by Carly Gilmore, class of 2017
Livability Magazine rated Boise #6 of Top 10 Downtowns in 2016, and it’s not hard to see why. While I usually prefer the diverse array of outdoor activities available in the Boise Valley, Downtown Boise—locally known as BoDo—has much to offer. The spectrum of BoDo’s components span from music festivals to coffee shops, from Saturday markets to art studios. Saying Boise’s city life is appealing would be an understatement. To give you a better sense of what Boise has to offer, I’ve listed five places I love to visit in BoDo.
1. Capital City Public Market
Vibrant artwork hangs from vendors’ booths. Music drifts from various musicians lining the street. Aromas of ethnic food, local produce, fragrant flowers and fresh donuts linger in the air. Are you intrigued yet? With over 90 vendors, there is no guessing what all will be found at the Capital City Public Market in BoDo. This Saturday market is a perfect place to browse unique products and enjoy local talent. You’ll get to experience a leisurely walk coupled with the excitement of new experiences on the street leading to the stately Capitol Building.
The spectrum of BoDo’s components span from music festivals to coffee shops, from Saturday markets to art studios.
2. Slow by Slow
Of the variety of trendy coffee shops to choose from in BoDo, Slow by Slow is one of my top picks. As a third-wave coffee bar, Slow by Slow is ideal for coffee connoisseurs. To help develop an appreciation for fine coffee, owners Joe and Diana Shafer serve coffee from their favorite roasters around the country and take special care in brewing technique. Really though, Slow by Slow is more than a place to get beverages—it’s a lifestyle. On the wall across from the entryway, it reads, “Slow by Slow is the mindset that everything should be done with the time and care it deserves.” Besides having delectable coffee, pastries and tea, this establishment offers a mellow environment to slow down and chat with friends or spend the afternoon studying.
3. Knitting Factory
Performances in BoDo come in the form of theatre, dance and concerts. For fine arts, there is Ballet Idaho, Broadway in Boise, Boise Philharmonic, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Trey Mcintyre Project, Opera Idaho, and Morrison Center for Performing Arts. On the more casual side, music festivals and restaurants offer live music—the Knitting Factory being among the most popular. The Knitting Factory provides a space for concerts year-round, and performances feature a variety of musicians and a wide range of ticket prices. It’s hard to beat this establishment’s atmosphere and value.
With so many stylish joints with tasty food, my attempt to narrow BoDo’s restaurants to a single favorite to highlight was futile. Yoi Tomo, BrickYard, Bittercreek, Matador, Fork, Flatbread, Old Chicago, Mai Tai, Guru Donuts, Boise Fry Co.—there’s a restaurant for every craving. The diversity in both the cuisine and the atmosphere of these joints keeps eating out interesting and satisfying.
5. Boise Art Glass
While there are quite a few art galleries in Boise worth visiting, Boise Art Glass is an absolute must. The artwork is exquisite. Perusing the studio will reveal intricate sculptures, stunning chandeliers and vibrant ornaments, all made of glass. The best part of the studio though isn’t viewing the art or even watching the artist at work—it’s making your own glasswork. Boise Art Glass offers individual and group classes in which people are able to create a glass piece of their choice and keep it.
The places mentioned above are just several small pieces contributing to the larger, enticing vibe of BoDo. Whether one is looking for a relaxing morning browsing the Saturday market or an exciting evening jamming to live music, BoDo has something for everyone. And if one tires of the crowds, it’s just a short walk to the zoo, greenbelt and parks—not to mention all the outdoor activities available within a thirty minute radius. Boise really does have the best of both worlds.