In the Boise Metropolitan area along the Treasure Valley, Star is a small but fast-growing city just below the foothills of the Boise Range.
Although Star has been on maps since the 19th century, the population has ballooned since 2000, and has more than doubled since 2010 to almost 12,000.
Almost everything around Star is new, and this applies to the vineyards that have recently been planted on the south-facing slopes just out of town and are now bearing fruit.
But there’s a lot more to keep you engaged, at parks, golf courses, along the nature-rich banks of the Boise River and at the many sights, attractions and cultural venues in the neighboring cities in the Treasure Valley.
1. Star Riverwalk Park
The Boise River wriggles past Star to the south, breaking into multiple forks and reconnecting to form lots of river islands.
The riverbanks are right on the edge of Star but have been left completely undeveloped, so a walk by the river will feel like an escape to the Idaho wilderness.
In 2009 and 2011 the city purchased two parcels of land to allow public access to the riverside, and you can set off on a peaceful walk, spotting birdlife like great blue herons and even bald eagles (in winter).
You’ll find a grassy area for picnics and plenty of spots where you can drop a line or wade into the Boise river to cool off in summer.
2. DZone Skydiving
Idaho’s top skydiving center can be found in the hills north of Star.
If you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to leap from an airplane and parachute to the ground, you can experience this just a few minutes away.
In a tandem flight, attached to an instructor, you’ll be a spectator on an unforgettable thrill ride, and won’t need to do much preparation beyond a short preliminary briefing.
After that you’ll be in a plane climbing to more than 10,000 feet above the Treasure Valley. Then comes the jump and a short time spent zooming through the sky, before opening the parachute and landing with astonishing lightness minutes from downtown Star.
If you want the whole adventure recorded you can choose a media package for an additional fee.
3. Eagle Island State Park
Five miles east of Star is a stunning 545-acre park on an island between two forks in the Boise River.
This space is both a charming piece of greenery and a go-to for recreation, brimming with facilities. In summer the main attraction is the swimming beach, complete with a water park-style slide.
You’ve also got zip lines via Zip Boise Tours, a 19-hole disc golf course and more than five miles of trails for horseback rides and hikes.
You can also rent a paddleboard for a little trip on the Boise River, and head to the Visitor Center, open for the summer season and housing a gift shop.
4. Sol Invictus Vineyard
A recent arrival to the local wine scene, Sol Invictus is posted in the foothills northwest of Star.
This vineyard was only planted a few years ago but has started to produce a selection of quality wines, including a Malbec, Syrah, Riesling, Chardonnay and various red blends.
One of many things to love about this small family estate, owned by a veteran, is the setting. Relaxing on the patio with a glass in hand, you can enjoy vistas that reach for many miles across the Treasure Valley, enjoying something tasty from the barbecue, as well as occasional live music.
5. Hunter’s Creek Sports Park
The main space for outdoor recreation in Star proper is on the north side of town, furnished with a range of sports amenities, but also a venue for outdoor events.
Hunter’s Creek Sports Park has baseball and football fields, as well as open green areas for leashed dog walks.
Maybe most popular of all is the large and smartly laid out Tom Erlebach Skate Park on the northwest side, attracting some highly talented skaters.
A snack shack is open in the park for various outdoor events, and 4th of July celebration, which we’ll cover on this list.
6. Dude DeWalt Cellars
Heading into the hills off Idaho 16 there’s another young winery that has cropped up only recently.
Dude DeWalt Cellars takes its name from an adjoining gulch, in turn named for one Clarence “Dude DeWalt, who was murdered in a dispute over a woman in 1931.
Dude DeWalt Cellars crafts wine from grapes grown in different appellations, like the Snake River Valley and the Walla Walla Valley in Washington.
When we wrote this article some of the wines in the range were a fruity Sémillon, a roust Petit Verdot and a full-bodied Rosé, made with Grenache (81%) and Mourvedre (19%).
The establishment is very pretty, at a rustic barn with outdoor, tree-shaded seating, a cozy firepit and a friendly winemaker on hand to chat with you about their craft.
7. River Birch Golf Course
Star has a highly rated public course in its backyard, three miles from the center of the city. An 18-hole, par 73 from the longest tees, River Birch Golf Course opened in 2004 and is acclaimed for the high level of upkeep, high pace of play and reasonable green fees.
The trees that were planted along the fairways in the early 2000s are starting to mature, giving the course a different character by the year, and slowly posing more of a challenge.
And although the course isn’t covered in water hazards, these have been placed in areas that will punish even moderately wayward shots, ensuring an engaging challenge for the most seasoned golfers.
