Boise for the Quirky, Curious and Easily Amused

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Real Estate

Story by Jen Wieber for Scott Swan Real Estate


Boise is celebrated for its flowering cottonwoods, meandering river (which flows right along the Boise State University campus), and 25 miles of greenbelt path, not to mention sunny skies on average of 206 days per year.  But don’t be fooled. It’s not all that prim. Boise comes with its own quirky vibe and you will definitely want to be a part of it! 


freakalleyFreak Alley

Grab your friends and head on over to this wildly eclectic outdoor art gallery.  Did I say outdoor art gallery? I actually meant, THE largest outdoor art gallery in the entire Northwest.  Really. It all started the fateful day when Colby Akers was caught doodling on the back door of Moon’s Diner by the owners. Instead of asking Akers to wash it off, they asked him to sign his name!  One thing led to another and now the entire alley is painted and Akers runs, manages and curates the alley between 8th and 9th in Boise’s downtown commercial area. An annual repainting is scheduled each year to allow room for others to showcase their talents. To read more about each artist, or to discover how your extra paint supplies might help the alley get its freak on, visit the website:  


The STIL (Sweetest Things in Life)

stilAfter using your best “art gallery appreciation expressions” head over to The STIL and cool off with a scoop of Creamy Lavender Honey Latte ice cream.  This unique flavor combo is in collaboration with Form and Function Coffee, also locally owned and produced. It’s indulgent goodness in a cup, cone or float. 


Walter’s Ferry, or Cleo’s Trail

If you get the sudden urge to time travel, take the less risky route and drive to Walter’s Ferry, also known as Cleo’s Trail.  It’s nestled at the start of the Snake River Byway just South of Melba, on the North Bank. Originally a Native American camp, it later became an ideal Ferry Crossing and then eventually The Swayne Ranch owned by antique collectors Cleo Swayne and her husband.  Now? It’s a whimsical outdoor walking museum, welcoming visitors and giving tribute to the many layers of history. Stroll along the 1-2 mile nature trail and side paths to bear witness to the many bizarre and beautiful sights such as a spaceship landing or a marriage ceremony captured in bronze.  cleostrailRub elbows with Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and Shakespeare and be weary as you scramble over a troll bridge.  An ideal family outing. Just make sure to leave Fido at home.  The live peacocks don’t take kindly to having to share their space. There is no charge for admission, however donations are accepted. For more information, including directions, visit


Babby Farms

A unique non-profit farm with an emphasis on providing hands-on animal interactions for children and adults with disabilities, Babby Farms is a must if you are longing for a connection with the wild.  It’s the place to pet a kangaroo, high-five a lemur, feed a zebra, ride a pony, or say hello to a camel. This is an up-close and personal experience you won’t soon forget. Open to the public Tuesday-Sunday from 9-5pm.


Comedy Sportz

comedysportzCome witness a hilarious sparring match of wits!  Then, chime in with your vote for the funniest team during the comedy improv nights at Comedy Sportz every Friday-Saturday.  Best thing about it? You can bring your kids. CSz is a family-friendly entertainment empire, offering improv classes for all ages the other days of the week. Go laugh ruthlessly today!


The Trolley House and Old Idaho Penitentiary

Originally the end of the line for the Boise Transit System’s Street car, The Trolley House Restaurant has the look and feel of an actual street car.  It also has arguably the yummiest pancakes in the valley and would be a perfect place to devour your last meal before walking into the gallows.  The Trolley House is located only 0.6 miles from The Old Idaho Penitentiary, so just hop in the car or walk over to take a self-guided tour, or if you’d prefer, call ahead to find out when a volunteer tour guide can walk you through.  Once there, learn about infamous local criminals like Lady Bluebeard through letters, photos and documentaries. Open all year, October is a particularly interesting month to check your sanity at the door and explore.



spacebarDowntown Boise wouldn't be complete for the 21 and over crowd without a nostalgic trip to the Spacebar Arcade where you can get your retro game on playing some of the crowd’s favorites: Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong Jr. and Galaga, to name just a few.  Or you can grab a table and play Clue with your closest sleuth friends and sing along off-key next to the jukebox with Aerosmith and Radiohead. Spacebar also boasts one of the most notable selections of beer and wine in town, including Portland’s Gluten-free Groundbreaker IPA and other local brews from around the Pacific Northwest.  For a full selection of brews and games:


The only quirky thing Boise is missing?  You. Experience our city in all it’s beautiful eccentric glory.  Get involved today!