I came across an article on boisestatepublicradio.orgthat had asked the question: what are the best and worst things in Boise? If you live in Boise or are thinking of moving to Boise you probably know that weʼve made quite a few Top Ten Lists. Weʼve been voted as one of the best downtowns,best places to retire, best places to raise a family and even best place for asthmatics (good to know right?) The article put a positive spin on my favorite city which was all good for me. Then I started reading the comments people had left about the article. Good feeling gone. People had some negative things to say and Iʼll tell you the truth they were hard for me to read!
I grew up in Boise and graduated from Boise High School and Boise State. I now live on the “other side of town” you know the side with all the evil big box stores and lots of thirty-somethings with kids. I love both sides! I know living in Meridian or Eagle is hard to understand for my parents and in-laws that live near downtown Boise and it takes a small miracle for them to venture my way. But Iʼll tell you why I love it all. This is me- my opinion, my observations, my likes and dislikes but this is my blog so what do you expect?
Boise has a place for everyone. There are several different “sides of town” and I think all in all we compliment each other and everybody gets along. First there is what us locals call “ Boise Boise” this is living off of Boise Avenue or the North end, East end or downtown. This area is great. Boise Original. Many people that live here are natives. Born and raised. My father in law for instance attended Borah High. Moved away for nearly twenty years, raised a family, had a career he moved back to “Boise Boise” when the time was right. Heʼs got the Boise river running through his neighborhood. Heʼs got the Downtown YMCA where he is a part of the Triathlon club. Heʼs got the farmerʼs market all summer where he can carry his reusable- recyclable bag and buy local organic goods and walk around sipping his locally brewed beverage of choice. Heʼs an empty nester and this side of town suites him just great. He loves to visit Portland and New York and other places but when it comes to where he wants to live?……..Boise no question.
Ok- so now for the “other side”. Weʼre talking West Boise, Meridian, Eagle etc. This is where some people get a little revved up. This is where Big Box has stepped in and “ruined” things (According to some comments I read). Let me tell you- as a young newlywed I moved out this way because of great neighborhoods, newer homes and I’ll just admit it, my wife wanted to. I thought for sure Iʼd move back to Boise Boise as soon as I could. Then things started happening. Restaurants started opening, new shopping was popping up, my daughter started meeting kids her own age… and guess what? I canʼt move! I love this side of town. I have everything I need right where I live. My neighborhood has a ﬁtness center and pool and my “side of town” has everything Iʼm looking for. But I also love to go downtown and use the greenbelt and local shops any chance I get.
Iʼm not going to say that Boise is for everyone. No town is for everyone- obviously. I just think that Boise has a little bit of small town feel and a little bit of big town feel. Itʼs a University town, it has outdoor activities for everyone and even cool things like the Shakespeare festival. It doesnʼt have things like expansive city transit or world renowned art museums. But I think it more than makes up for that in so many other ways.
If youʼre looking to relocate or your company is asking you to move to Boise and you had to look it up on a map to ﬁgure out where it was- Iʼm telling you, take a trip out here. See what the town has to offer. Have an open mind. Know ahead of time that you arenʼt going to Seattle (it rains there) or Portland (did you know they have a big problem with vagrancy?) or LA (You can drive from one side of Idaho to the other before you could get through LA trafﬁc on a Friday) Youʼre coming to Boise- a town that, in my humble unbiased opinion, is unlike any other town in the Country. Itʼs unique, itʼs a great place to live, a place where I chose to start a family and a business. Itʼs treated me well and I think itʼll treat you well too.