Best Places to Live

Boise, ID

Population: 234,844
iStock Photo/knowlesgallery

Take a walk around this year’s #1 city and ask people where they’re from, and chances are you’ll meet a lot of recent transplants from places like Portland, the Bay Area and New York.

That’s no coincidence.

Boise has become a magnet for people looking for a tight-knit community, great job opportunities, easy access to the outdoors — and perhaps most importantly, a much lower cost of living than many larger and comparably sized cities.  

Young families are drawn to Boise because it’s one of the safest cities in the world. In addition, Boise’s combination of affordability and do-it-yourself spirit make it the perfect place for creatives (check out the awesome comedy scene), entrepreneurs and startups. The tech scene here is growing fast, with new talent flocking to the city, eager to find a work-life balance that allows for plenty of fresh air and adventure.  

Boise has appeared on Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live ranking every year since the list’s inception, but this is the city’s first — and well-deserved — appearance in the #1 spot.  

Local Obsession: Albertsons Stadium, home of the blue turf and Boise State Broncos

Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Four seasons — sometimes in one day

Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare, technology and agriculture are the top industries. Micron, St. Luke’s Medical Center, HP and Simplot are among the city’s top employers.

Local Dream Job: Fly fishing guide at Idaho Angler, leading excursions on the Boise River as well as other dream fishing destinations around the world.

Quintessential Meal: Boise Fry Company fries with blueberry ketchup

Favorite Weekend Activity: The perfect Boise Saturday? Floating the river, exploring the foothills and finishing the day with a Boise State football game.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Bardenay, a restaurant distillery with a menu of handcrafted cocktails and Northwest cuisine.

Best Brewery: Payette Brewing, a company run by “passionate, rebellious beer pioneers.” (We’re obsessed with their guava and hibiscus sour ale.)

Beloved Bookstore: Rediscovered Books

Free Way to Have Fun: Hiking. The trails around the city are amazing, with plenty of options for seasoned hikers looking for a challenge and newbies who just want to appreciate a pretty view.

Truly Hidden Gem: Freak Alley, an alleyway in downtown Boise that was turned into a space displaying murals and graffiti art.

- Winona Dimeo-Ediger

Read More:

The Cost of Living Diaries: How Much Does It Cost to Live in Boise?

8 Reasons to Move to Boise Right Now

Here's Why So Many Millennials Are Moving to Boise

24 Hours of Outdoor Adventure That Are Only Possible in Boise

“I moved to Boise from Washington, DC, and thought there might not be much to do, but because of how accessible everything is in Boise, the opposite is true. You literally can ski in the morning at a world-class resort, and play golf in the same afternoon, and I actually do it every year. Accessibility and affordability is what it is all about here — everything you can imagine is actually within the city limits, not hours away.  Boise is young, hip, entrepreneurial, outdoorsy, and one of the kindest places on earth. I like to think Boise has all the good things you want in a major city, without all the bad stuff.”

Bill Connors
President & CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Boise, ID Ranking Data