Oh, Boise!

Ida-ho how you still have fewer than 300k residents

Sunrise at Railroad Trestle Bridge, Boise River Greenbelt

Boise, ID – Boise realtors don’t need any help from me convincing people to move here. And it’s a safe bet that most of the many people I met and interviewed over the past week would prefer I just zip it and not tell you anything too inviting about their (spoiler alert: pretty spectacular) hometown.

So up high, still in the “lead” of this story, I will place the single annoying, eye-rolling thing I encountered here, courtesy of what I took to be Boise State University undergrads:

(And yet, somehow, there’s an outdoor exercise component!)

Here’s one more drawback: Idaho is the least progressive state in the US when it comes to marijuana laws, and is the last remaining state not to recognize a role for medical marijuana, according to The Marijuana Project. That’s all I’ve got for keeping people from descending on little piece of paradise.

[Editor’s Note: Oh, how I wish I had one and it was not just me to blame! Thank you to all of the people who have helped me improve the accuracy and readability of this article, which I published too quickly trying to rush out of my AirBnB! Lesson learned. Later but edited is better than rushing it out.]

Because there are so many compelling reasons why Boise is the fastest growing large metro area in the United States, as Forbes recently noted. Low crime, stunning natural beauty, affordability, bearable traffic and a hip, urbane vibe with dining options galore. (Two of Boise’s Northwest neighbors also made the list of cities on the rise: the grown-together lump of Seattle-Belvue-Everett was number two and Tacoma-Lakewood, WA came in at #10.)

To pour rocket fuel on the campfire, in mid-March, Livability.com named Boise the Number One Place to Live in the US for the first time, rating it higher than 1000 other cities between 20k and 1 million residents. Cue well-founded fears about gentrification, loss of cultural identity and sprawl. Will Boise soon become a hyphenated lump with nearby Eagle and Meridian and possibly even Nampa on a future Forbes list? Sad to say, but it is probably inevitable.

Last year Idaho was tied with Nevada as the fastest growing state, with both adding just over two percent population, according to the Census Bureau.

Who is and isn’t welcome in Boise:

Californians in search of less drought, fire and a less-expensive zip code seem decidedly less welcomed here than, say, the many refugees from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere who have settled peacefully in Boise. When I mentioned to the local man teaching my cooking class that I was considering a move to Boise, he said “Well, at least you aren’t from California.”

And yet refugees feel quite welcomed and at home, or at least the ones I talked with:

So without further adieu, and intentionally burying the lead:

Three Things to Never Do in Boise:

1. Never Go Inside

(Or almost never, as Boise does get 29 inches of snow annually.) All photos and videos are my own.

2. Never Decide What To Eat

3. Never Forget the City’s Basque Heritage

There are more people of Basque descent living in Boise than anyplace else in the country, so get on down to the Basque Block and get yourself some Paella and Pinxtos, visit the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and get ready for Jaialdi 2020, a once-every-5-year street party that will make you feel like you’re in the old country.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with other people, check out some more of my travel and food stories and hit “like.” Thanks for reading!

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