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Discover the Top 9 Places to Live in Idaho: Your Guide to the Gem State's Best Locations

Beaver dam in Idaho Mountains

When it comes to finding the perfect place to call home, Idaho offers a diverse range of options that cater to various lifestyles and preferences. From bustling cities with a vibrant urban vibe to charming lakeside communities and serene natural escapes, the Gem State has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we'll explore the top 10 places to live in Idaho, each offering a unique blend of modern amenities, natural beauty, and a welcoming community.

The Appeal of Idaho as a Living Destination

Idaho, often referred to as the "Gem State," boasts stunning landscapes, including majestic mountains, picturesque lakes, and lush forests. The state's natural beauty provides endless opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, fishing, and camping. Additionally, Idaho's friendly communities, strong sense of belonging, and a laid-back atmosphere make it an attractive choice for those seeking a slower pace of life without sacrificing modern comforts.

Boise - The Capital City with Urban Charm

Boise, Idaho's capital, is a lively city that harmonizes urban living and natural beauty. Its thriving economy, excellent healthcare, and diverse cultural scene attract young professionals, families, and retirees. The city's highlight is the scenic Boise River Greenbelt, a pathway offering biking, jogging, and leisurely strolls amidst nature. Beyond the city's borders, majestic mountains, lakes, and forests beckon outdoor enthusiasts.

Boise's allure extends to all age groups. Its economy spans various industries, fostering innovation and providing abundant job opportunities. The city's top-notch healthcare facilities ensure quality medical care for residents. Culturally, Boise hosts year-round events and festivals, celebrating arts, music, and diverse heritage.

Boise's green gem, the River Greenbelt, offers a sanctuary for outdoor activities. Beyond the city, an array of natural wonders awaits exploration. Families benefit from excellent schools, parks, and attractions, while retirees enjoy a peaceful, community-oriented environment. Boise's perfect blend of urban vibrancy and natural serenity continues to captivate and welcome all who visit or call it home.

Population: 237,457

Median age: 37.2

Per capita income: $42,814

Median household income: $70,217

Median price homes: $460,200

Coeur d'Alene - A Serene Lakeside Retreat

Nestled in the scenic northern part of Idaho, Coeur d'Alene is a picturesque city renowned for its stunning lake, which shares its name. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene serve as a focal point for the community, offering a host of recreational opportunities and breathtaking vistas. The city's waterfront district is a bustling hub of activity, where residents and visitors alike can explore charming shops, indulge in delectable dining experiences, and unwind in the beautifully landscaped parks that line the lakeshore. Living in Coeur d'Alene means being immersed in natural beauty while enjoying the conveniences of modern urban living.

Water enthusiasts find their haven in Coeur d'Alene, with an abundance of water activities to relish. From boating and fishing to paddleboarding and kayaking, the lake beckons residents to embrace a vibrant and active lifestyle on the water. For golf enthusiasts, Coeur d'Alene boasts world-class golf courses, including the famous floating green at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course, providing an unmatched golfing experience amidst stunning lake and mountain views.

Beyond the lake and recreational amenities, Coeur d'Alene is surrounded by serene nature that invites exploration and relaxation. The nearby Coeur d'Alene National Forest offers a wealth of hiking and biking trails, allowing nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the splendor of lush forests and scenic landscapes. Whether it's a leisurely stroll along the lakefront, a thrilling day on the water, or a peaceful retreat into nature, Coeur d'Alene offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to the preferences of its residents, making it an idyllic and sought-after place to call home.

Population: 53,189

Median age: 38.3

Per capita income: $33,075

Median household income: $59,699

Median price homes: $309,000

Idaho Falls - A Vibrant City with Natural Beauty

Nestled along the picturesque Snake River, Idaho Falls is a vibrant city that thrives on a sense of community. Its welcoming atmosphere is evident in the friendly faces that greet visitors and the active engagement of residents in various local events and activities. The city's downtown area exudes charm and energy, with its bustling streets lined with an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural hotspots. From trendy boutiques to quaint cafes and art galleries, there's something to pique the interest of every visitor, making it an inviting place to explore and call home.

Nature enthusiasts will find themselves in awe of Idaho Falls' proximity to the great outdoors. Within a short drive, residents can immerse themselves in the natural splendor of nearby national parks, such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton. These iconic destinations provide an unforgettable escape into untamed wilderness, offering opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and connecting with the wonders of nature. Closer to home, the Idaho Falls River Walk is a beloved local gem, offering a serene pathway along the riverbanks, where visitors can soak in the breathtaking views of the rushing river and its cascading waterfalls. Whether it's a leisurely stroll, a peaceful spot for reflection, or a gathering place for community events, the River Walk is a cherished feature of life in Idaho Falls.

