16 Holiday Activities to Cross Off Your Boise Bucket List

 

holiday activiites top list

If you are like me a year ago, I didn’t know what to do when it came to my first holiday season in Boise. For those who are new to Boise, or if you’re looking for a few new ideas, here’s my Top 16 Holiday Activities to Cross Off Your Boise Bucket List:

 

1. Capital Tree Lighting on the Grove Plaza

lighting tree Idaho Statesman

Date: November 24th, from 5pm -6:30pm. 

Get ready to snuggle with your loved ones as you enjoy the holiday tree lighting. It’ll be held at The Grove, and festivities begin at 5pm. Entertainment by Red Light Challenge and the Boise Men’s & Women’s Choruses.

For full details, please visit: https://downtownboise.org/events/downtown-holiday-tree-lighting 


2. Wintry Market at JUMP Boise

wintry market
Source: Wintry Market

Date: November 18 & 19; 10am – 5pm; Pioneer Room at JUMP Boise

Looking to find some homemade goodies you can give as gifts? The 2017 Wintry is here and will be held at JUMP.  The market will be open and free to the public this Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm.


3. Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees


Date: November 22nd – November 28th.

Last year, I attended this wonderful event and I highly recommend it. For so many reasons. All funds raised will support the expansion of Saint Alphonsus. You get to walk around and be surrounded by all of the holiday splendor that makes you feel warm inside. Let’s not forget the hundreds of decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and holiday decor.


4. Idaho Food Bank Empty Bowls

Source: Boise Bucket List/Instagram

Date: Friday, November 24; 11am – 2pm; Grove Plaza

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Idaho Food Bank Empty Bowls! The Empty Bowls is where you get to choose from hand-painted bowls from professional and amateur painters, students, and studios.  After you select a bowl, you can then enjoy a hot bowl of soup generously donated by one of the local Boise restaurants.

Over 3,000 bowls to choose from, and bowls start at $10.00.  It’ll be held at the Boise Center. *Parking WILL BE FREE on Friday.

Recommendation: ARRIVE EARLY! I made the terrible mistake of attending around 12pm. The line was long, wrapped around Main Street.


5. Boise Classic Movies at the Egyptian Theater

boise classic movies
Source: Boise Classic Movies

I’m movie geek and fanatic, so when Boise Classic Movies released its holiday schedule, I screamed with joy. Maybe not scream, but definitely got giddy.

This year, the list of classic movies range from action to romcom to the classic holiday movies:

  • Love Actually
  • Christmas Vacation
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Die Hard
  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • White Christmas
  • Elf

Some of the movies showings include beer and wine (21+).  I believe these will all sell out, so grab your tickets early. Plus, you get to watch it in the coolest place here in Boise: The Egyptian Theater.


6. Ice Skating at the Village of Meridian

meridian ice skating Adam Eschabach MP
Source: Adam Eschabach/MP

Date: November through January 2018

I’ll admit — I’m not the best when it comes to ice skating. BUT for the holiday season, I’ll put on some ice skates.

The Village of Meridian now has an ice skating rink in Fountain Square. Its open from November thru January.  Ticket prices start at $5.00.

Enjoy a night of ice skating, then grab hot chocolate at Village Coffee, and sit by a warm fire.


7. Winter Garden aGlow at the Idaho Botanical Garden

IMG_3095
Source: Boise Bucket List/Instagram

Date: Thursday, November 23 – Monday, January 1; 6pm; Botanical Garden

The Garden isn’t only for the warm months. The Idaho Botanical Garden becomes a dazzling display of lights during the holiday season. Over 380K lights, to be exact.

On select nights, you can even see Santa and enjoy the sounds of local choirs.

Tickets start at $8, and children under 4 are FREE


8. Idaho Hot Springs

hot springs visit idaho
Source: Visit Idaho

Stay warm in one of Idaho’s hot springs. There a public and commercial options when choosing a hot spring. There are quite a few an hour or less from Boise:

The Springs Resort

Roy Stone Hot Springs

Little Anderson Hot Spring

If you’re willing to drive further, your options expand!


9. The Nutcracker at Ballet Idaho

ballet idaho morrison center
Source: Morrison Center

Date: Friday, December 15th and go through Sunday, December 17th. 