8. Ford Idaho Center
A straight drive south of Star in Nampa is a massive complex made up of an arena, amphitheater and indoor theater, as well as the Ford Idaho Horse Park.
The date to mark on the calendar is of course the Snake River Stampede Rodeo, taking place in the third week of July and held as one of the top rodeos in the country.
The rodeo features world-class competition in eighth different events, from saddle bronc to bull riding, and is accompanied by a host of community activities in Nampa.
Since the 1990s, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and The Rolling Stones have all performed at the arena, and if there’s a trade event or major exhibition taking place in the Treasure Valley, the Ford Idaho Center will most likely be the venue.
9. Firebird Raceway
While almost everything you see in Star is no more than a few decades old, there is an unexpected site on the National Register of Historic Places close by in the foothills.
The Firebird Raceway is an NHRA drag racing track that opened in 1968 and is managed by descendants of the founding couple, Bill and Ellanor New.
Many of the events at the raceway are now in their fifth decade or more, and the big events on the agenda are the Fox Hunt in June and the Nightfire Nationals, Idaho’s premiere racing event, in August.
During the season there’s a program of other events at the track, like swap meets and car shows, often coinciding with racing action.
10. Red Chair Lavender
Ten minutes northeast of downtown Star is an idyllic lavender farm first planted in the early 2010s on a parcel of land that had previously been used for hay.
Red Chair Lavender harvests 30 different types of lavender, creating a beautiful patchwork of color in early summer when everything is in bloom.
And with the Boise Range climbing in the background, you can take some photos to treasure during a bookable photography session here.
The highlight of the summer is the Lavender Harvest Festival, around the start of July, when you can pick lavender, catch some live music and enjoy lavender-infused food like ribs with lavender BBQ sauce, or lavender-glazed salmon.
Red Chair Lavender also runs an online store with more than 50 handmade lavender products for sale.
11. Gateway Parks
If you want to hit the slopes in winter the best option is Bogus Basin, an excellent non-profit ski area in the Boise Range, about an hour away.
Much closer and perfect for kids, there’s fun in the snow where you might not expect it, at Eagle Island State Park.
November to March, five minutes from Star an expansive winter sports zone takes shape in the park, with a series of parallel tubing runs along with a terrain park skiing and snowboarding.
The tubing runs are surprisingly fast, and there’s a magic carpet ride to pull you back to the top to begin again.
12. El Mariachi Loco Restaurante
People travel a long way to Star for this popular family restaurant, touted as having the best and most authentic Mexican cuisine in the Treasure Valley.
El Mariachi Loco is designed like a hacienda inside and out, and has a menu loaded with favorites like enchiladas, tostadas, burritos, tamale, chimichangas and fajitas.
The chili rellenos come highly recommended, while the carne asada, served with a big helping of guac and a salad, is another hit.
Margaritas are an essential accompaniment in a place like this, and you can choose from a variety of additional flavors, from strawberry to peach.
13. Eicher Horsemanship
This horsemanship academy sits four miles west of downtown Star on the road to Middleton. Eicher Horsemanship is run by Brittany Eicher, who has more than 20 years of riding experience, specializing in natural horsemanship and balanced riding.
Eicher has a background in rodeo, but does have experience in dressage and jumping. If you’re a complete novice and want to learn the basics of horsemanship without owning a horse, you can visit her school where she’ll teach you how to read horse behavior and understand their different characters.
If you live locally and do have a horse she can come to you and, while teaching both you and your horse, help ease communication and develop your working relationship.
You can get on Idaho 44 in Star and a straight 15-mile drive will get you to Idaho’s State Capital.
Boise has a lot going for it whether you want the history of the State Capitol and the forbidding Old Idaho State Penitentiary, or family attractions from interactive museums like the Discovery Center of Idaho, the Idaho Botanical Garden and Zoo Boise.
The banks of the Boise River are lined with parks and natural areas, made accessible to pedestrians and cyclists by the Boise River Greenbelt, encompassing 20 miles of riverfront and beginning just east of Star in Eagle.
And on top of all that you’ve got hip Garden City, a haven for artists and startup craft breweries and wineries.
15. July 4th Hometown Celebration
For more than a decade now, Star has celebrated the 4th of July in style at the annual Hometown Celebration.
A real community event sponsored by local businesses, this involves a parade, fun run, luncheon, a concert, quirky events like a pie auction and lots of entertainment for kids.
The culmination is the firework display, taking place at the Hunter’s Creek Sports Park normally around 10:15 pm. A large crowd starts to gather around 9 pm, bringing picnic blankets and chairs.