The city's commitment to preserving its natural heritage is evident in the various parks, green spaces, and recreational areas scattered throughout Idaho Falls. Residents can indulge in outdoor activities like picnicking, biking, or simply enjoying a relaxing afternoon surrounded by the beauty of nature. Additionally, the Snake River itself is a hub for water-based adventures, from fishing and boating to kayaking and paddleboarding, providing endless possibilities for aquatic fun and recreation.

Idaho Falls' unique blend of urban vitality and outdoor allure creates an enriching environment that captivates both residents and visitors. With its strong sense of community, diverse cultural offerings, and abundant opportunities for outdoor exploration, Idaho Falls stands as a beacon of liveliness and natural beauty, inviting all to experience the charm and wonders it has to offer.

Population: 66,895

Median age: 35

Per capita income: $30,537

Median household income: $61,833

Median price homes: $311,100

Sun Valley - A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Nestled in the heart of the Sawtooth National Forest, Sun Valley is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and winter sports lovers alike. As one of the most iconic resort towns in the United States, Sun Valley beckons adventurers year-round with its stunning landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities. During the winter months, skiers and snowboarders flock to its world-class slopes, where pristine powder and breathtaking mountain vistas create an unforgettable winter wonderland. Come summer, hikers and mountain bikers take over the trails, exploring the lush forests and rugged terrain that surround the town. From adrenaline-pumping adventures to serene nature walks, Sun Valley offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.

Beyond its reputation as a winter paradise, Sun Valley also boasts a lively arts and cultural scene. The town is a haven for artists, musicians, and performers, with numerous art galleries, theaters, and live music venues dotting the streets. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local creative community, attending art exhibitions, theater performances, and music festivals that showcase the talents of both local and international artists. Alongside the cultural offerings, Sun Valley's culinary scene is equally enticing, with a wealth of excellent restaurants and eateries that cater to diverse tastes. Whether savoring gourmet cuisine or enjoying a cozy meal in a mountain lodge, food enthusiasts will find themselves delighted by the delectable options available.

For those seeking retail therapy, Sun Valley offers upscale shopping experiences that cater to discerning tastes. The town's boutique stores and specialty shops showcase a curated selection of unique and high-quality items, from fashion and jewelry to home decor and outdoor gear. Whether exploring the charming streets of Ketchum or browsing the boutiques at the Sun Valley Resort, shoppers are sure to find something to treasure and take home as a memento of their Sun Valley experience.

In essence, Sun Valley is a multifaceted gem that captivates visitors with its breathtaking natural beauty, thrilling recreational opportunities, vibrant arts scene, delectable culinary offerings, and upscale shopping experiences. This picturesque resort town has something to offer everyone, making it a dream destination that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of all who visit.

Meridian - Family-Friendly and Growing

Meridian's steady growth as one of Idaho's fastest-growing cities can be attributed to its reputation as a welcoming and family-centric community. The city's commitment to creating a family-friendly atmosphere is evident in the plethora of amenities and activities designed to cater to residents of all ages. Meridian boasts a multitude of well-maintained parks and green spaces, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and family bonding. From playgrounds and sports fields to scenic trails and picnic areas, families can indulge in quality time surrounded by nature's beauty. Moreover, the city's dedication to fostering a strong sense of community is evident through its regular community events, festivals, and celebrations, where neighbors come together to connect and build lasting relationships.

At the heart of Meridian's appeal for families lies its exceptional school system. Renowned for its top-notch schools, Meridian ensures that children receive an excellent education and have access to a diverse range of academic and extracurricular programs. The city's educators are dedicated to nurturing young minds, encouraging creativity, and providing a supportive learning environment. Parents can rest assured that their children are receiving a high-quality education that sets them on a path towards a bright future.

While Meridian enjoys its own family-friendly charm, its proximity to Boise adds an extra layer of allure. Just a short commute away from the state's capital, residents can effortlessly access big-city amenities, entertainment, and cultural attractions. From shopping malls and theaters to museums and art galleries, there is never a shortage of things to do and explore. However, after a day of excitement in Boise, returning to Meridian offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle, allowing families to cherish the quiet suburban lifestyle that the city offers.

