A city offering both refuge in nature to those who wish to marvel at mountain scenery and an urban touch to those keen to be part of the city buzz, in Boise, visitors are never short of places to visit and things to do.
Whether you’re planning a short weekend visit or a mini-holiday, Boise is going to be a perfect Idaho host.
If you’re here to learn when the best time to visit Boise is, how to steer clear from peak season crowds, and how to travel to Boise on a budget, follow along. Ready to start? So are we; let us be your guide!
The Best Time to Visit Boise
The best time to visit Boise is in spring (March–May), although ski enthusiasts will disagree, suggesting winter (December–February) is ideal for heading to Boise and hitting the slopes.
We say — whatever floats your boat!
If you’re looking for a pleasant climate to enjoy Boise’s outdoor recreational activities, head in spring; if enjoying the ski slopes is your main travel criterion, consider booking in winter.
Spring visitors can take advantage of the plenty of Boise’s outdoor activities ranging from climbing and hiking to biking or golfing at Warm Springs (discounted prices for family golfing are available!).
Popular events at this time include:
- Treefort Music Fest (March), one of Boise’s most popular festivals uniting things such as comedy, music, yoga, film, beer, and art;
- Gene Harris Jazz Festival (April), held annually in honor of the late Gene Harris, this popular event reunites more than 1500 students at the Boise State University Campus and listen, perform, and learn all there is to one of America’s most popular music forms — the jazz;
- Race to Robie Creek Half Marathon (April), a running Boise tradition for both locals and visitors looking to ace what’s allegedly known to be the “toughest half-marathon in the northwest.”
Those visiting in winter needn’t make their entire trip solely about skiing or snowboarding. Although the cold may be a little too much for some, there are fantastic events drawing in visitors from all walks of life, such as the Winter Garden aGlow.
Hosted annually in the Idaho Botanical Garden, the Winter Garden aGlow event features Santa visitors, princess appearances, live choirs, letters to Santa, the Holiday Express train, and so much more.
Winter temperatures vary between a minimum of 23°F and a maximum of 40°F. Also, if you visit in winter, note that accommodation prices in the ski resorts skyrocket, as it’s the peak season for them.
Cheapest Time to Visit Boise
Budget-minded travelers should head to Boise in September. It’s the city’s most affordable month regarding reduced hotel rates and flight tickets.
An affordable Boise month may also translate into reduced crowds, but most events are running at full steam. Here are our suggestions:
- 31st Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic taking place over Labor Day weekend;
- Boise Pride Festival & Parade, occurring at Cecil D. Andrus Park, is a yearly celebration bringing together the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters featuring music and activities as diverse as the event itself;
- Fiber Frolic Festival, celebrating fiber arts and allowing visitors to enjoy educational booths, wool vendors, crafts, and a yarn-bombing installation;
- Art in the Park, recognized as one of the prime cultural open-air events, offers guests the chance to meet with more than 200 artists and buy their work and enjoy tasty food, live music, and kid activities;
- Capitol Table, a one-of-a-kind Boise dining experience below the Statehouse.
Being the first fall month, September has temperatures between average lows of 53°F and highs of 76°F.
Least Busy Time to Visit Boise
The least busy time to visit Boise is in the fall (September–November). Being fairly comfortable shoulder months, September, October, and November are ideal for visitors hoping to enjoy Boise with more elbow room and have a more intimate Idaho experience.
Frequently referred to as the “City of Trees,” Boise in the fall truly lives up to this nickname. Camel’s Back Park truly drives home this aspect, and it’s something that you just cannot miss.
October visitors coming with kids should make a trip to some of the Boise farms and choose a pumpkin and enjoy a seasonal cider. Zoo Boise also hosts plenty of entertaining Halloween events featuring games, costume competitions, and face painting.
Fall in Boise also means the football season is in full swing. Even if you aren’t a Bronco, chances are the blue stadium colors, and the overall vibe will turn you into one!
Other popular fall events at this time include:
- Eagle Food and Wine Festival (TBA), partnering with select Idaho wineries and top-notch chefs to offer visitors an enjoyable Boise experience while promoting the city’s culinary side;
- Old Boise Oktoberfest (September/October), welcoming visitors with games, dancing, pretzels, a kids zone, and of course, a lot of beer;
- Scarecrow Stroll (October), at the Idaho Botanical Gardens, a fun event featuring more than 31 scarecrows created by the community; and is part of the Harvest Festival at the Idaho Botanical Gardens;
- Festival of Trees (November), over 30 years of tradition marked by a fashion show, freshly decorated Christmas trees, and the best healthcare facilities united for a greater cause.
Lastly, fall travelers should get ready for temperatures between 32°F and 76°F.
Worst Time to Visit Boise
Climate-wise, Boise should be avoided in summer (June–August). With fluctuating temperatures between 53°F and 88°F°, Boise summers tend to be hot and dry, so exploring the city may be somewhat uncomfortable, to say the least.
At the same time, it’s precisely these scorching temperatures that prompt visitors to engage in whitewater rafting on Boise River, go mountain biking in the foothills, ziplining, or avoid the heat by opting for an indoor activity.
Many decide to rent a bike bar and explore the city by enjoying a cold beer with their travel fellows.
Renting paddleboards on Quinns Pond is also on the table for those wanting to use the 22-acre pond to the maximum. Plus, you can always deal with the intense heat by starting your day early.
