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City of Boise
—  City  —
Downtown Boise


Nickname(s): City of Trees
Motto: Energy Peril Success
Location in Ada County and the state of Idaho
Coordinates: 43°36′49″N 116°12′12″W / 43.61361°N 116.20333°W / 43.61361; -116.20333
Country United States
State Idaho
County Ada
Founded 1863
Incorporated 1864
 - Mayor David H. Bieter
 - City 64 sq mi (165.8 km2)
 - Land 63.8 sq mi (165.2 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 2,704 ft (824 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - City 205,314
 Density 3,179.2/sq mi (1,227.8/km2)
 Metro 587,689
Time zone Mountain Standard Time (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) Mountain Daylight Time (UTC-6)
ZIP codes 83701-83799
Area code(s) 208

Boise (pronounced /ˈbɔɪsiː/ locally, or /ˈbɔɪziː/, less commonly known as Boise City) is a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Idaho. Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho as well as the county seat of Ada County. Located on the Boise River, this is the principal city of the Boise City-Nampa metropolitan area and the largest city between Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon. Boise passed Spokane in city population in 2001 census estimates and is now the third-largest in the northwest U.S., behind Seattle and Portland. Boise serves as the primary government, economic, cultural, and transportation center for the area.

As of the 2008 Census Bureau estimates, Boise's city population was 205,314[2] and Boise metropolitan area is estimated to have 599,753[3] inhabitants, by far the most populous metropolitan area in Idaho. It is also the 100th largest US city by population.



Main Street in 1911

The area was called Boise long before establishment of Fort Boise. Accounts differ, however, about the origin of the name. One version credits Capt. B.L.E. Bonneville of the U.S. Army as its source. After trekking for weeks through dry and rough terrain, his exploration party reached an overlook with a view of the Boise River Valley. The place where they stood is called Bonneville Point, located on the Oregon Trail east of the city. According to the story, a French-speaking guide, overwhelmed by the sight of the verdant river, yelled "Les bois! Les bois!" ("The woods! The woods!")—and the name stuck. An apocryphal version of this story mis-attributes this guide as being part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

But the name may actually derive from earlier mountain men, who named the river that flows through it. In the 1820s, French Canadian fur trappers set trap lines in the vicinity. Set in a high desert area, the tree-lined valley of the Boise River became a distinct landmark. They called this "La rivière boisée", which means "the wooded river."[4]

The original Fort Boise was 40 miles (64 km) west near Parma, down the Boise River near its confluence with the Snake River at the Oregon border. This defense was erected by the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1830s. It was abandoned in the 1850s, but massacres along the Oregon Trail prompted the U.S. Army to re-establish a fort in the area in 1863 during the U.S. Civil War. The new location was selected because it was near the intersection of the Oregon Trail with a major road connecting the Boise Basin (Idaho City) and the Owyhee (Silver City) mining areas, both of which were booming at the time. During the mid-1860s, Idaho City was the largest city in the Northwest, and as a staging area, Fort Boise grew rapidly; Boise was incorporated as a city in 1864. The first capital of the Idaho Territory was Lewiston in north Idaho, which in 1863 was the largest community, exceeding the populations of Olympia and Seattle, Washington Territory and Portland, Oregon combined. The original territory was larger than Texas. But following the creation of Montana Territory, Boise was made the territorial capital of a much reduced Idaho in a contentious decision which overtruned a district court ruling via a one vote margin in the territorial supreme court along geographic lines in 1866.

Designed by Alfred B. Mullett, the U.S. Assay Office at 210 Main Street was built in 1871, and is today a National Historic Landmark.


Boise is located at 43°36′49″N 116°14′16″W / 43.61361°N 116.23778°W / 43.61361; -116.23778 (43.613739, -116.237651),[5] in southwestern Idaho, approximately 41 miles (66 km) east of the Oregon border, and 110 miles (177 km) north of the Nevada border. The downtown sits at an elevation of 2704 feet (824 m) above sea level.

A fountain in February

Most of the metropolitan area lies on a broad, relatively flat plain, descending to the west. Mountains rise up to the northeast, stretching from the far southeastern tip of the Boise city limits to nearby Eagle. These mountains are known to locals as the Boise foothills and are sometimes described as the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. About 34 miles (55 km) southwest of Boise, and about 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Nampa, the Owyhee Mountains lie entirely in neighboring Owyhee County.

According to the census bureau, the city has a total area of 64.0 mi² (166 km²). 63.8 mi² (165 km²) of it is land and 0.2 mi² (0.5 km²) of it (0.33%) is water. The city is drained by the Boise River.


Boise's climate is characterized as semi-arid with four distinct seasons. Boise experiences hot and dry summers where temperatures can often exceed 100°F (38°C), as well as cold winters with fair amounts of snowfall. Rainfall is usually infrequent and light, averaging an inch (25.4 mm) per month. March is the wettest month with an average of 1.41" (36 mm) of precipitation, and August is the driest month with 0.30" (7.6 mm). Spring and fall are generally temperate.

Climate data for Boise
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 63
Average high °F (°C) 37
Average low °F (°C) 24
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.39
Snowfall inches (mm) 6.8
Source: Weather Channel [6] September 24, 2009
Source #2: [7] September 24, 2009


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 1,899
1890 2,311 21.7%
1900 5,957 157.8%
1910 17,358 191.4%
1920 21,393 23.2%
1930 21,544 0.7%
1940 26,130 21.3%
1950 34,393 31.6%
1960 34,481 0.3%
1970 74,990 117.5%
1980 102,249 36.4%
1990 125,738 23.0%
2000 185,787 47.8%
Est. 2008 205,314 10.5%

Boise has grown considerably in recent years and is now comparable in size to other mid-size cities at the center of their own metropolitan areas in the United States. Comparable cities are Grand Rapids, Des Moines, Providence And Akron, Ohio.[10]

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, 94.2% of the population was White (87.2% non-Hispanic White alone), 2.0% Black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 1.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander and 1.6% from some other race. 6.7% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [11] 36.1% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. [12]

As of the census of 2000,[13] there were 185,787 people, 74,438 households, and 46,523 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,913.1/sq mi (1,124.7/km²). There were 77,850 housing units at an average density of 1,220.7/mi² (471.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was:

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.53% of the population.

