Boise is labeled as the ‘Unique Urban Getaway’ of Idaho and we love it here. The city enjoys all four seasons with mild snowfall during winters. It has a sparse population that enjoys a slow-paced lifestyle combined with urban living. It is one of the healthiest cities in the country and national tourism and cultural powerhouse. The city is also nicknamed ‘The City of Trees’ and has over 4 million acres of wilderness. This wilderness area is larger than the US’s smallest states combined.
There are many unique things about the city that have appealed to people from all over the country. It is slowly but steadily gaining popularity among the residents of California and the city has seen an increase in the population over time. If you’ve been planning on moving to Boise, this is your cue. But, before you start packing your bags for the move, there are a few things you need to know in detail about the big city of Trees. We have compiled a list of these things for your reference in the article below.
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Pros And Cons Of Living In Boise
If you want to move to Boise, we have listed down some pros and cons of living in Boise. These will help you get an idea of what to expect when moving to the City of Trees.
Affordable To Live In
Boise is one of the affordable cities to live in the North Pacific. The cost of living in Boise is lower than the national average and with a decent job, you can live in the city comfortably.
Low Population Density
Boise is a city with a large area and low density of population. As a fast-growing city, the population of the city increases by 2-3% each year. Even then the density of population is low in the city allowing you ample green space in the neighborhood.
Great Neighborhoods To Live In
Boise is a city that has some of the best neighborhoods to live in. Divided into five sections, North, East, West, Central, and South, each section has something unique to offer its residents. Some have older vintage homes and great schools while some others have job opportunities and affordable homes.
Boise Is A Safe City To Live In
Boise, like any other city, has property and violent crimes spread in some areas, we’re not going to lie. But, the crimes are not violent and the city is safer than 28% of the other cities in the USA. A large number of neighborhoods in Boise are safe as the crime rate in the city is 10% lower than the national average.
Increasing House Prices
The real estate market in Boise is hot right now which has obviously resulted in steep prices of homes. In the past decade, the houses in Boise have steadily increased in value. So, if you are looking to buy a house in the city, make sure you plan your finances accordingly.
Lack Of Public Transportation
Relying on public transportation in Boise to get around the city may not be ideal as the city only has one interstate highway. And, the bus services do not provide services after 6:30 in the evening. So finding transportation in the city is going to be tough.
Lack Of Diversity
When you move to Boise, you will realize that the city lacks a diverse group of people. A majority of the population (over 89%) is inherently white, which makes Boise the largest city to have this demographic of people.
The weather of Boise is going to be challenging for many people as the summers are hot and dry and the winters are cold and blustery. If you have not experienced hot and humid summers or windy winters before, you are in for a ride.
Weather In Boise
As Boise is situated in the northern mid-continental area, you will experience all four seasons when living here. The summers are hot, dry, and humid while the winters are blustery and cold. It is a good balance between the two but if you have never experienced humid summers, it could be a challenge for you. The highest temperature during summers reaches 92°F during the month of July. This is typically very humid weather with occasional mild heat waves. Enjoying some popsicles or turning your air conditioning on during this time is a must try to beat the heat.
The winters are also nice and cold, with moderate temperatures that you can get used to. The initial months of winters are perfect sweater weather but as you enter December and January, there is snowfall, and the temperature drops to a low of around 24°F. The snowfall is not too much nor is it too little in Boise. You will get to enjoy winters as they are just the perfect kind where you enjoy them outdoors without freezing.
Cost Of Living In Boise
Most cities located near the state capitals have a higher cost of living, but that is not the case when you move to Boise. Boise actually has an 8% lower cost of income as compared to the national average according to Payscale.com. The cost of living in the city depends on various factors such as the real estate market for buying and renting houses, food, utilities, and groceries bills and taxes. We have broken down all of these expenses briefly for you.
Buying A House In Boise
The real estate market in Boise is quite hot in current times as the values of houses have increased in the past decade. You will find all kinds of houses and bungalows in Boise. Buying a house in the city does not come cheap as most houses are priced in the steep range. 53% of the residents living in Boise are homeowners.
The median value of a house in Boise is higher than the national average by a big margin. The following table will show you what buying a house in Boise will compare with the median value of homes in the USA according to Zillow.
Median Home Value
Renting A House In Boise
Just like the market for buying a house in Boise has gone up, the market for rentals has also escalated in prices in the past decade. About 43% of the residents in the city live in rentals. In a matter of just four years, the average rent of an apartment in Boise went from $800 to $1,555. The rent for these apartments differ from neighborhood to neighborhood and the sizes of the apartments as well.
The following table will help you know what the average monthly rent in Boise is for different-sized apartments.
