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FREE & Cheap things to do this Summer! | Boise State Bucket List

Nestled in the heart of Idaho’s vibrant capital city, Boise State’s centrally-located campus makes for the perfect launching point to explore downtown Boise and beyond with convenient access to tons of local outdoor recreation, sightseeing, and entertainment. With incredible connections to our tight-knit community, Bronco’s know how to make the most of the city they call home.

In this new series, Boise State Bucket List, we’re excited to bring you our list of free and cheap things you can’t miss while living in Boise, Idaho. Whether you’re taking Summer Courses or making the most of sunny weather at the start of the school year, summers in Boise are the perfect time to explore the hidden gems of Treasure Valley, try something spontaneous, and discover where unexpected adventures can take you!

Here are our top picks for Summer Activities:

Play Boise State Bucket List

In this video, Mady Fairchild takes you through the Boise State Bucket List. Closed captions and a video transcript are available.

✔ Outdoor Rec

The Boise River & Greenbelt

Cost: FREE (excluding rentals)
Boise River & Greenbelt on Google Maps

The Greenbelt is a 25-mile tree-lined pedestrian pathway that hugs the campus and runs along the Boise River. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a morning jog, ride an electric scooter, string up a hammock, or go for a bike ride with a rental from the Boise State Cycle Learning Center.

Also along the Greenbelt, you can enjoy free access to gardens, frisbee golf courses, outdoor gym equipment and more at nearby parks like the Julia Davis, Ann Morrison, Kathryn Albertson, Esther Simplot and Boise Whitewater Park – all of which have their own unique charm. Known as the Ribbon of Jewels, these incredible parks that line the Boise River are definitely worth checking out!

Need to cool off? Floating down the Boise River in tubes or rafts is a favorite pastime of Broncos, and there’s no better way to enjoy it with friends than by taking part in our annual tradition, the First Year Float.

But that’s only one of many ways to enjoy the river! With rentals from the Boise State Rec, you can easily and affordably try out:

  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Flyfishing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Surfing

Check out rentals from the Boise State Rec!

Payette Whitewater Rafting

Cost: $40+
Direction to Banks, Idaho

If you wanna take the adrenaline up a notch, participating in a guided whitewater rafting trip along the Payette River (just an hour’s drive or shuttle trip from campus!) will certainly do the trick.

While there are plenty of half-day and full-day excursions that can be arranged through professional, locally-owned rafting companies in Banks, Idaho, the cheapest way for Boise State students to get a wet-’n-wild thrill ride down the Class II & III rapids is to do it through the Boise State Outdoor Program’s Trips! No experience is necessary.

✔ Entertainment

Alive After 5

Cost: FREE
Directions to Grove Plaza

Alive After 5 is a summer concert series that happens right in the heart of downtown at the Grove Plaza every Wednesday evening. This summer concert series features live music from different local musicians every week for everyone to enjoy.

Learn more and see their full summer lineup!

Great Garden Escape

Cost: $18+
Directions to the Idaho Botanical Garden

Love live music AND chilling outdoors? The Idaho Botanical Garden hosts intimate musical performances from artists, big and small, in the oasis of the Meditation Garden. It’s one of our favorite places to watch the sun set over the city, while you vibe out to great beats and picnic with friends.


✔ Sightseeing

Boise Art Museum (BAM)

Cost: FREE (with valid student ID)
Directions to the Boise Art Museum

This nearby museum is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy visual art in quiet contemplation. In addition to its permanent collections, including the largest public collection of works by acclaimed Idaho artist and bookmaker James Charles Castle, BAM also features major traveling exhibitions and installations throughout the year.

Learn more about the Boise Art Museum!

Zoo Boise

Cost: $11- Daily Admission, $8 – Thursday Special
Directions to Zoo Boise

When you’ve gotta get your wild on, the perfect escape is just minutes away from campus. At the center of Julia Davis park and just a short walk across Friendship Bridge, Zoo Boise has just about every animal under the sun for you to learn about and enjoy the company of. In addition to a wide array of interactive exhibits and demonstrations, special attractions include an African boat ride, a butterfly area, dining, and more!


So much more!

Bronco student life is filled with all kinds of adventure. If you’re beginning your journey to become an #OfficialBronco and want to learn more about Student Life at Boise State, explore our website, visit us on campus, and contact us!

Explore Student Life
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Follow #BoiseStateBucketList and stay tuned on @BoiseStateAdmissions and @BoiseStateStudentLife on social media for seasonal episodes to come. PLUS! Share your #BoiseStateBucketList activities with us for the chance to be featured in future episodes!!

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