The best view of Boise isn't from a downtown rooftop or a rugged overlook. It's from the windows of the Tour Train, an 1890s steam-powered locomotive replica that snakes through the city's historic neighborhoods and central business district.
Arriving early for the train's departure isn't a problem. The Tour Train leaves from Julia Davis Park, which also cradles Zoo Boise, the Memorial Rose Garden and an outdoor bandshell for summer concerts, so there's plenty to do. Along the ride, train passengers get up-close views of the Idaho State Capitol, built in 1920 to look like the U.S. Capitol in Washington, and the Boise Depot, dating to 1925 and modeled after a Spanish Mission.
For visitors who prefer a more nature-oriented tour, the beautiful mountains and canyons surrounding the city are ideal for slow afternoon drives. Idaho's wine countryside is ever-popular, and many local vineyards offer tours. Inside the city limits, the outdoors is lush and inviting.
The city maintains 91 parks, boasting such recreational opportunities as boating, tennis, golf, swimming and cycling. Water sports are particularly popular on the Boise River, which runs right through downtown.
Lovers of water can tube, canoe and fish the river, while those who prefer to stay dry enjoy the Boise River Greenbelt, featuring 25 miles of paths on both sides of the river. The Payette and Salmon Rivers nearby are renowned among kayakers and rafters for their white water. When it's too chilly to throw on swim trunks and hit the river, a 45-minute drive brings skiers to Bogus Basin, which offers both day and night skiing.
For the armchair quarterbacks, Boise offers a variety of professional and collegiate sports, including baseball, tennis, hockey and racing. Come to think of it, Boise has so much to offer, it looks great no matter where you're sitting.