The plethora of festivals is an enticing factor on its own too. Given the jam-packed festival schedule, it’s no wonder why many travelers flock to Boise precisely in summer, regardless of the tropical temperatures.
Our top summer event suggestions include:
- Alive After Five (June–August), offering free summer concerts, accompanied by beer and wine vendors and raffles for those keen to win a prize (or two!);
- Idaho Shakespeare Festival (June–September), successfully putting on Shakespeare’s play and bringing theater lovers together through sheer art;
- Boise Music Festival (June), with a line-up that’s always promising;
- Snake River Stampede (July), and enjoy a rodeo show;
- Goddess Fest (July), held in Julia Davis Park, is for anyone wishing to add spiritual vibes to their itinerary.
Things to Consider
Curious how to make the best out of your Idaho getaway? Follow along to learn our best Boise travel tips to secure a stress-free stay:
- Boise is a safe destination, and you can explore all neighborhoods without worrying — that said, you should exercise common sense and take reasonable precautions as you would anywhere you visit for the first time.
- If you’re on a tight budget yet wish to see Boise’s main points of interest, stick to free attractions such as Kathryn Albertson Park and Boise River Greenbelt, which charge no entrance fees.
- The easiest way to navigate the downtown area is on foot — any venue that’s further will require you to either rent a car, opt for the city’s bus service (Valley Ride), get a taxi, or any of the ride-hailing services such as Lyft or Uber.
- If you’re looking for a fun way to navigate Boise, opt for Boise’s pedal-assist bike share network, Vall-eBike. Trying the electric scooters scattered across Boise would be another option.
- Most popular restaurants are frequently busy, so we suggest booking a table in advance.
- While Boise’s weather is relatively mild and shouldn’t disrupt your itinerary in any way, bring some wind-proof clothing or make some plans to spend time indoors to avoid the wind altogether.
- Bring hiking boots if you’re planning on hiking. Pack a bathing suit for water-based activities if you visit in summer and make sure to stock up on that SPF. The evenings get chilly even in summertime, so have a light jacket just in case.
- Buy the Idaho GetOut Pass and save big.
- Download some offline maps before your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some fun facts about Boise?
Here are some fun facts about Boise:
1. With a population of almost 240,000, Boise is the 99th most populous American city.
2. National Geographic has named Boise as one of the best mountain biking towns in the United States.
3. Moving (1988) was filmed in Boise.
4. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad fans are so going to appreciate this!) lives in Boise, and October 1st has been named “Aaron Paul Day” in Idaho.
5. It’s considered illegal to ride a merry-go-round on Sundays. That said, it’s quite an outdated law and isn’t enforced in practice.
6. Boise is home to a big population of Basque descendants.
7. Boise is said to have more than 200 days of sunshine.
Is Boise an expensive city?
Bose’s average living costs are 7% higher than the national average. If you go to Boise on a three-day trip on your own, you’ll need $750; if you’re with a partner, you’ll need $1275; if you’re a family of four, set aside $1650. Hotel prices in Boise city center vary between $170 and $425 ($215 on average per night). For public transportation and eating out, we recommend planning around $100 per day per person. Finally, keep in mind that the above-mentioned budget prices are based on prior visitors’ data, which means they’re more than likely to undergo changes by the time you head to Boise.
What are the most popular restaurants in Boise?
Top Boise-based restaurants include:
1. The Melting Pot
2. Trilium Restaurant
3. Cottonwood Grille
4. Barbacca Grill
5. Sandbar Patio Bar & Grill
6. Bittercreek Alehouse
7. Boise Fry Company
8. Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro
9. The Basque Market
10. Goodwood Barbecue Company
Does Boise have natural disasters?
While Boise is prone to earthquakes and tornadoes, such disasters aren’t a frequent occurrence in the city.
What are the best day trips from Boise?
Our top recommendations for day trips from Boise include:
1. Bogus Basin
2. Bruneau Dunes State Park
3. Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
4. Three Island Crossing State Park
5. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
6. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
7. Shoshone Falls Park (together with Twin Falls)
8. Snake River Canyon
9. Boise National Forest
10. City of Rocks National Reserve
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|👍 Best Time to Visit||March-May|
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit||September|
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit||September-November|
|👎 Worst Time to Visit||June-August|
To sum up, the best time to visit Boise is in spring (March–May) if you’re hoping to enjoy outdoor activities without breaking a sweat.
Ski enthusiasts should choose winter (December–February) instead and take advantage of the nearby ski slopes by skiing or snowboarding. Note that winter months see higher hotel rates, though.
The cheapest time to head to Boise is in September. Travelers visit at this time to enjoy the lower costs, reduced hotel rates, and cheaper flight tickets.
Wish to avoid the peak season crowds? Head to Boise in the fall (September–November). You won’t run out of activities to do or festivals to attend — you’ll just enjoy them without the long queues.
The worst time to visit Boise is in summer (June–August). The summers at Boise see high temperatures, making certain activities difficult or at least not as enjoyable.
With that said, visitors still flock to this Idaho city anyway — the weather isn’t going to stop the most enthusiastic of visitors from fully enjoying the plethora of festivals and summer activities.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Boise corresponds to the types of activities you like, the weather you’re fond of, your budget, and overall holiday expectations — but with so many things to see and do irrespective of when you visit, chances are you’ll enjoy your time there.
Good luck & bon voyage!