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Top 10 Free Things to do in Boise

Boise, Idaho, often referred to as the "City of Trees," is a hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest. Nestled in the Treasure Valley and surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, Boise offers a wide range of activities and attractions to explore. What makes it even more appealing is the abundance of free things to do, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers and locals alike. In this article, we'll take you through the top 10 free things to do in Boise, Idaho.

1. Boise River Greenbelt

Fall colored trees and a bridge over the river.

Stretching over 25 miles, the Boise River Greenbelt is a picturesque oasis in the heart of the city. This scenic pathway winds along the Boise River, offering stunning views of the water, lush greenery, and the opportunity to observe local wildlife. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll, a bike ride, or a jog, the Greenbelt provides a tranquil escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Pack a picnic and unwind in one of the many parks that line the trail, such as Ann Morrison Park or Kathryn Albertson Park.

2. Idaho State Capitol

Front side of the Idaho Capital building.

The Idaho State Capitol is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of the state's history and government. Located in downtown Boise, this magnificent building is open to the public, and admission is free. Visitors can take self-guided tours to explore the Capitol's impressive interior, including the grand rotunda, historic chambers, and informative exhibits. The building and grounds serve as a great place to take pictures. The surrounding Capitol Park is a serene place to relax, featuring beautiful gardens and memorials.

3. Julia Davis Park

Water fountain and pavilion surrounded by flowers.

Julia Davis Park is a vibrant urban park located near downtown Boise. It's a treasure trove of attractions that won't cost you a dime to enjoy. The park houses the Boise Art Museum, the Idaho Historical Museum, and the Idaho Black History Museum, making it a hub for culture and history. Additionally, you can visit the stunning Rose Garden, which bursts into a riot of colors during the warmer months, or take a leisurely stroll through the lush green spaces and along the meandering pathways.

4. Old Idaho Penitentiary

Old Penitentiary buildings.

For a glimpse into Idaho's history, head to the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site. The Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of four territorial prisons open to the public today. While there's a fee for guided tours, you can explore the exterior grounds and some of the exhibits for free. The site features preserved cell blocks, gallows, and informative displays, shedding light on the state's criminal justice system from the past. It's a unique and educational experience that won't cost you a cent. For more information about the Penitentiary visit website

5. Boise Art Walk

Cool Bike Art Statues.

Boise's downtown area is adorned with a variety of public art installations and sculptures, creating an outdoor art gallery for all to enjoy. You can embark on a self-guided Boise Art Walk, discovering these artistic treasures as you explore the city streets. The diverse range of sculptures and murals adds an extra layer of charm to Boise's vibrant urban atmosphere.

6. Idaho Botanical Garden

A pond with greenery in it.

While regular admission to the Idaho Botanical Garden comes with a fee, they offer free admission on select days and times, typically during certain seasons or events. To check when free admission is offered visit This beautiful garden showcases a wide array of plant species, including native and exotic varieties. Stroll through themed gardens, enjoy the fragrant blooms, and find inspiration in the garden's natural beauty when it's free to enter.

7. Boise Farmers Market

A bird's eye view of the farmers market.

If your visit to Boise coincides with the weekend, don't miss the Boise Farmers Market. It's a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the local culture and sample the region's agricultural bounty. Typically you can enjoy singing from aspiring local singers as you stroll through the market. While you may be tempted to purchase fresh produce, artisanal products, and delicious treats, you can also simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and soak up the lively ambiance of the market—all without spending a dime.

8. Table Rock

A big rock cliff overlooking the city.

For outdoor enthusiasts and photographers, Table Rock is a must-visit spot. This prominent plateau rises above Boise and offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. The hike to Table Rock is both scenic and invigorating, with well-maintained trails that are accessible year-round. Alternatively, you can drive to the top for breathtaking vistas, especially during sunrise or sunset. Pack a picnic or bring some board games and make it a fun place for a date or a family hang out.

9. Boise Public Library

Red brick library building

The Boise Public Library is not only a valuable resource for locals but also a welcoming space for visitors. Whether you're looking for a quiet place to read, access to the internet, or simply a comfortable environment to relax, the library is open to all. Browse through a vast collection of books, magazines, and digital resources while enjoying a peaceful atmosphere. The library is about to undergo stunning renovations that will only make this an even better place to visit.

10. Freak Alley Gallery

Alley with freaky art on the buildings

Boise's Freak Alley Gallery is a captivating outdoor art space that constantly evolves. It's a testament to the city's vibrant arts scene and a testament to the freedom of artistic expression. The colorful and thought-provoking street art and murals are free to admire and provide an excellent opportunity for an urban adventure. Visit the alley and take a few pictures with all the fun scenic walls!

In conclusion, Boise, Idaho, offers a delightful array of free activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you're captivated by history, art, nature, or simply looking to relax in a beautiful setting, Boise has something for everyone without emptying your wallet. So, pack your walking shoes and your sense of adventure and explore all that this charming city has to offer on a budget. Boise truly is a city where you can experience the best of the Pacific Northwest without breaking the bank.

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