1. Boiseans Like To Keep Things Weird
Maybe not quite as weird as the unicyclers and jugglers of Portland or the rogue graffiti artists of Austin, but Boise has plenty of oddball cultural traditions of its own.
Downtown, between Bannock St. and Idaho St. you’ll find the aptly-named Freak Alley, a massive mural featuring everything from Chinese ideograms to visions of dinosaurs and aliens. Boise is also home to a team of yarn bombers, known for lighting up some dreary public places by hitting it with brightly-colored, knit graffiti.
For Boiseans, when it comes to public displays of art and individuality, the stranger the better.
2. Boiseans Are Immune to the “Northwest Freeze”
Seattle and Portland are known for great food, quality of life and culture, but not necessarily being the smiliest, most welcoming of folks, hence, what’s known as the “Seattle Freeze,” occasionally referred to as the “Northwest Freeze,” for those looking to cast the net on Portland too.
But you’ll find no such pretense in Boise, where locals are notoriously friendly, smiley, jovial, and any other superlative you want to toss in their direction when it comes to being pleasant to interact with. And why shouldn’t they be? They wake up to picaresque views, get an endorphin boost by staying active and, in general, are part of a city that has been pretty much killing it over the last ten years.
3. But Boiseans Would Push Down You And Your Grandmother To Get To The Broncos Game On Time
When it comes to big-time sports the Boise Broncos football squad is pretty much the only game in town. The closest professional sports franchise is a five hour drive away in Salt Lake City. NFL and MLB? Forget about it. Seven-and-a-half hours to Seattle. But if you’re going have just one major sports attraction, the Broncos are a pretty good bet, with a whopping nine top 25 finishes over the last twelve years.
For Boise folks, Saturdays are reserved for either being glued to a TV or heading to Boise State’s’ notoriously blue football field. In the offseason, signing days, pro departures, and coaching changes are scrutinized in the local media and in conversations to the point of near-absurdity.
4. Boiseans Secretly Think They’re Better Than The Rest Of Idaho
Being the kind and modest folks they generally are, they’ll never actually say it, but most Boiseans would couldn’t possibly imagine living anywhere else in their state. And they won’t admit it it, but they swoon every time they see their city pop up on countrywide top ten list, which lately, seems to happen non-stop.
They prize their ability to live in a thriving cultural center with ridiculous outdoors access, and while the rest of the state is just as beautiful as the Boise area, you couldn’t apply the adjective “booming” to very many, if any, of them. For transplants and natives alike, Idaho is Boise or bust.
5. Boiseans Are Fitter Than You
People from Boise are probably in much better shape than you. Don’t feel bad though: they’re fitter than pretty much everybody. In the past, Boise has been named by various publications as the “Fittest Town of the West,” and one of America’s “Healthiest” and “Longest Living” cities.
While in most places things like rock climbing, cycling, hiking, and paddling are reserved for that one friend that makes you feel terrible about your activity level, Boise is full of those kinds of people. Boise is the impossibly fit and active friend of American cities.
6. Boiseans Are Secret Music Snobs
No one holds Boise to the same reputation as, say Brooklyn, Austin, or Seattle when it comes to taking tunes crazy seriously, but Boiseans have all the necessary credentials.
They have Treefort, their very own grassroots indie festival featuring namecheck-cred bands like of Montreal alongside top huge Boise-based acts like Youth Lagoon and Built to Spill. They have their own mega-cool independent music store in Record Exchange. Add in the city’s annual Record Show and Swap, and you have the makings of a pretty serious music scene on the verge of reaching “major music destination” status.
Because they’re generally friendly folks, Boiseans will smile at you while you list off your favorite bands, but deep down, there will be a smidge of judgement.
7. Boiseans’ Favorite Summer Pastime Is Complaining About The Heat
Despite its northern location on the U.S. map, Boise summers are bigtime cookers, with few clouds so then sun just keeps. on. pounding. Thermometers regularly hover around 90 degrees.
The only thing you’ll notice more than how gross and sticky you are after an hour outside is how frequently Boiseans like to bring up the weather in conversation. Almost every interaction will start with “Can you believe this heat?” “Man, it’s a hot one,” or something along similar lines. It’s as if Boise folks haven’t been bred for this kind of weather and aren’t willing to accept it.
8. Boiseans Are Just A Little Bit Protective Of Their City
You could forgive Boise natives for being a little protective of their once humbly-populated city. In 1960, Boise was a baby of a city, with a population of barely 34,000, but has exploded over the past fifty-some years to about 215,000—over 615,000 if you count the entire Boise Metropolitan Area.
In particular, Californians who’ved move to the city have drawn some ire of lifelong Boiseans, who are usually not interested in seeing their city grow any larger than it already has. Although, as Boiseans are slowly becoming more comfortable with the idea of their city being a major economic and population center, the “leave us be” attitude has eroded just a bit.
9. Boiseans Are Real Environmentalists
No, they’re not the kind of people that will give you a dirty look if you don’t know the difference between the “recycling bin” and the “compost bin.” They’re the kind of people who are legitimately interested in preserving the natural beauty of their area. And in Boise, there’s a lot of natural beauty to take care of.
In addition to respecting the mountains and trails outside the city, the mentality extends to day-to-die life. While throwing trash directly on city streets is common practice in lots of urban areas around the country (I’m looking at you, New York), even in the most densely populated areas, Boiseans keep the streets and parks looking pretty much immaculate.
10. Boiseans Are Outdoor Lovers To The Extreme
If you live in Boise and you’re not occasionally breathing in mountain air, putting your feet in a body of water, or just generally admiring the look of a big-city skyline set against the American Northwest landscape, you’re doing it wrong.
In fact, some people move to and live in Boise for that very reason. It’s one of the best places in America to be outside, and Boiseans take full advantage of that fact as much as humanly possible.
Did we miss anything? Tell us what you think of Boise in the comments below!