Best Places To Live in Idaho: Top 5 Cities Most Recommended By Experts

Wide open spaces. Stunning wildlife. Economic opportunities. The Gem State ranks fifth best state to live in 2023 according to World Population Review. A fast-growing state with low crime and relatively low cost of living, all tied up in a gorgeous package, Idaho has a lot to offer. Thinking about making a move to the spud state? Check out our list of the top five best places to live in Idaho, according to 15 experts!

Following the pandemic, Americans have begun to rethink where they live and work. More remote job opportunities offer more options to live wherever you want. One survey shows that 18 percent of those who now live in a rural setting made their move from the city since the start of the pandemic. Two-thirds of respondents are also making an effort to live more sustainably, perhaps by raising chickens or planting a garden. Another study finds that three in five Americans transitioned from “indoor” to “outdoor” people as a result of the pandemic. Idaho is an ideal choice for rural living and outdoor recreation.

Idaho’s 27 state parks — including Bear Lake, the “Caribbean of the Rockies” — and seven national park sites (parks, reserves, historic sites and monuments) provide abundant opportunities to explore and discover all that nature has to offer. We all know getting outside is good for us. And the main reason we are likely to cite is exercise. But the positive effects of the great outdoors extend to many other facets of our health, from lowering stress to healthier eating, better sleep, and even improved work productivity.

With one of the best state economies, low taxes and high projected job growth rate, economic opportunities in Idaho abound. Plus, when you work and live in Idaho, you are surrounded by beautiful scenery and immersed in a slower pace of life. This majestic state is a great place for a fresh start. Below is our list of the top five best places to live in Idaho! Have another recommendation? Tell us in the comments!

The List: Best Places To Live in Idaho, According To Experts

1. Boise

Placeaholic finds Boise an easy top. And so do we. It’s recommended by experts 99 percent of the time as one of the best places to live in Idaho! “Renowned as the ‘city of trees,’ it is the state’s capital city, featuring multiple open-air attractions and a fascinating history. Full of local magnetism while having that cosmopolitan vibe, it was founded by fur hunters and quickly developed into a gold mining hotspot. Though it is one of the area’s largest cities, with a population of 229,766, it remains one of the least expensive places to inhabit, as the median home price is $496,900 and the cost of living here is only 3.6% higher than the national norm.”

On Niche’s list, the first 14 are comprised of neighborhoods in Boise. “Living in Boise offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Boise there are a lot of coffee shops and parks. Many families and young professionals live in Boise and residents tend to lean conservative.”

Money touts the city’s prosperity and pleasant pastimes: “Boise’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest of any U.S. metropolitan area, and its potential for prosperity is matched only by its entertainment options. Arts lovers can take a walk through Freak Alley, Boise’s open-air art gallery, visit the Boise Art Museum or attend Boise State University’s Gene Harris Jazz Festival. Got a penchant for history? The Old Idaho Penitentiary Site, the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist are sure to satisfy. For all the naturalists, there’s a world-class botanical garden, plus hiking, biking, swimming and fishing throughout Boise’s many parks and mountain trails. For foodies, check out Boise’s Green Acres Food Truck Park and the iconic Westside Drive-In.”

aerial view of green grass field with hot air balloons
Spirit of Boise Hot Air Balloon Rally (Photo by Bryce Boehler)

2. Moscow

Moscow is a great small-town option, recommended by most experts as one of the best places to live in Idaho. The Crazy Tourist says, “Home to 24,000 people, this small town is cozy and becoming more and more popular with millennials. As with anywhere that millennials adopt as home, we can expect to see a little more development in Moscow in the next decade or so. Although buying property in Moscow is more costly than Boise, it is the median rent that could explain the influx of millennials. With average monthly rent being $800, this is a greatly affordable area for young people starting out in their careers, working their way up the income ladder. Being a college town, Moscow is a diverse and bustling place to live; lots of opportunities to socialize and take up new hobbies.”

“Moscow offers a dense suburban feel, and most residents rent their homes in Moscow. The people are friendly and helpful. As a result, it is one of the best places to live in Idaho for families,” writes Movingist.

Hercules Movers adds, “Living in Moscow is comparably more costly compared to Boise. However, it’s still an affordable area for young families. Moscow has the University of Idaho and New Saint Andrews College in terms of education. There are also many fun places, such as neighborhood parks.”

brown and white concrete building
University of Idaho in Moscow (Photo by Andrew Lang)

3. Meridian

Meridian is the fastest-growing city in Idaho, according to HOMEiA: “Neighboring the city of Boise in Ada County, Meridian is the second largest city in the state of Idaho — and the fastest growing. In fact, thanks to unprecedented growth between 2010 and 2020, Meridian has become one of the ten fastest-growing cities in the United States (source: AP News). This growth is apparent as you travel through Meridian. You will see brand-new subdivisions almost everywhere you look.”