There were 74,438 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city the population was spread out with:

  • 25.3% under the age of 18
  • 11.7% from 18 to 24
  • 32.3% from 25 to 44
  • 20.6% from 45 to 64
  • 10.0% 65 years of age or older

The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,432, and the median income for a family was $52,014. Males had a median income of $36,893 versus $26,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,696. About 5.9% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or older.


Boise frequently receives national recognition for its quality of life and business climate. Some recent national rankings:

  • Best places for business and careers: # 3 (Forbes Magazine, 2007)[14]
  • Urban environment report card: # 6 (Earth Day Network, 2007)[15][16]
  • Boomtowns: Hottest cities for entrepreneurs (midsize cities): # 9 (, 2007)[17][18]
  • Most secure places to live (500,000 or more residents): # 1 (Farmers Insurance 2006)[19]


Boise is the headquarters for several major companies, such as URS Corp. Washington Division (formerly Washington Group International, formerly Morrison-Knudsen), Boise Cascade LLC, New Albertsons Inc., Albertsons LLC, J.R. Simplot Company, Idaho Pacific Lumber Company, Idaho Timber, and WinCo Foods. Other major industries are headquartered in Boise or have large manufacturing facilities present. The state government is also one of the city's largest employers.

The area's largest private employer[20] publicly traded and headquartered company in Boise is Micron Technology (NYSEMU). Others include IDACORP, Inc. (NYSEida), the parent company of Idaho Power, Idaho Bancorp (NYSEIDA), Boise, Inc. (NYSEBZ), American Ecology Corp. (NASDAQECOL), PCS Inc. (NASDAQPCSV) and Syringa Bancorp.

Technology investment and the high-tech industry have become increasingly important to the city, with businesses including,, MobileDataForce, MarkMonitor, Sybase, and Microsoft. The call center industry is also a major source of employment; there are over 20 call centers in the city employing more than 7,000 people, including WDS Global, EDS, Teleperformance, DIRECTV and T-Mobile.[21]

Varney Air Service, founded by Walter Varney, was formed in Boise, though headquarted at Pasco, Washington. The original air mail contract was from Pasco to Elko, Nevada with stops in Boise in both directions. The company is the root of present day United Airlines, which still serves the city at the newly renovated and upgraded Boise Airport.


Panorama of Boise
Panorama of downtown Boise in fall, as seen from the Boise Depot tower.


The Boise School District includes 31 elementary schools, 8 junior high schools, 5 high schools and 2 specialty schools. Part of the Meridian School District (the largest district in Idaho) overlaps into Boise city limits. The city is home to six public high schools: Boise High School, Borah High School, Capital High School, Timberline High School as well as Meridian School District's Centennial High School and the alternative Frank Church High School. Boise's private schools include Catholic Bishop Kelly High School, Foothills School of Arts and Sciences and Baccalaureate accredited Riverstone International School.

Post-secondary educational options in Boise include Boise State University as well as a wide range of technical schools. University of Idaho (UI) and Idaho State University each maintain a satellite campus in Boise. As of 2009, the city did not have any law schools.[22] UI plans to open a third-year law program in 2010 and Concordia University plans to open the Concordia University School of Law in 2011 in the city.[22] Boise is home to Boise Bible College, an undergraduate degree-granting college that exists to train leaders for churches as well as missionaries for the world.


The Basque Block
Boise Art Museum

Numbering about 15,000, Boise's ethnic Basque community is the second largest such community in the United States after Bakersfield, California and the fifth largest in the world outside Argentina, Chile and the Basque Country in Spain and France.[23] A large Basque festival known as Jaialdi is held once every five years (next in 2010). Downtown Boise features a vibrant section known as the "Basque Block". Boise's mayor, David H. Bieter, is of Basque descent.

Boise is also a regional hub for jazz and theater. The Gene Harris Jazz Festival is hosted in Boise each spring. The city is also home to a number of museums, including the Boise Art Museum, Idaho Historical Museum, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Idaho Black History Museum, Boise WaterShed and the Discovery Center of Idaho. Several theater groups operate in the city, including the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Boise Little Theatre, Boise Contemporary Theater, and Prairie Dog Productions. On the first Thursday of each month, a gallery stroll is hosted in the city's core business district by the Downtown Boise Association. The city also has the Egyptian Theatre as a renovated venue. In the fall, Downtown Boise hosts a film festival called Idaho International Film Festival.

The Boise Centre on the Grove is an 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) convention center that hosts a variety of events, including international, national, and regional conventions, conferences, banquets, and consumer shows. It is located in the heart of downtown Boise and borders the Grove Plaza, which hosts numerous outdoor functions throughout the year.

The Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center offers water features and wildlife experiences just east of downtown. It is located adjacent to Municipal Park.[24] It features live fish and wildlife exhibits, viewing areas into the water, bird and butterfly gardens, waterfalls and a free visitor's center.

Boise has a diverse and vibrant religious communities. The Jewish community's Ahavath Beth Israel Temple, completed 1896, is the nation's oldest continually-used temple west of the Mississippi. The Boise Hare Krishna Temple opened in August 1999.[25] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over 60 congregations in Boise and dedicated a temple there in 1984, the first of 6 temples dedicated that year.

