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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5 Ways I Dress Warm in the BOI Winter

Anytime I tell someone I’m originally from West Palm Beach, Florida I’m greeting with this automatic “oh dear, how are you holding up in the winter?” Great question.

Fortunately for me (or unfortunately, depending on your mindset), I lived in Portland, ME for 5 years. During that time, I gained firsthand experience of what it means to dress warmly. Such is a foreign concept for Floridians — unless that 3-day cold front we usually get in January.

Thankfully, lessons learned in Maine helped me transition to life during this BOI winter. Here are the 5 ways I dress warmly:

  • L.L. Bean Boots. For those who don’t know, the founders of L.L. Bean are from Maine. If you ever visit Freeport, make sure to snap a photo in front of the famous Bean Boot.With all my Mainer friends talking about their “beans,” I took note and decided to do some research for myself. I immediately became hooked after purchasing my 1st pair. Yes, I have more than one! The ones I wear for winter are the L.L. Bean Boots with the shearing-lining. They keep my feet extra warm, which is necessary for me! They can be a bit costly upfront, but it’s a lifetime guarantee with their products. I’ve had mine for over 6 years, and they still look good as new.

 

  • Wool Socks. Understandably, I had NO CLUE what wool socks were prior to moving to New England. Once winter came around, I overheard a classmate of mine talk about his wool socks and how they made him itch.  Say what? What are wool socks? Rather than asking and being embarrassed, I did the usually thing: Google search. I have no clue how I survived my first winter without them! I try to keep it colorful with these wool socks. 

 

  • Parka. I tried my  hardest to refrain from pulling out the parka here in Boise. I wanted to show that I can handle the cold temps. Then I was (re) introduced to 20 degrees F. That made me change my mind real quick. I have a few parkas, but my favorite is my North Face parka. 

Here’s a tip: if this is your first winter and costs of jackets are wearing you down, I recommend visiting the local thrift stores such as Idaho Youth Ranch and Goodwill. I received this tip when in New England because I was worried about costs, particularly since I never had to spend over $20 for any warm piece of clothing. At the thrift stores, I found everything from brand new jackets still with tags to gently used high-end jackets. My first winter in New England was manageable because of those 2nd hand L.L. Bean jackets.

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  • Gloves. A few weeks ago, I made the terrible mistake of leaving my gloves at home when I volunteered at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Boy were my hands freezing! Moving forward, I now I have 2 pairs — one I keep in my jacket pocket. My go-to gloves are those with a buckle closure and those which are  touchscreen-friendly.  Prior to these touchscreen-friendly gloves, it was annoying to have to remove my gloves to answer my call or text.

 

  • My winter hats. I have my fair share of winter hats. Some hats are more appropriate to wear when my hair is straightened; others times I wear hats made to fit my entire head of curls. My when-my-hair-is-straight winter hat is the standard beanie. It’s comfortable, keeps my head warm, and it compliments my face. Now, when my hair is too curly, the only hats that can handle it is the ski caps with a visor. I wear this all the time — even at home! Makes me feel warm and toasty.

 

With what appears as this record-breaking winter for snow, I’m glad I’m equipped to stay warm. What are some of your must-have winter items?