As a result, HomeSnacks says it’s a great place to find work. “You shouldn’t have trouble finding a job in the city ‘Built for business…designed for living’ as the unemployment rate here is the 10th lowest in the state at 3.0%. And after you get your ducks in a row, make sure to leave time for the fun things that Meridian has to offer because we wouldn’t want you to miss out on the annual Meridian Dairy Days Festival or the perfect day spent with the family at Kleiner Park.”

“Violent crime is rare and the drive to work takes under 23 minutes on average. Residents earn the highest median income of any city on our list and they’re also among the most educated. The Meridian Urban Market is a downtown hotspot favored by locals, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants along Main Street. Epi’s, which specializes in authentic Basque cuisine, comes highly rated by residents and visitors alike. If you’re seeking a fresh start in a beautiful and safe setting, Idaho has everything you’re looking for,” asserts CreditDonkey.

lake near park
Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park in Meridian (Photo by Ryan Fish)

4. Idaho Falls

An idealistic spot bisected by the Snake River, Idaho Falls offers all the fishing one could want, plus nearby national parks to explore, and plenty of urban entertainment as well.

Rent says, “World-class trout fishing is just a cast away; the only question is whether you’ll cast from the Snake River banks or float its swift currents. Nearby Blacktail Lake offers fishing, water skiing, wind boarding and other water activities. Just under two hours east of Idaho Falls, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks await…For those who are less adventurous, there is no need to leave the city limits. The Tautphaus Park Zoo is a family-friendly adventure that kids love. You can also catch a game at Melaleuca Field, home to the Idaho Falls Chukars, a member of the Pioneer League, a Major League Baseball partner league. For a more educational entertainment experience, the Museum of Idaho offers new exhibits each year.”

Livability adds, “Local conveniences include Idaho Falls Regional Airport and a University Place campus that offers classes from Idaho State University and University of Idaho.”

It’s an affordable option, too. “A one-bedroom apartment in Idaho Falls runs, on average, $828 per month, making it affordable to live in this bustling city with plenty to do for singles, couples, and families alike,” writes Zumper.

mountain range with sunset
The Tetons Mountain Range (Photo by Nandita Damaraju)

5. Eagle

This charming suburb located in the Boise Foothills north of the city offers comforts and amenities that go above and beyond, making it one of the best places to live in Idaho. “Known for its gorgeous green spaces, immaculate golf courses and even its spas, the somewhat chic suburb is so highly rated due to its outstanding public schools and short commute to the city center. As well as brunch spots and wine bars, it has a swimming beach for locals and visitors to enjoy with Eagle Island State Park offering all kinds of fun recreation activities,” enthuses Touropia.

Chamber of Commerce says this small town is growing, too. “Third on the list is Eagle, a rapidly expanding city of about 28,000 in Ada County. Since 2010, the population of Eagle has increased by at least 31% owing to high economic opportunity, particularly in the business and health care sectors.”

“With a high median household income and elevated housing prices, the area is definitely more on the affluent side. But for that, you get access to a top-ranked school district and all the comforts of suburban living. With Boise just half an hour away, it’s also ideal for commuters,” adds Apartmentguide.

brown wooden house near body of water during sunset
A farm in Eagle (Photo by LeeAnn Cline)

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 


  1. Not sure how old this article is but it definitely needs updated. Rent, wages and cost of living has sky rocketed. No where is rent $800.

  2. For last 14 years Idahoan changes. Turn to angry, Hating new residents and everything new. No job. The best what you can get, it’s stacked produce in Walmart.
    Think many times before moved to Idaho.

    1. You are so right. All these people moving here. All they did was raise the taxable value on every home. Idaho takes advantage of it. They left the homeowners exemption at $125,000, then increased prices of homes from $220,000 to $550,000. So everybody has to pay more taxes. Good luck with not having a foreclosure.

  3. Rigby might be a little town but it is a wonderful place to live, especially in Jefferson county.

  4. There is something wrong here in Idaho. Sorta like a heavy black cloud that suppresses we that grew up here.

  5. Those cities are the most liberal cities in Idaho. They force Wokeness on everyone. Also, those are he cities being over run by CA crazies moving in.

    1. Oh…you’re mad that people accept people for who they are? Lemme guess that you’re a “christian”

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