When I told friends I was moving to the Boise area, the general reaction was not good. Jokes about it being a backwater, hillbilly state; or stuff about the white supremacists (wrong part of the state, jerks); or just not being as cool as the Puget Sound (well, duh!).
But like I’ve been explaining my entire adult life: Boise is extremely underrated. The best way to describe it is a miniature Austin.
A liberal enclave in a sea of red, with a college whose sports teams we all hate, a good music scene, great food, tons of outdoor activities and no traffic (Austin can’t say that, actually).
So on a recent Saturday with some time to kill, we explored downtown and found some stuff to do.
We started our day at Whole Foods. What used to seem like no big deal (we had a Whole Foods a mile from our house in Tacoma) is now a luxury. After wandering around looking at all the delicious eats, we went and parked near the capitol building.
We snapped some photos of this beautiful building from the outside and then were pleasantly surprised to find the inside open. We roamed the staircases, trying to find the best view of the rotunda, looked at all the Christmas decorations, saw the Senate and House chambers where the Idaho legislature takes away all my rights, and generally enjoyed the beauty of this marble structure started in 1905 and completed in 1920.
There is a very cool museum in the basement, with lots of detail on the city, state, building and more.
After grabbing lots of photos inside we headed to the Rediscovered Bookshop. In Tacoma, one of our favorite stores was King’s Books. An independent bookstore that also sold and bought used books. Nampa used to have an amazing used bookstore downtown, but it closed recently so we were happy to find a place to visit in Boise.
We spent about 30 minutes wandering around checking out the novels, children’s books, travel books and more. This is a really great space and I can’t recommend checking it out enough.
From there we went and grabbed dinner at Boise Fry – a local hamburger company featuring lots of organic offerings. Good food, good atmosphere and even a Nampa location for us non-city folk on the other end of the Valley.
A good capper to a fun afternoon in Boise. Not bad for a backwater city, eh Puget Sound friends?
– Craig Craker