With small-town charm and big-city amenities, Boise, Idaho, is an up-and-comer in the meetings industry. I was told almost immediately upon arrival that I was pronouncing the name of the city incorrectly. I was quickly educated on the correct pronunciation of “Boi-C” rather than “Boi-Z.” The assertive nature of the correct pronunciation of the city was parallel to the passion local demonstrate in showing how diverse and dynamic Boise is for groups. It has its own personality with a metropolitan ability to host groups of any size at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Climb up to Boise and take advantage of all this rising city has to offer.

Travel Tips

hotel lobby
Residence Inn Boise Downtown/
City Center

I was fortunate enough to stay in one of the apartment suites on the top floor of Residence Inn Boise Downtown/City Center. Equipped with a full kitchen and a stunning view of both downtown and the Rocky Mountain skyline, visitors have all the comforts of home but in a stunning setting, a region I had never experienced before and was in awe of.

Read More: Living the Boise Life

In the “on season” from May to October, visitors can take in the scenery from the roof deck, with a capacity of 150. The hotel also offers indoor event space, most notably the Depot Room which can accommodate 96 reception-style or 60 classroom.

Bill Connors, president and CEO of Boise Metro Chamber, loves welcoming guests. “People don’t give Boise the respect it needs,” he said. He also expressed his appreciation for the recognition our visiting group showed the people and the city. “You don’t know what it means to our economy.”

“We want to earn and deserve this business.”

–  Pat Rice, executive director, Boise Centre

arched steel beams in front of hotel
Public art in front of Hotel 43

Boise can provide visitors with dynamic experiences beyond the standardized traveler hotel found in every city. Boutique hotels such as Hotel 43 give visitors a more intimate Boise experience. Recently renovated and opened in September, Hotel 43 offers 112 guest rooms, three private dining rooms and four total parlor suites. With its own jazz club in the lobby, Hotel 43 embodies the swankier side of upcoming Boise.

Where to Meet

Easily the most fun, flexible and interesting center I have ever visited is Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) in downtown Boise. Doubling as both a community center and an event center, JUMP offers event space with full views of downtown Boise as well as a music studio, a woodworking shop and an adult slide from one of the upper floors down to the outdoor plaza. Yes, an adult slide. It was the most fun I have ever had at a community and event center.

Read More: How to Harness the Power of Native American Cultural Centers

The lobby changes themes every month, and my visit was during “game” month. Large-scale games were strewn about in a modern way and classic board games were arranged across the tables by one of the center’s kitchens/bar areas at the far end of the lobby. Lit up with natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows, the space immediately gave visitors excitement about what more was to come.

What to Do

Nancy Richardson from Idaho Tourism was described as the most knowledgeable person when it comes to Boise, its history and its hidden gems. She was our guide for our group’s trolley tour around the city aboard a beautiful vehicle that resembled the trolley Judy Garland rode on in the classic cinematic interpretation of the musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944).

Seeing the quaint areas on the outskirts of the downtown area as well as the very modern and “cool and hip” elements of Boise’s downtown, I can say there truly are options for venues and activities for any type of group. Not to mention, I don’t think there is anybody who can deny the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. With exciting ambition, friendly disposition and unlimited future potential, meeting professionals should mark Boise as a real presence in the meeting destination conversation.

This article appears in the September 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.