Moving to Boise: The ULTIMATE Guide

Moving to Boise, Idaho

The ULTIMATE Guide for Living in, or Moving to Boise, ID

Boise Capitol Building

Introduction

Whether you have plans on moving to Boise, Idaho, or you are just thinking about it, we have compiled everything that you need to know about The City of Trees. Ranked #1 in Time Magazine for “Getting it Right”, Boise has a thriving economy, quality healthcare, a booming cultural scene, and a growing university (KTVB). Hopefully this article gives you a better insight on why people are moving to the Pacific Northwest and what you can expect if you do the same.

(See Also: Best Boise Moving Company)

What You Need to Know About Boise Culture

Boise’s Thriving Basque Community

Boise Basque Museum

With over 16,000 people, Boise’s Basque Community is one of the largest Basque communities in the U.S. The result of this community is known as the “Basque Block.” Literally only one city block, the Basque Block is the center for events, food, and merchants of the Basque Community. Additionally, at the end of every July, the San Inazio Festival is held to honor St. Ignatius of Loyola, the patron saint of the Basques. Every year thousands gather to see local musicians, dancers, and sporting events at this festival. If you plan on moving to Boise, this is a must-see!

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Boise’s Music Scene

boise jazz festival

With large towns comes a large variety in the music played. Whether you find yourself in a local bar or coffee shop, or even at Centurylink Arena, there’s something for everyone – from Indie to Jazz. On a large scale, Boise is known for its Gene Harris Jazz Festival each spring, and in late March the Treefort Music Fest features emerging bands – similar to SXSW. If you find yourself in Boise in March and April, be sure to get your tickets for these two great events.

Gene Harris Jazz Festival

Treefort Music Fest

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The Boise Arts

Boise Art Museum

In 2013, Boise celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary, locally referred to as “Boise 150”. The commemoration was led by the City of Boise’s Department of Arts & History, spurring a revival in the arts. Many performing arts and theater groups included are the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise Little Theater, The Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho, and more.

Additionally, the Boise City Department of Arts and History funded the production of murals, sculptures, and mosaics throughout the city. According to Americans for the Arts, the arts in Boise is a $48 million a year industry, supporting over 1600 jobs.

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What You Need to Know About the Boise Economy

Company Headquarters

Albertsons Headquarters in Boise, Idaho

As Boise continues to grow, it’s increasingly becoming the home to several major companies in the Pacific Northwest. Albertsons, WinCo Foods, Clearwater Analytics, Micron Technology, Idaho Timber and many others all house their headquarters here, and many more companies are moving to Boise.

A thriving industry in the city, technology is becoming increasingly important to Boise. With over 20 call centers in Boise, including T-Mobile, WDSGlobal, and DirectTV, they employ over 7,000 people combined.

Albertsons
250 E Parkcenter Blvd
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 395-6200

Micron Technology
8000 S. Federal Way
Boise, ID 83707
(208) 368-4000

(See Also: Office Moving Services)

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Boise Employers

St Lukes Hospital Boise, Idaho

Being the home to many major companies, there are several key employers in the city. According to the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, St Lukes Health System comes in at #1 with 7,400 employees, while Micron Technology comes in at #2 with 5,900 employees. Education becomes prominent with West Ada School District, Boise School District, and Boise State University taking the next 3 spots with between 3,500 and 4,100 employees each. Healthcare takes the #6 spot, where Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center employs 3,400 people. The #7-#10 employers in Boise include Wal-Mart, City of Boise, Hewlett-Packard Co, and J.R. Simplot Company. Albertsons has dropped to #11 with 1,800 employees, and Winco ranks at #16 with 1,400.

St Lukes Health System
190 E Bannock St
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 381-9000

J.R. Simplot
P.O. Box 27
Boise, ID 83707
(208) 336-2110

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Boise Economy

Moving to Boise apartments

With an incredibly low unemployment rate of 3.2% (national average is 5.2%), Boise tops the charts with one of the best economies. Job growth over the next 10 years is expected to be roughly 43%, which can be attributed to the many companies relocating to Boise. The state minimum wage matches the federal requirements at $7.25 per hour, while family income is about equal to the national average. Recent job growth has been experienced in the farming, fishing, forestry, and transportation industries.

The cost of living in Boise is about 3% higher than the national average. Comparatively, Seattle is about 75% higher. You can expect to find a one bedroom apartment for an average of $600/month and a 4-bedroom house for about $1300/month. The major reason for the higher cost of living is due to housing, but groceries and utilities make up for the difference with less than the national average costs, at about 94%.

Are you moving to Boise and need help finding a job? Try these resources:

Department of Labor
1st Floor, East
317 W. Main St
Boise, ID 83735
(208) 332-3575

Boise Idaho Jobs
800-225-1372

(See Also: Residential Moving Services)

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Boise Statistics

Boise Crime Statistics

Crime Statistics

As the third most populous metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest, Boise lies in the plains of southwestern Idaho. Surrounded by mountains, the city is located on the Boise River. With 80 square miles, Boise is divided into several smaller areas (Downtown Boise, Boise State University, Boise Highlands, etc.) As far as crime rates go for major metropolitan cities, Boise ranks as the 7th safest place to live in the United States, with a crime index of 211, much lower than the national average of 286 (city-data.com). Many residents rest easy knowing that their chance of becoming a victim of a crime lies at 1 in 31; comparatively, Portland stands at 1 in 18.

