Not your grandma's Idaho. - Mary M. -- Local resident
The Best Thing About Boise?
Cool without the Pretentiousness
The allure of the Pacific Northwest, without Portland prices. Small enough to be walkable, big enough to host lots of craft beer, stellar coffee, food and fun, Boise has earned a reputation as a growing culinary hotspot in recent years— its third-wave coffee roasters, gourmet donut shops, and tasting-menu restaurants are on par with what you’d find in Portland or Seattle. (There just aren’t that many of them yet to retain full foodie status.)
Boise manages to be cool without the pretentiousness of Portland or Austin.
The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous but with that comes some extreme prices. Go inland and you’ll find Boise, a bike-friendly and walkable city hosting creative types, cool kids, and tech entrepreneurs.Mild temperatures and the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt give residents a good way to enjoy the views. It’s also a short drive from the Snake River Valley wine region, plus skiing at Sun Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains, and Shoshone Falls.
One resident notes: If you can afford it it's pretty great.
- Outdoor recreation opportunities, so relatively close to real wilderness, great diversity of restaurants for a city of its size, tons of breweries, lots of community events and volunteer organizations, friendly people, very little crime.
The Worst Thing About Boise?
There’s no diversity. It’s 90% White. If you’re hoping to raise kids in a diverse environment, Boise isn’t it.
Also, Boise gets very smoggy from forest fires in the summer. It's surrounded by mountains, so smog collects over time. It is also considered to be high desert so there isn’t much precipitation. During July and August you’re lucky to get a light sprinkle of rain which is never enough to clear the smog. The air gets trapped in an inversion (the temperature is higher in the mountains than in town) and on occasion, it smells bad.
A local on the issue of diversity in Boise: I live here with my wife who is a POC and I've asked her about this a couple of times. She says more than anything she feels isolated. No one ever speaks negatively towards her or shows any racism, but she is also regularly the only non-white person in the room. Access to diverse food options is also a problem, albeit an improving one.
Lifestyle of Boise
The historic North End is a longtime sought-after neighborhood. It borders Downtown, and its close location to the foothills makes it a great option for those who want easy access to hiking trails. It features a mix of Victorian and Craftsman homes and is a liberal community full of young professionals, bars and restaurants, and highly rated schools, The North End's appeal lies in its proximity to downtown, its mature trees, and the curb appeal with many of the city's older homes. The Hyde Park area in the North End is full of notable restaurants, boutiques, specialty shops and parks.
Boise has a love affair with the mid-century modern aesthetic, and you’ll find a lot of updated mid-century modern homes in “The Bench” The area is named for its location overlooking the city, it contains a diverse mix of neighborhoods.The Bench also features sweeping views of the Boise Foothills and Downtown. This has become the sort of trendy place for home buyers, specifically millennials. The homes on the Bench are typically older, with home buyers remodeling to their style. The location is striking distance to downtown Boise, but far enough away that you're out of the chaos.
Homes in the North End are pricier than the Bench.
Speaking of pricey homes, Harrison Boulevard is one of the most prestigious — and pricey — thoroughfares in Boise, one of Boise's most picturesque thoroughfares and also one of the most prestigious parts of the city to own a home.The wide, tree-lined boulevard, which sits in the Warm Springs area, has a mix of architectural styles.
Garden City, (technically it’s own city and not in Boise) is the “hipster” neighborhood that is having an urban renaissance into a thriving live-work-create community, complete with galleries, hip restaurants, and wineries.
If you want to see what locals do for fun and culture in Boise check out the calendar of events: https://downtownboise.org/events/events-calendar
Why You Should Move Here Now?
Get here before it becomes Austin
Corporations stressed by regulation in the coastal states see Idaho as more business-friendly. This means jobs can be more plentiful and unemployment is low.
Housing and other cost of living indicators are definitely on the move as people from out-of-state continue to flock to Boise so act fast. From 2010-2018 the population in Boise rose by 18.2%, and the population is growing every year by around 2 – 3%. There is a massive influx of people moving to Boise, and a lot of them are from California. They’re also from Washington, Utah, and Texas as well as from elsewhere in the state. But the median home price is still half what it is in Seattle and a fraction of San Francisco.