Nestled on a high desert plain in the shadow of the Boise Foothills with a pristine river flowing through its center, Boise has its roots in the gold rush days of the 1800’s. The story goes that French traders coming out west came across this beautiful valley and its tree lined river and exclaimed “les bois, les bois!” meaning “the trees, the trees!” Since then Boise has become the largest metropolitan community in Idaho and 3rd largest in the Pacific Northwest. The 2012 U.S. Census Population Estimates that 212,303 people reside within Boise and that the Boise metropolitan area is home to about 616,500 people.
Boise has a lot of great things going for it. It boasts many big-city advantages while maintaining a small town feel. For example, numerous world, national, regional and state corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard, Simplot Corporation, Albertsons, and Micron Technology have their headquarters in Boise, but downtown maintains an uncrowded and community-oriented atmosphere year round. It’s not unusual to encounter deer and other wildlife meandering across the street on your way to work.
For a city its size Boise’s thriving cultural scene is really quite remarkable. The city is home to an opera company, a philharmonic orchestra, and a ballet. The Boise Art Museum focuses on contemporary American art and Boise State University’s Morrison Center for the Performing Arts hosts both classical events and touring Broadway shows. The annual Shakespeare Festival is held at the city’s breathtaking 770-seat outdoor amphitheater. There are also a string of parks through the center of the city that host a plethora of community events and house attractions such as Zoo Boise and the Idaho Historical Museum.
Boise’s location, elevation (2,842 ft. above sea level), semi-arid climate, 4 distinct seasons, and clear sunny days add to its enduring quality. Boise experiences hot and dry summers with highs reaching 100 °F and, because of Boise’s unique location near the border of the Mountain and Pacific time zones, Boise’s summer nights stay warm and light well into the 10 o’clock hour. In the winter temperatures average between 20-50 °F during the day with freezing temperatures at night.
There is little precipitation in the valley, but you only need drive a short distance to experience great snow in the winter and wonderful lakes and rivers in the summer. This proximity to superb outdoor adventure is another one of Boise’s best features. There are extensive trail systems through out the foothills for hiking and mountain biking, rafting and kayaking on multiple rivers and skiing, snowshoeing and more all within an hours drive.
As it teeters between its rural roots and a high-tech tomorrow, Boise remains a truly wonderful place to live. With a crime rate half that of the national average and many top 10 lists to its name, people are finally starting to realize what we Boiseans have known all along – that the City of Trees is a spectacular place to call home.
*Boise, Idaho from Camelsback Park. photo by Patrick R.