Experience local downtown Boise businesses through First Thursdays

first thursdays in downtown Boise
Photo courtesy of CBS2

First Thursdays, presented by the Downtown Boise Association, provides a night filled with shopping, dining, art, music and more, taking place on the first Thursday night of every month in downtown Boise.

Retailers, restaurants and establishments downtown plan engaging in-house events including trunk shows, shopping pop ups, musical performances and art exhibits. 

Jennifer Hensley, the executive director of the Downtown Boise Association, shared that this event has been a Boise tradition for decades. 

“It’s when all of the businesses downtown have specials and they bring in artists or they bring in samples of drinks or food or something like that,” Hensley said. 

Hensley shared that the Downtown Boise Association tries to include a collective performer or activity for the entirety of the First Thursdays event to fuse the businesses’ events together, especially on Supersized First Thursdays, which provide extra events and entertainment for the night and are scattered throughout the year.

“Historically as an organization, we have occasionally added a roving performance to the evening. For last month we kind of played with the scenes of musicians and magicians, and we had like a roving magician that was out just surprising people with magic,” Hensley said. “The idea generally is that they just kind of go all over downtown and pop up into surprise areas and, you know, give everybody a little bit of extra fun for the night.”

Hensley shared that the event takes place throughout the entirety of downtown, including 50-70 mini-events hosted by different merchants all in one night. 

“It’s a really good chance to pop around and see what’s going on with a lot of people and a lot of vibrancy,” Hensley said. “You might pop into a clothing store that also has a tasting of locally made beverages or something. So it’s more casual, just like everyday shopping. It’s really a chance to kind of  see what’s all downtown, and kind of meet our neighbors.”

Popular businesses downtown such as BANANA ink, Flying M Coffee House, Bacon & Beer, Art Source Gallery, City Peanut Shop and The Chocolat Bar are regular participants in First Thursdays. 

first thursdays in downtown Boise
[Photo of a First Thursday event located downtown in the Grove Plaza.]
Photo courtesy of CBS2

Art Source Gallery usually hosts artist talks and art pop-ups, and BANANA ink usually does a 15% off sale on their whole shop as well as a tasting event. This past First Thursday they held a tasting of YUMMS charcuterie right inside the store!

For November’s First Thursday, the Chocolat Bar hosted Holesinsky Winery for an all local wine and chocolate tasting, and City Peanut Shop celebrated its 13th year of operation by hosting brewery Woodland Empire for nut and beer tastings, as well as offering guests a 13% discount on alcoholic beverages for the week.

There are endless opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment on First Thursdays, creating the perfect night for exploring downtown in a vibrant setting.

Support downtown Boise’s small and local businesses every first Thursday of the month for the ultimate Boise experience. The event typically runs from 5-9 p.m., but each business runs by their own specific hours, so visitors can check out their individual websites if interested in specific business events!

Businesses provide information for each event leading up to First Thursdays on the Downtown Boise Association’s website.

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