48 Hours in Boise: With a Toddler

Our family travel guide to 48 Hours in Boise

You only need about 45 minutes in Boise to figure out that it’s one super cool city. Both the Boise State University and the capital of Idaho call this town home, bringing a mix of hip and trendy with traditional and classic. This combination of new and old can be seen all around downtown- from the art and murals that adorn downtown streets to the new breweries and restaurants popping up. A Saturday morning walk around downtown takes you to two different farmers markets, from the capitol building to the Linen district, and will quickly make you rethink where you’re currently living and start envisioning a life in Idaho.


Then you remember you have a kid, a toddler to be exact. Is this cool city still cool if you have to do it by the rules of traveling with a toddler?

Well, on our recent trip to Boise we put this question to the test, as we have a running, talking, 22-month old toddler.

And guess what? It is just as cool with a toddler. In fact, we did several things that we might not have done if we didn’t have a toddler and I think we liked them even more than she did.


Want to have your own, awesome 48-hours in Boise? Read on to find out where to stay, what to do and where to eat in our new favorite city:

Where to Stay:

  • Modern Hotel and Bar
    • Cool design for Instagram loving parents
    • Great location in the Linen District within walking distance of the Farmers Markets and downtown Boise restaurants
    • Fire pit area for s’mores
    • Walk-in showers that make spraying kids down after a sweaty hike super easy (plus the rain shower has two thumbs up from these parents as well)
    • Great hotel restaurant and bar and within walking distance to one of the best brunch places in the city
  • Hampton Inn and Suites
    • The location is perfectly situated to explore downtown Boise and the nearby parks and Zoo.
    • The pool has a “splash pad” zone that kids love
    • The rooms are big and spacious, with small kitchen areas for storing extra food or milk that toddlers require
    • A free daily breakfast in the main lobby
    • Plenty of covered parking

What to do:

  • Discovery Center of Idaho
    • Just voted the Best Local Family Friendly Attraction in Boise, kids of all ages will love the hands-on interactive exhibits.
  • Zoo Boise
    • From giraffe feedings to wallaby pettings, this zoo has dozens of interactive animal encounters that will introduce kids to exotic animals from around the world. Make sure to check out the schedule so you don’t miss one of the feedings.
  • Hike Camels Back Park and let loose on the playground
    • Besides an impressive playground at the base of the hill, Camels Back Park has dozens of trails that are kid and pet friendly. This is a prized sunset watching spot, so make sure to arrive well before golden hour for the best viewing spot.
  • Explore the Farmers Markets
    • There are two Farmers Markets in downtown Boise offering everything from local produce and freshly picked flowers to wines and spirits. Capital City Public Market is located on 8th street, steps from the Capital building. The Boise Farmers Market is located on Grove street, an easy 10 minute walk from the other one. Find a parking spot in-between the two to enjoy the downtown Boise area as you walk from one to another.
  • Bike to Esther Simplot Park:
    • 55 acres of trails, paths and grassland, perfect for biking, walking or just running around. There are also 23 acres of ponds that are great for fishing and swimming. The park is adjacent to the Boise Whitewater Park, a popular water park for kayakers and and surfers.
  • Explore MK Nature Center
    • Located along the Boise River Greenbelt, your family can learn about the local plants and animals that call southwest Idaho home. Augustine particularly loved the viewing platforms over the streams, pointing out all the different fish.
  • Festivals:
    • We were lucky to visit during the Boise Art Museum’s Art in the Park Festival. Highly suggest visiting the events calendar to see what festivals are taking place when you are planning your own visit.


Where to eat:

  • Donuts at Guru Donuts
    • You’ve got to try the special hipsterberry donut and the s’mores donut. If you check in on Yelp, you get one donut free! I suggest getting a half dozen so you can taste test a few of their top sellers.
  • Pizza at Flatbread Pizza
    • Let your kids pretend to be chefs for the night with their make your own pizza creation. They also have a great happy hour and speciality cocktails for the adults in the group.
  • Bacon at Bacon
    • Order the flight of bacon to give kids a culinary adventure. The parents should order one of their perfect bloody mary’s, it taste just as delicious as it looks.
  • Burger and Fries at Boise Fry Company
    • Pick your meat (grass fed, organic, bison, beef and vegan) and pick your style of potato (and fried in sunflower seed oil) at this restaurant who puts a spin on your typical burger and fries joint. Everyone can order a different mix and taste test each type to find a new favorite.
  • Mac and Cheese, Lamb Burger & a pint of beer at Bittercreek Alehouse
    • The “Kids Lunch Box” has toys and activity books for kids of all ages, keeping them entertained when parents just want to relax with a beer. You can sample some local brews while plotting your itinerary of the Boise Ale Trail.



Created in partnership with Visit Idaho