Aug 2022 our other travel plans fell through, but my travel buddy already had the days off from work and wanted to revisit Boise, so with only a week's notice and without reservations we reserved our accommodations. Boise feels open, we never experienced bad traffic, and there seemed to be plenty of parking. He set the agenda. For more about Boise and surrounding areas, see
On the road again . . . a few highlights traveling east on I-84 from Portland.
Three nights and four days only gave us two days actually in the Boise area, with a day to travel there and a day of travel home. Here's what we did in the Boise area this trip:
--2 car washes in Meridian: bright, clean, clean car guarantees, plenty of free vacuums for $18-20 top service
--drove Chinden Blvd aka Hwy 20/26 to downtown Boise from Meridian ID
--walked up to the Idaho State Capitol via 9th St.
--walked down Capitol Blvd & around the Basque Block
--visited Boise Art Museum
--then Idaho State Museum & environs
--next we went to revisit Zoo Boise, hoping to see the animals we missed before
--walked around downtown Boise
--ate late at Chandlers restaurant
--Stayed at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Boise Airport
--(some other options for accommodations near the airport & downtown)
--Ann Morrison Park
--The Village at Meridian for shopping and a movie
Rocket Express Car Wash, Chinden Blvd & Linder Rd, Meridian ID
Epic Shine Car Wash, 6524 N Linder Rd, Meridian, ID 83646
Chinden Blvd, aka Hwy 20/26 between Meridian/Eagle and Boise
Walking up 9th St toward the Capitol from Grove Street Parking Garage--230 S 10th St, Boise, ID 83702
The first level of the garage is for Hotel 43 patrons. In anticipation of roaming about downtown Boise and ending with supper at Chandler's, we parked for the day. I was glad to be parked in a garage, as the temp that day got up to 103 (I brought ice bottles and a shiny bag to put them in to cool my legs, but then forgot them in the hotel room that morn!). We exited the garage on 9th St and walked to the Idaho State Capitol (on Jefferson).
Idaho State Capitol--700 W Jefferson St, Boise, ID 83702
This is a great place to learn some history of the west, and about how our representative form of government works. Pertinent history links under Idaho State Museum below. For more photos and info of the Capitol, see
The Basque Block, Capitol Blvd & Grove St
Boise Art Museum (BAM)--670 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702 (Julia Davis Park campus)
I was disappointed that photos were not allowed in the galleries, because whether you agree with the politics of the artists, I really enjoyed the art and the historical black experiences it depicted. That day happened to be free for seniors, and my travel buddy had his student ID, so his ticket was very inexpensive.
Idaho State Museum & environs--610 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702 (Julia Davis Park campus)
While my buddy toured the museum again, I got better photos of the environs. Unfortunately, the path through the historic "village" next to the museum was only open limited hours on the weekend. The Black History Museum still wasn't open (even though during posted hours/days). Continue through the park to Myrtle St, or take Myrtle St southeast off Capitol Blvd to get to Discovery Center of Idaho (kid activities, camps, events). For more photos & info about the museum, see
More Museums around Boise
Zoo Boise--355 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID, 83702
We had visited this zoo in April of 2021, when it was early in the year for many animals to be outdoors. We hoped this time to see what we had missed the last time. But this was an August day of 103 degrees, too hot even for my phone/camera! I got many photos, but not all I wanted. Thankfully I did find an outlet to recharge my battery, and if I had remembered my ice bottles, I could have cooled my phone/camera more effectively than just seeking relief from the heat inside indoor exhibits. It's dry, not humid heat, so that helps.
After the Zoo we had some time to wander about before eating late again at Chandler's
We stopped for a refreshing drink & eats at Tropical Smoothie on 8th just south of Main. Eventually we walked along Front St to an impressive Whole Foods. Discovery Center of Idaho (kid activities, camps, and programs) is only 2 or 3 blocks from there on Myrtle St, the other side of Julia Davis Park from the zoo. See link at "More Museums Around Boise". Returning downtown for a late supper, I noted banners for a summer concert series at the JUMP Amphitheater.
