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Summer Treasure: BW's annual guide to all things summer


It's the journey, not the destination that counts, and when that journey involves making the most of summer in Boise, it's worth the effort. To help you navigate a proper Boise summer, all you have to do is follow Boise Weekly's map to summer to find your own seasonal treasure. Need more help? Measure your progress with the help of BW's summer to-do lists.

Western Idaho Fair

Friday, Aug. 17 to Sunday, Aug. 26

Nothing says summer like a fair, especially that wonderful combination of greasy fair food and spinning carnival rides.

Explore the Capital City Public Market

The weekly Saturday farmers market is the place to stock up on fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and myriad other locally produced goods. It also happens to be the best place to catch up with your neighbors and do some quality people watching.

Bet on the ponies at Les Bois Park

Get dressed up, have a few cocktails and feel like a big spender as the ponies race the first full season at the park in years.

Go to a Boise Hawks Game

Watch Boise's own boys of summer take the field while you sip a beer along the first base line.

Check out Boise's new River Recreation Park

Years in the making, the whitewater park is sure to be a major draw for anyone who loves a good Eskimo roll.

Watch the hot air balloons at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic

Wednesday, Aug. 29 to Sunday, Sept. 2

There's nothing quite like the sight of hot air balloons over the city of Boise.

Disc golf at Julia Davis Park

Real golf is just too hard sometimes. Play for free and understand a whole new type of frustration.

Join the Tour de Fat bike parade

Saturday, Aug. 18

Join the two-wheeled community as it takes over town with bikes, music and lots of beer.

Climb the hill at Camel's Back Park

Why? Because it's fun to act like a kid once in awhile. Maybe get crazy and hit the playground.

Hyde Park Street Fair

Friday, Sept. 14 to Sunday, Sept. 16

A celebration of all things North End with three days of music, entertainment, craft booths and food.

Go check out Siberia at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary old-idaho-penitentiary

Nothing reminds you of how good you have it like visiting solitary confinement at an old prison. Besides, it's at least nice and cool in the hole.

Take in a concert at Idaho Botanical Garden

With the Outlaw Field concert series bringing in national big name acts and the weekly Botanical Garden Concert Series keeping things low key and local, the garden is one of the best spots to chill all summer.

Hike Tablerock at sunrise

The view from the top is worth the work, and a cool summer morning is the best time to do it.

Float the Boise River

If there's one quintessential thing Boiseans must do every summer it's plop themselves on something that floats and head down the river. Join the hydro-highway all summer and take advantage of the shuttle service.

Attend a play at Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Theater under the stars with a picnic and wine--do you really need more reasons?

Art in the Park

Friday, Sept. 7 to Sunday, Sept. 9

The entire city (with children and dogs in tow) turns out for this fundraiser for Boise Art Museum with more than 200 artisans from around the country as well as music, food and a kids area.

Fourth of July Fireworks at Ann Morrison Park

Feel your patriotism swell as you watch things explode over the city with thousands of your neighbors.

Ride your bike along the Greenbelt all the way to Lucky Peak

Spend a day pedaling along the paved path but schedule frequent stops at the many riverside restaurants and bars because we wouldn't want you to lose your strength, would we?

A Summer of Eating and Drinking

Take a tasting tour of the Canyon County wineries

If Idaho doesn't seem like wine country, spend a weekend afternoon trying to hit all the tasting rooms at the wineries just outside of Boise and you'll be a believer.

Hit a Food Truck Rally

Gourmet food from a mobile eatery seems even better when the weather is warm and you're surrounded by like-minded eaters.

Explore multiple farmers markets

Capital City Farmers Market,

East End Market,

Meridian Farmers Market,

Eagle Saturday Market,

Fresh food, veggies and season-long people watching.

Drink a pitcher of mojitos on the patio at Bardenay in Eagle

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than on the shaded riverside patio with a big-old pitcher of something so refreshing.

Picnic on the banks of the Boise River

Nothing seems quite so summer as a casual nosh while watching the river rafters float by.

Tropical drinks on the rooftop patio at Reef

How many excuses do you need for a giant fruity drink in a tiki mug?

Brunch before/during the Farmers Marketto people-watch along Eighth Street

A perfectly warm morning on a patio with great food and a parade of entertainment.

Savor Idaho

Sunday, June 10

When Idaho wineries and restaurants team up for an afternoon outdoors, nobody loses.

Duck into Grainey's Basement on Sunday to cool down with cheap beers

109 S. Sixth St.

Cold, cheap beer in a subterranean hideaway.

Feast on fair food at the Western Idaho Fair

Friday, Aug. 17- Sunday, Aug. 26

Corndogs, burgers, ice cream and churros might not fit with the whole locavore movement, but sometimes you just need one ... or two.

Try out the summer brews at every local brewery

10 Barrel Brewing Company, (opening summer 2012)

Crooked Fence Brewing Company,

Highlands Hollow Brewhouse,

Payette Brewing Company,

Sockeye Brewery,

TableRock Brew Pub,

Are you up to the challenge?

Eat a snowcone

Act like a kid and love every second of it.

San Ignazio Festival

Friday, July 27- Sunday, July 29

Head to Boise's Basque Block and let the Basques show you how to party with plenty of food, music and drinks.

Soul Food Extravaganza

Saturday, Aug. 4

Thousands come out to Julia Davis Park each year for the chance to get their fill of some true Southern-style comfort food.

Deli Days

Thursday, June 21-Friday, June 22

Get in line to get your fix of traditional Jewish deli-style favorites. Come hungry.

A Summer of Music

Alive After Five

Every Wednesday evening throughout the summer, Grove Plaza is filled with live music and after-work crowds looking to relax at the free concert series.

