In the Boise Metropolitan Area, the city of Eagle is a fast, growing, affluent suburb directly northwest of Idaho’s state capital.
Eagle’s population has increased by a factor of ten since 1990, and the city has taken care to provide ample space for recreation, while amenities and attractions like golf courses, wineries, upscale malls and the region’s largest waterpark have popped up in the area since the 2000s.
Downtown Boise is no more than 15 minutes in the car, putting some of Idaho’s best culture, dining and nightlife in easy reach, as well as high-quality attractions from zoos to important historical sites.
Nature and fresh air are a part of life in Eagle, with hiking and cycling trails weaving off into the foothills of the Boise Range or along the banks of the Boise River.
1. Eagle Island State Park
Bounded to the north and south by arms of the Boise River is 545 acres of gorgeous greenery, just minutes west of downtown.
When summer comes around Eagle Island State Park is a much-loved destination for its riverfront beach, complete with a waterslide open between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
You can also ride ziplines in summer or rent a paddleboard for a peaceful river trip. Then in winter there’s a terrain park and tubing hills, which we’ll cover in more detail later in this list.
The park also boasts two disc golf courses, one open in summer and one in winter, along with over five miles of trails for hiking, dog walking or horseback riding.
2. Boise River Greenbelt
This trail follows the course of the Boise River for more than 20 miles and is a wonderful asset for the Boise Metropolitan Area.
The great news is that Eagle Island State Park is the northwestern terminus, so you can walk or cycle all the way through Eagle, Boise and its suburbs as far as Lucky Peak Dam.
The whole time you’ll be in a blissful green corridor, alive with waterbirds, wading birds and passerines, and you won’t have to worry about road traffic.
Along the route the Boise River Greenbelt connects a long succession of parks and undeveloped natural spaces, adding up to more than 850 acres, so you’ll never be far from a spot to take a break, have a picnic and watch the river rolling past.
3. 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards
Idaho has a wine scene growing in profile with each new season, and one of the newest American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in the country has emerged in the foothills of the Boise Mountains just north of Eagle.
The Eagle Foothills AVA now covers 50,000 acres and is home to numerous growers. But if you want the winery experience the first port of call has to be 3 Horse Vineyards.
To give an idea of how quickly winegrowing has taken hold locally, the first vines were planted at 3 Horse Vineyards in the 2000s.
The long, hot summers are perfect for rich reds like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvedre.
The tasting room is open Wednesday to Sunday, with a beautiful deck where you can find a spot in the sun or shade.
As an accompaniment the cafe has an elegant menu of snacks like cheese selections, smoked wild salmon, pâté, salami, truffle potato chips, as well as more substantial options like tri-tip and jumbo tail-on shrimp.
4. Heritage Park
In the heart of downtown Eagle, this little plaza is a linchpin of community life. On summer evenings, if there’s an outdoor event happening downtown, chances are it will take place at the gazebo.
Then in the holiday season, Heritage Park is the location for Eagle’s Christmas tree, and the gazebo looks lovely in lights.
On warm summer days the park is a convenient place to bring takeout for a picnic in the shade, as there’s a wide selection of restaurants in every direction.
It’s also not unusual to find a food truck of some kind parked close by, while children will have a fun time playing in the fountain.
5. Eagle Saturday Market
Organized by the Parks and Recreation Department, there’s a flourishing farmers’ market every Saturday, 9 am – 2 pm at Heritage Park.
The Eagle Saturday Market runs all summer long, from the start of May to the start of October, and has steadily grown with the city since it was founded in 2002.
Come for super-fresh produce grown locally, as well as enticing specialty foods, herbs, flowers and delicious freshly-prepared food.
You can also browse a host of vendors selling one-off arts and crafts, and most Saturdays there will be live music while you shop.
Being so close to Idaho’s state capital and most populous city puts a wealth of attractions and experiences in range.
Just to sum up, you’ve got Zoo Boise, the spooky preserved Old Idaho Penitentiary, the Boise Towne Square Mall and the moving Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
One spot where you can get out of the car and really explore is the historic Hyde Park District, a few blocks north of downtown.
Hyde Park has a unique sense of community, with a calendar loaded with events in summer. The main drag on 13th street has a cluster of sidewalk cafes and restaurants, while the streets are lined with preserved architecture from the turn of the 20th century.
Unfettered nature is also on the North Side’s doorstep, and from here you can venture out onto the trails that snake off into the Boise foothills.
7. Idaho State Capitol Building
Little more than 15 minutes from downtown Eagle you can visit Idaho’s magnificent State Capitol Building, built between 1905 and 1920.
Clad with sandstone quarried close by at Table Rock, this Classical Revival monument is topped with a Baroque-style dome, modeled on the likes of the U. S. Capitol, St Peter’s Basilica and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Inside, the dome crowns a wonderful rotunda, elevated by powerful Corinthian columns. On a self-guided tour you’ll be free to explore the Capitol’s opulent interiors, lined with marble and scagliola, a fine plaster made using marble dust.
