I'll try to remain impartial on certain things, because I know different people want different things in a city. Boise by itself has around 218,000 people. But if you include the nearby towns/suburbs it is approximately 435,000 people. It is growing quickly and there are a lot of people moving here, especially coming from California and Texas. Traffic is getting worse, I don't think the city planned for so many people to move here so quickly. As far as weather, summers are very hot. You can expect about two weeks of 100+ degrees, and the rest to be in the nineties. Sometimes the smoke from wildfires gets stuck in the valley and makes the air quality terrible. But usually it doesn't last too long. Fall is short and cool. Winters are mild. We get snow, just not a huge amount. Except this last winter, we broke the record for the amount of snowfall. Normally we get less than 2 feet on the valley floor. It's a 45 -60 minute drive up the hill to bogus basin ski resort where there's a lot more snow. Most people here can't drive in the snow. There are a ton of car accidents whenever it snows more than a couple inches. There are inversions in the winter so the air quality isn't great. Spring is nice but by June it's already hot. It's very dry here. We live in a desert. Boise is considered the "city of trees" because as early settlers were crossing the desert, they came across the tree lined Boise River. Everything here is irrigated, otherwise everything not directly next to the river would die. Around town there are trees, but once you get outside the city limits everything is desert like. Sagebrush everywhere. Until you get up to the higher elevations anyway. Crime here is low compared to similar sized cities, however there has been an increase in home robberies in certain areas. Idaho is a "red" state. Very Republican. And lots of people who are LDS/Mormon. Lots of churches, and two temples in the area. Because of this, a number of stores and restaurants are closed on Sundays, and good luck finding a liquor store that's open after 9 (6 on Sundays). There is very minimal "night life" here. There's some bars and clubs, and a growing brewery scene. No casinos here, but you can still play the lottery and try your luck at scratch tickets. Most of the people here are either White or Hispanic. Very few people of other races. Idaho as a whole isn't very LGBTQ friendly, but Boise is a little better. There's been a few gay pride events, but not a lot. Schools here aren't great. Although the sports and music programs at some of them are really good. But there was a kid who graduated this year from one of the high schools that I wouldn't consider good, but he got accepted to all of the Ivy League schools. If you are into doing things outdoors, you'll enjoy it here. There's lots of hiking and biking trails, the Greenbelt is especially nice as it goes along the river. Camping, (scenic)horseback riding, white water rafting, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are all within a hour and a half drive. Boise also has many themed 5k runs. Bubble run, inflatable run, and wine run are some examples. There's a lot for families with kids to do here. There are a lot of different parks to take them to. We have a zoo, an aquarium(it's small), ice rink, sledding hills, skate parks, a really nice water park, arcades, mini golf, bumper cars, batting cages, lazer tag, and bowling. There's a nice music and art scene here. There's a number of different concert venues in the area. There are a few different art sculptures around town in addition to the art museum. One of the alleys in downtown is all graphitied and is kind of cool to take pictures at. Downtown Boise is safe to walk through, even at night. If you want a different feel than downtown, you can head over to the Village at Meridian. It's very nice, has a theater, gorgeous fountain, several nice restaurants and higher end stores, as well as small outdoor concerts during the summer, a mini ice rink in the winter. It's a popular place to go.
I have lived here since August 2016, and the amount of b.s. here is mind blowing. I came here from Las Vegas, to make a better life for my family. I have a child who has a disability, and I am a veteran. That being said this sh!! Hole treats refugees better than they do me or my child. The wages are a joke. I made on average between 19 to 30 dollars an hour driving construction trucks and equipment in Vegas.. they only pay 12 to 14 here. And they think they own you, you are to be at there beckon call. When they say jump, you start jumping and then ask how high.... makes me laugh. .. I've almost beat the cap out of two separate employers for this. I don't tolerate disrespect from anyone. If I'm in the wrong I'll take the but chewing and punishment, but no one owns me, except GOD almighty himself. It's now December 2016, and my wife and I are already discussing moving to another state. She has suggested Michigan. She. Grew up there, has family and connections. As for Boise Idaho, it's a joke. Th email only way to survive here is to be debt free... literally. ... and work your tail off... it's not worth it. .. if you haven't moved here yet and are just checking things out...STAY AWAY.... SERIOUSLY. .. that is unless you think it's OK to pay 1300 a month for a crappie 2 bedroom townhouse. And have subpar wages, and drivers that should not have a license around you. There's nothing here. All the reviews are accurate. Gas prices suck, education sucks, cost of living compared to wagesome suck, this state sucks. Except for Dutch Bros.... Crack house in a coffee cup. So yummy. Hope this helps.. best of luck in your decision. . YOU'VE BEEN WARNED....
Our family of 5 live in an older SW Ada neighborhood (Countryman estates) located at Overland road and 5 mile road. We couldn't ask for a better location in terms of walkability to retail, dining, general business, and proximity to elementary, junior high and high schools. Entertainment is a short 5 minute bicycle ride or car drive on Overland road. Boise City is completing a beautiful new City Park on south maple grove road which is a short walk or ride from our neighborhood for the kids. AO Our older neighborhood is filled with mature trees to climb with plenty of room for neighborhood football or wiffleball games. My wife and I both work downtown and we have a short 15 minute drive to downtown. Our neighbors are great, reinvestment is occurring in both the residential neighborhoods and business communities, and the views of the foothills are amazing. We love southwest ada neighborhood.
