I'm interrupting this regularly scheduled fashion programming to bring you a recap of my recent trip to Idaho. My boyfriend and I met up with seven close friends — two of whom live in Boise — for a long weekend filled with outdoor adventures, road trips and city exploration.
I wouldn't recommend visiting Boise without a native to show you around or a solid game plan. We had the former, so here's a little peek into our four-day tour.
1. Stay at the Modern Hotel. Located on the outskirts of downtown Boise, this place lives up to its name — each room is decked out in mod decor with rainfall showers and a complimentary Idaho Spud candy bar. Best of all, it's cheap. The whole state is cheap, actually.
2. Eat brunch at Big City Coffee. It's a couple blocks away from the Modern Hotel and couldn't be cuter. The classic-breakfast portions are HUGE. Don't try to eat one plate on your own. You will fail. We all failed. And by that I mean we won.
3. Drive to Silver City, a ghost town last active in the late 1800s. Its inhabitants all picked up and left after the mining boom fizzled out, leaving a cluster of deserted houses and businesses. Getting to Silver City is half the fun — you get to wind through the desert mountains with incredible views left and right.
4. Get paella at the Basque Market. Located in downtown Boise, this tiny restaurant/market dishes up massive paella feasts for $8.99 per person. You can also order off the tapas menu or just grab some housemade cheese and dips and a bottle of Spanish wine for a lighter meal.
5. Get dinner and/or drinks at Barbacoa, one of the most ornate restaurants I've ever seen. It's decked out in dramatic, gothic decor from floor to ceiling. The food—Mexican—is tasty and the drinks are decent. It turns into a bit of a meat-market on weekends, which is good or bad depending on what you're looking for.
6. Sing karaoke at the 44 Club. We fell in love with this tiny dive bar full of local karaoke regulars. The drinks were cheap and strong, and the crowd was equally enthusiastic for everyone. Can't ask for more than that! Karaoke starts at 6pm daily.
7. Take at dip in the hot springs. You can find them all over Idaho — we hit up The Springs, roughly 45 minutes outside of Boise, where they offer cocktails and massages in addition to naturally heated pools. It was heavenly.
8. Rent a cabin in the woods. There's no shortage of amazing cabins for rent in the mountains outside Boise, and they're crazy-cheap when split between friends (we paid $50/person for a two-night stay). Our cabin, located in Garden Valley, had an amazing wrap-around deck overlooking the Payette River with a fire pit out front, peaked ceilings, a foosball table and a long dining room table perfect for our 9-person group.
9. Go whitewater rafting. We used Bear Valley Rafting, which offers guided tour for moderate and advanced groups (ours being moderate). It was chilly on the day we went, so they loaned us wetsuits and raincoats. I loved that they had photographers on site to capture the action. You might want to sit in the back of the raft like I did unless you're cool with getting splashed!
10. Lastly, get barbecue and vegan food at BBQ4LIFE. Formerly a food truck, this restaurant serves up delicious meaty barbecue alongside vegan sandwiches and sides. It's an odd pairing for sure, but the food is awesome. I highly recommend the pulled pork sandwich and spicy coleslaw.