Boise (along with Valley and Boise Counties) hosted the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. More than 2,500 athletes from over 85 countries participated.[26]

Notable residents

Idaho Carnegie Library, now defunct.


Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Boise Hawks Northwest League Baseball Memorial Stadium 1987 6
Idaho Steelheads ECHL Ice hockey Qwest Arena 1996 2
Boise State
NCAA - WAC Football /
Bronco Stadium /
Taco Bell Arena
1932 6
Idaho Stampede D-League Basketball Qwest Arena 1997 1
Boise Burn arenafootball2 Arena Football Qwest Arena 2007 (now defunct) 0

Major attractions

Capitol building in July
Carousel in Julia Davis Park

A number of recreational opportunities are available in Boise, including extensive hiking and biking in the foothills to the immediate north of downtown. Much of this trail network is part of Hull's Gulch and can be accessed by 8th street. An extensive urban trail system called the Boise River Greenbelt runs along the river. The Boise River itself is a common destination for fishing, swimming and rafting.

In Julia Davis Park is Zoo Boise, which has over 200 animals representing over 80 species from around the world. An Africa exhibit, completed in 2008, is the most recent addition.[27]

The Bogus Basin ski area opened in 1942 and hosts multiple winter activities, primarily alpine skiing and snowboarding, but also cross-country skiing and snow tubing. "Bogus" is 16 miles (26 km) from the city limits (less than an hour drive from downtown) on a twisty paved road which climbs 3400 vertical feet (1036 m) through sagebrush and forest.

Professional sports teams in Boise include the Boise Hawks of the short-season Class A Northwest League (minor league baseball), the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL (minor league hockey), and the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League (minor league basketball). An arenafootball2 franchise, the Boise Burn, began play in 2007 but is now extinct.

On the sports entertainment front, Boise is also the home of a DIY all-female, flat track roller derby league, the Treasure Valley Rollergirls.

The Boise State University campus is home to Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts local and national fine arts performances; Bronco Stadium, the 32,000 seat football and track stadium known for its blue Field Turf field; and Taco Bell Arena, a 12,000 seat basketball and entertainment venue which opened in 1982 as the BSU Pavilion. Boise State University is known primarily for the recent successes of its football team, although it is also a fairly well-regarded commuter school for undergraduate students.

The Roady's Humanitarian Bowl football game (formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl and later the MPC Computers Bowl) is held in late December each year, and pairs a team from the Western Athletic Conference with a Mountain West Conference team.

The World Center for Birds of Prey is located just outside city limits, and is a key part of the re-establishment of the Peregrine Falcon and the subsequent removal from the Endangered Species list. The center is currently breeding the very rare California condor, among many other rare and endangered species.

The city has been cited by publications like Forbes, Fortune and Sunset for its quality of life.

The cornerstone mall in Boise, Boise Towne Square Mall, is also a major shopping attraction for Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, and surrounding areas and has recently been through an upgrade along with adding new retailers.

The state's largest giant sequoia can be found near St. Lukes Hospital.[28]


The greater-Boise area is served by two daily newspapers, The Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press-Tribune. A free weekly publication, Boise Weekly, quarterly magazines "Boise Journal" and "Boise Home" have been serving the Treasure Valley for over eight years. "Sprout Magazine" is a Boise-based free quarterly sustainable living publication which is distributed throughout the Treasure Valley and Central Idaho.


The major Interstate serving Boise is I-84 which connects Boise with Portland, OR and Salt Lake City, UT. Highway 55 branches outward northeast. There is a network of bike paths throughout the city and surrounding region.

Public transportation includes a series of bus lines operated by ValleyRide. Also, the Downtown Circulator, a proposed streetcar system, is in its planning stage.[29]

Commercial air service is provided at the Boise Airport, recently renovated to accommodate the growing number of passengers flying in and out of Boise. It is accommodated by Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Skywest Airlines (operated under codeshare), Horizon Airlines , Alaska Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. The east end of the airport is home to the National Inter-agency Fire Center.

Parts of the city

Boise occupies a large area — 64 sq mi (170 km2) according to the United States Census Bureau. Like most major metropolitan areas, it is divided into several neighborhoods. These include the Bench, the North End, West Boise and Downtown, among others.

Downtown Boise

Downtown Boise is Boise's cultural center and home to many small businesses and several high-rises. The area has an array of shopping and dining choices. Centrally, 8th Street contains a pedestrian zone with streetside cafes and restaurants. The neighborhood is home to many local restaurants, bars and boutiques and supports a lively night life.

Downtown Boise's economy was threatened in the late 1990s by extensive growth around the Boise Towne Square Mall[30] (away from the city center) and an increasing number of shopping centers which have sprung up around new housing developments. Events such as Alive-after-Five[31] and First Thursday[32] have been created to combat this trend.

Tallest buildings

The US Bank Plaza
is the tallest building in Boise
The Idaho State Capitol
is the 3rd tallest building in Boise

The following table shows the four tallest buildings in the city of Boise, Idaho.

Rank Name Height
ft / m
Floors Year Notes
1 US Bank Plaza 267 / 81 20 1978 Tallest building in Boise
since its completion in 1978.
2 One Capital Center 206 / 63 14 1975 Tallest building in Boise
from 1975 to 1978.
3 Idaho State Capitol 198 / 60 4 1920 Tallest building in Boise
from 1920 to 1975.
4 The Grove 196 / 60 16 2000 Tallest building in Boise
completed in the 21st century.

