Expedia Viewfinder teamed up with the Boise City Department of Arts & History to compile the best cultural attractions in the Gem State’s capital.
Here at Expedia Viewfinder, we believe that there’s a lot you can learn about a city when you dive into its culture, and we love nothing more than getting to know a region by exploring its museums and discovering its history. Drawn to the capital of Idaho, we decided to partner up with the Boise City Department of Arts & History to uncover some of the best places to get a sense of the town’s vibrant and thriving culture. From art museums to music festivals, we rounded up the top cultural sights in Boise to visit this summer:
Boise Art Museum
The Boise Art Museum (BAM) belongs at the top of your itinerary. Founded in 1937, this museum boasts a sculpture court, artist studios, and exhibitions ranging from controversial works by Chinese artist Liu Bolin to photography from local high school students. During a visit to the oldest visual arts organization in Boise, don’t miss the BAM gift shop, which offers a range of handmade jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and other souvenirs inspired by the museum’s exhibits.
Old Idaho Penitentiary
In the 19th century the Old Idaho Penitentiary was established for some of the worst criminals. From 1872 until 1973, the Old Idaho Penitentiary housed more than 13,000 inmates including famed criminals like Lady Bluebeard, who killed several husbands for insurance money, and Harry Orchard, who assassinated former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Today, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the buildings that once housed criminals, admire unique exhibitions tracing the history of tattoos in the prison system, and even set eyes on the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, which is one of the largest collections of military memorabilia and historic arms in the U.S.
Boise Music Festival
Every summer, Boise comes to life with the annual music festival held at Expo Idaho, and this year it takes place on June 27. Along with featuring the best musical talent in the area, the Boise Music Festival grabs headlines with major performers like Shaggy, The Ting Tings, and Nick Jonas. There are multiple stages to catch musicians throughout the day, and even an after party hosted by a local radio station.
In 1927, the Egyptian Theater of Boise opened its doors and showed the classic film Don Juan, starring John Barrymore. The landmark is the city’s last-standing single-screen theater, and it remains one of the most historically significant buildings in town. The theater’s name is derived from the spectacular design around the main stage. Elaborate decor includes scarab ornaments, colorful Egyptian art, and stylized figures. Visitors can catch a variety of shows at the Egyptian Theater, ranging from retro films to performances by the Opera Idaho.
Via: Kenneth Freeman
One of the things that sets Boise apart from other cities of similar size is the incredible amount of public art displayed throughout its streets. Visitors can spot dozens of unique sculptures and memorials, all of which are free of charge and designed for public education and awareness. Some of the most celebrated include the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and Statue on the Boise River Greenbelt, as well as the Sacagawea and Pomp bronze statue in Julia Davis Park.
Boise bursts to life with culture and you won’t want to miss a beat. On your next romp around Idaho’s capital, check out the masterpieces, history, concerts, and memorials to soak up the city’s vibe.
-Expedia Staff Writer