Tropical Smoothie Café—8th St just south of Main, Boise ID
Chandler's restaurant is associated with Hotel 43. We were somewhat early, so I rested awhile in the lobby of the hotel. Chandler's is my travel buddy's favorite restaurant in Boise. It's not for the slim of wallet, but the food is so delicious, and the staff is so very thoughtful and attentive!
Chandlers Prime Steaks & Fine Seafood--981 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702
Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Boise Airport--3050 S Shoshone, Boise, ID 83705
We were on such short notice to make our hotel reservations this time, it was difficult to find a suitable ADA room. We would have liked to be downtown, but found this hotel near the airport, and it was not unreasonably far away, though not within walking distance. However, Boise has reasonable parking options downtown. We were happy with this hotel.
Near Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Boise Airport (off Vista Ave) are:
Applebee's Grill + Bar--2810 W Elder St, Boise, ID 83705
Simple Suites--2909 W Elder St, Boise, ID, 83705
Comfort Inn & Suites Boise Airport--3625 W Elder St, Boise, ID 83705 (a little west of Holiday Inn)
Fairfield Inn Boise (by Marriott)--3300 S Shoshone St, Boise, ID 83705 (turn south on Shoshone off Elder)
Hampton Inn Boise - Airport--3270 S Shoshone St, Boise, ID 83705
Super 8 by Wyndham Boise--2773 W Elder St, Boise, ID 83705
Americas Best Value Inn & Suites Boise (Red Lion)--2525 Sunrise Rim Rd, Boise, ID 83705
Ramada by Wyndham Boise--3300 S Vista Ave, Boise, ID 83705
Saffron Indian Bar and Grill--3300 S Vista Ave, Boise, ID 83705
Boise Hindu Temple--3300 S Vista Ave, Boise, ID 83705
Lotus By Hotel Inn--3302 S Vista Ave, Boise, ID 83705 (behind Saffron Indian Bar & Grill)
Take Vista Ave across I-84 to Airport Way:
Denny's--2580 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Rodeway Inn Airport--2799 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Best Western Vista Inn at the Airport--2645 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Airport Inn--2660 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Motel 6 Boise ID-Airport--2323 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
Inn America-Boise--2275 W Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705
A few downtown hotels
The Grove Hotel, 245 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702
Residence Inn by Marriott, Capitol & Broad St
Inn at 500 Capitol, 500 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702
Home2Suites, 202 S 6th St, Boise, ID 83702
Ann Morrison Park--1000 S. Americana Blvd., Boise (a couple entrances off Capitol Blvd as well)
We were sufficiently impressed by the amenities at this park. See the link (which includes a less than 1 min video of the accessible playground). It's over the river and across Capitol Blvd from Julia Davis Park (Idaho State Museum, Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise, etc), and across from Boise State U.
A couple landmarks on Capitol Blvd near Ann Morrison Park: Boise State U and Boise Depot park.
Boise State University--1910 W University Dr, Boise, ID 83725
The Village at Meridian--3597 E. Monarch Sky Lane #225, Meridian ID 83646
What a fun place to wander, shop, dine, take in a movie! Kids play included.
Just across the way from The Village at Meridian is a 58-acre park with an amphitheater, playground, bandshell, senior center, gardens, fishing & basketball.
I begin this post with Point Defiance, as the Zoo and Fort Nisqually were what drew me to Tacoma initially. Then on the way home from those, I was enticed by the parks along Ruston Way. For years I have wanted to get to the Tacoma Museum District, and every time I've driven past Fort Lewis I've been intrigued by those classic old buildings. I decided I needed to add NW Trek, and all these treks make up this post. Quite a number of the places to see are not open the early part of the week, I found.
