The Idaho Shakespeare Festival

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise is one of the most popular events for locals each summer and it was one of the most fun things I did this summer alongside floating the Boise River. Warm summer nights are the perfect time for people to grab a picnic and head to one of the outdoor amphitheater shows near the foothills. The performances are fantastic and are perfect for an after-work date night or gathering.

Before heading to the festival, I was curious as to how it all worked, so I did a lot of research and asked some locals. Now that I’ve experienced it, I’m excited to share my newfound Shakespeare Festival knowledge with you!

Idaho Shakespeare Festival Guide

(1) Get your tickets early

I highly recommend getting your tickets as early as possible because these shows are SUPER popular in the summer. You can purchase tickets here or call them directly, but they do sell out. I was really late in the season to get my tickets and when I called they said their waitlist was 100+ people long for each show! I decided to get put on the waitlist for 4 different days and two different shows and I ended up getting a call back for two shows. Yes, the waitlists get long, but there’s still a high chance you’ll get to go even if it’s last minute!

Note: Shows start in late May and go until the end of September.

(2) There are 5 different types of seating and tickets

The 5 different seating types are listed here. I opted for the cheapest tickets this time on the Hillside, and while they had great views, the area is slanted and somewhat uncomfortable. If you do get the Hillside tickets, be sure to get there right when the venue opens so you can get a good spot. Next time I go I will splurge on the lawn, chairs, or the box (which are tables and chairs). The boxes looked the best because you could have a full-on meal and sit at a table to enjoy it.

outdoor amphitheater seating

3) Here’s What to Bring:

If you opt for the chairs, I would bring a sandwich and something to drink just because there isn’t a ton of room to spread out.

  • Your ticket
  • Low lawn chairs – This is so everyone can see behind you, something similar to this.  They also rent these out for $2 at the venue.
  • Lawn blanket – For you to sit on and have your picnic on, or to bundle with if you get cold.
  • Cooler – I brought something small like this
  • Drinks – you can BYOB so I brought wine, beer and water
  • Picnic foods/snacks – I brought pinwheels, cheeses, bread, fruits, hummus and some veggies
  • Plates, forks, knives, cups, wine/beer opener etc.
  • Light jacket
  • Bugspray

small picnic spread

(4) Each show can last a different amount of time

Be sure to go to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival website before your show to figure out when the venue opens, when the show starts, if there’s an intermission and when it ends. Some shows are longer than others so just be sure you plan accordingly.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival experience

These shows are fantastic and each show has a different cast that typically come from a traveling theatre. I got to see Mama Mia and it was incredible! Most of the shows last about 1-2 hours and some have intermissions while others don’t. I hope you get to experience the Idaho Shakespeare Festival if you’re visiting Boise or even if you live here. It’s a great summer activity and I highly recommend adding it to your Boise Summer Bucket List!


Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Join 20K+ Readers! Sign Up & Get Stories from the Traveling Spud

* indicates required