Sockeye Brewing serves classic pub fare in a relaxed yet elegant setting. Kick back with friends and order a selection from the extensive beer menu, which includes many Pacific Northwest staples in addition to house brews. Wild salmon stars in many dishes, including the local favorite, fish tacos with pineapple salsa. Try some beer-battered finger steaks, a long-standing Idaho tradition. Patrons should arrive early on Friday nights to avoid a wait and to secure the best spot for enjoying live music.
At Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse, dinner provides entertainment as well as sustenance. Sit in front of the hibachi grill to watch as chefs slice, dice, toss, and topple a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables. Choose a single main ingredient, or ask for the Imperial, a mix of tender filet mignon, shrimp, and lobster. With a marinated tofu option, even vegetarians can join in on the fun.
Roll up your sleeves and make sure you have a stack of napkins handy before tucking into a burger from Bad Boy Burgers. You don't find duck fat or truffle oil here, just messy, beefy concoctions with traditional toppings. If you feel up to the challenge, order a double bacon burger.
Crooked Fence Barrelhouse raises bar food to new heights with its imaginative menu. Get a table on the patio, and share a bottle of one of Idaho's celebrated wines. Start with chicken and sweet potato croquettes, and follow with the fiery smoking meatloaf on fresh-baked jalapeno ciabatta bread. Cool off with a Three Picket Porter ice cream float, a grown-up take on the root beer float.
Nightlife near this neighborhood sticks to sports bars and friendly corner hangouts rather than dance clubs, but if you enjoy dancing, stop by Ranch Club on Friday or Saturday night, where inexpensive drinks and popular DJs keep the party rocking until the early-morning hours. On the way there, play a game of pool or have a drink with the regulars at Lindy's Steak House.
Art and entertainment join forces at the Visual Arts Collective. One part gallery, one part performance venue, and one part bar, this unique establishment hosts many of Boise's most promising artists and performers. Grab a drink from the bar and wander around the gallery, or find a good seat near the stage for a comedy show.
West Valley didn't exist before 1970, when it was developed to accommodate Boise's growing population. Boise is part of an area known as "Treasure Valley," and this area most definitely sparkles -- from its emerald green mountains to deep turquoise waters. While Boise is now one of the largest metros in the Pacific Northwest, it is still home to only about 205,000 residents. It is named for Fort Boise, which was built in 1834.
Boise's unmatched dedication to the arts shows in both the well-attended cultural events it holds throughout the year and the large proportion of galleries, museums, and theaters found in this small city. Summer heralds the arrival of Art in the Park and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, two of the city's largest events. Thousands of visitors arrive to meet local artists and experience the Bard's greatest plays.
Movie buffs enjoy the Boise Film Underground Festival and the Shorts in Winter film festival, which showcase the area's best independent films. Others prefer the high-energy performances of the Idaho Dance Theater.
You'll need a car to get around this area, but access to U.S. Highway 26 makes it easy to drive either downtown or to surrounding cities. In addition, you can park for free throughout Boise and its neighbors.
Boise residents generally do a lot of bicycling, but West Valley's distance from downtown prevents bikes from being a popular mode of transportation. This area lacks the bike lanes found in other neighborhoods, but many paved trails are available for recreational cycling or hiking.
You won't find comprehensive public transportation services in this city. ValleyRide maintains a bus line that stops between downtown Boise and the larger suburbs.
The area's only airport
remains Boise Airport. As this airport does not fly internationally, leaving the country requires connecting flights out of larger airports.
The cost of living in West Valley is just a little less than the Boise average. One-bedroom
apartments in West Valley typically rent on average for $770 a month. Public transportation remains easy on your wallet; it costs no more than $3 to ride any bus route. Since residents drive so much, they appreciate that gas prices are 16 percent less than the national average. At a local pub, expect your pint of beer to cost around $5.
Several nearby Albertsons and WinCo Foods locations make grocery shopping easy, while Jake's Gluten Free Market caters to special dietary needs. You'll also find popular big-box stores just minutes away.
Residents typically shop at either Meridian Crossroads or Boise Towne Square mall. Both provide department stores, apparel chains, and housewares. The area's busier roads are home to a few locally-owned shops, but not in the number seen in downtown Boise.
Turn your backyard into a haven for birds with assistance from Birdhouse & Habitat. The specialty feeders and seed mixes attract only the birds you want to see, not the squirrels. If you want to spoil your feathered guests, pick up a luxury heated birdbath. The store's staff also rescues injured birds, so your purchases help support a worthy cause.
Although Idaho houses a significant number of microbreweries, you may want to try your hand at home brewing. HomeBrewStuff supplies you with sterilizing, brewing, and bottling equipment as well as expert advice. With all this at your fingertips, you'll be naming your first ale in no time.
A nondescript warehouse on the outside, Quality Art Inc. hides a riot of colors and textures within. As the Boise area's most comprehensive art store, it stocks supplies for all artists, from children to professionals. You won't find pretty displays carefully arranged, but instead nearly infinite quantities of paint, paper, canvas, and much more.
The Boise Park District spoils the residents of West Valley, just as it does the rest of the city. Locals enjoy access to dog parks, wildlife preserves, and top-notch recreational facilities. Fairmont Park draws a crowd in the summer with its pool obstacle course, while Nottingham Park makes the perfect quick stop for after-school play. Dogs can run free throughout Redwood Park, except for on the playground. Local dogs particularly enjoy swimming in the pond on hot afternoons.
Wildlife finds sanctuary in the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve. These 44 untouched acres provide nesting areas for rare birds as well as peace and tranquility for human visitors. Walk the miles of wooded trails alone, or join a guided tour.
Every February, Zoo Boise hosts the Wild at Heart Valentine's Day celebration. This family-friendly festival includes crafts, face-painting, and games, as well as educational talks from the zoo staff. Watch the animals receive their heart-shaped treats, and enjoy a meet-and-greet with some of the zoo's tame species.