8 Things to do in Nampa, Idaho
There are so many things to do in Nampa all year round. Like the rest of the Treasure Valley, something is going on every day for all interests. Check out this list of our 8 favorite places to go and sights to see in Nampa!
Ford Idaho Center
The Ford Idaho Center has been a staple of sports, music, and entertainment in the Treasure Valley since it was built in 1996. The venue is most famous for the Snake River Stampede, which is considered one of the nation’s best rodeos. Read below for more information.
The Idaho Center has also played host to a variety of sporting events. The Idaho Stampede (a former member of the NBA Development League), and the Idaho Stallions (a member of the now-defunct Indoor Professional Football League) played at the arena for their home games. In the 1990s, the NAIA Men’s Division II Basketball Tournament was played at the Idaho Center. One of the venues, the Ford Sports Center, hosts Boise State University Indoor Track and Field Events. In 2019, the Idaho Horsemen professional indoor football team began its inaugural season with the Idaho Center as their home field. They went 13-0 and won the league’s inaugural championship.
The Idaho Center also is a major concert venue for the State of Idaho. The large venue attracts national artists as they travel through the northwest. Keep an eye out for upcoming national tours. You may be surprised at who you see performing here. Major tours and acts have played here, including Pearl Jam, Vans Warped Tour, Mayhem Festival, God & Country Music Festival, The Rolling Stones, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, and the Lilith Fair.
Other entertainment events include multiple trade shows, Monster Jam, the Harlem Globetrotters, motorcycle racing, and more!
Snake River Stampede
The Snake River Stampede is a five-day rodeo held in Nampa, Idaho every year during the third week of July. It is recognized as one of the top twelve professional rodeos by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The rodeo in its official form started in 1937 when it joined the PRCA. Since 1950, the Snake River Stampede has welcomed numerous country music acts including Gene Autry, Sons of the Pioneers, Reba McEntire, Roy Rogers, and Glen Campbell.
Since 1997, the rodeo has taken place in the 12,279-seat capacity Ford Idaho Center. The rodeo starts with a community festival to garner enthusiasm and create a sense of community with a parade, the Buckaroo Breakfast, and an equestrian drill team competition. Many people see the Snake River Stampede as their first rodeo and instantly become repeat attendees. Buy your tickets and see why the Snake River Stampede is one of the best rodeos in the country!
Warhawk Air Museum
The Warhawk Air Museum began as a passion project by John and Sue Paul to display their love of World War II Aviation. In 1986, they purchased a small hangar in Caldwell to display their restored P-40E Curtiss plane and others they planned to restore. Soon, people began donating WWII memorabilia from family and friends who served. They soon ran out of room and moved to a hangar near the Nampa Airport in 2000.
Since the move, their collection has expanded to include veteran history from both World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the Persian Gulf War. Visitors can view military vehicles and planes as well as one-of-a-kind items such as medals, weapons, letters to loved ones, and battlefield gear. In fact, The Warhawk Air Museum holds one of 144 airworthy P-51 Mustangs in the United States, the “Boise Bee”. The “Bee” was painted and flown by Boise native, Lt. Col. Duane W. Beeson in WWII. Lt. Col Beeson flew in the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, and was a 5-time ace, shooting down 25 German planes.
Every year, more than 5,000 students come to the Warhawk Air Museum for educational field trips and tours. An additional 25,00 visitors visit from around the state and the country to visit the unique collection. Throughout the year, the Museum hosts breakfasts and coffee get-togethers specifically for veterans. During the summers, guest planes will fly in and provide flying tours of Boise in completely restored and airworthy WWII bombers. Truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
Northwest Nazarene University competes in the NCAA Division II and hosts 13 men’s and women’s teams across 8 sports. While not as large as Boise State, NNU’s teams perform very well in conference and consistently play in the playoffs in every sport. Many NNU athletes receive conference and Division II honors for athletic and academic performance.
Canyon County Historical Museum
The Canyon County Historical Society was established in 1972 to save the Nampa Train Depot from demolition. Since then, the Historical Museum has made its home in the depot in the center of downtown Nampa. Come learn about the history of Canyon County and the City of Nampa in a piece of its history. The museum also hosts seasonal events throughout the year, including music, movies, dancing, and holiday-themes. Admission is $2-$5 depending on your age, and kids 6 and under are free. The museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.
Lake Lowell is a 14.5-square-mile reservoir with 28 miles of shoreline that sits southwest of Nampa. The lake is a popular recreation spot for boating, swimming, fishing, and bird watching. Motorized and non-motorized boating is allowed from April 15 to September 30. Lake Lowell is part of the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge and is one of the largest off-stream reservoirs in the American West. The lake can irrigate 20,000 acres of land. Lake Lowell Park is located on the Upper Dam on the east side of the lake. This 20-acre park was founded in 1970 and features picnic tables, BBQs, a water fountain, disc golf, and a story trail that is open to bike and walking traffic. The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk.
Karcher Mall and Treasure Valley Marketplace
The Karcher Mall opened in August 1965 and has maintained a steady presence as a shopping and entertainment destination in the Treasure Valley ever since. Until the Boise Towne Square Mall opened in 1988, the Karcher Mall was the largest shopping center in the Treasure Valley. Currently, the mall has 28 stores, with Big 5 Sporting Goods, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Mor Furniture, and Ross as the main anchor stores. The Treasure Valley Marketplace is a 700,00 square-foot mall on the north side of the Karcher Road exit off I-84 and is owned by CenterCal Property Management, which also owns the Village at Meridian. The mall contains 37 stores, including some of the largest retailers in the country: Costco, Kohl’s, Target, Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Best Buy. Both shopping centers are right off the Karcher Mall Exit of I-84 and are also surrounded by plenty of food options.
Nampa has 5 golf courses within a short drive of each other. All of the golf courses in the Treasure Valley take pride in top-tier maintenance and beauty while also keeping prices and difficulty accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. Try any of these courses and you will see why Idaho is a secret golf destination.