The NYLON Guide To Boise, Idaho

Illustrated by Jihyang Lim

17 hot spots to put on your list

When you think about Idaho, the first thing that probably comes to mind is potatoes. Of course, there's so much more to the state than what comes out of its soil. It's a place of real natural beauty, where it's impossible not to be in complete awe of the mountains, rivers, and parkland. Plus, breathing in all that clean air will really change your perspective on the world around you. I recently had the opportunity to spend five glorious days in Boise for Treefort Music Fest. In between all of the indie rock showcases that were spread throughout the downtown area, I had some free time to explore the heart of Treasure Valley. I was lucky enough to have had the advantage of being shown everything that this pleasant city has to offer from local residents, and now I can share that wealth of information with you. Here, then, are 17 must-see spots you need to hit when you visit the City of Trees.

WHERE TO EAT: Bleubird

This is the best sandwich shop in downtown Boise, hands down. But New Yorkers, brace yourselves: You will not be able to rush in and out of here like you're used to. If it's crowded, it will take around 20 minutes to wait to place your order and then another 10 minutes to receive it. It's totally worth it, though, because the sandwiches are huge and delicious. I devoured the turkey and brie one, but I've been told that they have the best Reuben in town. You'll be full for half a day after you eat here. I also highly recommend sipping on the homemade pomegranate and sage soda.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO EAT + DRINK: Bittercreek Alehouse 

Locals say that this is where you get the best burgers in town, and I am inclined to agree. The french fries are served fresh out of the fryer and are finger lickin' good. You also know you're in good hands when there's kombucha on the beer menu. If you can, request a tour of the cellar and basement—you absolutely cannot leave without peeping the worm farm where everything in the restaurant is composted as well. Bittercreek is the first-ever green restaurant in the continental U.S. to vermicompost.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore


Breakfast sandwich lovers, this place was made for you. Reading the menu will make your mouth water, so you might want to stay away from scrolling through the restaurant's yummy Instagram page. The best part is that the menu is created to complement seasonal and local produce, a trait we love in restaurants.

Photo courtesy of Wild Root

WHERE TO EAT: Basque Market

This is the hotspot at lunchtime on Wednesday and Friday when you can come on by at noon for a huge helping of seafood-studded paella and warm, crusty bread. This spot also hosts several events during the month, like monthly breakfasts and tapas evenings. You might be in Idaho when you visit this restaurant, but you'll feel like you're in the heart of Spain's Basque region.

Photo via @thebasquemarket/Instagram

WHERE TO EAT: High Note Cafe

This is another solid option for breakfast with a hospitable staff that really takes care of you. No surprise that this destination slides in live performances in the evening. Twice a month, they have karaoke if you're into it.

WHERE TO GO: Idaho State Capitol Building

It never hurts to squeeze some culture into your trip. You can casually stroll through this landmark without the hassle that typically surrounds the capitol buildings in other cities. If you're lucky, you might even be able to pop into a real meeting happening in the House or the Senate. Don't forget to capture the moment with a picture by the bell mounted out front; it's a replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO GO: Idaho Black History Museum

I did not expect to stumble upon this while staying in Boise—it's a city that's very white—so it was all the more wonderful of a surprise to find this treasure at the Julia Davis Park. In all honesty, this might be Boise's best-kept secret! It's a small exhibit with a series of displays placed inside the St. Paul Baptist Church, but it outlines the little-known history of this nation's "Black Idahoans." It's no Smithsonian, but, at least, it exists.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO GO: Neurloux

At some point, you have to catch a show at this dive bar. It only costs $5 for a glass of wine, and the rest of the drinks at the lounge are also on the cheap side. If the music isn't enough to keep you entertained for the evening, there are arcade games in the back. It's the ideal spot for some quality chilling time.

Photo courtesy of Ticketweb

WHERE TO GO: Jack's Urban Meeting Place (JUMP)

This nonprofit creative hub is the coolest place to pop by for events, classes, or just to hang out. While you wait in the lobby, you can play with all of the games and equipment that are at your disposal. 

