Laid-Back and beautiful, Boise is where wilderness and adventure are just minutes from an abundance of gourmet restaurants, local boutiques, and craft breweries and wine tasting rooms. It’s a city where a river runs through it, dirt trails are right out your back door, and live theater performances are a short Uber ride away.
Boise is the quintessential city: large enough to offer everything you could want, yet small enough to feel friendly and easy to navigate. Outdoor recreation is a way of life here. The Boise foothills are crisscrossed with more than 140 miles of trails. You’ll find mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, and plenty of happy dogs taking advantage of them year-round.
The Greenbelt provides more than 25 miles of paved and dirt trails along the Boise River. Run, ride, or stroll this treelined pathway and discover hundreds of spots along the way to fish, play in the river, or just relax with a beer or glass of wine. During the summer, floating the Boise River is a must, and skiing is a huge part of the Boise winter with Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area just 20 miles up the mountain. As much as outdoor recreation is a way of life, so are the arts and music scenes.
Annual jazz and music festivals, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and many other theater performances are held throughout the year. The city is also home to the Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho, the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, and several museums and live music venues.
Sports fans, don’t fret! While Boise may not have a professional football team, fans of the Boise State Broncos swear the team is as good as the pros! You won’t get very far in this city without seeing someone or something adorned in the telltale blue and orange colors of Boise State University.
Whether you love the outdoors, the arts, sports, or something else entirely, you’ll find plenty of ways to fill your calendar. It’s no wonder Boise is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Like all major cities, Boise is composed of several distinct neighborhoods. Here is a glimpse of each community:
Downtown Boise is the cultural center of the city and home to more than 100 shops, 80 restaurants, and several microbreweries and nightlife venues. This vibrant, livable community is walkable, bike-able and friendly. Community events such as the Saturday Farmer’s Market, First Thursday, and Alive After Five Summer Concert Series bring large crowds to the area. The 8th Street Marketplace is a lively pedestrian zone lined with boutiques, local eateries, and bars. Other popular attractions include Julia Davis, Ann Morrison and Kathryn Albertson parks, the Idaho State Capitol, the historic Egyptian Theatre, the Boise Art Museum, and the Basque Block.
Boise State University
Just on the other side of the river from the downtown area is Boise State University, surrounded by residential neighborhoods and businesses catering to the student population. The unique “blue turf” playing field at the Albertsons Stadium, home to the Boise State Broncos football team, is a major city landmark. The university campus is also home to the ExtraMile Arena, which hosts a variety of concert and sporting events, as well as the Morrison Center, venue for Ballet Idaho, Broadway shows, and many other cultural performances.
The North End
The North End is Boise’s historic treasure, comprised of many of the city’s older homes and quiet neighborhoods close to downtown. It’s known for treelined streets like Harrison Boulevard and the popular boutiques and eateries of Historic Hyde Park. Each year, locals look forward to the Hyde Park Street Fair, held at the popular Camel’s Back Park.
Its proximity to the foothills, the Greenbelt, and downtown make Northwest Boise a favorite among many locals. Tucked between the city of Eagle and downtown Boise, this community contains a mix of old and new neighborhoods. Some areas of older homes have a similar aesthetic to the historic North End. Along with its many conveniences, the beauty of the Boise foothills running along its northern edge make Northwest Boise a favorite neighborhood to live in.
This is the part of Boise that locals show off to visiting friends and family. From the northeast corner of downtown and along Warm Springs Road sit grand historic mansions, the Old Idaho Penitentiary, Idaho Botanical Gardens, and the Warm Springs Mesa. This area is named for the natural hot springs that flow from Boise’s fault line, warming many of the homes. It is one of Boise’s oldest, most expensive and soughtafter neighborhoods, with direct access to downtown. As you make your way to Boise’s East End, you’ll discover newer communities like Harris Ranch in the highly sought-after Barber Valley. Once fully developed, Harris Ranch will include more than 2,800 homes with pedestrian access to trails, restaurants, shops, food truck parks, and the Boise foothills.
The Bench, as locals call it, sits about 60 feet above downtown and offers some of the best views of Boise. It’s an older residential neighborhood with a strong sense of community and hipster vibe. The Bench gets its name from the plateau’s sudden rise, which gives the appearance of a step or bench. It is home to the lovingly restored Boise Union Pacific Depot, offers easy access to the freeway and downtown, and overlooks beautiful Ann Morrison Park.
Southeast Boise covers a large area from Boise State University to Micron Technology at the very edge of the city. Most of Southeast Boise was developed in the last 30 years with suburban-style homes. A newer, growing addition to this region is the popular Bown Crossing. Offering quaint homes, some of the best restaurants in Boise, specialty shops, a medical facility, a library, and a vibrant community spirit, Bown Crossing has quickly gained the attention of many families moving to the area. Southwest Boise, once known for its sparsely populated neighborhoods and acre-sized plots, is now a booming residential community with a suburban feel. The widespread growth of new homes and neighborhoods near Interstate 84, theaters, shopping, golfing, and the airport has made this section of Boise desirable among newcomers and long-time residents alike.
West Boise is home to Boise Towne Square Mall – the largest mall in the state – as well as many restaurants, strip malls, and residential developments ranging from new subdivisions to apartment complexes. West Boise accounts for a large portion of the city’s residential population, connecting Boise to the cities of Meridian and Eagle.