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Cougs on Cougs: Along the Trail to Boise for BYU Football vs. Boise State

Jess shares some of the best things to do and places to eat in her hometown of Boise ahead of the Cougars’ ninth matchup with the Broncos

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Along the Trail is back again! This time, the Cougars are headed into Smurf-Turf territory to take on the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium on Saturday night. This series is becoming a big rivalry match-up for both teams (if you missed it, we recently learned that BSU Head Coach Bryan Harsin’s new contract gives him a bonus if he beats BYU). I can tell you this — As a huge BYU fan and a Boise native, losing to BSU is just as bad as losing to Utah for loyal Cougar fans in the Treasure Valley. I am really hoping BYU can pull off the win tomorrow night! If you’re making the trip to my hometown, there is plenty to do and see before the game, and I hope that you’ll enjoy your experience as much as I enjoy Boise every time I visit. Special thanks to my Mom, Angela Schroath, for her input and suggestions for this edition of Along the Trail!

Things to do:

  1. Night tour of the Old Penitentiary. This is a special event, Friday night only! From the site: “From 6 - 10 p.m. (last admission 9 p.m.), the Old Penitentiary staff and volunteers will be giving historical site tours at 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8, and 8:30 p.m. (limited capacity/first come first served). Or you are welcome to do a self-guided tour and explore the Old Pen on your own! Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather! Purchase tickets now at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets at the door are subject to availability. Recommended for Ages 13+.” If you have the chance to do this, do it. The Penitentiary opened in 1872 and operated for over 100 years. It’s creepy and cool and worth the visit.

2. Hike Table Rock. For the best views of Boise, take a hike up to Table Rock Best views of Boise. You can access the trails from the Old Penitentiary parking lot. Try to make it for a sunrise or sunset! You can also drive to the top, but parking is limited.

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Leaves & Tags #tablerockboise

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3. Idaho History Museum. The Museum was recently remodeled and is now open. Learn about Idaho’s history through interactive exhibits and galleries.

4. Visit JUMP (Jacks Urban Meeting Place). JUMP is a new venture that aims to spark imagination and inspire you to try new things. It describes itself as “a large, beautiful, forward-thinking intermix of shared spaces right in the heart of downtown Boise.” It includes a park with “outdoor amphitheater, sweeping terraces, rooftop parks, meeting areas, play areas, and all with unique views of the city and the surrounding mountains” and studios designed to let patrons try new things, like making a film, recording an album, dancing, or creating art or new recipes. The main draws are the display of vintage tractors and the five-story spiral slide.

5. Basque Museum. Did you know Idaho has a large Basque community? They immigrated to the US from Euskal Herria, a region between France and Spain near the Pyrenees Mountains. (I only know this because I did a history report on the Basque people in high school... I need to visit the Museum next time I’m in town!) If you are interested in other cultures, this would be a great place to spend a couple of hours.

6. Bonus: Freak Alley. Great place to take pictures and visit just for fun! The artwork changes, too. It is located at 210 N 9th St, Boise, ID 83702. Another fun fact: The #BYU50 drop was at Freak Alley this year.

If you have any suggestions of other things to do, please comment here or on Facebook, or tweet us @cougsoncougs!

Now for everyone’s favorite part...

Places to eat:

  1. Fork. American cuisine inspired by the northwest. A little on the pricey side, but worth it. Try the Mac n Cheese on the appetizer menu!

2. Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery. My personal favorite! My husband and I try to go here every time we visit Boise. Man, I miss it! There are two locations, one at 610 W Grove St in downtown Boise, and the other at 155 E Riverside Drive in Eagle, right along the Boise river.

3. Big Juds. Chances are if you’ve been to Boise before, you’ve heard of Big Juds. Giant hamburgers that can feed your whole family. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, take the official Big Juds Challenge and get your photo on the wall of fame!

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Happy weekend eve!

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4. Tangos. No website, but delicious Argentinean empanadas! For $5 you can get one empanada, fries and a drink. They have both savory and sweet empanadas. Seating is limited and it’s a small place, but there is parking behind the restaurant. It might look a little dumpy, but trust us, it’s good! It’s located at 701 N Orchard St in Boise, and they are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

5. Big City Coffee & Cafe. Don’t let the “coffee” part deter you. They serve amazing breakfast dishes with large portions! Big City is located in the Linen District of downtown Boise between 15th and 16th street on Grove (1416 W Grove St) and are open daily from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

6. Bonus: DK Donuts. You deserve a donut. And DK Donuts are so good! Find them at 1300 W State St in Boise. They are open from 4 a.m. (yes, 4 a.m.) until 9 p.m.

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Well friends, I am sufficiently homesick now. But I hope you get a chance to try some of these things! It will give you a taste of what it’s like to be a Boisean, and let me tell you, it’s great to be a Boisean! Especially a BYU Cougar Boisean. Especially after a BYU Cougar win over BSU. Especially after a BYU Cougar win over BSU in Boise. (Please, please, BYU Football, please get that win for us. Please.)

Enjoy your trip, send me pictures, and Go Cougs!