Way too many Mormons. They rule the government therefore rule the state. We don't have gambling but we have a temple on every corner. Bibles in school, no wonder the education here is second to the last; it's an embarrassment. The Drs here, well the majority of them I'm pretty sure didn't complete medical school & honestly I'm surprised more people haven't died in their care. Low wages, long hours, rude bosses but then again this is a Mormon, right-to-work state so that says something. Cost of living is NOT that much cheaper than other places, in fact food & rent is being raised while our wages are still slave wages. Unemployment benefits is a joke, they work for the corporations. & like the poster before said the drivers here are awful. The corporations are so unprofessional it's almost funny; if you're being laid off, they don't tell you until almost a few days before they do it & schools never bother giving you a call back. Super conservative state; well looky where it's gotten us.
Low wages, increasing cost of living, no trees, unnecessarily complicated and congested housing developments, no originality, bad drivers, bad traffic, and nature activities are a drive away!
Boise, Idaho has to be the most disappointing of all my travels. There is a huge difference between what you read on the internet and what you get. It is concrete homogenized housing and corporate chains as far as the eye can see. And once you drive just beyond this suburban nightmare you realize the whole thing is a desert. Think Vegas but without casinos, shows, lights, and character. Any green you see is over-priced, over-fertilized landscaping. The sprinklers here are on all of the time. Not sure who can afford the water bills.
Most people live in Meridian or Nampa and commute to Boise. Meridian and Nampa are not even towns, they are over-lapping subdivisions with a few conveniences placed in between. Your 25 mile commute is an hour in the morning because everyone is doing the same thing. Idaho drivers are the rudest. This is no longer my opinion but national fact. Unlike other states where rude drivers are just inconsiderate and living in their own world, Idaho drivers make it their personal job to piss you off. They often look back to enjoy your reaction when they do something incredibly rude and equally dangerous. They enjoy it and I am sure most of them are proud of their driving title. The best way to really get the full Idaho driver treatment is to drive around the state with an out-of-state license plate. They will come to you!
I hear Boise is a town for families. I feel bad for any single people or childless couples living here. I feel bad for the college kids too because I'm pretty sure most of them drive home; CA, UT... on the weekends in order to have things to do. Most of the families I see have 3 or more children and are shuttled around in giant SUVs or minivans. There are a few outdoor fields (over-watered, over-fertilized) that I see families take their kids to. No trees.
Everything is basic here. All the usual corporate staples have driven small business into non-existence. The parking lot lay-outs are some of the worst I have come across. You can't turn directly into any business. This is a problem everywhere thanks to new urban planing designs. Subdivision streets curve and wind for no reason. If you live at the back of one of these monstrosities, it could take you half a day to drive out of it. (I once had a urban planning major tell me they do this so it looks interesting from the sky!)
Gas stations are randomly placed and mostly located at the highway. SO if you try to stay around your neighborhood and avoid the highway, gas stations are scarce with higher prices.
Smoking is popular out here. If you're a smoker, you will appreciate how it is promoted, encouraged and prevalent. If you are not a smoker or have a lung disease, good luck enjoying the fresh air.
Boise is not dog friendly. They charge ridiculous non-refundable pet deposits and additional monthly charges added to rent regardless of your pet's size or breed. Hotels that normally don't have pet fees charge pet fees. There is one hotel chain that requires you to crate your pet at night..when you're in the room otherwise you are fined.
Good things: Job opportunities if you are in the medical field. Relatively affordable housing, minimum 25 miles away. If you are willing to drive 40 minutes to 2 hours, there are some great outdoor activities to do; whitewater rafting, desert mountain hiking, desert mountain biking etc. Boise has an international airport. So when you realize how horrible it is, you can fly out.
I have lived in Boise most of my life, and can tell you a lot.
If you are very outdoorsy, you will be happy. Hunting, fishing, camping and skiing are big here.
There is nothing to do, if you are into city attractions. A lot of restaurants, but nothing that stands out.
Not a lot to do for kids/teens, therefor they get into trouble.
Wages are really bad here. REALLY bad. We are known as a " Slave wage state. " * Right to work state *
A lot of LDS people live here. Think mini Utah.
Education is pretty bad here. We are rated 2nd worst in the nation.
Cost of living is high for the wages. Professionals even complain about the cost of living/home prices.
There are a lot of poor people here. ( Back to the low wages )
There are not 4 seasons. You are either cold or hot. Very little in between. End of Sep to May you are cold.
There are not great shopping stores. Just basic stuff.
Gas prices are always high here.
Rude drivers. We just rated #1 rudest drivers in the nation. That is truly no joke.
I would say, lack of a community feeling.
We are leaving as soon as my husband finishes school. There is not a lot to offer anybody here. Low wages and a pretty miserable existence, unless you want to be a poor mountain man.
I traveled to Boise, Idaho for a week in the fall of 2009 and really enjoyed my visit. For such a small city, Boise has a lot of interesting things to do, attractions to see and a really relaxed and inviting vibe. Downtown Boise, near the Idaho State Capitol, is the best part of the city for travelers and tourists. Many of the Boise restaurants and bars in downtown, particularly along Eighth Street, are exceptional, and microbrew enthusiasts will find many distinctive Pacific Northwest beers on tap throughout the city. The shopping in downtown Boise, though, could be better.
There are many other things to do and other attractions to see in Boise besides eating and drinking downtown, of course. The Basque Museum and Cultural Center, which details the history of one of Idaho's most important ethnic groups, is one of the best small museums I've ever been to. Boise is also a fantastic place for birding. Both the Idaho Center for Birds of Prey and the Boise River greenbelt are great places to see many native and introduced bird species.