The North End

The North End, which contains many of Boise's older homes, is known for its tree-lined drives such as Harrison Boulevard, and for its quiet neighborhoods near the downtown area. Downtown Boise is visible from Camel's Back Park.[33] On 13th Street, Hyde Park[34] is home to four small restaurants and other businesses. The North End also hosts events such as the annual Hyde Park Street Fair. The American Planning Association (APA) is designating Boise's North End one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2008.[35]

Southwest Boise

Southwest Boise has traditionally been known for its more bucolic aesthetics. It contains sparsely populated neighborhoods built from the 1960s to the early 1980s. Many include acre-sized plots and the occasional farmhouse and pasture. Growth in the area was limited in the 1980s due to prevention of urban sprawl. Since this has been lifted there has been widespread growth of new homes and neighborhoods. The area lies fairly close to Interstate 84, theaters, shopping, the airport, golf and the Boise Bench area.

Lakeharbor on Silver Lake

Northwest Boise

Northwest Boise lies blanketed against the Boise Foothills to the north, the major thoroughfare State Street to the south, the city of Eagle to the west, and Downtown Boise to the east. It contains an eclectic mix of old and new neighborhoods, including Lakeharbor, which features the private Silver Lake, a reclaimed quarry. Northwest Boise has some pockets of older homes with a similar aesthetic to the North End, yet housing prices tend to be lower. Downtown is minutes away, as is Veteran's Memorial Park[36] and easy access to the Boise Greenbelt. Across the river sits the Boise Bench and to the west is fast access to the bedroom communities of Eagle, Star, and Middleton.

Warm Springs

Warm Springs is centered around the tree-lined Warm Springs Avenue and contains some of Boise's largest and most expensive homes (many of which were erected by wealthy miners and businessmen around the turn of the 20th century; Victorian styles feature prominently). The area gets its name from the natural hot springs that flow from Boise's fault line and warm many of the homes in the area.

East End

The far east end of Warm Springs was once known as Barber Town, featuring a hotel with hot springs nestled into the foothills. It now has some new residential developments, with easy access to Highway 21, which leads to the south-central Idaho mountains, the Boise River, the Boise Foothills, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.

South East

South East Boise spans from Boise State University to Micron Technology – all areas between Federal Way and the Boise River. The older area just south of the University can be described as a cross between the North End and the Boise bench. The rest of South East Boise was developed in the last thirty years with suburban style homes. Unlike the more typical flat suburban sprawl, residents of South East Boise are reminded of their city's natural beauty as they catch a close view of Table Rock, or drive along the winding Parkcenter Blvd. along the Boise River. Many people consider this end of Boise a hidden gem as just about everything is about 15 minutes from home: the river, greenbelt, the mountains, lakes, snow, high mountain desert, and more.

Columbia Village subdivision and the older Oregon Trail Heights, were the first major planned communities in South East Boise with an elementary and middle school all within walking distance from all homes. The subdivision is located at the intersections of Interstate 84, Idaho 21, and Federal Way (former US Highway), which are all major arteries to get anywhere in Boise. The subdivision was developed around the Simplot Sports complex (with over 20 fields), as well as a baseball complex, swimming pools, and the has a stunning view of the valley. The fields are built over an old landfill/dump and the fields and gravel parking lot allow radon gases to escape through the ground. Columbia Village Homes are not built over the dump.

TrailWind Elementary School, built in 1997, is in the middle of the subdivision and is the largest population elementary school in the Boise School District. It has an extremely active parent teacher association and a high level of parental involvement. Les Bois Junior High is also located in the center of the subdivision, having relocated from its previous home at Apple and Boise Avenue. After an upgrade and expansion, the former junior high became Timberline High School.

Surprise Valley is another large subdivision located on the bench above the river. Its homes are much higher end than the Columbia Village and Oregon Trail Heights subdivisions. Two churches are located within its borders: Eastwind Fellowship and Trinity Presbyterian, which relocated in 2002 from an older SE Boise location on Apple Street.

On August 25, 2008 at about 7:00 pm a fire started near Amity and Holcomb during a major wind storm and destroyed 10 houses and damaged 9. A linguistics professor at Boise State University lost her life in the fire.

The Boise Bench

The Boise Bench is south of Downtown Boise and is raised in elevation approximately 60 feet (18 m). The bench is named such because the sudden rise in elevation gives the prominent appearance of a step, or bench. The Bench (or Benches, there are 3 actual benches throughout the Boise Valley) was created as an ancient shoreline to the old river channel. The Bench is home to the old Boise Train Depot and extensive residential neighborhoods. Due south of the Boise Bench is the Boise Airport.[37]

West Boise

West Boise is home to Boise Towne Square Mall, the largest in the state, as well as numerous restaurants, strip malls, and residential developments ranging from new subdivisions to apartment complexes. The Ada County jail and Hewlett Packard's Printing Division are also located here. It is relatively the flattest section of Boise, with sweeping views of the Boise Front.

Linen District

This district was created as real estate marketing tool by Hale Development. Located at 15th Street and Grove, the Linen District currently has a mix of established retail stores and service oriented businesses. It is named after the anchor building of the area, the old American Linen Building, at the northwest corner of 14th and Grove Streets, 1402 West Grove Street. Redevelopment is currently underway at two other key buildings, the Furness Building at 1407 West Grove and the Goodyear Building at 1515 West Grove. The residential areas around it are also considered part of the Linen District. 18th and Idaho is an example of a residential area that is part of the district.

