Old 03-27-2006, 12:00 PM
SanibelMan SanibelMan is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Elsewhere
Posts: 2,956
Tell me about Boise, Idaho

I've applied for a job in Boise. I really know nothing about Idaho aside from potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite. What's been your experience in living and working there? Is it clean, safe, fun, boring, oppressive? I'm fairly liberal politically and get the sense I won't have many friends in that regard there, but that's not a big deal. Is it a good (and cheap) place to raise a family? Tell me whatever you think I should know.
Old 03-27-2006, 12:38 PM
Renob Renob is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: MD
Posts: 2,337
I am originally from the north part of Idaho, but I've spent a decent amount of time in Boise so I'll add my .02.

It's very clean, very safe (the "bad" part of town is actually the suburb of Garden City, which is surrounded by Boise), and it has a decent amount of stuff to do there. Outdoor recreation is very close, it gets quite a few good concerts, it has some good restaurants, and there is an art house theater in town.

If you are a liberal in Idaho, Boise is more receptive than most other parts of the state (with the exception of Sun Valley). In fact, one of the legislative districts in town has a lesbian Democrat as its Representative.

Southern Idaho has a strong Mormon element, which means there are a few more restrictions on personal liberty than some may like. It's not quite as strong in Boise as elsewhere, but it exists. For example, no nudie bars there. It has quite a few other bars, though. The political class there is heavy drinking, and you can mix and mingle with the Idaho power brokers at the Bittercreek on 8th Street most nights.

Prices for houses are reasonable, taxes are low, and the schools are among the best in the state.

One major drawback is the people. Not that they are bad, necessarily, but on the whole they think Boise is the center of the universe. They can't imagine why anyone would live anywhere else. Being the big city in a small state (population-wise), there is also a habit for Boiseans to look down their nose at the rest of the state. If you can put up with the general air of superiority there, it's not a bad place to live.
Old 03-27-2006, 03:40 PM
Glassy Glassy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: The road to Shambala
Posts: 471
I lived near there for a short time, many years ago. My chief memory of that part of my life is the horrid, horrid weather. Blisteringly hot and dusty in the summertime, and brutally cold in the winter, with bitter icy winds.

I remember thinking it was a pretty nice city in other respects, though. If you like winter sports, you can zip up into the mountains to McCall or Sun Valley for world-class skiing. (As I recall, these places are just as cold and snowy, but without the desert winds to cut you in half.)
Old 03-27-2006, 07:03 PM
dwc1970 dwc1970 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Idaho
Posts: 3,686
I think Renob pretty much covered everything that I would have said about Boise. It is a nice place to live. The crime rate is low and for the most part it's clean.

As for the weather, yes, the summers do get hot and dry here, but sometimes late in the day a thunderstorm will brew and bring some relief from the heat. The winters are cold, but not like one would expect in Minnesota, for example. We don't get much snow in the valley, as most of that is in the nearby mountains. The area is prone to inversions in the wintertime, when a strong high-pressure system will settle into the valley and linger for days, creating a "bubble" of dense fog that doesn't lift or burn off.

There are a couple nudie bars, which of course have been met with fierce opposition from the Mormon presence, but they are few and far between. There's only one adult bookstore as far as I know (not that I go there myself, mind you), located in the aforementioned Garden City-- sometimes referred to as "Garbage City", though it's not what I would call a slum or a ghetto, just a few seedy bars and motels whose clientele is questionable at best, and lots of low-income housing (i.e. trailer parks).

The downtown area has become a more lively and vibrant place in recent years, plenty of dining and entertainment options, a definite urban vibe. Boise has a modest skyline, its tallest building being 20 floors. There are plenty of parks within the city which are well-maintained.

As for the schools, well, that depends on who you ask and which aspects of the education system one looks at. The teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. Many schools are in disrepair. School bond elections are frequently held and often fail, partly because they require a 2/3 majority to pass (incidently, a recent school bond here did pass).

As others have mentioned, recreation opportunities are abundant. Bogus Basin is 45 minutes and 16 miles away from the city; you can even see the face of one of its mountains from the city. A new ski resort called Tamarack opened recently, located about 80 miles or so north of Boise near the town of Donnely. Other places such as Brundage Mountain and Sun Valley are also relatively close by. The landscape around the city is arid and dotted with sagebrush, but one doesn't need to go far to get to tall stands of timber. Several rivers and lakes can be reached within a couple hours of driving time. Whitewater rafting, hiking, camping and fishing are popular summertime activities.
Old 03-28-2006, 08:04 AM
Renob Renob is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: MD
Posts: 2,337
Originally Posted by dwc1970
There are a couple nudie bars,
Really? I thought Coles shut them all down. I know there are a few bikini bars left, but didn't think there were any bars left with any nudity. Not that I've been to any in Boise, but whether or not a city allows nudie bars is a good indication of the kind of people who live there.

As to the weather, it's not all that bad. It's warmer than most parts of the state. When there is snow elsewhere, Boise may not have any. And since the OP is coming from St. Louis, he/she may be pleasently surprised by the lack of humidity. I remember going to Boise in August for business after living on the East Coast. It was around 100 degrees, but with no humidity it didn't feel bad at all. It gets hot there during the summer, but the lack of humidity makes it much easier to bear.
Old 03-28-2006, 07:17 PM
LiveOnAPlane LiveOnAPlane is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 2,569
Only thing I can add from a week n business there in April last year, was the shuttle driver telling me how he and his kids regularly go fishing in some of the streams near downtown.

Now, how cool is that?

I really liked the people and the mountains in the distance. I think it would be a really nice place to live, given my limited experience.


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