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9 Reasons to Move to Nampa, Idaho

In this Idaho gem just west of Boise, you'll find a family friendly community full of job opportunities, outdoor attractions, outstanding wineries and so much more.

By Rebecca Treon on February 1, 2023

Ford Idaho Center in Nampa, Idaho
Peppershock Media

Nampa, Idaho, once just a stopping point on the way to Boise, is booming. People are moving to Nampa from across the country, drawn by new job opportunities, a fresh start or just because it’s a great place to raise a family.

“We moved to Nampa by choice – it’s a town that has its own identity,” says Marie Baker, the Region III director of the Idaho Small Business Development Center, who moved to the area 16 years ago with her husband. “We appreciate that things here are not transactional but are built on relationships, and we are fairly outgoing people who want to be engaged in our community.”

If you’re thinking about living in Idaho, here are nine reasons to move to Nampa:

Enjoy live music while strolling in downtown Nampa, Idaho.

1. Discover a Vibrant Downtown and Economy

The economy in Nampa is diverse, from a thriving downtown full of retail shops and restaurants that make up its small business community to larger companies that are household names.

The Downtown Nampa Community Association holds numerous events to encourage the community to come out and shop, dine and support small businesses. Local, family-owned spots like Mesa Tacos + Tequila are the backbone of what makes Nampa so special.

“Downtowns are the core of a community,” says Baker, who is also board chair for the Downtown Nampa Community Association. “We want small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and stay here – it’s an exciting and vibrant community to be a part of.”

While small businesses are a big deal in Nampa, major corporations like Amazon and Plexus Corp. have a presence, too. With active programs like Leadership Nampa and organizations like the Small Business Development Center, the Nampa Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Nampa Community Association, it’s a great place to get connected and grow your career.

St. Chapelle Winery near Nampa, Idaho
Joshua Roper

2. Be a Part of a Strong Community

Nampa brings the community together through numerous festivities. Since 1986, the Nampa Festival of the Arts has showcased paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other handmade pieces created by more than 200 local artists.

“We wanted to come somewhere where we could make a difference. We love our neighborhood and have made friends,” Baker says. “We felt it would be good for us to get engaged in a new community, and you do that by becoming involved.”

On the third Thursday of each month, downtown streets are closed to vehicles to make room for local food trucks and live music, and small businesses stay open late. Nampa has a robust farmers market during the summer months.

The city also hosts a big Halloween event featuring trunk or treat, and just after Thanksgiving, a tree lighting kicks off the holiday season and coincides with Shop Small Saturday.

3. Enjoy the Dynamic Arts & Culture Scene

Downtown is the hub of Nampa’s arts and culture scene. From unique restaurants to public murals and performing arts shows, the city comes alive. Several breweries, coffee shops, locally owned restaurants and boutiques offering everything from antiques to contemporary fashion make for a vibrant, locally flavored community. Nampa’s Western roots also remain strong – it’s home to the Ford Idaho Horse Park, a spacious 110-acre arena, amphitheater and equestrian park.

4. You Can Afford to Live Here

The median home price in Nampa is around $424,000, compared to around $515,000 in Boise, (Zillow, October 2022). For those coming from bigger coastal cities like San Francisco or Boston, the lower cost of living combined with outdoor recreation can’t be beaten.

“I like to hike with a group of women called the Summit Sisters that I’ve belonged to for eight years,” Baker says. “We own a camper, and we hike, kayak, backpack, paddleboard, boat and do yurt-to-yurt snowshoeing. Access to the outdoors was very important to us.”

5. You’ll Love the Commute

Though the boom in Nampa’s population has increased local travel time as the city tries to improve its infrastructure to support the surge in new residents, the mean commute is around 23 minutes, significantly less than most cities and less than the U.S. average.

Nampa is less than 25 minutes from Boise, which is where residents can travel cross-country via Boise Airport. “We have four children in four cities, and we wanted to be close to the airport so we could visit them,” Baker says. “The airport in Boise is easily accessible.”

Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho
Snake River Stampede

6. Buckle Up for the Rodeo

It was early in the 1900s when the Snake River Stampede debuted in Nampa, and the 108th annual rodeo will still be bucking and bronco-busting when it takes place again in July 2023.

The Ford Idaho Center is the place to be for five days every third week of July for the Stampede, recognized as one of the year’s top 10 events by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The Stampede was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2014.

Early activities over the five days include a parade, buckaroo breakfast, Miss Rodeo Idaho Pageant and an equestrian drill team demonstration. Then, competitions take place in steer wrestling, team roping, ladies’ barrel racing, bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding and more. There are plenty of food vendors along with several youth activities, including a mutton busting contest.

Dates for the 2023 Stampede are July 18-22, and organizers are billing it as “the biggest, wildest, fastest major professional sports event in Idaho.”

7. Score an Excellent Education Here

The Nampa region has a young, talented and growing workforce, and the community is lucky to have its students receive their education at the standout K-12 Nampa School District. Also partly in Nampa is Vallivue School District. In addition, the area has more than 14 institutions of higher education, including Northwest Nazarene University, College of Western Idaho and Boise State University.

8. Head Outdoors for Plenty of Adventure

Nampa is graced with outdoor beauty, and residents have many places to enjoy the great outdoors. The city features 27 parks and 14 miles of pedestrian pathways, and golfers can hit the fairways at Centennial Golf Course and Ridgecrest Golf Club. Wilson Springs is a 55-acre nature park that features trails and fishing ponds, and the largest park in Nampa is Lakeview Park, which has a swimming pool, water park, 1,000-seat amphitheater, sports fields, BMX track, basketball courts and playground.

9. Develop Your Leadership Skills

Leadership Nampa is a nine-month development program allowing future leaders to take a deep dive into the people and places important to the community, exploring the area’s assets and needs while honing their leadership skills. It’s a great opportunity for residents to get to know their way around and make connections.

Stephanie Malson, president of the Leadership Nampa class of 2020, details her experience with the program.

Stephanie Malson

Stephanie Malson

What are some of the things you do in the Leadership Nampa program to learn about businesses in the community?
We spent a whole day at the Fire Department learning about their needs; we visited the GoGo Squeez factory and spent a day going over agriculture – that’s a huge way of life here and a livelihood that needs to be protected as we develop more land; we spent a day with the City Council and the mayor and learned about their challenges and what they’re trying to do.

That behind-the-scenes access is what lets you take a hard look at some of the issues our community is facing. … You gain a new appreciation for and understanding of our community by taking a deep look into the various puzzle pieces that make up Nampa and Canyon County.

What were some of the best takeaways from completing the program?
It’s just an incredible opportunity to meet people outside of your normal sphere of influence. I met about 40 people that I didn’t know before, who are now a resource in other industries and have become a part of my network. We are also tasked with partnering with people that have different leadership styles, so we learn how to embrace those differences to better serve Nampa – personally and professionally.

– Staff writer Kevin Litwin contributed to this article.

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