Thursday, August 27, 2015

Boise, Idaho in 10 cool facts

I think Idaho gets a bad rap. Everyone hears Idaho and thinks potatoes, dust, guns, white pride, pickups and of course But why would I go there if I'm not going skiing?.

Very empty Boise airport on a Friday evening

Idaho is actually pretty cool. It's vast- the 13th largest state in the US. It's beautiful- there are sand dunes, lakes, mountains, and forests. There's every outdoor sport you can imagine. Prices are low. The state dance is the square dance. It's even got a Moscow!

I met my best friend Jenn in Idaho, when we lived together in a tiny town in southern part of the state. She's since moved on to the big city- Boise- which is home to its own university and plenty of technology companies.

Boise is an adorable city. Every time I see it I fall a little more in love with it. It's a big place that feels small and is encircled by plains and mountains, meaning nature is literally right next door. On this trip, though, we stuck to downtown Boise and spent an afternoon exploring the gorgeous Capitol building.

If Boise leaves you scratching your head and pulling up Wikipedia, I've got you covered-

Everything You Need to Know About Boise in 10 Facts :)

1. Yep, it's the capital of Idaho and home to more people than anywhere else in the state.

2. People aren't entirely in agreement about how the city got its name, but all stories give credit to a French speaker (boisé is French for "wooded").

3. Over 90 different languages are spoken in the Boise School District! My kind of city :)

4. Boise gets about 234 days of sun a year.

5. Boise is 425 miles from Portland, 629 miles from Las Vegas, and 2,475 miles from New York.

6. The city is home to the second-largest Basque population in North America.

7. Average temps range from 90F (July) to 21F (January).

8. Boise is the third largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest (behind Seattle and Portland).

9. The biggest employers in Boise are: the state government, local hospitals, tech companies, Walmart, Wells Fargo bank, and Fred Meyer (NW grocery chain).

10. Who needs Times Square? Boise has its own way of ringing the new year.

I was really impressed by Idaho State Capitol Building. It was open on the weekend, there was no fee to tour, and the garden level was dedicated to funny exhibits like "A Day in the Life of an Idahoan". They even gave away little packets of kleenex wrapped in the state seal! We stopped in the gift shop where most things were (of course) potato-themed. Jenn bought me an Idaho Potato Shooter- a shot glass with a potato glued to the bottom- and a Darth Tater fridge magnet.

It was an awesome weekend in Boise. We ate a ton of good food, watched scary movie after scary movie (Jenn has the best collection!!), drove around the city, and hung out with her mom and her mom's roommates-

Meet Kitkat!
Meet Maru!
Meet Eddie!
Meet Tove! (He's in puppy timeout, hence the guilty look.)

I hope this post showed you a new side of Idaho, something beyond the potato-dust-gun-white pride-pickup-ski stereotypes.

Boise is a place where you can go out clubbing one night and spend the next day sledding down a sand dune or exploring an ice cave.

It's a hub of gleaming tall buildings surrounded by snow-capped hills, home to a surprisingly strong arts scene.

 It's close to wineries, rodeos, and ice blocking (yes, a real thing).

Every time I visit there's something new being built or remodeled and Jenn always has a ton of city news to catch me up on.

What do you think of Boise? Of Idaho?

Thanks, Jenn, you're the best Boise guide ever!! :)