Boise, ID downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 61
Demographics 32
Economy 49
Education 65
Health 70
Housing 47
Infrastructure 50

#24. Boise, ID

Home to the world-famous “Smurf Turf” blue football field at Boise State, Boise, ID is a lively and outdoorsy college town nestled against the foothills in southwestern Idaho. This city, which has a population of some 240,000 residents, has all the amenities of a charming mountain town — without the steep price. Boise continues to be relatively affordable and offers a little something for everyone, whether that’s fly-fishing, attending a Division 1 college football game, skiing or eating at a James Beard-nominated restaurant — or, more likely, all of the above!

Top Colleges/Universities: Boise State University

Top Industries & Employers: St. Luke’s Health System, Boise State University, Micron Technology Inc. and nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base are some of the region’s largest employers.

Weekend Plans: Hit up the Boise Farmers Market or the Capital City Public Market, then go for a hike at one of the many easy-to-access trailheads a few minutes from downtown like Hulls Gulch or Three Bears.

Favorite Place to Feast: Chandlers Steakhouse, a special occasion restaurant known for its steaks, seafood and chocolate souffle. 

Beloved Beverage: The huckleberry milkshake at Fanci Freez, which also offers an adventurous huckleberry burger.

Outdoorsy Activity: Skiing, mountain biking, tubing, climbing or hiking at Bogus Basin, a nonprofit mountain adventure center that hosts summer concerts, free community events and programs for kids.

Rooftop Bar: Reef, which has a fun atmosphere and lots of live music, or Zee’s Rooftop, which has some of the best views in town.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: The team at dog-friendly hangout Meriwether Cider Co. loves dogs so much they created their own @dogsofmeriwether Instagram account to feature all the precious pooches who relax with their humans in the cidery’s taproom. 

Remote Work Perk: If you need a change of scenery or you just want to connect with remote workers and entrepreneurs, check out Wheelhouse Boise, a beautifully designed modern coworking space that’s right downtown.

One More Thing … If you’ve ever bought groceries from Albertsons, you can thank Boise. Longtime Boise businessman Joe Albertson founded the chain.

– Sarah Kuta

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