Nicknamed ‘the City of Trees,’ Boise attracts nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts with its easy access to mountains, water activities, and an abundance of running & biking trails. It sits at the base of the Boise Mountain Range, with the 102-mile Snake River running through its center. You can float down the river on a hot summer day (local beer in hand), and in the winter you’re only 20 miles away from some incredible skiing.
The quickest way to let on that you’re not from around town is to say boy-zee. So, if you want to be a tourist incognito, start by practicing how the locals pronounce the city: boy-see. They take this seriously. There are T-shirts (see below).
The name Boise originated from French Canadian fur trappers who set trap lines in the area in the 1820’s. They noted how heavily wooded the area was, exclaiming boisé, boisé!(boisé translates to “wooded” in French). The name stuck.
Have you had enough trivia for the day?
Downtown Boise is home to third wave coffee shops, local boutiques, yoga studios, and quirky cafes. It has a variety of locally sourcing restaurants, many of which welcome vegans and vegetarians. The following sustainable shops, restaurants, and other local businesses will ensure you have a beautiful, eco-friendly stay in the City of Trees.
Coffee & Tea
Form & Function is proof that a midwestern mountain town can be hip, too. They use thoughtfully sourced beans and sell their roasts in paper packaging (better for the environment). You can enjoy an avocado toast or a local pastry amidst the Scandinavian-inspired interior.
Slow by Slow wants us all to sloooow down, and that is something I can get on board with. Printed on the wall is their company credo: “Slow by Slow is the mindset that everything should be done with the time and care it deserves.” They sell coffee tumblers in a variety of fun graphic designs that you can have filled up, to save yet another disposable cup.
Tea lovers rejoice! Snake River Tea has a little bit of everything, from rooibos to chai, oolong to premium matcha. They have nitro matcha on tap (who knew there was such a thing?!), plus bubble tea, kombucha, and pour-over coffee.
Who says herbivores have to miss out on all the fun? This popular BBQ joint has an entire menu dedicated to vegans, with hearty dishes like tempeh tacos, a sandwich filled with mac n’ cheese, and vegan cornbread.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Idaho?
Boise Fry Company lets you pick your potato (you can choose from blue potato, white potato, sweet potato, yam) and your fry style (thin, thick, curly). They also offer a variety of burgers on their menu (a vegan burger is included), in case you’d like a side of burger with your fries (’cause let’s be honest, the taters are the main event here).
This casual sandwich shop has several vegan options, like their Jackfruit Torta (SO good) and a Hummazing Vegan sandwich. They also partner with non-profits through their program called CAUSE. This program seeks to eliminate food waste and feed those in need, and to date the company’s 20 locations have donated almost 4 million sandwiches (!)
I don’t know about you, but I will take any chance I can get at a vegan donut. Guru donuts are made from scratch every day, using local ingredients. They have a variety of both vegan and non-vegan donuts in innovative flavors, like lavender and early grey.
They also serve espresso drinks, matcha lattes, and local draft kombucha.
This locally sourcing restaurant serves healthy dishes made with whole foods, and always has vegan options on the menu. It’s a great place to have a more upscale dinner for a reasonable price.
Head to Boise Co-op for local produce, grocery items, wine, and beer. They have a great bulk section of dried food, coffee, and tea. You can also have a healthy and filling lunch from their kitchen, which uses local, sustainable ingredients.
Open on Saturdays from Spring through Fall, Boise’s favorite farmers market is the place to go for fresh local produce, specialty food items, and artisan-made textiles, pottery, and crafts.
Idaho Made is a community-oriented shop selling handcrafted goods and artwork by local designers. You’ll find a variety of jewelry, pottery, stationary, and more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique Idaho-made gift.
Music lovers and vinyl collectors must not leave without paying a visit to The Record Exchange, which stocks just about every decade and genre of music ever to exist.
See & Do
Take a Hike
There are seemingly endless opportunities for hiking in and around Boise, for people of all levels of fitness and experience. Boise Trails is a wonderful resource with a comprehensive map of hiking and biking trails in the Boise foothills.
Or a Bike
Whether you’d like to enjoy a leisurely ride along the 25 mile Greenbelt, take to the mountains, or cruise around downtown Boise, Tri Town Bicycles has you covered. Biking is a wonderful way to experience Boise and the beautiful scenery that surrounds it.
JUMP is an acronym for Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, a multi-functional community and learning space that encourages people to think outside the box. You can take classes covering a wide range of topics, including health and wellness, dance and movement, cooking, and more. Check out their calendar to see what’s happening during your stay.
This yoga and wellness studio is run by passionate and inspiring instructors and professionals in the wellness industry. The yoga studio is beautiful, with large windows overlooking downtown Boise. They offer classes at an affordable price, in an effort to make yoga inclusive and available to everyone. They have a “lending library” of books and resources for those seeking more education outside the poses. Settle in with a cup of tea (complimentary) and a book after your class.