When I was growing up, my parents brought my siblings and me to see the Nutcracker. My sister especially loved it because she was into ballet. When I close my eyes and think of Christmas, seeing the Nutcracker is part of that vision.

Luck for us, we have a chance to see the Nutcracker live at Ballet Idaho.  This year, Ballet Idaho is hosting Nutcracker parties prior to each performance!

Snag your tickets early because these showings HAVE SOLD OUT! Not kidding.


10. Downtown Carriage Rides

horse carriage source stock photo
Source: Stock Photo

Date: Every Friday and Saturday from November 24th – December 16th, 4pm – 8pm

You’d think you’d have to travel to New York City to enjoy a classic carriage ride. Or, at least that’s what I see in the movies.

Starting in late November, you have the chance to enjoy a FREE carriage ride in downtown Boise. Yes, I said FREE.

Pickup is in front of the Washington Trust Bank 9th Street downtown Boise.


11. Boise Annual Holiday Concert

Holiday Concert, Photo By Wankun Sirichotiyakul
Source: Boise State University Music Department

Date: The concert is December 8th at 7:30pm. 

Let’s celebrate the season with Boise State University’s annual family holiday concert. The Boise State Music Department puts on this wonderful concert for all to enjoy.  BSU students, faculty & staff are eligible for free tickets. Non-BSU tickets start at $8


12. Claus N Paws Day at Zoo Boise

Source:Boise Bucket List/Instagram

Date: Saturday, December 2nd from 10am – 5pm

Want to have a fun FREE day at the zoo? On Saturday, December 2nd starting at 10am, you and your family can enjoy all the zoo offerings. Santa Claus will visit the zoo for photo ops.


13. Boise Holiday Parade

boise holiday parade source Downtown Boise
Source: Downtown Boise

Date: Saturday, November 18th starting at 9:45am

You can’t help but to enjoy a good, entertaining holiday parade. On Saturday, November 18th, come to downtown Boise and enjoy the “Storybook Christmas” at this year’s Boise annual Holiday Parade. The parade kicks off on Jefferson at 10th Street and heads to 4th Street.


 

14. Winter Wonderland in Downtown Caldwell

Date: Friday, November 17th from 6pm – 9pm. 

If you haven’t driven to Caldwell for its Winter Wonderland, you’re definitely missing out! I attended this last year, and I’m so happy the time has come where I can go again.  You have the beautiful light display  in downtown Caldwell. Lots of children activities, music, and plenty of vendors.


15. Elf the Musical at The Morrison Center

elf the musical source Morrison Center
Source: Morrison Center

Date: Shows start on Friday, December 1st and run through Saturday, December 2nd.  Tickets start at $35

Want to experience Broadway in Boise? As part of the 2017 – 2018 season, Elf the Broadway Musical will be playing at the Morrison Center. After you see the classic movie at the Egyptian Theater, head over to the Morrison Center to see the Broadway Musical!

 


16. Idaho State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

Date: Monday, November 27th

Source: Boise Bucket List/Instagram


Last year, I attended the Idaho State Capitol Christmas Tree lighting right after work, and it was absolutely worth it. There was free hot cocoa and cookies for everyone. After the tree lighting, you can head inside and explore the Idaho State Capitol building. Holiday decorations are something that’s magical – amazing, even. With the vibrant reds and the deep greens to the holiday wreaths, you can get lost in the sea of beautiful holiday decorations. The Idaho State Capitol building does not disappoint. The interior of the Capitol building is absolutely amazing!

 


Do you have any ideas of holiday festivities I should include on this list? Feel free to email me at theboisebucketlist@gmail.com for activities worth crossing off the #BoiseBucketList

 

Make sure to follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #BoiseBucketList to share your stories of new adventures!

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Get Juiced, Boise!

I’m feeling under the weather.

Is that a surprise? Probably not considering this weather. It doesn’t help that my colleague’s son is sick, causing her to be sick, and now the rest of the staff is down! I’m going to fight this, no matter what I have to do. I have a date this Friday night! Another (potential) story to add to my other #datingintheBOI moments.


