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Wandering Around the Spud Paradise: Creating a Cheap Trip to Boise, Idaho

It was recently announced that Idaho is the fastest growing state, percentage-wise. I’ve spent most of my life in the Spud Paradise. I guess I can offer a few travel tips that will hopefully distinguish Idaho enough to make you realize isn’t Iowa… or Ohio. Maybe it will also explain why people keep flocking to the area. I mean, if you’re crazy enough to think that limitless potatoes aren’t enough of a reason.

Boise is the population center and home to the bluest turf around. I went to college there and enjoyed myself, despite secretly being super unimpressed with the smurf turf… (Put your pitchforks down, fellow BSU grads.) The campus runs along one of the best aspects of the City of Trees… the Boise Greenbelt. On any given day, it’s filled with runners, walkers, bikers, and irate Canada geese. It’s one of the best free things to enjoy in the city. It’s super pretty all year round, but with the hot summers, you may want to enjoy a walk early in the morning. Otherwise, you might have to amble with an IV in your arm to counteract the sweating.

Right near the river, you can enjoy the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. I used to head over there in college when I wanted to take a break and pretend I didn’t have a bunch of papers to write. There’s a lovely sculpture of Anne Frank, as well as walls of inspiring human rights-related quotes set up above pools of water. It’s a nice place to think about things you can do to show more love to your fellow man.

The Sculpture at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

Another place to enjoy the outdoors is up in the foothills. There are lots of hiking and biking opportunities. On rare occasions, people see mountain lions, too. There’s nothing like a little fear of being a large bowl of Friskies to help you enjoy the invigorating outdoors. You can also hear the cautionary tale of the pooping cyclist. It ended in a fire. Only you can prevent wildfires by being a responsible pooping cyclist.

If you’d prefer to be closer to indoor plumbing, you can check out some of the museums. The Idaho Black History Museum is a cool little place to visit that’s housed in an early 20th century church. There’s no charge to get in, and it’s located in Julia Davis Park, one of the prettier areas in the city. It has lots of interesting exhibits and some wonderful artwork. Other popular Boise museums that have minimal or free admission are the nearby Boise Art Museum, The Basque Museum & Cultural Center, and The Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology.

The Idaho Black History Museum

I interrupt this somewhat normal travel blog to be a movie nerd. One place I always have to go and I always went when I lived in Boise was The Flicks. It’s an indie theater downtown that screens lots of critically acclaimed limited release and foreign films. This is the place you’d like to go so you can scoff during The Oscars and say, “I saw all of these movies. That one should *so* not have won.” A matinee costs $7.50, and you can even buy alcohol there if you’re being dragged to the cinema by someone like me who’s making you watch subtitles.

After all of your snobby cough noises have burned some calories, head to a cheap and delicious meal at Guido’s Pizzeria. You can buy an 18-inch New York style cheese pizza for 13 dollars. Add two more inches, and it’s 14. I do a lot of half marathons in Boise, and that’s usually my first stop to counteract all the healthy stuff I just did. I’ve also burned sufficient calories to eat more than half of one, so you can't stop me from doing so. I guess you can share, if you’re not a cheese hoarder like me.

A Guido's cheese pizza... I encourage you to eat a whole pie, stomach consequences be damned!

With the outdoor beauty of the Greenbelt and foothills, the introspection you can do at the Anne Frank Memorial, the culture at The Flicks and museums, and the acceptable cheese coma at Guido’s, Boise’s a great thrifty trip destination! For more of my adventures in Boise, check out my Thrifty Trip video.

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