Point Defiance Park
Point Defiance ferry area (2022)
--including Wilson Way Pedestrian Bridge, w/stairs & slides, chutes & ladders; the ferry terminal, Anthony's restaurant, and the marina. You can get to Dune Peninsula/Dune Park by taking N Waterfront Dr opposite Anthony's, under the (Vashon) Ferry Crossing Landing Rd/N Pearl St.
Point Defiance Park/gardens (2022)
It took me 3 or more trips to take these all in, as I visited other venues in the area. There's still more to explore . . .
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (2020)
This was the beginning of my interest in Tacoma. I had a manual chair then, and a pusher, so we made it around with great delight. It is built on a fairly steep hill, so having a helper is recommended for those in wheelchairs.
Fort Nisqually (2022 Brigade Encampment re-enactment)
I had hoped to go to the Brigade Encampment in 2021, but couldn't manage. So it was with much anticipation I finally arrived for the re-enactment in 2022, and I was not disappointed (except that I could only peek into several of the old structures, since they were not amenable to wheelchairs). But I had a great time. It takes a couple hours to get there from Portland OR.
The Homestead Restaurant & Bakery (2022)
After the Fort Nisqually encampment, I wanted to get the kind of meal they might have got at the fort in the mid 1800s. The closest I could find was Homestead Restaurant (not particularly close, but at least still in Tacoma). It was good. Of interest were the very old B&W short films/cartoons playing on the screen in the dining room.
Waterfront Parks along Ruston Way--(2022)
Coming home from the zoo a couple years prior, we glimpsed these enticing parks, which present as one long park, with about a 2 mile paved trail/walkway by the road, and at times a trail along the water. Lots of picnic opportunities, as well as restaurants.
Looking at the map as I was preparing this post, I saw that at McCarver St you can veer off to see the inconspicuous rock monument to Old Town Tacoma's 1st school house at 28th & Starr St, the Job Carr Cabin Museum (1865 cabin replica & exhibits in Old Town Park, 2350 N 30th St, Tacoma, WA), and if you continue west on 30th to Union Ave then south you can visit University of Puget Sound, 1.8 mi/6 min in good traffic from Old Town Park).
Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park, 1741 N Schuster Pkwy, Tacoma, WA 98402, off Ruston Way
Jack Hyde Park w/sundial, at the north end of the Chinese Reconciliation Park
Old Town Dock & Northern Fish, Ruston Way, Tacoma WA
Top of the Ocean Historical Marker--between Old Town Dock/Northern Fish & Silver Cloud Hotel, Ruston Way
Silver Cloud Hotel & Hamilton Park, 2400 Ruston Way, Tacoma WA
Dickman Mill Park--2423 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Offers history, restrooms, picnic tables, benches, great views.
Between Dickman Mill Park and MSOC Fire Station
Harbor Lights restaurant-- 2761 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Katie Downs Waterfront Tavern--3211 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
MSOC Fire Station & memorial at 3301 Ruston Way; Fireboat #1 at 3427 Ruston Way; and Duke Seafood restaurant at 3327 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Kama'Aina Hawaiian Grill, Les Davis Public Fishing Pier, and Judge Jack Tanner Park--3427 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Mystery bike art and Cummings Park, 3939 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Lobster Shop restaurant 4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402
Point Ruston Historic Ferry, Rainier Condos, & Ruston WA
Photos from the train are from a trip to Seattle by train late April 2022.
Downtown Tacoma & Landmarks (Commerce St is 1 block west of Pacific Ave)
I was able to explore and take photos mainly from S 21st St to S 15th S along Pacific Ave, plus up to Old Spaghetti Factory. I traveled this in my electric wheelchair quite easily, a portion on each of 2 days (took so many photos I ran out of juice one day--both wheelchair & phone camera). There are lots of places to eat in the area.
