What is Boise, ID Known For? 16 Things to Know as a New Resident


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If you’re considering living in Boise, you might be familiar with the city for its scenic mountain views, outdoor recreational activities, and a vibrant downtown area. Boise is also known as the City of Trees, the home of the famous Boise State Broncos football team, and it’s stately capitol building. But these are just a few of the things that set Boise apart from other cities. So what else is Boise known for? From its thriving art scene and unique local cuisine to its friendly community and access to nature, you’ll quickly discover countless more reasons why Boise is such a desirable place to live.

Whether you’re new to the city and renting an apartment in Boise or looking to buy a home, there’s plenty to explore. From hiking in the nearby Boise Foothills to exploring the local museums and galleries, Boise is a true gem and it is no wonder why so many people are choosing to plant their roots in Boise, ID.

Downtown Boise Idaho USA

1. Affordability

One of the biggest draws of Boise is the city’s affordability and relatively low cost of living. Despite Boise being a popular migration destination during the pandemic and experiencing more than double the number of homebuyers looking to move to the City of Trees, housing prices have decreased in recent years. And while housing prices are still above the national average with a median sale price of $475,000 as of February, they are still significantly lower than other major cities across the country. It’s no wonder that Boise has become a popular destination for people seeking a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

2. Culture and arts

Boise boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene that includes an array of galleries, museums, and performing arts venues. The city is home to several notable institutions, such as the Boise Art Museum, Idaho State Historical Museum, and the Idaho Botanical Garden. In addition to these cultural landmarks, Boise hosts many festivals and events each year, including the Boise Music Festival, Treefort Music Fest, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. With a year-round calendar of cultural activities, Boise has something to offer every type of enthusiast.

3. Outdoor recreation

Boise is known for its vast array of outdoor recreation opportunities. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and forests, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular activities include hiking, skiing, mountain biking, fishing, and camping. Camel’s Back Park, located in the north end of Boise, offers 11-acres of outdoor space with tennis courts, playground equipment, an outdoor gym, and access to the foothills and Ridge to Rivers trail system. 

Just 20 miles from downtown Boise is the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, which offers skiing in the winter and hiking and downhill mountain biking trails in the summer. There’s also Julia Davis Park, which is a cultural hub along the Boise River Greenbelt, featuring attractions like the Idaho Black History Museum, Boise Art Museum, and the Idaho Historical Museum.

Mountain bike, an activity that Boise is known for

4. Boise State University

Boise State University is a major institution of higher education and is known for its distinctive blue football field. The university has over 25,000 students and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition to its academic programs, Boise State University is also recognized for its research and innovation. The university is home to several research centers and institutes, including the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and the Biomolecular Research Center. Boise State University also has a strong athletic program, with several of its sports teams competing at the NCAA Division I level.

5. Vibrant downtown

Boise’s downtown area is a lively hub for both residents and tourists, featuring a plethora of entertainment options, restaurants, and shops. The Boise Public Market, recently renovated, is a popular meeting spot. The Egyptian Theatre, a historic landmark, hosts concerts, film screenings, and other events.

6. Craft beer, local eats, and more

The city has a growing brewery scene with numerous microbreweries and taprooms. Many of these breweries use locally sourced ingredients and offer a wide variety of unique flavors. In addition to beer, Boise also boasts a thriving food scene with diverse options ranging from farm-to-table cuisine to international flavors. The Boise Farmers Market, held every Saturday from April to December, showcases local produce and artisanal products. The city also hosts a variety of food festivals throughout the year, including the Boise Taco and Beer Festival and the Idaho Wine and Cider Festival. Whether you are a foodie or a craft beer enthusiast, Boise has something to offer.

Woman toasting with her friends at a brewery

7. Quality of life

Boise is a top-rated city to live in the U.S. due to its unbeatable combination of a high quality of life, affordable cost of living, and outstanding public schools. The city’s natural surroundings offer plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, with the Boise River Greenbelt and Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area being just a few examples. Boise also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, museums, theaters, and festivals.