If these lower than average crime rates aren’t enough for you to feel safe, there are many local security companies to help protect your home if you plan on moving to Boise.

Peak Alarm Company
11770 West President Drive #G
Boise, ID 83713
(208) 323-1199

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Boise School Systems

School System

Boise well exceeds the state’s averages in education rankings. In Boise alone, the Boise Independent School District ranks #1 as the best school district in Idaho. This ranking was based on academics, culture, health & safety, parent/student surveys, teachers grade (salary, absenteeism, test results, etc.), resources, clubs, and sports participation. Additionally, Idaho as a whole has a high graduation rate, ranking #13 in the nation.

Currently a hot topic to local politicians, Governor Butch Otter’s education reform is predicted to increase the number of young adults attending college by an additional 15% by 2020. Additionally, Otter has pledged large budget increases for education funding. The next few years will be exciting to watch as education takes the forefront in Idaho.

Boise has several post-secondary educational options, including Boise State University, University of Idaho satellite campus, and Idaho State University satellite campus. Additionally, there are two law school programs, including Concordia University School of Law and the University of Idaho College of Law. Boise Bible College and various technical schools are also located within the city.

If you’re looking at moving to Idaho and are interested in learning more about the education system, check out these resources:

West Ada School District
1303 East Central Drive
Meridian, ID 83642
208-855-4500

Boise State University
1910 University Dr.
Boise, ID 83725
(208) 426-1000

(See Also: Local Moving Services)

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Boise Demographics

Demographics

According to the 2010 United States Census, Boise had a population of 205,671 people with a racial and ethnic composition of 89% White, 3.2% Asian, 1.5% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.5% Other, and 3% identified with 2 or more races. The Hispanic/Latino population of any race made up 7.1% of the population. Boise is currently making strides to becoming a melting pot, with several ethnic refugee resettlement programs and one of the largest Basque communities in the nation.

Boise isn’t exactly a melting pot of ethic culture, but it is family oriented. On average, households carry 2.6 residents, with 62% owning pets. If you’re looking for a great singles experience, Boise may be the place for you! Less than half the population is married, which may contribute to the great downtown Boise nightlife.

If you are looking to indulge in some cultural experiences then you should visit The Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Idaho Office for Refugees in Boise.

The Basque Museum and Cultural Center
611 W Grove St
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 343-2671

Idaho Office for Refugees
1607 W. Jefferson St.
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 336-4222

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Boise Transportation

Boise Bicyclists

The average Boisean commutes 17 minutes to work, which is 31% less than the national average of 25 minutes (tsheets.com). Alternative transportation options are increasing throughout the city. With a limited number of buses, Boise’s transportation system (ValleyRide) doesn’t reach all corners of the city, but it does help ease traffic.

Alternatively, the Boise Greenbelt exists to offer bikers and walkers a scenic route through the city, and along the Boise River. Throughout the U.S., Boise has the 7th highest number of bicycle commuters per capita – 3.9% of commuters ride their bikes to work.

As most major cities do, Boise offers several ridesharing programs, such as Uber. Taxis can be found throughout the city, with several different options such as US Taxi Service, Nitro Cab, and B&W Taxi.

Traffic is a top priority in the city, as they’re trying to keep up with the booming tech industry. With goals to have the downtown a hub for employment, Boise has been mapping out plans for a possible light-rail, increased bus or streetcar system, and has even recently built an underground hub for buses at City Center Plaza.

Boise River Greenbelt
900 S Capitol Blvd
Boise, ID 83702

ValleyRide
4701 Northrup St.
Boise, ID 83705
(208) 345-7433

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Boise Weather

boise idaho weather

Rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest, Boiseans get to experience four distinct seasons, each of about equal length. Don’t worry about 6 inches of snow one day, and shorts the next here! In the summers you can expect to see the average highs in the 80s-90s, and in the winter, you can expect to see highs in the 30s and 40s.

Unlike Idaho state as a whole, Boise doesn’t see near as much snowfall as you’d imagine. Snowfall averages about 19 inches annually, but usually only falls in amounts of less than 3 inches at a time. Rainfall is also scarce, with only about 12 inches/year. While drought is always looming, mountain run-off is plentiful so it’s rarely ever a true threat.

The one downside to Boise’s weather is due to inversion. Surrounded by foothills, the smoke from wildfires gets trapped causing difficulty breathing for the residents. Additionally, clouds can become trapped, hiding the sun for days at a time. Don’t let the one downside deter you though! If you’re moving to Boise, rest assured that Boiseans make the most of the wonderful weather every season.