About the name

Origin of name

Floating in the Boise River

The name Boise comes from the French word boisé, which means "wooded". Many people assume that it means "tree", but the French word for "tree" is arbre, whereas the word bois means "wood" or "woods". One legend claims that French-Canadian fur trappers of the early 1800s came over the mountains looked down upon the Boise River Valley and exclaimed "Les bois!" (the woods!), and that this is also how Boise gained its nickname 'The City of Trees'. In actuality, the name was apparently a translation of an earlier English name for the Boise River, the Wood River. Wood River was traditionally called Pine River, but was changed in 1867.[citation needed]

19th Century maps of the Boise River.[38]


Natives and generally those who have lived in the area for a period of time use the pronunciation /ˈbɔɪsiː/, and this is the pronunciation given on the city's website.[39] Non-natives generally pronounce the name /ˈbɔɪziː/.

Boise City Chamber of Commerce has run several campaigns[citation needed] to eliminate the latter pronunciation.

Photo gallery


  1. ^ "Boise City, Idaho". 
  2. ^ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Idaho, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008
  3. ^ Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008
  4. ^
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Average Weather for Boise, ID - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved September 24, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Historical Weather for Boise, Idaho, United States". Retrieved September 24, 2009. 
  8. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 90.
  9. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Idaho 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ Badenhausen, Kurt (April 5, 2007), "Best Places For Business And Careers",,, retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  15. ^ "Urban Environment Report", Earth Day Network, 2007,, retrieved 16 August 2007. 
  16. ^ "Earth Day Network Releases 2007 Urban Environment Report" (), Earth Day Network, 22 February 2007,, retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  17. ^ "Boomtowns 2007 (article)",, May 2007,, retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  18. ^ "Boomtowns 2007 (list)",, May 2007,, retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  19. ^ "Third Annual Farmers Insurance Study Ranks Most Secure U.S. Places to Live", Farmers Insurance Group, 6 December 2006,, retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  20. ^ "Growth drives a hot economy" (), Idaho Statesman, 25 November 2006,, retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  21. ^ "Call-center industry rises here", Spokane Journal of Business, 12 January 2001,, retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  22. ^ a b Roberts, Bill (January 16, 2010). "Concordia law school to move into Downtown Boise". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ City of Boise - Parks - Home Page
  25. ^ Horan, Tiffany (21 August 1999). Mayor To Open New Boise Temple published in the The Idaho Statesman. Last accessed 1 September 2009.
  26. ^ [4]
  27. ^ "Zoo Boise Event Details". Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  28. ^ Giant sequoia trees in Idaho
  29. ^ "About the Boise Streetcar". City of Boise. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  30. ^ Boise Towne Square
  31. ^ Downtown Boise Association - Alive After Five
  32. ^ Downtown Boise Association - First Thursday
  33. ^ City of Boise - Parks - Home Page
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ City of Boise - Parks - Home Page
  37. ^
  38. ^ The Boise River on Early Maps
  39. ^ About Boise

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 43°36′49″N 116°14′16″W / 43.613739°N 116.237651°W / 43.613739; -116.237651

hey i like cheese

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Boise [1] is the capital of Idaho as well as the largest city in Idaho. Although its economic growth has its roots in the Simplot potato industry, the city is now home to many high tech industries. Notable companies such as Albertsons and Micron are headquartered here.


Although the exact origin is disputed, the name "Boise" is unquestionably derived from the French "les bois," or "the trees." The name is a reference to the tree-lined Boise River which passes through the heart of the city. To this day the city takes its "City of Trees" moniker very seriously.

Boise started its life as Fort Boise, a U.S. Army installation located at a strategic junction on the Oregon Trail between what were then the major settlements in southern Idaho Territory, the mining camps of Silver City to the south and Idaho City to the northeast. A city grew quickly around the fort and by 1865 was the new capital of Idaho Territory (much to the chagrin of northern Idahoans). By the dawn of the 20th Century Boise was far and away the dominant city in the region, having long eclipsed the likes of Silver City and Idaho City.

Today Boise is sometimes seen as the eastern enclave of the Pacific Northwest, or the western enclave of the Rocky Mountains, or both, depending on who you ask. Downtown Boise and the North End neighborhood offer a PNW feel every bit as strong as anything in Portland or Seattle, while suburbs such as Meridian and Nampa steadfastly cling to the decidedly self-reliant ethos of the Intermountain West.

Boise is a sports town strongly supporting its local teams, including the NBA D-League Idaho Stampede, the ECHL Idaho Steelheads, and of course its emerging college football powerhouse at Boise State University - all with recent league and conference championships. Slowly but surely Boise is beginning to accept its role as a new major metropolitan area in the western United States, while at the same time embracing its small town past.

  • Boise Airport (IATA: BOI) (ICAO: KBOI), 3201 Airport Way, [2] is serviced by several airlines, including United, Delta, Alaska/Horizon and Southwest.
  • Boise can be accessed by car via Interstate 84.

Get around

Cars are pretty much mandatory to get around outside of the city center. There are buses downtown, but many destinations require your own car. Cars can be rented at the Boise Airport from many companies including Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Dollar, and Budget.

The Boise Green Belt is a paved pedestrian and bike path that stretches nearly 15 miles from Lucky Peak Dam to the east of Boise, all the way through town. If you are in to riding your bike or walking, much of Boise can be accessed this way, depending on where you are staying.


Boise is the administrative and cultural hub of Idaho. Many of the attractions in the city center around its status as the state capital.