Boise, Idaho Average Monthly Rent
Us Average Monthly Rent
1 Bedroom Home
2 Bedroom Home
3 Bedroom Home
As you can see, the rent in Boise is higher than the national average. So when moving to Boise, you may have to figure out your finances accordingly or look for neighborhoods that offer more affordable houses. Some neighborhoods that you can look at are Vista, Hillcrest, Borah, Central Bench, and Sunrise Rim.
Taxes In Boise
The taxes in Boise are on par with the national averages. The sales tax in the city is 6% which is exactly the same as the national average. The income tax in Boise is the same as the Idaho state tax, which ranges anywhere between 1% to 6.5%, imposed on all taxable income of the individual. When it comes to property taxes, the city levies a rate of .014 (rounded to three decimals), which means that you owe $14 of taxes for every $1,000 of your property’s taxable value.
Expenses In Boise
Your utility bills (electricity, internet, water, heating, and cooling), your food and grocery bills, and healthcare expenses all combine to make up for your monthly expenses around the house. They may not seem like much but when you look at the individual bills, they make up can add up very unexpectedly.
Your monthly utility bill will cost you $224 a month which is higher than in most other cities. And remember, this bill does not calculate the $66.40 of your internet bill.
Your expenses on groceries and food in Boise are on par with the national average prices. Your regular loaf of bread comes at $2.85, a gallon of eggs costs $1.66, and a gallon of milk costs $1.77 in your local grocery stores.
The healthcare expenses in Boise are 3% higher than the national average according to Payscale.com. A visit to the doctor is $114 on average and a one-time visit to the vet is $49.
No matter which city or state you live in, there will always be some kind of crime that exists in some areas. This is the same with Boise, Idaho, where crime rates are relatively less but not non-existent. According to Neighborhoodscout, Boise is safer than 28% of the cities in the USA. According to some recent reports, the crime rates in the city have been reducing which is always good news for people who want to move to Boise.
Both the violent and property crime rates in the city are lower than the national average. The property crime in Boise is 16.2 per 1000 residents and the violent crime is 2.87. This shows that Boise is one of the very few cities in the country to have both property and violent crime rates lower than the national average.
The overall crime rate in the city is 10% lower than the national average making it one of the safest cities to reside in. Baber, Vernon, Highlands, Greenwood, and Hillcrest are some of the safest neighborhoods in Boise according to Neighborhoodscout.
Economy And Employment Opportunities In Boise
Boise is a city with a population of 235,684 that mainly participates in agricultural activities. In fact, Boise is one of the biggest agricultural areas in the country. Most employment opportunities are directly or indirectly related to the agricultural sector. There are also ample job opportunities in the administrative and government offices in this sector.
The employment opportunities in the city have resulted in a low unemployment rate in the city. During the pandemic when several economies were struggling, the economy of Boise was thriving due to its strong roots in the agricultural sector. The unemployment rate in the city has never hovered above 2% which is lower than the national average. As of November 2021, Boise has a 1.9% unemployment rate according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary of working professionals in Boise is $65,000 according to Payscale.
Other than agriculture, mining, technical services, hospitality, healthcare, and manufacturing are the top industries that provide job opportunities to the residents of Boise. Micron Technology, Idacorp, J.R Simplot, Albertsons, CHF, US Ecology, Healthwise, MWI Veterinary Supplies, Snake River Sugar Company, and Washington Group International are some of the top employers of the city.
Education In Boise
Boise was once a city that was known as one of the worst places to learn but that has changed in the past two decades. The education system has seen exponential growth and it is one of the best in the country. Boise State University has increased its popularity among the locals and has become a point of attraction for young students in the country. Boise has over 200 private and public schools that are known for the quality of education and extracurricular activities it offers its students.
With help of Greatschools.org, we have put down a list of the top-rated schools and universities in and around Boise.
Boise is a city where the traffic is as good as nonexistent. But, the transportation system lacks in every way and has proven to be incompetent overall. They only have a public bus service, Valley Regional Transit, that runs in the city. All other services are inefficient for long-distance journeys which we will talk about in the further parts of this section.
Boise is a very walkable city and has an excellent walk score of 88 according to Walkscore.com. It is truly one of the best ways to get around the downtown area. But if you want to explore the city further and get to some of its remote and exterior neighborhoods, you only have the ValleyRide bus services and taxis that take you there.
The ValleyRide bus is the transportation service in the city that is used by most locals. ValleyRide buses cover only 25 routes in the city at an affordable rate of $1.5 for a one-way ticket. The service is also shut on weekends and only runs from Mondays through Fridays. It is not the most convenient way to commute as the service is only from 5:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Traveling before or after these timings will be a trouble for you as you won’t find any public transportation services. You’ll have to resort to flagging a cab or taking either an Uber or Lyft taxi.