You can look up at the rotunda, view the House and Senate Chambers from the 4th floor public galleries and admire a rich collection that includes an equestrian statue of George Washington. Guided tours are available by reservation.
8. BanBury Golf Course
Eagle has a highly-rated public golf course, hugging the south channel of the Boise River. Being embedded in the river valley, BanBury Golf Course has flat terrain, with a layout designed by noted course architect John Harbottle III.
This tricky 6,890-yard, par 71 has been carefully interwoven into the natural habitat, and integrates plenty of O.B. and water hazards.
The course comes with an excellent practice facility and a restaurant in a picturesque setting for post-round snacks, burgers, sandwiches or salads.
9. Gateway Parks
In the colder months you don’t have to drive all the way up to Bogus Basin for a taste of winter sports, as there’s a mini resort right here at Eagle Island State Park.
Using real snow, Gateway Parks combines a terrain park with tubing, and is built from scratch every season on top of facilities that would normally be out of action during the winter months.
For kids the long, multilane tube hills are the main event, and there’s a magic carpet lift to carry you to the top. Gateway Parks normally stays open throughout the winter until Washington’s Birthday.
10. Ada/Eagle Sports Complex
On the northeast side of town in the Boise foothills in one of the largest facilities of its kind in the country.
The Ada/Eagle Sports Complex spreads across more than 200 acres of dusty rolling terrain and has basketball courts, a skatepark, an inline hockey rink, restrooms and picnic areas. But the complex shines for its biking trails, 27 in all, and these suit all kinds of riders.
There are 14 light green circle trails, for scenic cross country riding, five blue square trails, strictly for downhill thrills, four black diamond trails for downhill experts, three jump trails and two challenging tracks for BMXers.
The network here connects to the wider Ridge to Rivers trail systems in the southeast.
11. The Village at Meridian
Just five miles down ID-55 is an upscale outdoor mall that feels like a neighborhood in its own right.
The Village at Meridian combines public gathering space, European-style architecture, little hedges, street lamps with flower baskets and a children’s playground, with brands like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Gap, Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, a Nike Factory Store and many more.
The mall’s restaurants and bars are grouped on the east side, with a multiplex movie theater, while the centerpiece is a giant show fountain with hourly light and music shows.
12. Roaring Springs Family Fun Park
Also minutes away in Meridian is the largest water park in the Northwest.
The acclaimed Roaring Springs has a long list of slides, ranging from super-fast like The Avalanche, Viper’s Vortex and Cliffhanger, to gentler family attractions like Mammoth Canyon and Thunder Falls, both of which have family-sized rafts.
The crowd-pleasing main event is Snake River Run, which features two flying saucers and a double explosion loop.
If you’re visiting with littler family members, Bearfoot Bay promises a small world of fun, with its shallow wading pool, play features and six slides.
Roaring Springs is linked by a walkway to the Wahooz Family Fun Zone, offering all kinds of indoor and outdoor attractions, like laser tag, bowling, amusement rides, an arcade, climbing wall, ropes course, mini golf and go-karts.
13. Firebird Raceway
On the National Register of Historic Places, the Firebird Raceway is a quarter-mile hot rod track that runs parallel to Highway 16.
The venue hosted its first races in 1968 and continues to have a busy calendar, staging 50 events between April and October.
In all this time the track has remained in the hands of the New family, passed onto the second generation from the late founders, Bill and Ellanor New.
Many of the annual events, like Fox Hunt, Oldies But Goodies, the NAPA Ignitor Opener and the Nightfire Nationals, are well into their fifth decade.
On the second weekend of March, the season jump starts with the Boise Roadster Show, Idaho’s largest motorsports event, at Expo Idaho.
Food is always a big part of the experience, and this means World Famous Hot Dogs, Nitro Nachos and, earlier in the day, breakfast classics like biscuits and gravy.
14. Arboretum Park
Somewhere to go for a moment of repose is this little park, easily missed next to the Senior Citizens Center on the eastern edge of downtown Eagle.
Arboretum Park is compact but beautifully landscaped and maintained, with 37 varieties of trees and native plants, as well as an array of roses, perennials and ground covers.
All of the significant trees and plants are labeled with name stakes, identifying the common name, scientific name and family. Bring a book or picnic and you could easily lose an hour or two in this pretty oasis.
15. Bogus Basin
The second largest ski area is only 25 miles from Eagle at the end of a winding mountain road.
Something special about Bogus Basin is that it’s non-profit, so all the money made by the resort goes back into the local community as well as improving the amenities on the mountain.
In 2,600 skiable acres there are 91 runs, almost evenly weighted between “easiest”, “more difficult” and “most difficult”. For the Boise region, Bogus Basin is a winter mainstay, and many children have taken their first turns on these slopes.
Lessons are available for all ages, while if you want to decompress with some skiing and snowboarding at the end of the day, night skiing is available seven days a week.
In the summer the mountain landscape is ready for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding adventure, while Idaho’s only mountain coaster, 4,300 feet long, is a thrilling year-round attraction.