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Where We Are

photo of bicyclist in foothills

Consistently ranked in “Best Places” lists, the City of Trees combines a small-town feel with big city excitement. Surrounded by mountains with a river that cuts right through campus, Boise is a safe city with an affordable cost of living, a thriving local arts community and a burgeoning cluster of high-tech start-ups.

Read FAQs About What Makes Boise Great

Boise is a Best Place for:

  • Top Three for Outdoor Adventure (Outbound)
  • “Healthiest Cities” (Women’s/Men’s Health)
  • “Raising a Family” (Forbes)
  • “Safest Places to Live” (Business Insider)

  • “Top 10 Places to Live” (Relocate America)
  • “Top 10 Downtowns in America” (
  • “Best River Towns” (Outside)
  • “Hottest Music Cities in America” (The Atlantic)

Idaho and the Treasure Valley as a Learning Laboratory

Boise State University’s metropolitan location provides an excellent teaching laboratory for applied learning.  Boise and much of Idaho has experienced a population boom in the past 30 years. The Treasure Valley now has half of the state’s population, and the Boise-Nampa-Caldwell Metropolitan Statistical Area has grown from about 150,000 to 640,000 between 1980 and 2016.

Boise State University’s proximity to the state capitol and its location in one of the fastest growing regions in the West provides important opportunities for educators to make use of experiential learning, whereby students apply the skills and practices learned in the classroom to real world situations.

Idaho is often labeled a rural state because of its vast open space, agricultural and forestry industries, and overall low population density, however, it is largely urban when considering demographics and economic activity: about 1.45 million or 87% of Idaho’s estimated 1.67 million residents live in designated urban areas.  Approximately 1.2 million or 72% of the state’s population live in the metropolitan areas of Boise-Nampa, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Pocatello, and Lewiston. An additional 200,000 people live in the micropolitan areas of Blackfoot, Rexburg, Burley, Moscow, and Mountain Home.  There are also several cross-border urban areas in the state—roughly 50,000 Idahoans live in Payette, Franklin, and Teton Counties, which are part of the Ontario, OR, Logan, UT, and Jackson, WY urban regions.

photo of student taking selfie in Freak Alley

Discover why Boise State is the Place to Be