Bike-sharing is another popular way of getting around Boise. The city has established Boise GreenBike, an alternative transportation service. This allows you to get to many areas in the city as it has many stations. You can rent one of these at $5 an hour and drop it off at any of the GreenBike stations in the city. It is one of the healthy ways to get around the city both for you and the environment.
Having your personal vehicle is the only way to get around Boise at your convenience. You can’t afford to travel long distances with bicycles or miss out on your last bus in the evening. The city has plenty of parking spots that make traveling in your own car or motorbike that much more convenient for you.
Places To Visit In Boise
When you first move to Boise, you can visit some of its prominent touristy and local places to get acquainted with the city. We have listed a few places that you must visit when you move to Boise.
Boise River Greenbelt
Boise River Greenbelt is a park in Boise alongside the River Boise. It stretches over 25 miles and is a pleasant place to visit. You will find a lot of wildlife and different kinds of plants and trees in the area. This tree-lined path is among the largest and most loved green spaces in the city.
Boise Art Museum
What is today known as the Boise Art Museum was initially built as an art gallery. It later was expanded into a museum where you can now see a lot of contemporary artwork. It is one of the places in Boise where you get to dive a little deep into the history and culture of the city.
The Boise Zoo is a zoological park that has several species of animals and other attractions for you to visit. they have a butterfly park, Jurassic Encounter for the thrill-seekers, and a conservation cruise all in one place. It is a fascinating place to visit in the city.
Best Places To Live In Boise
North End is one of the historically-rich neighborhoods in the city nestled on the foothills of the Boise mountains. This neighborhood has good schools, lots of amenities, and green spaces. It also has a large number of houses that have a big backyard and also some parking space. A majority of these houses are historic ones that date back to the 19th century and have a vintage vibe to them.
Median Home Value: $659,500
Annual Median Household Income: $108,937
Monthly Median Rent: $1,602
West Bench is one of the more upcoming and vibrant neighborhoods in Boise. The vibe of the neighborhood is a combination of old-school and hipster culture. This is what makes the community vibrant and fun. The nightlife in this area is talked about all over the city and younger people visit this area often to hang out and chill. It is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, perfect to raise a family. Another highlight about this neighborhood is that the houses are pretty affordable.
Median Home Value: $415,000
Annual Median Household Income: $66,085
Monthly Median Rent: $1,380
Harris Ranch is a new neighborhood situated towards the east of downtown Boise. It is a smaller neighborhood with a small population residing in the area. The properties in this area are more developed and contemporary compared to the rest of the city. You will find houses and departments of all sizes here that are priced towards the higher end of the price range of houses in Boise. This neighborhood is also closer to Idaho State Highway 21. This makes it a popular place to live in the city especially for people who are moving from other cities.
Median Home Value: $483,101
Annual Median Household Income: $111,474
Monthly Median Rent: $1,628
For a sparse urban lifestyle in Boise, Stewart Gulch is a great neighborhood. Unlike the small town and vintage vibes of other cities, this is a more urban and city life neighborhood in the city. The area is not densely populated and the community here tends to be conservative. There are several bars, restaurants, and parks in the neighborhood. There are also great job opportunities in and around the neighborhoods that attract professionals seeking employment.
The community of Boise is welcoming and the lifestyle is very different from that of any other city in the country. With sparse urban culture and historically rich neighborhoods in the city, you will definitely feel a change of pace and lifestyle here. Grocery runs in the city are met with the view of the tall trees that cover the roads on both sides and the open green spaces.
You can enjoy the outdoors and get to enjoy all four seasons. Of course, the move will come with a few costs, the sheer lack of transportation being one, and the high rates of homes being the other. Finally, you need to consider the ethnic majority and whether or not that is a priority to you. Overall, if a low-key yet urban lifestyle and job opportunities are something that you want, moving to Boise will not be such a bad thing. It will give you your space but also provide you with all kinds of opportunities to grow.
The beautiful city of Boise offers you employment opportunities, an urban and easy-going lifestyle, safe neighborhoods to live in, and four seasons to enjoy. These are just a few of the many things that the city offers you. But, homes in Boise are expensive, you need a car to get around, and the ethnic composition is largely white.
Is Boise A Good Place To Move To?
Yes, Boise is one of the best places to reside in Idaho. With the easy-going lifestyle and low cost of living, the city also boasts a leading economy. There is plenty of outdoors for you to enjoy, and you get to experience 4 distinct seasons.
What Are Winters Like In Boise, Idaho?
Winters in Boise are moderately cold. January is the coldest month where the temperature reaches an average temperature of 24°F. It also snows in the city and is one of the best seasons to enjoy the pleasant outdoors.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.