Rather than pumping some ramen noodles in my system (which is fine, but I’ve been eating healthy these past few weeks & don’t want all that sodium in my system), I decided to finally checkout Boise Juice Co., a local company which makes cold-pressed juices, whole-food smoothies, and acai bowls. No better reason (at least for me) to visit a juice bar is when I’m under the weather.


It’s about 5 miles away from my job — not much of a drive.


I pulled up and saw Boise Hot Yoga. I thought hmm, I should add this to my #boisebucketlist. Duly noted. After being greeted by a nice gentleman, I proceeded to the counter and asked the young lady about what’s good for a cold. I kind of put her on the spot, but I wanted to maximize my first visit to Boise Juice Co. 


I ended up getting:

  1. The Popeye: an acai bowl mixed with blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, banana, kale, spinach, and apple juice. It’s then topped with organic hemp granola, banana, strawberries, and pineapple honey.
  2. Turmeric Tonic juice: pineapple, orange, carrot, turmeric and ginger
  3. Nice Melons juice (help with my immunity): red apples, cantaloupe, orange, carrot, and lemon


I plan to drink the juices throughout the day until I get home for some delicious soup. Most likely, I’ll lay out on my couch, turn on some Vanderpump Rules, and veg out.

C’mon people, I need to get better before Friday!


 

Want to checkout Boise Juice Co. yourself? Visit their website here: http://boisejuice.com/.

Dancing in the BOI

Last Saturday I did my usual: Hulu binged on some BravoTV show. As the evening approached, I felt the need to get out of the apartment — the need to dance, that is.
With all this talk about snow and cold temps, you would think this would deter me of wanting to head to Boise on a Saturday night. Nope, not at all.  Get some fresh air and an excuse to put on my dancing shoes.


Here’s an overview of my night out in the BOI:
Stop 1: Fatty’s

Fatty’s is located on 8th Street, near Pie Hole, on the 2nd floor. Lately, this has been my warm-up/ starting point. When I start my night, I usually check out Fatty’s drinks specials (fireball shots, anyone?), grabs some shots, head to the dance floor, and start vibing to the music.


Cover: None

Themed Nights & Drink Specials

  • Tuesday Night Beer Pong Tournament
  • Wednesday Ladies Night with Wild 101
  • Fawesome Thursdays (EDM Night)
  • Fatty Friday’s with Wild 101
  • Saturday with DJ Zuz
  • Hip Hop Sundays with 208 Music

Thinking about going to Fatty’s? Here are some tips:

1. Check out the stripper pole. Yes, there’s a stipper pole surrounded by 2 couches. If you feel so inclined to show off your Magic City moves (ladies) or Magic Mike skills (men), by all means go ahead and abuse that pole!
2. Don’t miss your chance to meet the Fatty’s panda. He fittingly  pops up when the DJ drops Desiigner’s “Panda.” Crowd usually goes crazy for Mr. Panda. Make sure to snap a photo with him.


3. It’s for all ages. Let’s say you’re just coming from a Steelheads game. Head over to Fatty’s to end the night by hanging by the bar. Date night? Fatty’s is ideal because it has private booths to sit in, bar stool tables, a pool table. You can find places to talk in Fatty’s. Girls’ Night Out? Yes, also ideal. I scanned the crowd, and I can see all demographics and age groups.


Stop 2: China Blue

After warming up a little bit at Fatty’s, I made the walk over to China Blue. China Blue is a 2-story dance floor on the corner of Main Street and 6th Street.  Once you get carded and walk thru the curtains (yes, there are curtains), you’re greeted with vibrant bar. Once you take a right, you can either checkout the main dance floor, or you can head upstairs for more intimate setting.


Thinking about going to China Blue? Here are some tips:

  1. Embracing your dancing shoes. The DJ normally plays a mix of hip hop and top 40 hits. Sometimes, I wish the DJ would let certain hip hop/rap songs play out. He usually mixes a hip hop song with some techno version. Maybe it’s the Floridian in me, but if you’re feeling a good hip hop song, changing gears isn’t always what the crowd wants.
  2. Make it a Girl’s Night/Guy’s Night Out. China Blue is ideal for a large group for a variety of reasons: 1) you can all chip in for VIP section; 2) you can dominate the dance floor; and 3) you have your fair share of wing(men/women).
  3. Checkout the outside deck. Although it’s reserved for smokers, and if you can handle the smoke, I encourage you to checkout outside. Nice view of downtown Boise, a few comfy seats, and a warm fire pit.