  • Idaho State Capitol Building, Capitol Blvd. & Jefferson in Downtown Boise off Interstate 84,[3]. If you are bold, you can ring the bell at the foot of the Capitol steps. The Capitol is currently undergoing extensive renovation and will remain completely closed until 2010. Even the Idaho Legislature and other government offices have been temporarily relocated to nearby buildings.
  • Julia Davis Park - this Olmsted-esque urban park contains many of the downtown attractions in Boise. It sits across the Boise River from Boise State University. Located within its confines are Zoo Boise, the Rose Garden, Boise Art Museum and a scenic railroad. It also contains the Idaho Black History Museum, [4].
  • Boise State University, [5]. The Boise State Broncos football team is a big deal here, especially after a stunning upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl which arguably ranks as the single most iconic moment in Idaho sports history. The most famous landmark on campus is Bronco Stadium, best known for its unique blue Astroturf. Bronco Stadium is also home to the New Year's Eve college football classic, the Humanitarian Bowl.
  • Barber Park. A local favorite. Barber Park is in Southeast Boise and is a refuge for various wildlife, including: deer, elk, bald eagles, hawks, various birds, salmon, trout, and many more. Barber Park is also the starting point for a summer tradition in Boise: floating down the Boise River.
  • Old Idaho State Penitentiary, Warm Springs Ave. A great sight to see. This gem is a museum set in the old state penitentiary where guests can sit in old prison cells, solitary confinement, and explore the inner workings of a once scary place to be.
  • Idaho Botanical Gardens. A truly serene place to visit. The gardens have been the site of many weddings and performances because of its beautiful setting of vibrant flowers and other vegetation. At no cost, it is a superb setting for a picnic. If you happen to be visiting in the month of December, you will find the gardens decked out in an impressive display of holiday lights.
  • Boise Art Museum, 670 Julia Davis Drive. A great contemporary art at a very reasonable price. This museum is planned out beautifully and much more than most would expect from a town the size of Boise. Great local pieces as well as other western art.
  • World Center for Birds of Prey, 5660 West Flying Hawk Lane. The name explains itself. A fascinating place to visit, many birds of all types constantly in your line of sight. My hawks, eagles, and other big birds of prey. Fun for the family at a very reasonable cost.
  • Basque Museum and Cultural Center, 611 Grove Street. The Boise area is home to one of the largest concentrations of Basque populations in the world outside the Basque Country itself. The museum, located in a part of downtown known as the "Basque Block," is a great place to visit whether or not you are of the Basque descent. Chocked full of enriched heritage and even a bar to hang out at. A must see if you are in the Boise area. And if Phil is at the bar, ask for his drink.


Boise is the starting point for many outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains, including rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking. Other local activities include:

  • Inner tubing on the Boise River - this is something of a local tradition. The put-in site is at Barber Park. The five mile float takes around 3 hours, and ends at Ann Morrison Park. There you can take a shuttle bus back to your car at Barber Park. website [6]
  • Idaho Shakespeare Festival, [7]. Of course, this is why you come to Boise. During summer, shows are performed at the theater at the base of the Boise foothills.
  • Boise Contemporary Theater, [8]. Since 1997, Boise Contemporary Theater has been Boise's premiere professional contemporary theater. Located in downtown Boise, BCT creates, produces, and presents vibrant and dynamic professional theater that illuminates enduring themes while exploring contemporary issues and ideas. BCT has had several world premieres, including Last of the Breed by Maria Dahvana Headley (Author of The Year of Yes) and No...You Shutup, a one-woman show starring former Daily Show Correspondent Lauren Weedman.
  • Les Bois Park Horse Races, [9]. Regional Horse Race Track running races all summer long, with restaurant & bar open year round. Races are Tuesday, Friday & Saturday each week from May through August, with Free Admission on Tuesday Night Ladies Night. Post Time is 6PM most of the summer.
  • Bogus Basin Ski Resort. From early November to early April, Bogus Basin entertains skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and cross-country skiing. With easy accessibility, Bogus Basin Road is in North Boise and takes only forty minutes to get there!
  • Hyde Park Fair. Held every august, the Hyde Park Fair is in the North End of Boise at Camel's Back Park. It houses various indie rock bands and various hippie cultured events, clothing, and accessories.
  • Lucky Peak. About 5 minutes out of Boise on Highway 21 you will come to lucky peak. A huge reservoir that residents love to wakeboard, water ski, tube, hang out, camp, and even cliff dive. A great day trip for the summer.
  • Boise River Greenbelt. A great place for a walk, rollerblading, biking, or just walking the dog. The greenbelt is a walkway follows the Boise River through beautiful trees, through golf courses, and brings you through downtown. It is one of the more popular and beautiful walks that Boise has to offer.
  • Hull's Gulch Nature Trail, End of Eighth St. A great opportunity to explore Idaho. Very good for hiking, biking,sightseeing, and taking the dogs.


Much of the souvenir industry in Boise is based on the potato-rich history of the city. You can find T-shirts with just about every potato-themed pun (e.g. Darth Tater - Spud Wars) you could imagine.

  • Boise Towne Square is the city's main mall. It is a fairly large mall, mostly due to its lack of competition from any other similarly sized shopping center in the city. Its anchor-stores include Dillard's and a particularly upscale Macys (formerly the Bon Marche). The mall also contains its own free-standing MAC makeup store.
  • Eighth Street Marketplace - located in the center of downtown Boise, the eighth street marketplace is a popular sight to go shopping, have a bite to eat, and go dancing at night. It's all three in one! This area has recently undergone significant revitalization and is often referred to as "BoDo," short for "Boise Downtown."
  • Other parts of "BoDo". Along with the Eighth Street Marketplace, you may want to just wander throughout the downtown core. The area of Broad St (between 9th and Capitol) and 8 St (between Front and Myrtle) is home to many fashionable retailers like Urban Outfitters. As well, the area of 9th St. between Idaho and Main, parts of Main Street, areas of Idaho St. around 8th St. are all good areas to walk around and spot a few good shops and restaurants.
  • Les Bois Park [10] If you get an owners license from the State Racing Commission, you can actually buy a race horse for $2,500, but expect to pay a trainer to keep him racing, otherwise you just bought an expensive pet with no place to keep it.
  • LUX Lounge.  edit
  • The Chocolat Bar, 206 N. 9th St., ''+1 208'' 338-7771‎, [11].  edit
  • URBAN Outfitters.  edit


Most of the fancier restaurants are in the downtown area.