8. Things to do

There is no shortage of things to do in Boise. The city offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to a variety of interests. Nature lovers can visit the Zoo Boise or the Idaho Botanical Garden, while history buffs can explore the Idaho State Historical Museum or the Basque Museum and Cultural Center. Roaring Springs Water Park offers a fun way to cool off during the summer months, while the Discovery Center of Idaho is perfect for those interested in science and technology. Boise also has a vibrant music and arts scene, with outdoor concerts and events held throughout the year, including the popular Treefort Music Fest.

9. Access to national parks

For nature enthusiasts, Boise serves as an excellent hub for exploring some of the most breathtaking national parks in the country. With Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Craters of the Moon all within just a few hours’ drive of the city, Boise provides an ideal starting point for outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking awe-inspiring geological formations, incredible wildlife, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, these nearby parks offer something for everyone.

Boise is known for its easy access to national parks

10. The State Capitol

Construction of the State Capitol building began in 1905 and was finished in 1920, resulting in a remarkable architectural achievement that is well worth a visit. The entire structure was crafted from locally sourced sandstone, as well as marble imported from Alaska, Georgia, Vermont, and Italy. At the top of the building, a stunning dome houses a majestic five-foot-tall golden eagle statue. If you’re in Boise, be sure to make time to tour the Capitol building and marvel at its impressive design and historical significance.

11. Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Boise is known for its Basque heritage, as it has a significant population of Basque people who settled in the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Basque Museum & Cultural Center is a must-visit destination. This center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Basque people, and boasts a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits. One of the main attractions of the museum is the historic Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga house, which serves as a prime example of a Basque boarding house. The permanent collection at the museum includes traditional music, a replica sheep wagon, and an array of other historical archives that are sure to captivate and inspire visitors. 

12. Food scene

Boise is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse range of culinary delights that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. With a wide variety of cuisines to choose from, there is something to suit everyone’s palate. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you’re bound to find a restaurant or eatery that will satisfy your cravings. Additionally, Boise is home to some fantastic wineries that offer excellent vintages and tasting experiences. So if you’re a foodie, be sure to indulge in the many delicious offerings and delectable libations that this vibrant city has to offer. Some popular food choices that you can choose are:

Friends Enjoying Food Truck Life in Boise

13. Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

Dating back to 1870 and constructed from hand-cut sandstone, this historic site originally served as a penitentiary. Today, it has been converted into a museum and state historic site, affectionately known as the “Old Pen”. The site boasts more than 30 historical structures, many of which now house educational exhibits. Visitors can tour the facility to explore the jail cells, gallows, and the infamous Solitary Confinement area, gaining insight into the harsh realities of prison life in the past. Be sure to add a visit to the Old Idaho Penitentiary to your itinerary for a fascinating and thought-provoking experience.

14. Discovery Center Idaho

The Discovery Center of Idaho is a perfect destination for science enthusiasts and those curious about the world around them. The center features an array of fascinating exhibits on topics such as sound, motion, electricity, hearing, and perception. It’s a place that provides enjoyment for visitors of all ages, whether you’re bringing along the kids, visiting solo, or exploring with your family. In addition, the Discovery Center regularly hosts various events and programs, including summer camps, the Young Discoverers Club, and adult nights.

15. Boise River Greenbelt

If you’re a nature lover who enjoys the tranquility of water and lush greenery, the Boise River Greenbelt is an absolute must-visit destination. This expansive park is situated alongside the Boise River and covers a staggering 850 acres of natural area and parks. The river winds through the city center, offering a plethora of cycling and walking paths, as well as countless opportunities for wildlife viewing. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this picturesque and serene setting.

Aerial view of the Boise River Greenbelt

16. Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

Situated in the Boise Cultural District, the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial features over 60 inspiring quotes from various leaders and human rights figures from throughout history, making it an exceptional educational experience for all visitors. The Memorial’s Attic houses a striking bronze statue of Anne Frank. Additionally, the garden on the premises boasts beautiful trees and flowers sourced from around the world, alongside stainless steel statues of human rights leaders and benches to relax on.

What is Boise known for: Final thoughts

Boise is known for its blend of outdoor recreation, cultural attractions, and a strong sense of community that make it an attractive destination for new residents. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, arts and culture, or great food and drink, there’s something for everyone in Boise.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Julia Weaver

Julia is a part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home be a charming beachside home with lots of light.

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