Don Pugnetti Park, 2085 Pacific Ave, Tacoma; north side of S 21st St aka Hwy 509, west of S 21st St bridge
University of Washington Tacoma-- 1900 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402 (campus extends several streets)
Washington State History Museum-- 1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
This is a fascinating place of soaring architecture with many stories to tell, from geology/geography, to the peoples past and present, to the facets & features of history (peoples, places, times & timelines, technology, change, choices, viewpoints, values), with many opportunities to engage the young (including a cool extensive model train). The museum offers Family Saturdays (activities), Free 3rd grade Thursdays (evenings), Virtual Events, a Special Event venue including a catering kitchen. Exhibits for Latinos, Blacks, Japanese, Sacajawea Trail, and Oregon Trail to be added to posts linked below.
Thea Foss Waterway Public Esplanade
Thea Foss Waterway Public Esplande is a wonderful walkway along the waterfront, but is not contiguous all the way. Another part of it is by Foss Waterway Seaport (see further down in this post).
The Social restaurant
Tacoma Union Station--1717 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402, in which is now housed:
Tollefson Plaza & nearby
Tacoma Art Museum (TAM)--1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402--was closed when I was there—just south of S 17th St between Pacific Ave & Commerce St
The Koi restaurant, 1552 COMMERCE ST SUITE 100, TACOMA, WA 98402--1548 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402 (and Pacific Ave)
Tacoma Welcoming Figure—just north of S 17th St between Pacific Ave & Commerce St—faces Pacific Ave
Children’s Museum of Tacoma-- 1501 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
Courtyard by Marriott Tacoma Downtown, 1515 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Near Courtyard by Marriott Tacoma Downtown, 1515 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402
Marriott Tacoma Downtown, 1538 Commerce Street, Tacoma, Washington, 98402
The Old Spaghetti Factory, 1250 Pacific Ave #101, Tacoma, WA 98402
Landmarks further north I saw from my car, but couldn't stop for photos.
Tacoma Venues & EventsThe Broadway Farmers Market-- 1099-949, Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402 The Theater District--on or near 9th & Commerce, a block west of Pacific. the Theater District lightrail stop is on Commerce St north of the theaters.
Foss Waterway Seaport--705 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402--a maritime heritage museum Thea Foss Waterway Public Esplande is not contiguous all the way. Part of it is by the Museum of Glass.
Tacoma Mall--4502 S Steele St, Tacoma, WA 98409
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
JBLM Visitors Center, 5901 41st Division Dr, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433
The Visitor Center isn't really impressive, it's mainly where to get a pass to get into the base (if you have good reason to go in) or the museum, which is a little drive away. But it does have a display case, some historic photos & info, restroom etc. Near the Visitor Center is the historic old gate and monuments to military units with interesting historic info.
Captain Meriwether Lewis Memorial Park next to the Visitor Center
Lewis Army Museum--4320 Main St. and Constitution Dr, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), WA
All the times I've passed by while traveling I-5 (and by train), I've been intrigued by the antique buildings on this base. At last I found opportunity to explore late May of 2022. It was challenging for me to find the entrance to the Lewis Army Museum (even with the google guide), for which you must call for an escort to walk you from the gate at the gravel parking area to the museum itself. As much as I like history, military history hasn't been my favorite. Yet I was really engaged with the exhibits in this museum. The little gift shop is run by volunteers, has very limited hours, and a lot of inviting stuff, which I hadn't happened on the right day to get. In order to rein in the number of photos here, I will save most of those about Lewis & Clark to add to my Sacajawea Trail post, linked below.
Northwest Trek Trip (Aug 2022)
We traveled through Tenino, Rainier, and Yelm on our way to NW Trek Wildlife Park. I didn't get the best pics of those inviting little communities, but wanted to show at least something. Loved the fantastic views of Mt Rainier as we went.
This really is a stroll/drive through the PNW forest and meadows, thus the animals might not be as visible as in some zoos, and the focus is not on the exotic animals of far away lands, but of those local to the PNW. There are various indoor exhibits (looking through the glass), as well as outdoor views. We strolled around the walking paths before our scheduled driving tour, and returned for lunch and to see more of the exhibits after the drive.
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.