Roaring Springs Water Park
400 West Overland Rd
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 884-8842

Miracle Hot Springs
19073B U.S. 30
Buhl, ID 83316
(208) 543-6002

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Boise History

The Founding of Boise

Moving to Boise - Old Boise

As many settlers made their way to Oregon, Boise setup camp in 1834 when Hudson Bay Company founded a trading post for wagon trains on the Snake River. In 1862, gold was discovered, bringing many prospectors and allowing Boise to thrive as a supply point. In 1864, Boise became the capital of the territory, and in 1920 the capitol building was erected once Idaho joined the Union.

When the gold dried up, residents struggled to survive. Many left for more prosperous areas, but the ones who stayed developed irrigation systems so the community could thrive as a farming region. As rain is sometimes scarce, dams and reservoirs were constructed during World War II, improving water supply for the farmers. Additionally, a base was established at Gowen Field, and in the 1960s, Boise annexed a large number of suburban areas, doubling the population. Boise continues to grow as people learn of its desirable climate, jobs, and overall quality of life. (Photo: OldBoise.com)

If you’d like to learn more about the history museum before moving to Boise, feel free to check it out at:

Idaho State Historical Museum
214 Broadway Ave
Boise, Id 83702
208-334-2120

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Notable Events in Boise History

Founding of Boise

Originally known as Fort Boise, The Hudson Bay Company established a trading post in 1834, which later moved along the Boise River and became what is today known as Boise. However, Idaho did not become a state until 1846, and Boise did not become the capital until 1865.

In 1880, the Boise Independent School District was created and in 1890 Idaho was admitted to the Union as the 43rd state. In 1973, Boise State College became what is now known as Boise State University, home to the blue turf field. (Photo: OldBoise.com)

If you’re planning on moving to Boise and are interested in more Idaho history, check out these great resources:

eReference Desk State History Timeline

Tour the Idaho State Capitol Building Online

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Notable Boise Residents

Kristin Armstrong

Kristin Armstrong Boise

Three time gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong was raised in Boise, Idaho. After giving up a career in swimming due to arthritis, she proceeded to succeed in cycling. As an Olympian, she won three gold medals in the women’s individual time trials in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics.

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Torrie Wilson

Torrie Wilson Boise

For those wrestling fans, Torrie Wilson was born in Boise, Idaho. Torrie made several appearances on WWE, as well as pursued a career in acting, modeling, and fitness competitions. You can even see her in several wrestling video games!

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Joe Albertson

Joe Albertson Boise

Raised in Caldwell, Idaho, Joe Albertson found himself dissatisfied with Safeway after managing dozens of stores. He decided to venture on his own and founded the Albertson’s brand grocery store. Founded on the principles of quality, value, and service, Albertson’s grew to over 600 stores in the Western United States.

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Popular Boise Area Attractions

Boise River Greenbelt

Boise River Greenbelt

One of the many reasons people find themselves heading to Boise is due to the quality of life. This includes the high level of outdoor activity many residents find themselves involved in. Over 3% of residents commute to work via bike, which can be attributed to the Boise River Greenbelt. This 25 mile stretch of paved bicycle and pedestrian trails provides a safe alternative to walking and biking the city streets. Additionally, it connects over 850 acres of parks along the Boise River, allowing residents to truly enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest (photo: TripTutor).

If you find yourself moving to Boise, you’ll definitely want to explore the Boise River Greenbelt.

Boise River Greenbelt Map
900 S Capitol Blvd
Boise, ID 83702

Boise Parks & Recreation
1104 Royal Blvd
Boise, ID 83706
208-608-7600

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Old Idaho Penitentiary

Idaho State Penitentiary

Are you more of an adventurer? Then check out the Idaho State Penitentiary! Opened in 1872, it’s housed many of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history, including Harry Orchard – a union terrorist and guilty of assassinating the governor, Idaho’s own “Jack the Ripper” Raymond Allen Snowden, and serial husband-murderer Lyda Southard. After hundreds of deaths and riots, the penitentiary was rebuilt south of Boise.

The Idaho State Penitentiary was retired in December 1973, and was shortly after placed on the historical registry. It has been rumored to be a paranormal hotspot and is a major attraction for ghost hunters. Now a popular tourist attraction with guided tours, self-guided tours, scavenger hunts, Halloween “haunted cells”, and even date nights. (Photo: Peter Wollheim, Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Idaho State Penitentiary, visit their website or schedule a tour:

Old Idaho State Penitentiary
2445 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 334-2844

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Capitol City Public Market

Boise Capitol City Public Market

Started in 1994, Capitol City Public Market had its beginnings with just a few local vendors and artisans. As it became a way to showcase the many offerings of Boise, including the fresh and original ideas, the market grew to over 150 vendors. During peak season you can expect the market to span four city blocks on any Saturday. Many of the great offerings include fish, vegetables, art, and pastries. Special events are hosted regularly, including educational events for the kids, music for the family, and community awareness.

Capitol City Public Market
802 W Bannock St #800
Boise, ID 83702
208-345-3499

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The Moving to Boise, Idaho Conclusion

Boise is a Northwest gem with a robust history and exciting present times. With so much to do, so much to see, and so much to experience there is little wonder as to why so many people are moving to Boise. If you have the opportunity, and the means, there are few other places in the world that compare.

Do you live in Boise or have moved there in the past? Tell us about it in the Comments Section Below!

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