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It's Christmas Time in the City!

David Nielsen, MBA

David Nielsen loves helping people transition. He understands that, for many people, your home is your largest investment...

David Nielsen loves helping people transition. He understands that, for many people, your home is your largest investment...

Dec 12 7 minutes read

It's Christmas time in the city!

The tinsel is hung and jingle bells are ringing all over Boise for the holidays.

The Downtown Holiday Tree was lit up a few weeks ago and everyone at Platinum Idaho is feeling the Christmas spirit.

Did you know it's also a Giving Tree? Gift tags are hung around the tree, listing items the Women's and Children's Alliance needs for its facility and child care programs.

Grab a tag, throw a couple extra items in your basket while you're shopping and drop them off at any Zion's Bank location.

Pick and Choose

There's so much to this holiday season in Boise. We've tried to narrow it down to our favorite activities, although I'm sure we've missed a few of yours.

Be sure to let us know on our Facebook Page what you're up to this Christmas and tell us what we're missing out on.

In the meantime, you can get started by taking a sweet tour of the neighborhoods, checking out how everyone has their home decked out for the holidays.

William Higginson has updated his annual Google map of where to go in our beautiful city. He's also running a Facebook page to keep you updated.

Now let's check out what's happening event-wise!

Winter Garden Aglow

Lights, lights and more lights! If your city tour hasn't been enough, the Idaho Botanical Garden has a dazzling display of more than 400,000 sparkling lights artfully displayed.

Santa visits on select nights and the Holiday Express, a G-scale model train, winds its way through the glowing winter wonderland.

Winter Garden Aglow runs every day rain, sun or snow until New Year's Day. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the last admission at 9 p.m.

Photos with Santa

Bring the kids to sit on Santa's lap and share their wish list with the Jolly Old Elf. He makes appearances at the Boise Towne Square Mall every day until Christmas Eve but you need to make a reservation first. Click here noting the special days for pets, holiday PJs and ugly sweaters.

Santa takes a break from the mall to visit the downtown square one more time this season.  Santa will be at Evans Bank on the corner of 9th and Main from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 15.

The Nutcracker

Enjoy a beloved holiday tradition with The Nutcracker presented by Ballet Idaho. More than 100 children are a part of this production that features live orchestral music by the Boise Philharmonic.

Show times vary with one showing each on December 13 and 14 and two showings on the 15th and 16th. Go here to get your tickets.

Choo-choo trains

The Old Boise Model Railroad host its annual open house every Saturday until the New Year. Drop in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Building and check out the work that's gone into building this model track. It's pretty amazing.

The railroad society isn't charging admission but the good folks are taking donations at the door.

Young ventriloquist takes center stage

Oklahoma City's Darci Lynne Farmer brings her Rocking Around the Christmas Tree show to the Morrison Center for one night only.

Darci Lynne is the youngest contestant to ever win America's Got Talent. Her uplifting shows sell out quickly.

She visits Boise on Friday, December 21, for a 7 p.m. start. 

Get tickets here.

Magical train ride

Jump on board Santa's Express Train for a scenic ride along the Payette River. The Thunder Mountain Line is running 90-minute round trips from Horseshoe Bend to Montour every day through the month of December.

RING IN 2019

No, it isn't too soon to be planning how you're spending New Year's Eve.

Although if you aren't going to the great Idaho Potato Drop, I don't know what you're thinking. (Just kidding!)

The Potato is a world-renowned event. Some towns drop a big shiny ball down a needle (oh hi, New York City). Boise? We drop a giant potato.

It's a full night of family-friendly fun, including:

  • Music on the main stage
  • Big Air Rail Jam
  • Ice Sculptures
  • Food drive for the Idaho Food Bank
  • Food trucks

Students of the Boise Rock School get to put their talents on display at the music stage. They get onto the same bill as such homegrown stars as Gipsy Moonrise, Red Light Challenge, and Jeff Crosby and the Refugees. National indie groups Marshall Poole, American Mile, and Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles will keep rocking our socks off.

Elsewhere around the city, you can find lots to do to say "Goodbye, 2018" and make a fresh round of resolutions.

Check out these hot spots:

  • Mountain Village
    Make your way to Stanley to catch a show with the Andrew Sheppard Band. Andrew hails from Ketchum, and describes his music as soulful country/honest rock.
    He takes over the stage at Velvet Falls Dance Hall.
    There will be fire walks!
  • Visual Arts Collective
    If you're more into the heavy stuff, you might want to spend your night at A Rock and Metal New Year's Eve.
    The bill features thrashers Break Surface, Unto Extinction, Ghostbox, Atheras, and Defenders of the Faith.
  • Ironwood Bar & Grill
    Party musicians Big Wow headline the Ironwood for a night of fun. Make sure you wear your finest!
  • The Modern Hotel
    To heck with music. This one is all about cuisine. The Modern Hotel's talented chef, Nate Whitley, is creating a five-course prix fixe menu featuring foraged ingredients: vegetables, herbs, seafood, meat and dairy from local Idaho farms and Pacific Northwest purveyors. Two seating times are available at
    6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

And Then What?

The celebrations don't stop!

Urban Adventure Quest turns Boise into a giant game board with an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt on New Year' s Day. Teams make their way around the city, visiting well-known and overlooked spots, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history.
The Amazing Scavenger Hunt runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Register your team!

What would New Year's Day be without a dip in icy water? The 16th annual Great Polar Bear Challenge takes place at Lucky Peak Reservoir and Spring Shores Marina.
Hundreds of brave folks show up to jump in the water, water ski or wakeboard to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Idaho.
Register here!

What are your plans?

Feel like you have a good idea what's going on around Boise for the holidays?
Everyone at Platinum Idaho is looking forward to joining in on the festivities. We can't wait to see you out and about!

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