Boise on the Rise
Time is running out to claim, “I’ve been meeting in Boise since before it was cool.” Boise boasts the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ 2018 list of America’s fastest-growing cities, a growing tech industry and the influx of trendy, new restaurants, bars and neighbors that accompany a modern city on the rise.
Boise today is walkable, affordable, pristine and equipped with modern meeting facilities, such as Boise Centre’s 36,000-square-foot Boise Centre East expansion, completed in July 2017. The new building brings the convention center’s total meeting space to 86,000 sq. ft. and 31 flexible breakout rooms, all within a few blocks from hundreds of hotel rooms, restaurants and microbreweries. Oh boy-sie!
In terms of extracurriculars, the city is a Pacific Northwest playground. Boise River Greenbelt offers pedestrians, bikers and commuters 25 miles of tranquil, tree-lined passage, while the Ridge to Rivers Trail System connects attendees to 100 miles of hiking trails—and that’s just within city limits. A 45-minute drive north, the Payette River serves as a trusted team-building outlet for summer white-water rafting, while five ski resorts within 20 miles of downtown solidify the city as a year-round delight for adventure-seekers, nature-lovers and Californians. A bright-orange autumn and mild, but snow-capped winter is all it takes to fall in love with the four seasons.
Here’s what else there is to love.
More than 20 direct daily flights carry visitors to and from Boise Airport (BOI), which is serviced by Alaska, Delta, Southwest, Horizon, United, Allegiant and US Airways. Free shuttle service whisks guests the 4 miles to most hotels.
Meet and Sleep
Smack-dab between Boise Centre and Boise Centre East is the city’s only AAA Four Diamond hotel, The Grove Hotel. It provides 250 newly renovated guest rooms, 13,000 sq. ft. of total meeting space and seating for 5,400 at adjacent CenturyLink Arena. In addition to a complete renovation of its lobby and bar area, the locally owned hotel is getting back to its roots with newly opened restaurant Trillium, featuring regionally sourced Northwest fare (hello, salmon!), and a specialty coffee bar that transitions to a cool hang-out spot with local beer and wine.
Just down the road, bright and modern Hilton Garden Inn Boise Downtown provides 132 guest rooms and 7,860 sq. ft. of meeting space, perfect for events of up to 280 guests. It is within walking distance from the convention center.
Boise’s biggest hotel, The Riverside Hotel, BW Premier Collection, offers a sprawling, resort-style venue on the banks of the river, with 22,403 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space, 15 meeting rooms and 303 guest rooms. During warmer months, the outdoor pool and adjacent, open-air Sandbar Patio Bar & Grill buzzes with cocktails and attendees, while The Sapphire Room features live music year-round and seating for 170.
An authentic foodie experience in Boise takes you from the hyper-local to the flavors of Spanish Basque Country. Yes, seriously. With a thriving Basque community dating back to the 1800s, the Basque Block features specialty markets and wine tastings, paella cookouts in the plaza and sidewalk seating at Basque-inspired Bar Gernika. For trendy, local fare, hit Fork Restaurant downtown for a rustic, Americana vibe or Cottonwood Grille to pair your meal with patio views over the river.
How you Boise is up to you. Groups can tour the Old Idaho Penitentiary, one of only four U.S. territorial prisons open to the public. Or, interact with hawks, falcons, eagles and owls at The World Center for Birds of Prey. Stroll Vista Village shopping area or head out to one of 25 wineries surrounding the city.
Need to Know
- Population: 205,671
- Miles of mountain biking in the city: 140
- Guest rooms within walking distance to downtown: 1,275
- Ski resorts within 20 miles: 5
- Sunny/partly sunny days a year: 234
The 2nd annual Smart Meetings Catalyst Awards celebrates the agents of change who propel the meetings industry forward. Take a look at this year’s winners!