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Holiday Break: Things to do in Boise

As Christmas and the New Year are fast approaching, you might be thinking of taking time off work for last-minute gift shopping and enjoying quality family time over the next couple of weeks.

You’re not the only one looking for a break to enjoy the season. The kids are also out of school, and they’ll surely be looking forward to winter break activities and enjoying a little time in the snow. Keeping them and any guests you may have over the holidays entertained may feel like one more “to do” on your list during this already busy season.

Making memories and having fun is a priority during the holiday season, which is why we’ve been searching the area for fun activities to do that will keep everyone happy. We’ve even added a few spots if you’re looking to get away for a little “me time” away from the busy season and the crowds.

Things to Do

Cultural Entertainment

Opera Idaho presents the Children’s Choruses Holiday Concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Boise. The concert is at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 18.

The Egyptian Theater is hosting an “Acoustic Country Christmas with Suzy Bogguss and T. Graham Brown” on Sunday, December 19.

Be “in the room where it happened” at the Broadway hit “Hamilton” is now playing at the Morrison Center through December 26. Limited tickets are still available, so don’t miss it!

The Children’s Museum of Idaho is hosting a Pajama Party with Santa on December 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will also be other events and holiday-themed activities taking place all day at the museum.

Make and Do

Create your Christmas centerpiece at Franz Witte nursery at the Boise location on Saturday, December 18, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. For a $45 enrollment fee, you’ll make your own holiday centerpiece.

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is happening at Albertsons Stadium on December 21. The kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and will feature Kent State vs. Wyoming.

The Big Al’s patio at The Village at Meridian hosts animal expert Corbin Maxey and winter animals. Learn about them from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22.

The Village at Meridian hosts an ice rink for those looking to ice skate. Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell also has a skating rink and offers lessons.

Speed down the snowy hill like Clark Griswold tub at Eagle Island State Park and the Gateway Parks tubing experience. Open daily through March, there are seven tubing sessions to choose from for people of all ages.

Want to challenge your mind in a holiday theme? Check out the Reindeer Games” experience at the Labyrinth Escape Games in Nampa.

Holiday Lights

Christmas just doesn’t feel right without going for a cruise looking at lights. Several neighborhoods go all out for Christmas by decorating their houses with lights, figurines, and other embellishments.

To find fantastic light displays in the area, be sure to check out the Boise Christmas Lights Map. This is one of the most updated directories of Christmas light displays across the Treasure Valley.

One of the best displays in the area is at 6211 W. Parapet Court in Boise, whose light display was featured on ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight” in 2020. It is on a cul-de-sac, and although there may be a line of cars waiting to see the show, it’s worth the wait.

Another hidden gem that isn’t on the map is the “Lights on Mardia” experience. Several houses have combined for a holiday experience you won’t forget. Two neighbors teamed up to have their lights synchronized to music. Directly across the street is another house which has gone all out decorating their yard with lights, inflatables, and more to celebrate the season. Want to see an entire Christmas village with trains operating in a garage. Navigate to 5775 S. Acheron Ave. in Boise for this special treat.

The City of Meridian also has a light display map so you can grab a hot chocolate and cruise around town, and enjoy the holiday glow.

The Winter Garden aGlow at the Idaho Botanical Gardens is an annual tradition worth visiting that’s open evenings through December 31. This would be a perfect trip to take the entire family who are visiting during the holidays.

Christmas in Color is a drive-thru holiday light experience at Expo Idaho in Garden City, where you can experience over 1 million lights synchronized to music.

You can also pay a visit to Scentsy Commons to view 43 miles of lights decorating 450 trees. 43 MILES!!!

New Year’s Eve

Everyone knows that Times Square in New York drops the ball to ring in the new year, but many people don’t know that Idaho celebrates by dropping a potato (this was a Jeopardy question once). The Famous Idaho Potato Drop happens on New Year’s Eve in front of the Idaho State Capitol in downtown Boise. The party starts at 6 p.m.

Join the Nampa Elks Lodge in downtown Nampa as they celebrate the new year with J.R. and the Stingrays. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Shaun B and the Jukebox Band welcome the new year at the Sapphire Lounge at the Riverside Hotel. Admission includes dinner, a champagne toast, and party favors.

The Knitting Factory is hosting Micky & the Motorcars and Jeff Crosby.

Activities for the Kids

Printable Items

One of the most challenging things about taking time off is finding things to keep the kids amused. Education.com is a great resource of FREE printable worksheets and activities (e.g., coloring sheets, crafts, and more) for preschoolers through eighth grade. Simply select the grade and go.

If you have kids in Kindergarten, Kindergarten Worksheets also have a selection of free activities to keep children busy.

Camps for Kids

Need a day for yourself or a little kid coverage so you can work without worrying about your kids being left at home? There are a number of local organizations that are offering camps to give you peace of mind while they have fun!

In Boise, Bodies in Motion offers Winter Break Camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for kids between the ages of 3 and 12.

Tumble Time in West Boise also has a Christmas Camp for kids 6 to 11.

The Treasure Valley YMCA also has several camps for kids ages 6 to 12 during the winter recess.

The Boise Little Theater, in collaboration with the Treasure Valley Children’s Theater, is hosting a Boise Grinch Holiday Camp from December 27 through December 30 for kids between the ages of 8 to 14.

Time to Relax

After planning holiday gifts, the menu for your family feast, and making the trek to grandma’s house, you might need to take a break and relax.

Several spas in the area offer relaxing massages and facial treatments. Still, if you want a little extra pampering, the Two Rivers Day Spa is sure to release tight muscles and tension from the holiday season.

Want to let the holiday stress float away? Then you should schedule some time at the Still Water Flotation. This sensory deprivation allows you to float in 12” of water and 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, allowing you to enter into a deep sense of relaxation.

Want to get away with someone you love? Check out the ride and dine sleigh rides at Idaho Sleigh Rides. You’ll get to take a sleigh ride and see elk up close. Following the ride, you’ll warm by the fireplace and enjoy a delicious slow-cooked meal and live music.

Want to REALLY get away? There are several hiking trails and snowmobile paths that will let you enjoy walking in a winter wonderland while the stillness of nature brings a sense of calm to the end of your year and busy season.

Discover the Joy of Holidays In Boise

Whether you are looking for fun in the city, or need to escape to the mountains for a little R&R, the Treasure Valley of Idaho has no shortage of fun things to do during the holiday break. Make memories this holiday season and discover what Boise has to offer for you and your family this holiday season.

Main Photo Credit: iStock.com/aimintang

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