Boise, ID: Livability Top 100 Best Places to Live 2014

By Kathryn Royster on October 15, 2013 at 11:04 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Idaho Tourism

With Boise's striking setting – bounded by the Rocky Mountains, wooded Boise River and Western high desert – it's no wonder that residents love to enjoy the great outdoors. Biking, hiking, fishing and “floating the river” are just a few of the favorite pastimes in the “City of Trees.”

“The outdoor amenities here are amazing,” says Bill Connors, president and CEO of Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. “The city owns thousands of acres of foothills and has created a very elaborate trail system and a large greenbelt along the river.”

But this state capital of more than 200,000 people is about working as well as playing. Boise is the financial and commercial hub of Idaho, with a particularly strong high-tech sector. Health care is also strong: the city has two major hospital systems and low health-care costs to go along with them, thanks to residents' healthy lifestyles and the city's low crime rate.

Anchored by Boise State University, the city's education system is another asset. Boise Independent School District serves more than 25,000 students in 45 schools and has earned national recognition for its success in preparing students for college. Private schools from a range of approaches – religious, Montessori and International Baccalaureate, to name a few – round out the list of options.

For enrichment, there are myriad cultural opportunities. Boise has several one-of-a-kind museums, including the Basque Museum, as well as an annual Shakespeare festival and a world-class philharmonic orchestra.

One of Connors' favorite amenities is the city's “clean, safe, fun, walkable” downtown, centered on the lively 8th Avenue district.

“You won't see chain restaurants in downtown Boise, just a lot of great pubs and restaurants and other cool entrepreneurial endeavors,” he says.

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