Boise Music Festival

Saturday, July 7

Tens of thousands turn out for this free day of music in Ann Morrison Park Expo Idaho. This year's lineup includes LL Cool J, Kellie Pickler and Smashmouth.

Braun Brothers Reunion Festival

Thursday, Aug. 9- Saturday, Aug. 11

The tour de force that is the Bruan Family (Micky and the Motorcars, Reckless Kelly, The Braun Brothers) gather in Challis for a weekend of music and camping.

Great Garden Escape Concert Series

Every Thursday night throughout the summer, Idaho Botanical Garden hosts intimate outdoor concerts, where picnics are encouraged.

Music From Stanley

Spend Saturdays throughout the summer at Redfish Lake listening to live music that is later aired on Boise State Radio.

Outlaw Summer Concert Series

Some of the biggest names in music turn up to play outdoor shows at Idaho Botanical Garden.

Picnic at the Pops

Saturdays, Aug. 18, Aug. 25 and Sept. 1

Boise Philharmonic gets outside for the first time with a concert series at the Eagle River Pavilion.


If you get an official invite, consider yourself one of the cool kids.

Sawtooth Music Festival

Friday, July 27- Saturday, July 28

Two days of music in Stanley with a lineup that includes The Cave Singers, Langhorne Slim, and Shovels and Rope as well as Lucy Michelle and Velvet Lapelles.

Yellowpine Harmonica Festival

Friday, Aug. 3- Sunday, Aug. 5

A small mountain town becomes the center of the harmonica world.

Summer for the kids

Movies in the park



Gather the kids for a free family friendly outdoor movie on the third Saturday of the month June to August in Julia Davis Park or every Friday night through the summer in Settlers Park in Meridian.

Swim at the Natatorium Pool and Hydrotube

One of Boise's oldest public pools has generations of fans.

Ride the slides at Roaring Springs Waterpark

Let the kids fling themselves down massive waterslides while you try to avoid a sunburn.

Play mini golf at Wahooz Family Fun Zone

One of the two outdoor courses ends with a giant flame-throwing tiki head. If that's not your thing, there are go-carts, laser tag and bumper boats, too.

Hit the skatepark

Eagle Skatepark, Eagle

Fort Boise Skatepark, Boise

Gem Island Skatepark, Emmett

Kuna Skatepark, Kuna

McMillan Skatepark, West Boise

Pipe Dreams Skatepark, Caldwell

Rhoades Skatepark, Downtown Boise

Stampede Skatepark, Nampa

Tully Skatepark, Meridian

The perfect place when childhood involves a set of wheels, a giant concrete bowl and a really good helmet.

Ride the rides at the Western Idaho Fair

Spinning around until you think you're going to throw up is a rite of passage.

Visit the Discovery Center of Idaho

Hands-on science exhibits are education in disguise. The famous Bodies exhibit will fill the museum starting in September.

Ride the paddleboats in Julia Davis Park

See if you can paddle hard enough to make a wake.

Visit the MK Nature Center

An urban escape the adults will like as much as the kids.

Play in the sprinklers

Because childhood requires it.

Visit Zoo Boise

Watch for cool camps, educational programs and even the chance to stay in the zoo overnight.

Swimming beach at Eagle Island State Park


Can say anyone say "sandcastles"?

Wet Wild Parade in Eagle

Saturday, June 9

Be prepared to get soaked at this signature Eagle Fun Days event.

Dairy Days Parade

Friday, June 15

Old-fashioned family entertainment with lots of cows.

Sun Valley Summer Ice Shows

Some of the top skaters in the world show up to perform on the tiny outdoor rink in the mountains.

Wagon Days

Saturday, Sept. 1- Monday, Sept. 3

Labor Day weekend is filled with antique fairs, barbecue, a Western shootout and the famous Big Hitch Parade.

A Summer of Recreation

Explore the Boise Foothills

By bike or on foot, such easy access to outdoor recreation is one of the prime perks of living in the Boise area. Take in the awesome views or try out some of the more technical bike trails.

Hit the climbing gym

The Front Climbing Club,

Urban Ascent,

Sure, rock walls are great to stay in shape all winter, but they're also a great air-conditioned escape when it's too damned hot outside in the summer.

Learn to longboard

The Boardroom,

Newt and Harold's,

Prestige Skate Shop,

'Cause you know you want to.

Ultimate Frisbee

Turning a game into a hardcore sport is never a bad thing.

Play a game of kickball

It was fun when you were 10, imagine it now that you're old enough to have a beer after the game.

Float the Payette or North Fork of the Boise

Cascade Raft & Kayak,

A mouthful of river water seems way more acceptable when you're in the middle of a rapid. Besides, Idaho's whitewater is world-class.

Check out Boise's new River Recreation Park

A kayaking playground in the middle of the city.

Mountain bike the trails at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area

Without snow, the ski area boasts tons of trails and even a disc golf course.

Ride the trails at the Eagle Bike Park

It's where you can combine mountain bike trails with a BMX track, a jump track and even downhill racing.

Canoe on Redfish Lake

Get out of Boise's heat with a trip north to the stunning mountain lake for some camping and canoeing.

Moonlight hike

With long summer evenings and a full moon, a late start is no reason not to hike.

Bars and Stripes Alley Cat Race

Saturday, July 7

Combining beer and bikes for an all-American kind of race.

Waterski Lucky Peak


Whether chilling on the boat or plowing through the water, it's all good when you're on the reservoir.

Fish the Boise River

You just have to love being able to go fishing on your lunch break.

Twilight Criterium

Saturday, July 14

Boise's signature summer road cycling race brings the crowds downtown.