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO GO: Boise River

Take in the view as you walk on the bridge over the river, or ride a bike alongside it via the constructed path while whistling the chorus of Lykke Li's "I Follow Rivers." While I was in Boise, the water was higher than normal, so I could pretend I was chasing waterfalls.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO GO: The lady's bathroom downstairs in El Korah Shrine

Not only is it pretty, but it's perfect for creating content to post on Instagram. You're welcome, digital influencers. Did I forget to mention that it is an award-winning bathroom?! It would be rude to not take a selfie at the powder counter.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO SHOP: The Record Exchange

Does your local record store have all of the music your heart could desire, plus a cafe and gift shop? Didn't think so. Music lovers could practically live inside this place; it has everything you need to survive in this cruel world. The gift and coffee shop inside is called The Edge, and they make the best chai lattes in town. Sometimes, artists will do pop-up performances in the back of the store, which is also pretty cool. We gave this place a shout-out on our site a few years back, and we stand by that praise.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Gore

WHERE TO SHOP: Serendipity Boutique

This consignment store is a keeper of rare gems. You can find plenty of designer clothing and even costumes here, all for a total bargain. Pretty much anything goes with these vintage clothes. Say goodbye to all of your money.

Photo via Serendipity Boutique/Facebook

WHERE TO SHOP: Mixed Greens

Good gift shops are hard to come by these days, but this spot goes above and beyond. The selection of items is almost overwhelming—there are jewelry, bath and body products, homeware, paper goods, plants, and more. No need to waste your coins at the airport gift stands!

Photo courtesy of Mixed Greens

WHERE TO SHOP: Swank Boutique 

Boho will never be out of style, and this is sort of the mecca for all the free-spirited shoppers in Boise. You can get your hands on popular clothing brands like Free People, Hudson, and Good HYOUman. Should you identify as a cozy girl, you'll find much-needed comfort in this store.

Photo via Swank Boutique/Facebook


This sister-owned store is described as a "scrappy retail boutique," but it carries some of the highest quality clothing in the area. The environment is super-inviting, something that the founders envisioned because they wanted the store to be a place where women could come together and engage. 

Photo via @shopshiftboutique/Instagram

WHERE TO SHOP: Idaho Made 

All of the art and crafts sold in this store are made by local, independent artists. They have an assortment of goods from jewelry and bath, body, and hair products to knits and recycled and upcycled items. If your eye is drawn to unique pieces, make sure to stop here so you can stock up on some stuff.

Photo courtesy of

Cardi B, Avril Lavigne, and so much more

Every weekend, we bring you #SOUNDCHECK—your destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that AUX cord. This week's round features 21 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Cardi B, Avril Lavigne, Tacocat, and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

"Please Me" - Cardi B and Bruno Mars
"Please Me" will pair perfectly with all of the Valentine's Day candy you just bought on clearance. Trust me, there couldn't be a more perfect time to listen to this ultra-'90s R&B track.

Head Above Water - Avril Lavigne
I'm honestly jealous of whomever Avril is singing about on "Goddess."

Tacocat - Grains of Salt [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

"Grains of Salt" - Tacocat
When I realized Tacocat was back, I literally turned around at my desk and yelled. It's a miracle.

"Can I Talk" - Caleb Steph
Caleb Steph's debut single proves that he's ready for the spotlight.

Betty - Betty Who
"You better recognize/ That you're wasting all my time" from "The One" is my new favorite response to every "photographer" on Tinder.

"Butterfly" - Kehlani
The only thing more beautiful than this cover art is Kehlani's voice.

SASAMI - Free (feat. Devendra Banhart) (Official Video)

"Free" - SASAMI feat. Devendra Banhart
I would have never predicted a SASAMI and Devendra Banhart collaboration, but I am 100 percent not complaining.

Rex Orange County - New House

"New House" - Rex Orange County
Alex O'Connor never fails to impress me with his soulful bedroom pop, and "New House" is no exception.


"Cuz I Love You" - Lizzo
Distorted guitar paired with Lizzo's belting vocals? Chills, literally. She did that!

"Heads Gonna Roll" - Jenny Lewis
Like if Stevie Nicks' voice met Father John Misty's lyrics.

"Get Well" - Donna Missal
Donna Missal tells me everything I needed to hear about breakups on "Get Well."

"Patient" - Monica Martin
Sultry and sweet.

"Whorey Heart" - TeaMarr
TeaMarrr's bouncy new song is an excellent roast of the kind of fuckboi we all know and hate.

"Ice Me Out (Remix)" - Kash Doll
Kash Doll shows that she knows her way around a beat on "Ice Me Out."

"Lips of Lips" - Tiffany Young
Definitely catch me driving around with my windows down this summer blaring "Lips on Lips."