Meridian's unique blend of family-friendly amenities, top-notch schools, and easy access to big-city advantages makes it an ideal place for raising a family. The city's continuous growth is a testament to its appeal and commitment to providing a safe, nurturing, and vibrant community for residents to call home.

Population: 125,959

Median age: 39.7

Per capita income: $49,561

Median household income: $88,088

Median price of homes: $448,100

Moscow - A Lively College Town

Nestled in the rolling hills of northern Idaho, Moscow is a dynamic college town that pulses with youthful energy. The presence of the University of Idaho infuses the city with a vibrant and diverse atmosphere, creating a melting pot of cultures and ideas. Students from all walks of life converge in this academic hub, bringing with them a passion for learning, exploration, and creativity. The university's campus, with its picturesque architecture and lively student activities, serves as a focal point for the city's bustling energy.

Beyond its academic allure, Moscow embraces the arts and music with open arms. The city's thriving arts scene showcases the talents of local artists, from galleries and studios to public murals that add splashes of color to the streets. Live music venues and performance spaces cater to music enthusiasts of all genres, fostering a lively nightlife that draws students and residents alike. Whether it's attending concerts, art exhibitions, or poetry slams, Moscow offers a plethora of opportunities for creatives to express themselves and find like-minded souls in the process.

The warm and welcoming local community is a defining aspect of Moscow's charm. Known for its friendly and approachable residents, the city exudes a sense of belonging that makes newcomers feel right at home. The close-knit community fosters a spirit of camaraderie, promoting unity and support among its diverse members. Moscow's commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness is evident through its abundant green spaces, parks, and bike-friendly infrastructure. Residents can enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes, with ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation just a stone's throw away.

Moscow's identity as a lively college town is amplified by the presence of the University of Idaho, infusing the city with youthful exuberance and an intellectual atmosphere. The flourishing arts and music scene, along with the friendly local community and accessible green spaces, contribute to the city's unique and appealing character. Whether you're a student seeking an enriching academic experience, a creative soul looking for artistic inspiration, or a nature lover wanting to immerse yourself in picturesque surroundings, Moscow has something special to offer all who call it home.

Population: 25,336

Median age: 26

Per capita income: $28,075

Median household income: $49,251

Median price of homes: $251,700

Eagle - A Picturesque Suburban Gem

Resting gracefully between the meandering Boise River and the majestic foothills, Eagle is a charming suburban gem that captivates residents with its idyllic setting and serene atmosphere. The city's picturesque landscape and stunning scenery create a tranquil ambiance, providing a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. With an array of beautifully maintained parks, residents can immerse themselves in nature's beauty, enjoying leisurely walks, picnics, and outdoor gatherings amidst the verdant surroundings.

Eagle's commitment to education is evident through its top-rated schools, offering a high standard of learning for students of all ages. Families find solace in the knowledge that their children are receiving quality education in a nurturing environment, fostering their growth and academic success. The city's close-knit community adds to its allure, creating a strong sense of camaraderie and support among its residents. Whether through local events, festivals, or community gatherings, the spirit of togetherness flourishes in Eagle, leaving residents with a profound sense of belonging.

One of Eagle's most alluring features is its abundant access to outdoor activities. The proximity to the Boise River and the foothills offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, and fishing. Adventure seekers and nature lovers alike can revel in the vast expanses of natural beauty that beckon just beyond their doorstep. Whether exploring the serene riverbanks or embarking on exhilarating mountain trails, Eagle provides endless possibilities for those yearning to embrace the great outdoors.

Eagle's blend of small-town charm, stunning scenery, and a strong sense of community make it a sought-after destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Whether relaxing in the tranquility of its parks, cherishing quality education, or venturing into the vast wilderness, Eagle welcomes residents to indulge in a fulfilling and enriching suburban lifestyle.

Population: 29,665

Median age: 45.5

Per capita income: $57,509

Median household income: $99,814

Median price homes: $488,500

Twin Falls - Rich in Scenic Wonders

Named after the magnificent waterfalls that grace the nearby Snake River, Twin Falls is a treasure trove of natural beauty and exciting recreational possibilities. The city's proximity to stunning landscapes, including the iconic Snake River Canyon, invites both visitors and residents to immerse themselves in the splendor of nature. Hiking enthusiasts can venture into the picturesque trails that wind through the canyon, offering panoramic views and unforgettable experiences. The grandeur of Shoshone Falls, often referred to as the "Niagara of the West," further enriches Twin Falls' appeal, providing a breathtaking spectacle that captivates all who witness its majesty.