Bonus is the Ladies bathroom. It’s its own mini lounge! It has modern sinks, a coat check, seats, large mirrors — ideal for outfit check, selfies, and SnapChats.

Oh, did I mention they have “Make It Rain” Friday? Yes, dolla dolla bills are dropped from the 2nd floor to the ground. Confetti is simultaneously released into the crowd as the money drops. When does China Blue make it rain? Friday nights.


Stop 3:  Humpin’ Hannahs

Not many words can describe Humpin’ Hannah’s. But I’ll try. I first visited a couple of months ago for a Meetup group event. It reminded me of a dive bar I used to visit with my classmates in law school in Maine. From the decor to the music, it’s your ideal place to get to dance, play pool, and enjoy you night out in the BOI.


Cover: None

Themed Nights & Drink Specials

  • Wednesday: Blue Turf Bash
    • $2.50 wells & bottled buds
    • $5 Doc Holiday and Huckleberry Lemonades
  • Throwback Thursday
    • $2 Coors and Wells
  • Friday & Saturday Night: all out dance party

Thinking about going to Humpin’ Hannah’s? Here are some tips:

  1. Be close to Rocci Johnson when she & her band performs. Rocci is a staple in the Boise community. Her band covers all type of songs, from rock & roll to pop hits. She’s also known for giving away adult toys! Let her know it’s your birthday, bachelorette party, or any special occasion, and she’ll spoil you!
  2. Go early. To my surprise (which now is no longer a surprise given Humpin Hannah’s has been ranked  #1 as Treasure Valley’s Best Dance Club), there’s a line to get in. That said, pay attention to who is in front & whether people skip the line.
  3. You will find a dancing partner. Don’t worry if it’s you and a few friends. You will eventually be asked to dance & have a dancing partner. The dance floor is usually packed to capacity, with a large screen for music videos as the song plays. It’s a recipe for the ultimate dancing experience. Whether you’re dancing with a group of girls, a group of guys, or someone on an intimate level — you will be dancing with someone by the end of the night!

If you’re not really into the whole dancing-all-night thing, Hannah’s has plenty of places to sit (upstairs and downstairs). You can enjoy all the people watching too. You can also enjoy a game of pool with your friends.


 

So that was my #boisebucketlist night out! I have plenty more clubs and bars to try out and feature. Once I do, I’ll have my top 5 nightclubs which should be on your #boisebucketlist.

Before I go, here are a couple of funny stories from my night out:

  1. Free Drinks! While I was waiting in line at Humpin’ Hannah’s, a young lady and her boyfriend came up to me and said I will buy you a drink if I can cut in front of you? Because I was with my brother, we negotiated 2 drinks to be bought. Apparently, it was 1) her birthday and 2) she couldn’t handle the Boise cold given that she was from Seattle. So, after I let her cut in front of me, we headed to the $1.00 shots mini table, cheer to her birthday, and kicked off our time in Humpin’ Hannah’s

  1. Mini Stalker. OK, this is pretty funny but also not. I was recognized at Humpin Hannah’s by someone from when I went out with my sister during Thanksgiving holiday. This person is drastically shorter than me (5 inches shorter). His aggressive nature was tolerable when I was at Humpin’ Hannah’s. He must have followed me to China Blue because not even 5 minutes in China Blue, I see mini stalker. He comes up to me without hesitation and tries to grab me. My patience wore thin at this point, and I forcely told him to stop. Thankfully, it didn’t need to be escalated.

Side note: Although I consider this something funny, please don’t take an aggressor lightly. I commend all the security guards at the bars/nightclubs I’ve visited here in Boise. These men are there to help diffuse and prevent a situation in the nightclub. In my case, if this mini stalker kept harassing me, I would have no problem going to one of the security guards and advise them of this guy’s behavior.

 


Quick Recap:

  • No covers for Fatty’s, China Blue, and Humpin’ Hannah’s
  • Drink specials at each location
  • All 3 places seem to have all ages atmosphere
  • Bars close at 2aM

Till next time Boise!