo modified

The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial is located in the Boise Cultural District . The memorial contains more than 60 quotes from leaders and human rights figures throughout history. A bronze statue of Anne Frank is located in the “Attic” of the monument. The garden of the Human Rights Memorial features trees and flowers from around the world , benches and stainless steel statues of human rights leaders. The monument is maintained in partnership with Boise Parks and Recreation and the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.

Adres: 777 South 8th Street, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://wassmuthcenter.org/idaho-human-rights-annn-frank-memorial/

5 Kathryn Albertson Park

Kathryn Albertson Park Jason W. / modified photo
Kathryn Albertson Park Jason W. / modified photo

Kathryn Albertson Park is a 41-acre special-use park southwest of downtown Boise. Most of the park is wetland habitat teeming with wildlife, including a variety of birds . Established walking paths pass scenic lagoons and a decorative fountain, and signs next to the paved paths provide information about the surrounding flora and fauna. The park also has two large gazebos available for rent, which can be very popular come Boise wedding season.

Address: 1001 North Americana Boulevard, Boise, Idaho

6 World Center for Birds of Prey

World Center for Birds of Prey
World Center for Birds of Prey

The World Center for Birds of Prey promotes birds of prey for distribution in the wild. Falcons, condors, eagles and several other birds call the center home. They are kept on site for breeding and observation research. At the facility, the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center hosts visitors, giving them a chance to meet the feathered residents and learn about the different species. Some of the most popular things to do at the Interpretive Center include checking out the educational exhibits, live bird of prey presentations , and a quarter-mile nature trail primed for spotting wild birds of prey.

Adres: 5668 West Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://www.peregrinefund.org/world-center

7 Julia Davis Park

Julia Davis Park Nan Palmero / fotomodificatie
Julia Davis Park Nan Palmero / fotomodificatie

Julia Davis Park is accessible via the Boise River Greenbelt and has many cultural attractions worth seeing. On site, visitors can explore Boise’s Zoo , the Boise Art Museum , and the Idaho Historical Museum , as well as the Idaho Discovery Center , and the Idaho Black History Museum . Julia Davis also provides a picturesque backdrop to all these cultural sights. Lagoons, rose gardens , and a duck pond define the landscape, as do the regular influx of visitors who come to enjoy the scenic space.

Address: 700 S Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://parks.cityofboise.org/parks-locations/parks/julia-davis-park/

8 Idaho Botanical Garden

Idaho Botanical Garden Doug Kerr / photo modified
Idaho Botanical Garden Doug Kerr / photo modified

The Idaho Botanical Garden is located in what was once the #2 Yard of the Idaho State Penitentiary. Since the closure of the prison, through a community effort and interest in horticulture, the Idaho Botanical Garden was established and has continued to grow since its founding in 1984. 14 special gardens that range from a contemporary English garden to a Meditative garden , with each landscaped space having a unique focus. The botanical garden also contains an Heirloom Rose Garden , with more than 300 different roses in 107 varieties.

Adres: 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://idahobotanicalgarden.org/

9 Idaho Discovery Center

With hands-on exhibits at the Discovery Center of Idaho, visitors learn about science and scientific wonders. Some of the topics shown are electricity, sound, motion, perception and hearing. The center is aimed at all ages, making it a good outing for children and families . The Discovery Center hosts a wide variety of events and programming , including summer camps, adult evenings and a Young Discoverers club designed for children ages three to five. Address: 131 Myrtle Street, Boise, Idaho

Address: 131 Myrtle Street, Boise, ID 83702-7652, United States

Official site: https://www.dcidaho.org/

10 Basque Museum and Cultural Center

Basque Museum and Cultural Center Nicolás Boullosa / photo modified
Basque Museum and Cultural Center Nicolás Boullosa / photo modified

With a mission to preserve, promote and perpetuate Basque heritage, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center displays an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits from this region. Housed in one of the few surviving examples of a Basque guest house, the historic house at Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga , the permanent collection at the museum includes traditional music, a replica of a sheep cart and numerous historical archives. Tours are available to anyone visiting, and tours can be scheduled in advance.

Adres: 611 Grove Street, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://www.basquemuseum.com/

11 Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area


Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

Located less than 20 miles from downtown Boise , Bogus Basin is a great year-round recreation area. In winter the hill is a popular ski resort , especially with locals. Seven chairlifts and four transport lifts access 2,600 hectares of skiable terrain . During the summer months, Bogus Basin becomes a beautiful area for hiking and downhill mountain biking , with an extensive trail system. Yurts are available for rent and in the summer you can enjoy live music on the mountain every weekend.

Address: 2600 Bogus Basin Road, Boise, Idaho

Official site: https://bogusbasin.org/

12 Camel’s Back Park

Camel's Back Park
Camel’s Back Park

Located on the north side of town and at the base of the Boise foothills, Camel’s Back Park is a popular open space with a variety of things to do. Within the 11 hectare developed park visitors can use tennis courts, play equipment and an open-air gym . Picnic areas and open spaces are also popular during the warmer months. One of the real draws of this urban park, however, is its access to the foothills and extensive Ridge to Rivers trail system . The two kilometers of this larger trail system within Camel’s Back Park climb to great views of the city.

Adres: 1200 Heron Street, Boise, Idaho

Where to Stay in Boise for Sightseeing

Most of the major attractions in Boise are located in the city center, but many of the best hotel choices are within a 10-minute drive of this area. Below are some quality hotels in good locations, in the city center or within a short drive:

  • Luxury Hotels: The stylish boutique Hotel 43 enjoys a prime location in the city center and is surrounded by shops, galleries and museums. It is located just a few blocks from the State Capitol. About 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre, the well-appointed Oxford Suites offers extended stays, family suites and pet-friendly rooms. This hotel also has an indoor pool and hot tub and serves a free hot breakfast and evening snacks. The Hampton Inn & Suites is located right in the center of the action, within walking distance of the zoo, several museums, the opera, the ballet and numerous restaurants. The indoor saltwater pool has a children’s theme.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: Located just outside downtown, the Residence Inn has large suites and a seasonal outdoor pool. The modern Holiday Inn Express Boise University Area is a five-minute drive from downtown and within walking distance of Bronco Stadium. Located about 10 minutes from the city center, La Quinta Inn & Suites offers comfortable rooms, an indoor pool and a hot tub.
  • Budget Hotels: The Safari Inn Downtown is ideally located for sightseeing. This simple but comfortable hotel is within walking distance of the State Capitol, museums, restaurants and the zoo. The Inn America A Budget Motel is located near the airport, a 10-minute drive from downtown. It offers large, clean rooms at a reasonable price. Located about 15 minutes from downtown, the pet-friendly Best Western Northwest Lodge offers spacious rooms, free breakfast, and an indoor pool.

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