Beyond its natural allure, Twin Falls boasts a thriving agricultural industry that contributes to the city's unique identity. The fertile lands surrounding the city are dedicated to producing an array of crops, making agriculture an integral part of the local economy. The spirit of community and warmth is evident in the friendly locals who embrace visitors and newcomers alike. Twin Falls' welcoming environment fosters a sense of belonging and creates an inviting atmosphere for those looking to call this scenic city home.

For both adventurous souls and nature enthusiasts, Twin Falls offers a haven of recreational opportunities. Alongside exploring the picturesque landscapes, residents and visitors can indulge in a variety of outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, and picnicking by the river. The city's commitment to preserving its natural beauty ensures that Twin Falls remains a destination of choice for those seeking a harmonious blend of scenic wonders and outdoor adventures.

Twin Falls, named after its breathtaking waterfalls, embraces its natural splendor to offer an array of recreational opportunities. With a thriving agricultural industry and a welcoming community, the city invites residents and visitors to experience the allure of the Snake River Canyon, relish the beauty of Shoshone Falls, and enjoy the endless adventures that await in this captivating corner of Idaho.

Population: 51,223

Median age: 34

Per capita income: $28,045

Median household income: $53,936

Median price homes: $192,900

Sandpoint - A Quaint Lakeside Community

Huddled gracefully along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint is a captivating lakeside community that beckons with its natural beauty and vibrant arts scene. The city's enchanting waterfront, fringed by picturesque views of the lake and surrounding mountains, creates a tranquil ambiance that draws residents and visitors alike. Sandpoint's relaxed atmosphere provides a peaceful escape, making it an idyllic haven for those seeking respite from the busy world.

The city's thriving arts scene is a testament to its creative spirit and cultural richness. Sandpoint serves as a haven for artists of all kinds, attracting painters, sculptors, musicians, and performers who find inspiration in the breathtaking landscapes and serene environment. The local galleries, theaters, and music venues showcase a diverse array of artistic expressions, creating a vibrant cultural hub for the community to revel in.

For nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts, Sandpoint offers an array of outdoor activities to delight in. With Lake Pend Oreille at its doorstep, the city provides endless opportunities for swimming, boating, kayaking, and fishing. The surrounding wilderness and nearby national forests present countless hiking trails and camping sites for those yearning to explore the great outdoors. From thrilling adventures to peaceful moments of reflection amidst nature's splendor, Sandpoint caters to the diverse passions of its residents and visitors, leaving all with cherished memories of this charming lakeside retreat.

Sandpoint's harmonious blend of natural beauty, a thriving arts scene, and an abundance of outdoor activities makes it a true gem on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. The city's allure captivates artists seeking inspiration, nature enthusiasts seeking adventure, and anyone in search of a peaceful lakeside sanctuary. Sandpoint's captivating charm and warm community spirit invite all to embrace the joys of life amidst the splendor of this lakeside paradise.

Population: 8,448

Median age: 40.7

Per capita income: $30,797

Median household income: $53,567

Median price homes: $309,900


Indeed, Idaho is a state of hidden gems, each one boasting its own distinct charm and appeal. For those drawn to the bustling energy of city life, Boise stands as a vibrant urban center with a thriving economy, diverse cultural offerings, and a picturesque riverside Greenbelt. On the other hand, lakeside living enthusiasts find solace in the serene beauty of places like Coeur d'Alene, where the stunning lake and surrounding landscapes create an idyllic retreat. Meanwhile, adventure seekers and nature lovers are enchanted by the abundance of outdoor activities, whether it's exploring the majestic mountains in Sun Valley, wandering through the scenic trails in Twin Falls' Snake River Canyon, or enjoying the peaceful ambiance of Sandpoint on Lake Pend Oreille.


Is Idaho a safe place to live?

Idaho is generally considered safe, with low crime rates compared to many other states. However, like any place, it's essential to exercise common sense and be aware of your surroundings.

What are the primary job opportunities in Idaho?

Idaho's economy is diverse, with job opportunities in industries like agriculture, technology, manufacturing, tourism, and healthcare.

Are there good schools in Idaho?

Yes, Idaho is home to many excellent schools and universities, providing quality education for students of all ages.

Which place in Idaho is best for outdoor enthusiasts?

Sun Valley is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of recreational activities throughout the year.

What makes Coeur d'Alene special?

Coeur d'Alene's stunning lakeside location, coupled with its charming downtown and friendly community, makes it a unique and desirable place to live.


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