Boise - the straight scoop - 9/20/2011
Here's what you need to know. Boise is a great city and there is something here for everyone. People are very friendly and will always stop to help a neighbor (or a stranger) in need. We're not too big that we've lost that folksy Western vibe.
The city is incredibly clean and the downtown core is vibrant. Boise's mayor and most Boise legislators are politically progressive. If you consider yourself to be a liberal, this part of town can feel like a bit of a safe haven, especially since most of the state (outside of pockets like Sun Valley) is very red. We have lots of good local restaurants, pubs, shops, galleries and cafes. Our weather includes minimal precipitation as evidenced by the fact that nearly every restaurant has patio seating. Historic buildings are well-preserved. Wonderful (and huge!) outdoor market on weekends; lots of crusier bike baskets filled with flowers and produce and live music performances on the street corners. The north and east end of town are kitchy and filled with charming period homes and tree-lined streets. Many people describe it as being similar to Boulder, CO. During the fall, Boise really feels like the large college town it is... Boise State Bronco fans are everywhere! The city is urban with a vast appreciation for the outdoors. Lots of parks, foothills for hiking and biking, a Greenbelt, fishing, skiing, rafting, etc. It's not unusual to see fox, deer or quail running through a neighborhood. And man, do we love our festivals! Every weekend from May through October there is Shakespeare, a music festival, Art in the Park, hot air balloons...you name it! During the holidays, we still gather like the Who's in Whoville to light the tree and sing carols. :)
The southern and western sides of Boise are of a little different flair. A much more suburban feel with more of the big box stores and chain restaurants mixed in with a few local shops. Big everything... big movie theaters, big homes on big lots, big cars, big churches and big families. The people are generally more conservative and the lawmakers are overwhelmingly Republican. This part of town has much more in common with the outlying communities of Eagle, Meridian and Star than it does with downtown Boise. Homes are a little more cookie-cutter (but larger and newer), school sports are king, and some areas are still very rural feeling with horses and wheat or corn fields.
So like I said, there's something here for everyone. City-wide, schools are good and crime is low. Housing is much more affordable than the U.S. average. 250-300K will buy a nice, 2000 sq ft home. Definitely a great place to raise a family. If you've ever lived in a big-ish city, traffic will not be an issue. A VERY long commute would be 30 minutes- most people travel 15-20 minutes (mine is less than 10, even at 5pm.) Drivers are generally polite.
One negative, at least to me, is that we are very racially homogenous. Not a lot of diversity here and therefore a lack of cultural opportunities compared to larger cities. Because the state legislature is VERY Republican -over 80%- they pass a lot of socially conservative laws that do little to draw a progressive base of young professionals with fresh ideas. Of course, that's the way many Idahoans like it (but not all!)
So, there you have it. Hope that helps you get a clear picture of our beautiful city. Boiseans LOVE Boise. I think you'll see why when you visit.[read more...]