Best Local Cultural Attraction or Museum

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

This year, the so-called First Folio of the works of William Shakespeare went on display at Boise State University. One of just a handful left in the world, it's among the first printed editions of stage works written by The Bard—but it's only as valuable as the ability of institutions that perform Shakespeare's works to communicate the richness of his vision. By that measure, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival makes it priceless. There, great plays get gold-standard treatment, and the festival has become a destination for theater lovers in Idaho and beyond.

2nd Place: Old Idaho Penitentiary—The tiny valley carved into the Boise Foothills off Warm Springs Boulevard would be a great place for a rec center, golf course or subdivision. Instead, it's the site of the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Since it closed, the Old Pen has become a cultural attraction of the first order, with tours, the annual Gingerfest, Halloween events and concerts.

3rd Place: Basque Museum—You can't talk about the history of Boise without bringing up the influence of Basque culture. Over the years, that influence has only increased, with the massive popularity of celebrations like Jaialdi and the ubiquitousness of Basque food and public figures (including Boise Mayor Dave Bieter). There to help Boiseans remember their roots is the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, which hosts exhibits and speakers illuminating the important role of Basque culture not only in the Basque people's history, but in Boise's.

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