Boise Street Art Guide

BOISE | When you think of street art cities, Boise, Idaho, isn’t the first place that comes to mind. The city, however, is home to a vibrant street art scene. Murals created by talented local artists and those from elsewhere can be found all over Boise.

Downtown’s ‘Freak Alley’ is the best known place in Boise to find murals, and is excellent. There’s a lot more to the Boise street art scene than Freak Alley, however. From large scale murals that are hard to miss, to small murals hidden in unassuming spots, there’s a diverse collection of art in the city. Boise’s street art draws upon a variety of themes from the social and political, to the historical and fun.

In this Boise street art guide, I’ll tell you about some of the top neighbourhoods to visit to find Boise’s best street art.


Boise State University District

Named for the sprawling Boise State University which takes up most of the neighbourhood, it’s not surprising that this university neighbourhood is a great place to find street art. Take a walk through the campus, and the streets that surround it to find a whole lot of great street art.

The campus worth a wander through in its own right too. It’s a beautiful campus with lots of great architecture, flanked by the Boise River.

Depot Bench

Wide, tree-lined streets and historic houses make Depot Bench, one of Boise’s oldest and most desirable neighbourhoods, well worth visiting. Recent years have seen several excellent and diverse dining options open in the neighbourhood.

For street art lovers, most of Depot Bench’s murals can be found along South Vista Boulevard, and the side streets that run off it. If you start a street art walk at the South of Depot Bench, you can walk all the way up South Vista Boulevard, which links with Capitol Boulevard and takes you through the western part of Boise State University and into Downtown.

Downtown

The best known neighbourhood for street art in Boise is Downtown, and the most famous spot is ‘Freak Alley’. Artist Colby Akers founded the city’s now famous street art alley in 2002, when he was painting the rear door of business Moon’s Kitchen, and was granted permission to extend his mural beyond the door. Today, the alley is supported as a not for profit venture by local artists and businesses. Mostly local artists continue to add to the collection of murals each year.

Beyond Freak Alley, there are murals all over Downtown. The city’s traffic boxes, which have almost all been painted by local artists, can be found not just in Downtown but across Boise. It’s a compact Downtown, so the best thing to is simply wander around and let your eyes wander. You’ll spot the obvious ones, like the murals on the walls of the Old Boise Bus Station, but be sure to look up, and all around. There are lots of murals that are hidden in little spots on the sides of buildings that aren’t obvious if you’re not paying attention.

Garden City

One of Boise’s trendiest neighbourhoods is Garden City. It’s a former industrial neighbourhood that’s full of trendy eateries, bars, and street art. Wander around the streets, and you’ll find plenty of murals along the large walls of the former warehouses that are all over Garden City.

Of note are a collection of murals across the neighbourhood, painted in 2022 with the support of Conservation Voters for Idaho and the Garden City Placemaking Fund. The Garden City Climate Action Art Walk showcases the work of local artists and their connection to clean air and water, open space and the outdoors of Idaho.

Hyde Park

A section of Boise’s North End neighbourhood, Hyde Park is a historic area just north of Downtown. It’s a beautiful neighbourhood to walk through, home to heritage listed architecture and small, independent eateries and boutiques. The street art in Hyde Park can be found down the side streets, focused in the few blocks around North 9th, 10th, and 11th Streets.

West End

Located west of Downtown, Boise’s West End neighbourhood is over 100 years old, with plenty of beautiful old architecture to admire. It has an quaint, relaxed feel, and you can easily forget that you’re so close to the centre of town.

Most of West End’s murals can be found in the south of the neighbourhood, around West Bannock Street. A great street art great walk is one that starts in Downtown, heading through West End, and continues into Garden City.


Identified artists featured in the image gallery include:

Happy discoveries on your street art walk through Boise. What are your favourites places for street art in Boise? Are there any street art neighbourhoods beyond these hotspots that you love?

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