#1. Moscow, ID
Located along Idaho’s western border with Washington, Moscow, ID, is home to approximately 25,000 residents and tops this year’s list of the Best Places to Raise a Family — in addition to racking up impressive rankings on the Top 100 Best Places to Live and the 10 Best Affordable Places to Live this year.
It’s also home to the University of Idaho, which means there are tons of fun sporting events and activities for families to take advantage of all year round. The University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden, for example, is the perfect place to let kids run around and burn off some energy. If that’s not enough, there’s also the Latah Trail Bike Path and 17 city parks to choose from. The school district in Moscow is small, serving just 2,400 total students, so you’re sure to establish close relationships with your child’s teachers and other parents.
Best Way to Keep Everyone Entertained on a Saturday Afternoon: During the summer months, hit up the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center, which features a lazy river, a giant swimming pool, tall water slides and areas for young children and toddlers to play.
Kid-Friendly Restaurant: La Casa Lopez, which is right on Main Street and offers a family-friendly atmosphere and tasty Mexican food.
Best Date Night Spot (for frazzled parents): Sangria Grille, which works with as many local farmers as possible to serve up fresh dishes like Peruvian pan-roasted chicken and serrano caesar salad.
Where to Score the Sweet Stuff: Buy the Dozen, a cleverly named donut stand at the Moscow Farmer’s Market. They make adorable mini donuts with tons of toppings to choose from, such as crushed Oreos or lemon glaze.
Coolest Indoor Playground: Bonkerz Indoor Playcenter, where kids of all ages can romp around a giant play structure, pretend they’re in a barn, at the market or at home, or play at various stations featuring dinosaurs, dolls and trains. Bonus: there’s even WiFi and comfy seating for parents.
Dog-Friendly Hangout Spot (because they’re part of the family too!): Everyone is invited to the patio at Moscow Alehouse, a laid-back restaurant that serves up classic bar food and a rotating selection of 24 beers.