  • Lucky 13 - Pizza and beer in a patio setting snuggled into the Harris Ranch area of East Boise. A great place to go on a warm summer evening. Smoking is allowed on the patio.
  • Flying Pie - Possibly Boise's best pizza with two locations: 6508 Fairview - (208) 345-0000 and 4320 State St., Phone: 208-384-0000. They use fresh ingredients and have great staff. They have a great beer selection and will deliver it to your house with your pizza.\
  • Cottonwood Grille, 913 West River Street. An amazing place to eat. With its specialties in American and Caribbean foods, it is one of the most popular places to eat in Boise. You can't go wrong.
  • Cazba, 211 North Eighth Street. A local favorite. Cazba serves European, Middle Eastern & African foods and is known for very good service. Amazing place to eat that is highly recommended.
  • Asiago's, 1002 W. Main St., Phone: 208-336-5552. An intimate setting and very tasty Italian cuisine for a reasonable price.
  • Mai Thai, 750 W. Idaho St., Phone: 344-8424. A great selection of Thai cuisine. The lunch bento specials are a nice sampling of various dishes. Dinner runs on the pricier side.
  • Boise Fry Company, 111 Broadway. Home grown, cut and made fries, "with a burger on the side." Choose your type of potato, the cut, and size and the fry them TO ORDER. Get a Bison burger to go with it. Friendly staff and wifi!

If you are a sushi lover, the two best places are:

  • Sakura, intersection of Chinden Blvd. and Eagle Road. They have the best sushi in Boise.
  • The runner-up is Tacabi at 1353 N. 13th Street, which is downtown. Their sushi is almost as high-quality as Sakura. They also have an amazing menu selection of various Japanese and Thai-inspired dishes. Don't miss AYCE maki rolls from 2:30PM-6PM on Thursdays.
  • Many believe Shige Japanese Cuisine (located in the downtown parking complex between Capital and 8th) to be the best sushi joint in town.
  • Bittercreek Alehouse (Red Feather Lounge), 246 N. 8th (8th & Idaho downtown Boise), 208-345-1813, [12]. 11AM-late. Very busy local independent downtown hangout, rustic northwest food & beer. Focus on local organic products and 30 beers on tap from small batch regional brewers. Sibling of next door's upscale Red Feather Lounge. Red Feather's menu emphasizes products that thrive in the southwest Idaho region. Huge wine list and recognized as cutting edge in culinary cocktail focus. lunch dinnner.  edit
  • Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery, [13]. Bardenay, the first restaurant in the nation to include a distillery, features hand crafted cocktails of the finest ingredients. Bardenay distills rum, vodka and gin and uses them all in their drinks. A great place to see and be seen, Bardenay boasts one of the best outdoor patios in Boise and a cool, laid-back vibe.  edit

Boise has a surprisingly well-rounded nightlife, all stereotypes to the contrary, but once again, the best places to drink are all downtown. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, throngs of young women in midriff-baring outfits (no matter the weather) and young men strutting their stuff cruise downtown bars.

