Take a break with an easy trip to this Idaho charmer
Need to get away for the weekend? We’ve got just the place. Boise is an easy two-hour flight from Denver and, with a walkable, low-key downtown that feels like a quainter version of the Mile High Ciy, you’ll feel right at home. Pack your favorite tennis shoes, skip the rental car and tell your friends you’ll be back by happy hour on Sunday.
3 PLACES TO EAT
1. For breakfast, head to WAFFLE ME UP, a family-owned business that started as a farmers’ market stand. Now, the Garcia clan is dishing out savory and sweet liege waffles from a storefront too, with 90 percent of the ingredients sourced locally. What we tried: Waffle Me Strawberry with Nutella, fresh strawberries and housemade strawberry sauce. Whoa.
2. In the mood for brunch? Try SAINT LAWRENCE GRIDIRON. The wood-accented, rustic but sophisticated restaurant explores “the roots of American cuisine,” and serves craft cocktails and other sips. We loved the root vegetable hash with crème fraîche and chimichurri. Brunch is available from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
3. For a romantic dinner, cozy up at ALAVITA, an Italian eatery that’s all about (locally sourced) comfort food. The low-lit chandeliers, butcher-block tables and two-person booths keep the ambiance intimate. The housemade pastas and creative craft cocktails—served from a U-shaped bar—may convince you to order seconds.
3 PLACES TO DRINK
1. Find craft cocktails, bites from James Beard-nominated chef Nate Whitely and a great patio at THE MODERN HOTEL AND BAR. A motor lodge in its former life, this hotel has been fixed up with modern amenities and playfully designed rooms. This is a great stop for cocktail hour.
2. Grab a pint or two at CLOUD 9 BREWERY, Boise’s first nanobrewery and the only certified organic brewery in Idaho (it makes just four barrels per batch). Looking for other options? There are at least seven other breweries in the area. Or sample more than 30 local brews (and a few wineries) at Boise’s Hoptober Festival September 30.
3. Finish your evening with CHANDLER’S famous Ten-Minute Martini. The brainchild of bartender Pat Carden and a customer, who created it more than 30 years ago, the drink sits in an ice bath for 10 minutes before it’s served. The result: a ridiculously smooth sip.
2 DOWNTOWN PLACES TO STAY
1. HOTEL 43 has a relaxed boutique vibe and is connected to Chandler’s: Falling into bed after a few martinis will be easy-peasy.
2. The upscale boutique INN AT 500 CAPITOL kicks things up a notch with a glass of wine at check-in, butler’s pantries in every room, in-room spa services and free shuttle rides in a Mercedes- Benz sedan or Sprinter van around downtown.
3 PLACES TO PLAY
1. On Saturdays through December 16, Boise’s downtown hosts the CAPITOL CITY PUBLIC MARKET, where local vendors offer everything from jewelry to Madagascar vanilla bean paste, which works wonders in baked goods.
2. Stretch your legs along the 25-mile BOISE RIVER GREENBELT. The pathway follows the Boise River through downtown and across several riverside parks filled with lush trees, wildlife, river lookouts and quaint storage buildings. Bikers welcome!
3. Peruse local art in a truly unique setting at FREAK ALLEY OUTDOOR GALLERY, where artists paint their work on the walls of an actual alley.
FYI… Save the date for BOISE’S JAIALDI FESTIVAL, set for July 28-August 2, 2020. Idaho is home to one of the largest populations of Basques outside Spain, and has been celebrating their culture with music, dancing and more since 1987.