The city of Boise, ID is one of the country's fastest-growing metropolitan areas but still has small-town features from clean streets to a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The "City of Trees" not only has great restaurants and cafes but indoor and outdoor activities galore. When a meeting or convention of 1,000 or more selects Boise it takes over the city, the attendees are welcomed, recognized, and are given the red-carpet treatment from the moment they walk off the plane. This includes excellent air service connectivity and airport proximity to hotels in just ten minutes on a free shuttle, safe walkable streets, arts and culture, culinary experiences, a growing wine and craft beer scene, outdoor recreation, and great weather throughout the year. Successful Meetings spoke with Carrie Westergard, executive director of the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau about the destination and what groups can get out of a visit there.
What's new in the city for groups?
Boise is in the midst of a hotel boom -- there are several new hotels that provide wonderful amenities within walking distance of the newly expanded Boise Centre. The expansion was completed in July and features an additional 36,000 square feet of space. The Centre now includes a ballroom and eight additional breakout rooms.
What's a venue or activity that's a "hidden gem" for visiting groups?
Boise has ample opportunities to conveniently enjoy the outdoors. Popular activities include hiking or mountain biking on the nearly 200 miles of the Ridge to Rivers trail system, or renting stand up paddleboards to float either the Boise River or one of several area ponds. For a relaxing tour of the Boise River, visitors can rent bikes for a cruise along the 25 miles of the paved Boise River Greenbelt path. For groups looking for a more singular experience, whitewater rafting the nearby Payette River provides a memorable outing just outside of town.
What's a good outing for a group looking to get a sense of the city's culture or history?
Boise has one of the largest Basque populations in the country, and the Basque culture is an important part of the city's history. The Basque Block in the heart of downtown features a historical museum, market, community center, and restaurants all celebrating the Basque culture.
Where should a group go to get a truly local culinary experience?
Juniper in downtown Boise's 8th St. corridor prides itself on its local influences. The menu features everything from locally grown meats and vegetables through to local wines, beers and spirits. Chef Aaron keeps the menu seasonally appropriate with Idaho ingredients. It's delicious.
Anything else that you think makes your city a great destination for groups?
One of Boise's best benefits for groups is how centrally located everything is. The vibrant downtown offers arts, culture, entertainment, outdoor recreation, bars and restaurants, all within a brief, safe walk from one of the many downtown hotels.