Featured photo for Boise, ID

Boise, ID

I once had high hopes for Boise, Idaho’s state capital. Those hopes were quickly dashed when, just 25 miles from the city, the evergreen-laden hills had given way to depressingly barren desert scenery devoid of any trees whatsoever. This seemed odd considering how Boise (in French) means “City of Trees”.

Well, the city itself does indeed have lots of trees lining the neighborhoods and even downtown. But all of the surrounding foothills are completely golden and naked. Some people may like this type of “scenery”; however, I do not.

Too bad, because otherwise the city of Boise has a lot of great things going for it:

  • The city is very clean, and crime is virtually nonexistant.
  • Downtown is very nice, with lots of bistros with outdoor seating.
  • People seem friendly here, and compared to Spokane (which also has 200,000 people), Boise does not seem to have nearly as many morbidly obese people.
  • Housing is a bargain for the west. Homes are generally new and large, with 2,000 sq. ft homes going for just $225,000, easy.
  • Boise is great for business and was ranked the best city for businesses by Forbes Magazine in 2005. In addition to favorable corporate laws, there is a large educated workforce here.
  • There are quite a few recreational opportunities out here, including skiing just 20 miles away.

A downside (other than the drab scenery) is that there isn’t a waterfront downtown that many cities, such as Bend, Portland, Spokane, Bellingham, and Coeur d’Alene (among many others), have. Boise (along with neighboring Meridian and Nampa) is really in the middle of nowhere, which unfortunately happens to be the vast desert that makes of Southern Idaho.

If one could put up with the scenery then Boise could be a great town for him, with a high standard of living at low cost.

40 miles north Boise along Highway 55, the scenery was still green with lots of trees.
The story changed just 20 miles north of Boise. :(  Now the scenery was homogeneously desert-like with no trees anywhere.
This was surprising, since down below the city itself had a lot of trees.  Indeed, Boise means "City of Trees!"
But due to the vast desert scenery, properties with "mountain views" will typically have this, um, view.
City Hall in downtown.
Boise is the state capital of Idaho.
Downtown Boise was very clean and quite lively.
Nifty lowrider bicycle in downtown Boise.