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What to Do in the Basque Community of Boise, Idaho

Nancy Zubiri
Dancing on the Basque Block in Boise, Idaho

So you are interested in Basque culture and you plan to visit Boise, Idaho. What should you do? Here is our list of the top Basque-related things to do in the City of Trees.

Basques started arriving in Idaho in the early 1900s, mostly to herd sheep. They operated boardinghouses to give the new arrivals from the “Old Country” a place to call home. The boardinghouses have faded away, but Basques thrived in Boise and have maintained their culture through dance, festivals, restaurants and more.


The Basque Block is located in the 600 block of Grove Street in downtown Boise. Once upon a time, there were at least three Basque boardinghouses on this block. While many of the Basque locations on the block have existed for many years, the Basque Block was officially inaugurated by the city in 2000. The modern streetscape is full of informative signs, art and sculpture, including sidewalk etchings that reflect the names of many Basque families who settled in Idaho. Check out the mural at the end of the block on Capitol Boulevard next to Bar Gernika. It depicts key players and events in the Boise Basque community over the years.

There are several parking lots in the surrounding area, but if you are staying in a hotel downtown, you can simply walk here. Here is a lovely online walking tour of the Basque Block with more details about every building.

The Basque Museum – You cannot come to this city without visiting the only Basque Museum in the United States. It’s a delight, with its changing exhibits and delightful gift shop. Next door to the main museum building is the Uberuaga Boardinghouse, which belongs to the museum as well. You must see the boardinghouse. This is the oldest brick building in the city of Boise and has been restored to the way it looked in 1928. For anyone who likes historic buildings, this will be a treasured visit. A tree sprouted from an acorn from the historic Tree of Gernika grows in the front yard.

Women play pala at the Boise fronton.

Anduiza’s Fronton – Basques have been playing handball at this historic court since 1914. The court, also known as a “fronton” is tucked in between the Basque Museum and Bar Gernika. Unfortunately, this building is not open to the public except when competitions are being played, which is usually only during San Inazio festivities or the Jaialdi festival, at the end of July. Originally, this was also a boardinghouse, with the rooms for boarders located around the court. Today they are offices for Basque-related activities. Members of the Boise Fronton Association play here regularly and anyone can apply to be a member. To get in touch with the fronton association, email

The Basque Center – This is the home of Boise’s Basque club Euzkaldunak. The bar in front is open to the public on a regular basis and is an enjoyable place to have a drink. It’s mostly members and locals who hang out here. The club holds monthly dinners in the hall, and on Sundays, young Basque Americans practice their traditional dances. The hall is also available for rent to outside groups.

The Basque restaurant scene in Boise has changed a lot over the years, but it may be at its best right now. There are five Basque restaurants and all are excellent.

Leku Ona, on the Basque Block: 117 S. 6th St. A fine dining establishment with a Basque Country chef.
Bar Gernika, on the Basque Block: 202 S. Capitol Blvd. A pub-style bar and casual eating establishment
Basque Market, on the Basque Block: 608 W. Grove St. A store that sells food and beverage items from the Basque Country. Paella served every Wed. and Fri. at noon.
Ansots Chorizos, one block away from the Basque Block: 560 W. Main St. In-house produced Basque meats.
Epi’s Basque Restaurant, in nearby Meridian: 1115 N. Main St., Meridian. A fine dining establishment

When to visit Boise
If you are planning to visit Boise to check out the Basque culture, the best time to visit is the end of July. July 31 is the feast day of San Inazio, the patron saint of the Basques in Boise, and they celebrate in a big way. Most festivities take place on the Saturday closest to July 31. You want to be on the Basque Block to watch the dancing and listen to the music that takes place here throughout the day.

Basque Mural in Boise, Idaho, on Capitol Boulevard near Grove Street. (Nancy Zubiri)
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