Southwestern Idaho might not be an American liberal hotspot, but Boise (locally pronounced “boy-see”… the quips practically write themselves!) has more going for it than the state’s reputation suggests.

After all, John Waters shot the infamous ending scene to Pink Flamingos here! The tight-knit but open-minded LGBTQ+ community concentrates in the downtown area, where you’ll find most of the city’s nightlife. Boise’s community gay bars, near Main Street downtown, are hip and established: one venue predates the 1969 Stonewall riots. Freak Alley Gallery is a free open-air street art display one block north of Main Street. Scope out the murals as a conversation starter if you’re tongue-tied around a new friend or friends! The 8th Street corridor, a pedestrian-friendly zone, is a gastronomic delight, featuring a variety of restaurants and cafes that cater to every palate, many of which proudly wave the rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t miss the Boise Farmers Market, where you can indulge in the freshest local produce and artisanal goods – it's a taste of Idaho's bounty in every bite!

For some fresh air and for putting on playful airs, visit Julia Davis Park south of downtown, where you can admire an impressive rose garden, play a tennis match, or rent a paddle boat. The park’s grounds host the Idaho Black History Museum and the Boise Art Museum, as well as Zoo Boise. Boise Art Museum and the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial offer experiences that stir the soul. The latter is a serene outdoor space dedicated to human rights education, echoing Boise's commitment to inclusivity and reflection. Meanwhile, the Boise Art Museum showcases a diverse collection that ranges from contemporary to traditional, mirroring the eclectic spirit of the city itself. If you're a bird lover as well as a culture vulture, check out the World Center for Birds of Prey, which has bird flight demonstrations and houses endangered California condors.

Boise’s city amenities and small-town vibe provide the best of both worlds, set off by the Rocky Mountains’ stunning natural backdrop, so pack your hiking gear. For you adventure seekers, prepare to be enthralled by Boise's natural landscapes. The Boise River Greenbelt, a lush, 25-mile pathway that hugs the river’s edge, invites you for biking, jogging, or a leisurely stroll, offering picturesque views and tranquil spots to connect with nature. For a more elevated experience, head to the Boise Foothills, where trails weave through the landscape, promising breathtaking panoramas and encounters with local wildlife.

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is a year-round playground, offering skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining in the warmer months. For those who wish to immerse themselves further into Idaho's wild heart, a day trip to Sawtooth National Recreation Area will reward you with stunning alpine scenery, crystal-clear lakes, and endless opportunities for outdoor exploration.

The city also hosts Boise State University, a school with strong academic and athletic reputations. The Boise area is increasingly popular with the tech industry’s major players, too, so the city is forward-thinking and welcoming. Boise Pride Festival reflects the city's commitment to progress—and it's good time fun! There's plenty happening in Boise to keep you busy day and night, so if you happen to be in the city take a ride on the Boise experience.

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