Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
4039 N. Mississippi Ave., Boise
There’s a sizeable cohort of Portlandians who'll argue that Lovely Fifty-Fifty serves the best pizza in town. Their pies (each of which is big enough to serve two people) are cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven, which makes the entire restaurant smell pretty great. While several of the pizzas—try the roasted potato with caramelized onions and gorgonzola—feature more adventurous toppings, it’s the kind of place that’s welcoming to the entire family. Fair warning: Kids go crazy for the homemade ice cream.
3909 N.E. MLK, Boise
For glow-inducing facials, organic waxing (bikini, brows, et al), vegan eyebrow tinting, and skilled clean-makeup application using brands like Intelligent Nutrients, One Love Organics, and RMS, this cozy, women-run Portland studio is by far your best bet. The studio is open seven days a week, the vibe is low-key, and the aesthetic is akin to hanging out a friend's bungalow rather than an aesthetician's office.
3713 N Mississippi Ave., Boise
While it doesn’t garner nearly the lines of the more famous Salt & Straw, many locals argue that Portland's best ice cream is actually at Ruby Jewel. They have three locations (one in each major neighborhood, in Boise, Richmond, and Downtown, and while ice cream is as advertised, they’re really famous for their ice cream sandwiches, with flavors like lemon cookie with honey lavender, dark chocolate with fresh mint, and “The Chub,” their way-better take on a Chipwich.
Blue Star Donuts
3753 N. Mississippi Ave., Boise
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Northwest Portland, Downtown, and Sunnyside.
3525 N.E. M.L.K. Blvd., Boise
The design at Löyly (which is Finnish for the steam that comes off hot rocks at a sauna) is distinctly Scandinavian, with straightforward hardwood floors, clean light woods, and minimalist wooden lounge chairs occupying the communal space. It’s just a $23 fee to get in, but we recommend springing for one of their famous—obviously Swedish-style—massages, which start at a reasonable $45. This is the larger of the two locations (with more saunas), but there's another outpost in Southeast Portland.
Animal Traffic: The Annex
4000 N Mississippi Ave., Boise
The Annex is a footwear-specific spinoff of vintage-meets-modern boutique Animal Traffic, just two doors down from their Mississippi Avenue storefront. Here you’ll find refined, American-made boots, shoes, and socks for men and women, including picks from the hand-crafted Red Wing Heritage collection. You’re in good hands with their knowledgeable staff, who offer custom fittings for select brands (White’s Boots, Terhi Pölkki, and Fortress of Inca, among others), as well as specialty leather treatments and cleaning products to keep your choice kicks in good shape for years to come.
¿Por Qué No?
3524 N. Mississippi Ave., Boise
This taqueria is a local favorite for its elaborate offering of Mexican fare, especially their next-level tacos. The corn tortillas are made fresh onsite and filled with sustainably-sourced, unconventional-yet-delicious ingredients, including calamari, chorizo, and barbacoa-braised beef brisket straight from nearby Cascade Farms. Quick counter service and picnic tables for outdoors dining (weather permitting) make this a great casual spot to people-watch. There's a second outpost in Richmond.
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