If you are like me a two years 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 12 Holiday Activities to Cross Off Your Boise Bucket List:
1. CAPITAL TREE LIGHTING ON THE GROVE PLAZA
Date: November 23rd, 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. SAINT ALPHONSUS FESTIVAL OF TREES
Date: November 21st - November 25th
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 For more information, please visit: https://www.saintalphonsus.org/ways-to-give/boise/festival-of-trees/.
3. IDAHO FOOD BANK EMPTY BOWLS
Date: Friday, November 23rd; 10am to 1:30pm
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.
4. BOISE CLASSIC MOVIES AT THE EGYPTIAN THEATER
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:
It’s a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
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. For more info, please visit: https://boiseclassicmovies.com/deals/.
5. ICE SKATING AT THE VILLAGE OF MERIDIAN
Date: November through January 2019
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. For more info, please visit: https://www.thevillageatmeridian.com/event/Ice-Skating/2145514930/.
6. WINTER GARDEN AGLOW AT THE IDAHO BOTANICAL GARDEN
Date: Thursday, November 22 – 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 400K 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.
For more info, please visit: https://idahobotanicalgarden.org/event/winter-garden-aglow-2018/2018-11-22/.
7. THE NUTCRACKER AT IDAHO REGIONAL BALLET
Date: Friday, December 14th and go through Sunday, December 16th.
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 Idaho Regional Ballet. Come celebrate the holiday season with Idaho Regional Ballet and Lisa Moon’s staging of The Nutcracker. This marvelously imaginative production has become a holiday tradition for Treasure Valley families. Over 100 dancers in the cast and guest artists, Benjamin Griffiths and Leta Biasucci, courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet will grace the stage to Tchaikovsky's beloved score.
Snag your tickets early because these showings HAVE SOLD OUT! Not kidding. You may purchase your tickets HERE:
8. #WhatsYourAwesome DOWNTOWN CARRIAGE RIDES WITH WASHINGTON TRUST BANK
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. Washington Trust Bank is providing free carriage rides and hot cocoa to the Boise community throughout the holiday season!
Pickup is in front of the Washington Trust Bank 9th Street downtown Boise.
9. CLAUS N PAWS DAY AT ZOO BOISE
Date: Saturday, December 1st from 10am – 5pm
Want to have a fun FREE day at the zoo? On Saturday, December December 1st starting at 10am, you and your family can enjoy all the zoo offerings. Santa Claus will visit the zoo for photo ops.
10. WINTER WONDERLAND LIGHT DISPLAY IN DOWNTOWN CALDWELL
Date: November thru January 15th, 2019
If you haven’t driven to Caldwell for its Winter Wonderland Light Display, 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. For more information, please visit: https://www.cityofcaldwell.org/play/city-of-caldwell-events/winter-wonderland#ad-image-0.
11. IDAHO STATE CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
Date: Monday, November 26th
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!
For more info, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/2196687820351778/.
12. VIEW THE LIGHTS AT THE SCENTSY COMMON GROUND
Head to the Scentsy Common Grounds in Meridian to experience over 23-miles of amazing holiday lights. The public is welcome to explore the grounds during the holiday season to view the lights up close & personal. You can also see the beautiful Christmas Tree in the lobby from 9am to 5pm (business hours).
Do you have a traditional holiday activity that didn’t make the list? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to use the hashtag #boisebucketlist on Instagram at a chance of being featured! Enjoy crossing these activities off your list.