15 Fun Things to Do in Southern Idaho
7. Hike North Menan Butte
North Menan Butte, named “R mountain” by locals, is one of the world’s biggest volanic tuff cones. North Menan Butte is located near Rexburg. These 2 buttes are noteworthy as they are the only 2 US volcanoes which erupted in freshwater. The trail to the top of North Menan Butte offers beautiful panoramic views of the area. Once you reach the summit, you can explore the extinct volcano and take in the incredible views. A hilly journey to the top but well worth it in the end! Additional information on the R Mountain hike.
8. Stroll through the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho
This peaceful museum in Idaho Falls is a great place to explore while staying in Idaho Falls. The museum is small, although you will get to explore many beautiful pieces from local artists. Tip: Admission is free on the first Saturday of each month. Additional information on the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho.
9. Take a leisurely stroll along the Snake River Greenbelt
Idaho Falls is home to a 6 mile recreation path, which features beautiful views of the Snake River and a 20 foot tall man made waterfall. Take a stroll around the river and feed the ducks or get some exercise in by jogging or taking your bike out for a ride. The Greenbelt is perfect for early morning summer strolls. Various events take place here during the summer months. Tip: Book a hotel right on the Greenbelt for easy access. The Hilton Garden Inn and Residence are 2 great choices. Additional information on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt.
10. Spend the day shopping and dining in Downtown Boise
Downtown Boise is a safe, clean downtown area with plenty to do, including: restaurants, bars, shopping, entertainment, and special events throughout the year. In terms of restaurants, you will find many of the popular upscale chains like The Melting Pot, PF Chang’s, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Shopping includes traditional mall stores and specialty shops.
One of the nice aspects of this downtown is that it is very bike friendly. Most businesses are bike friendly and offer bike racks. For those interested in history, you can tour the beautiful Idaho State Capitol building. Tip: Park for free in Julia Davis Park and walk/bike to attractions. Additional information on Boise’s Downtown.
11. Explore outdoor recreation & cultural attractions at Julia Davis Park
Julia Davis is a beautiful park found in the downtown area of Boise. This large park is home to numerous attractions including: Zoo Boise, The Boise Art Museum, and the Idaho Historical Museum. From the park, you can access the 25 mile Greenbelt path (Julia Davis is a great place to park and start your ride). Summer is a great time to visit with lots to do, including: paddle boat rentals, tennis courts, and on-going special events. Additional information on Julia Davis Park.
12. See an event at the Idaho Center
The Idaho Center in Nampa, a suburb of Boise, hosts various events throughout the year. Concerts, circus shows, horse shows, and Monster Jam are just a few of the shows you can attend. It is most famous for an annual rodeo show called The Snake River Stampede. The indoor track is used by Boise State University. Visit the Idaho Center website for information regarding upcoming events.
13. Attend a lively play at the Knock Em Dead Dinner Theater
This theater in downtown Boise is an interesting attraction to add to your Boise itinerary. Throughout the year, the theater hosts various productions including specialty holiday themed plays. Dinner and drinks are available before each performance. Tip: Show your student ID 10 minutes prior to show time for discounted tickets (subject to availability). Check the Knock Em Dead website for information regarding this year’s lineup.
14. Explore one of Southern Idaho’s scenic hiking trails
There are hundreds of beautiful hiking trails in Southern Idaho. The Boise foothills and Craters of the Moon are 2 popular destinations. Pocatello is also a great area for outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of hiking and biking opportunities to take advantage of. One of the best hikes is short, nevertheless, provides scenic panoramic views of the entire area.
This hike, located right by Idaho State University, takes you up to a summit where you will find 4 columns, each which represent a year spent at the University. Visit the Southeast Idaho website for more information regarding local hikes.
15. Take a walk around Pocatello Zoo
Pocatello is one of 2 US zoos featuring animals native to the inter mountain west, including grizzly bears, bison, elk, proghorn, lynx, cougar, and bobcats. I enjoyed the steep climb (great workout!) and excellent views of the mountains. It’s a great little zoo to visit if you find yourself in Pocatello. Tip: Check the event calendar for special discount days and events. Additional information on the Pocatello Zoo.
*Visit during the off-season for the best hotel deals and cheapest flights. For example, Yellowstone is much less crowded outside of the busy summer months, and thus, hotels are typically cheaper. Spring (asides from free National Park week) is a great time to plan you visit!
*Search for discount hotel and attraction deals on Groupon and Living Social.
*Check restaurant reviews on sites like Trip Advisor & Zomato. This will ensure that you do not get stuck wasting your money at a bad restaurant.
*Concentrate on nature & beautiful natural attractions instead of malls, restaurants, & shopping. Idaho is a beautiful state with lots of free natural wonders. There is no need to waste money shopping (which you can do at home) and on overpriced restaurants.
What are some of your favorite Southern Idaho attractions and vacation spots?