Cheap Things To Do Around Boise

This past summer my brother got married. My brother and his new wife live in Boise, Idaho, so this summer my whole family, Aldo and I flew to Boise for the wedding and we  all decided to make a vacation out of it. We spent several days in Boise (including 4th of July, which was a LOT of fun). Afterwards my mom, Aldo and I went to Yellowstone for a week, with a quick stop to Craters of the Moon on the way to Yellowstone.

I’ve been to Boise once before, but this time our trip was going to be longer and we would have a few more days to explore Boise. I was looking forward to checking out some new places around Boise on the cheap, as well as showing Aldo cool places that I’ve already been to, such as Freak Alley.

Here are some of the things we did in and around Boise that were free or less than $10:

1. Freak Alley is an alley right downtown Boise (between 8th and 9th Street, Idaho and Bannock Street) where graffiti artists are allowed to paint murals. There is some really good art there, and it is a fun walk to take after grabbing lunch downtown.


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downtown boise

2. The Capitol Building is another free attraction. The craziest part, to me, was that when we went there on a Sunday, there was no security, no one working there, no one at the information desks, and we were allowed to just roam around the capitol building where there were computers on desks, telephones, etc. That seems absolutely insane to me, coming from NY/NJ where you go through metal detectors and your bags get x-rayed and inspected anytime you enter any government building or courthouse.

The Capitol building is very impressive inside, with large marble columns and staircases, and with modern state senator voting rooms. We seem to like visiting state Capitol buildings, maybe we’ll make a tradition out of it.




downtown boise

3. The Old Penitentiary tour ($5) was very interesting. We got to walk around all the different buildings of the old prison and go inside some of the cells and isolation chambers for prisoners. The history of the prison, the riots and the escapes were very interesting to me.



4. The World Center for Birds of Prey is awesome to visit. It is 20 minutes outside of downtown Boise. We learned a lot about birds of prey, and got to see some massive California Condors that will soon be reintroduced back into the wild. It is amazing how much this organization does for the preservation of birds of prey, and awesome that they charge only $7 to get in.


Look at this crazy bird face!


5. Swan Falls Dam. We were invited to a family barbecue at Swan Falls Dam, which is a gorgeous area in the Snake River Canyon. It is a good place to go and have a picnic, and relax by the water and enjoy some peace and quiet.


6. Walk the Greenbelt. Downtown Boise has the beautiful Greenbelt park that runs along the river for several miles. We walked around the Greenbelt in the evening (when it cooled down from 100F) and watched people rafting and tubing down the Boise river.

Overall it was a great trip, now that I’ve forgotten about having to chauffeur my whole family around for 4 days. You see, what happened was that Enterprise was out of standard sedans and upgraded us to an SUV. This SUV could seat 7 people, so now all of a sudden everyone was in my SUV. Oh well, it was awesome to get upgraded to an SUV for free, and even more awesome that they said yes when I asked about adding Aldo as the additional driver and waiving the fee.

The few days we spent in Boise were a lot of fun, and we were able to see a lot of cool things and learn about a lot of interesting things, and this only cost us $12 each.

What cool things did I miss in Boise this time around? What should I add to my list of things to see next time I visit my brother in Boise?

2 thoughts on “Cheap Things To Do Around Boise

    1. Kate

      That’s true, but it wasn’t as cheap as the activities above. Although at ~$17/person, the tubing/rafting in Boise was MUCH cheaper than any rafting you can find around NJ.