  • Dirty Little Roddy's - Maybe a little what you might expect; Country music, sawhorse tables, peanuts and a mechanical bull that ladies can ride for free. You might not expect that this bar is popular with college kids and is nearly impossible to get into on a weekend night. It's in the basement, so be prepared to walk drunk up a narrow flight of stairs if you plan on spending any time here.
  • China Blue - Owned by the same man as DLR, China Blue is the resident dance club, playing hip-hop music and catering to college-goers. There's an obligatory VIP section, as well as a bed and a gong to alert patrons to the presence of a big tipper. There is usually a cover, and drinks are expensive, especially for Boise, but on the up-side, the ladies restroom has a private champagne bar and bartender, so any annoying boys with too much bling can wait outside while you drink in the bathroom.
  • Bittercreek and Red Feather - Right next door to each other, these two bars/restaurants share a bathroom and a patio, but just about nothing else. Red Feather is a swanky, low-lit lounge with great food and a three story award winning wine selection. Bittercreek is a neighborhood watering hole with a huge, totally northwest draft beer list and impressive "pub grub". Both have freshly made cocktails and share an outdoor see and be seen patio on the pedestrian friendly 8th street corridor.
  • Mulligans - A typical would-be Irish dive bar with a very distinctive, but not altogether unpleasant smell. There's pool, of course, but also airhockey, and I think foosball, too. And $1 well shots sometimes. It's a great place to enjoy a drink on the patio and people-watch.
  • 10th Street Station - Located in the basement of the Idanha Hotel (now apartments) you can experience the relaxed crowd, friendly staff, and charm of a former speakeasy. As long as you don't ask for a 'pint' (only 10 oz glasses are served) you'll be welcome to stay the night. Note that they generally close early at 1:30AM.
  • The Neurolux - The stiffest drinks in Boise, bartenders here use a five-count pour, instead of the standard three-count, so yes, that is a rum and coke, even though it is clear. Arguably the best jukebox in town, featuring Charlie Parker, George Jones, Cat Power, The Ramones, Wilco, and the Rolling Stones. And that's not even the best, just the ones you're most likely to know. The clientele are about as varied as their tastes in music, so nobody is judgmental of anyone else, just what's playing on the jukebox. The is the place for indie rock shows, if you couldn't tell. Beware, it is always dark at the Neurolux, despite the big picture window letting in sunlight, and it is always loud.
  • Grainey's and J.P. Toad's--Across the street from China Blue and Dirty Little Roddy's, these twin bars (on two levels of the same building) typically charge a cover but provide relatively cheap beverages once inside. In addition, there are often two live bands playing, one on each level. The basement band typically cajoles more bar-hoppers into dancing than its upstairs counterpart. While somewhat low on atmosphere, these bars can be a lively stop, particularly for the younger crowd. Note that Grainer's may be the oldest 'original' bar in boise - great charm for a happy-hour drink.
  • Reef'Worshiping the Tiki pioneers past and present... The Reef is Boise's Tiki outpost. Along with tasty Pupu's, a good menu and freshly made exotic drinks the Reef has plenty of live music. Terrific rooftop patio with full service outdoor bar.
  • Leku Ona, downtown on 6th, is a Basque restaurant with a good bar and home to a slightly older set than the rest of the downtown scene.
  • Pengilly's Saloon is also home to the slightly older crowd and, happily, smoke free. Most nights have live music, usually jazz or alt-country.
  • Montego Bay Located off State Street, on Lake Harbor Ln., you can't miss the billboards that show the way. Montego Bay is a bar and restaurant with a dock on the water, open from May until September-ish. The drinks and food are kind of expensive, but the ambiance is great, and if you're a non-smoker, the open air dock is a good way to escape the smelly smoke of the inside. There is a dance floor in the building, and patio furniture outside, with tableside service, and outdoor bars.
  • Les Bois Park Clubhouse & Turf Club [14]. Tuesday Night Ladies Night will usually have around 2,500 people, free admission and a wide variety of drinkers. Beer is cheaper than most other sports entertainment venues (definitely colder) and has a couple of bars and multiple areas to get around and not be stuck at a table or bar until you fall over. There are two restaurants with pay-for tables and a patio with the same. Expect a lot of very lightly dressed women and hope for a longshot to win one of the races so you can get $2 drafts for 20 minutes.
  • Mr. Lucky's, on Chinden, is a step above the dive bar. They have live bands on Friday and Saturday nights; sometimes good, sometimes not, but always loud. The drinks are affordable, and if you sit at the bar, the bartenders are usually friendly.
  • The Emerald Club, 415 South 9th Street, 208-342-5446
  • Cambria Suites Boise, 2970 West Elder St, +1 208 344-7444 (+1 208 344-7446) [15]. A completely non-smoking hotel for business travelers located near the Boise Airport and three miles away from Boise State University.
  • The Grove Hotel, 245 S Capitol Blvd, [16]. A part of the Coast Hotels chain, it's probably the highest end hotel in Boise.
  • Hotel 43, 981 Grove St, +1 208 342-4622 (+1 208 344-5751) [17]. A boutique hotel in downtown Boise. Formerly known as Statehouse Inn. Renovated and reopened in winter, 2006.
  • Idaho Heritage Inn Bed & Breakfast, 109 W Idaho, +1 208 342-8066, [18]. Built in 1904, former Governor's mansion, near downtown shops and dining, close to parks and historic district. Rooms $70-85, Suites $99-110. All have private baths and are furnished in turn of the century antiques. Free wifi. Free gourmet breakfast.
  • Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 Grove St, +1 208 424-8244,[19]. Boutique hotel with tiled spa-like bathrooms, 32" flat screen HDTV, free wifi.
  • Les Bois Park Horse Races [20] Get out to see the horse races once in your life. If you're in town during the week, plan for Tuesday, admission is free and over the weekend, races are on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. You can take your family and your kids won't be couped up in a particular seat with no room to move around. You can buy a table in the Turf Club, Clubhouse or Patio and eat restaurant quality food (each also has a bar) or you can hang out in the grandstands or underneath for more economical concessions food. You can visit the paddock area, the apron, the finish line and even the betting windows if you think you can pick a winner. There is a lot of room to move around and usually eight different races to watch. The ticket sellers are pretty good at helping you through your first bet, but buy a program, that's where the info is.
Routes through Boise
PendletonLa Grande  w noframe E  Mountain HomeTwin Falls
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOISE, a city and the county-seat of Ada county, Idaho, U.S.A., and the capital of the state, situated on the N. side of the Boise river, in the S.W. part of the state, at an altitude of about 2700 ft. Pop. (1880) 1899; (1890) 2311; (1900) 5957. It is served by the Oregon Short Line railway, being the terminus of a branch connecting with the main line at Nampa, about 20 m. W.; and by electric lines connecting with Caldwell and Nampa. The principal buildings are the state capitol, the United States assay office, a Carnegie library, a natatorium, and the Federal building, containing the post office, the United States circuit and district court rooms, and a U.S. land office. Boise is the seat of the state school for the deaf and blind (1906), and just outside the city limits are the state soldiers' home and the state penitentiary. About 2 m. from the city are Federal barracks. Hot water (175° F.) from artesian wells near the city is utilized for the natatorium and to heat many residences and public buildings. The Boise valley is an excellent country for raising apples, prunes and other fruits. The manufactured products of the city are such as are demanded by a mining country, principally lumber, flour and machine-shop products. Boise is the trade centre of the surrounding fruit-growing, agricultural and mining country, and is an important wool market. The oldest settlement in the vicinity was made by the Hudson's Bay Fur Company on the west side of the Boise river, before 1860; the present city, chartered in 1864, dates from 1863. After 1900 the city grew very rapidly, principally owing to the great irrigation schemes in southern Idaho; the water for the immense Boise-Payette irrigation system is taken from the Boise, 8 m. above the city. (See IDAHO.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. The capital of the US state of Idaho


  • Anagrams of beios
  • biose


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
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