#1. Boise

Parents who want to expose their children to the great outdoors but also provide a big-city experience should give Boise, ID, serious consideration. It’s that best of both worlds concept, great schools and the long list of things for kids to do that put Boise at the top of our list of Top 10 Best Cities for Kids. Opportunities to hike up mountains, float down a river, ski and bike are minutes away, no matter where you live in Boise. Award-winning schools, low costs of living and a low crime rate help make the city even more appealing to young families.

Kids in Boise rarely feel the need to utter the phrase “I’m bored.” Activities like ice skating, swimming, visiting the zoo, bowling and attending sporting events keep young minds engaged. Many families take long walks and bike rides on the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt, which follows the river through the city and offers a tree-lined pathway, great views and a chance to see native wildlife. Art installations scattered around the downtown area provide places to stop and ponder between museums, memorials and theaters. Children of all ages become captivated by science-based lessons at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center, and whether they’re old enough to brave the rapids or not, watching kayakers and surfers rolling across the waves at Boise River Park is always fun.

For mommies and daddies: Downtown Boise has an assortment of dining options that range from barbecue and brew pubs to vegan options and French cafes. In addition, Boise’s breweries give beer lovers a real treat.

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