Boise, the capital of Idaho, is also known as the City of Trees. It has earned the title of Best Place to Mountain Bike as well, making it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts. The city offers a wide range of activities for tourists who love adventures. It has a rich cultural heritage that is very evident with its large number of museums, vast collections of exhibitions, and historic streets. The city truly has a great appreciation for the arts. The locals hold the famous Shakespeare Festival during the summer, and they love watching plays and concerts. Indeed there’s a lot to see and discover here, and you can start with this list of the top museums in Boise, Idaho—all of which are definitely worth a visit!
1. Boise Art Museum
A museum operating as the center of fine arts in Treasure Valley, Boise Art Museum—formerly known as Boise Gallery of Art—aims to exhibit a collection of artworks for the appreciation of the people living in the area. It wants people to engage in art-viewing experiences and stimulate learning through high-quality exhibitions and opportunities for education. This is the only museum accredited by American Alliance of Museum to collect and store fine arts in Idaho. If you’re planning to visit the place, note that you must make a reservation beforehand.
Boise Art Museum
Address: 670 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702, United States
Website: Boise Art Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 6 USD
2. Idaho Military History Museum
Idaho Military History Museum gives honor to the sacrifices of every soldier and their undying service for the American people. It aims to preserve and exhibit military history and artifacts that tell a great story about the people and the state of Idaho. Admission is free, and parking is not a problem. The place is very informative, and upon entering the museum, some of the first things you’ll see are airplanes and tanks. Most of the displays are from WWI and WWII. There is also a small gift shop where you can buy memorabilia before going home.
Idaho Military History Museum
Address: 4692 W Harvard St, Boise, ID 83705, United States
Website: Idaho Military History Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Sun - Mon)
3. Idaho State Museum
Idaho State Museum is the best place to learn facts about Idaho. It is recommended for both tourists and locals who have a great interest in knowing fascinating information about the state. The museum has gone through an extensive renovation, so all the exhibits on display are fresh and new. There’s a lot to discover in Idaho—its landforms and water forms, agriculture, wildlife, and the life of Native Americans who first inhabited the area. There is a small shop where you can buy local arts and crafts as well as commercial products. You will surely have a fun and interactive experience while here.
Idaho State Museum
Address: 610 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702, United States
Website: Idaho State Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun 12pm - 5pm
Price: 0 - 10 USD
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4. Discovery Center of Idaho
Nestled in the heart of Boise’s downtown, Discovery Center of Idaho mainly focuses on hands-on exhibits and aims to engage people to learn science, technology, engineering, and math. There’s a lot to explore and try inside the center. It’s an interactive museum that has fun activities for children. It provides experiential learning to all its visitors. You can be a member of this entertaining museum and get discounts for camps and birthday parties. Being a member will also give you the privilege to enjoy the discovery center every day of the year. How wonderful is that?
Discovery Center of Idaho
Address: 131 W Myrtle St, Boise, ID 83702, United States
Website: Discovery Center of Idaho
Opening hours: Sun: 12pm - 5pm; Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm
Price: 14 USD
5. Basque Museum and Cultural Center
What is Basque Museum and Cultural Center for? What can you expect to see inside the establishment? The Basque community is an ethnic group in Idaho. They were already residing in the area even before the Spanish and French came. The museum showcases the Basques’ rich culture and tradition. Exhibits on display and videos being played show how the Basques migrated to the United States and how they have contributed to the society by being war heroes and becoming community leaders. If you are a museum member, all you have to do is show your membership card, and you won’t have to pay anything.
Basque Museum and Cultural Center
Address: 611 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702, United States
Website: Basque Museum and Cultural Center
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat: 11am - 3pm (closed on Sun - Mon)
Price: 5 USD
6. Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology
An old-fashioned museum that provides a wonderful experience to its guests is one of the reasons why you should visit Boise. Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology gives people knowledge about large collections of rocks, minerals, and gems. It is considered a hidden treasure of Idaho. Artifacts, photographs, and tools of the trade that were part of the state’s mining history are just some of the things that you will see here. Admission is free, and the place also accommodates school tours.
Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology
Address: 2455 Old Penitentiary Rd, Next to Old Penitentiary Entrance, Boise, ID 83712, United States
Website: Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology
Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon - Tue)
7. Yanke Motor Museum
A fun and well-developed museum in Boise, Yanke Motor Museum offers a wonderful journey to the past. It exhibits different kinds of vehicles—from old wagons to present-day cars, trucks, and motorcycles. You will be amazed to see vintage cars and combat motorcycles that were used during World War II. Note that tours are done by appointment.
Yanke Motor Museum
Address: 1090 Boeing St, Boise, ID 83705, United States
8. Idaho Black History Museum
This is a museum that is worthy of your time, located at Julia Davis Park and found inside the historic St. Paul Baptist Chruch. Idaho Black History Museum has educational and community-outreach programs that include musical performances, literacy programs, workshops, lectures, and films. The main objective of the museum is to build intercultural communication between people of different races. Admission is free, but your donation will be very much appreciated. The venue also holds tours, but you must book an appointment.
Idaho Black History Museum
Address: 508 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702, United States
Website: Idaho Black History Museum
Opening hours: Tue: 10am - 3pm; Wed - Thu; 10am - 4pm; Sat: 11am - 4pm (closed on Sun - Mon & Fri)
9. James Castle House
Visiting James Castle House can be one of the highlights of your trip to Boise. If you have an enormous love for art and history, this is the ideal place for you. Experiencing how James Castle, one of America’s famous artists during the 20th century, designed and crafted all his artworks will give you goosebumps. Truly, this site is an important part of history—its exceptional historic preservation of a great American artist’s works. You should definitely not miss stopping by this place. Make it the last piece of the puzzle to complete your Boise adventure.
James Castle House
Address: D5015 Eugene St, Boise, ID 83703, United States
Website: James Castle House
Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 11am - 6pm (closed on Sun - Wed)
Learn more about Idaho's rich culture
With its significant number of museums, Boise shows the world how rich its culture is. Each museum has its own story to tell, but all of them point to one—life in Boise, Idaho. For a meaningful trip to the city, make sure to check out this list of awesome museums to visit.