Much more than the home of the world’s best potatoes, Idaho is the country’s best-kept secret with its diverse landscape, open spaces and beautiful scenery.

When nature beckons, the Gem State has something for everyone. Here is our list of the best places to live in Idaho.

Boise, ID.

  • Population: 228,959
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: $60,035
  • Average commute time: 18.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 44
  • Studio average rent: $1,143
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,303
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,407

You can’t have a list of the best places to live in Idaho without including Boise.

Idaho’s state capital is a unique mix of rural appeal and big-city convenience. The Boise River Greenbelt runs through downtown and offers a 25-mile peaceful oasis for those looking to escape without leaving the city limits.

The dome of the Idaho State Capitol Building is a must-visit. From its classical architecture exterior that resembles the U.S. Capitol to its internal beauty reminiscent of Michelangelo, this building is one of Boise’s most prominent landmarks.

Come winter, Boise locals flock to the city’s four ski destinations: Brundage Mountain, Bogus Basin, Tamarack Resort and the quaint Little Ski Hill. Skiers of all experience levels will find exactly what they are looking for.

And, don’t worry. When temperatures drop — utilities won’t break the bank as Boise’s utilities are more than 17 percent below the national average.

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, one of the best places to live in idaho

  • Population: 52,414
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: $51,073
  • Average commute time: 17.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 41
  • Studio average rent: $750
  • One-bedroom average rent: $928
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,112

For the past decade, families have flocked to Coeur d’Alene. The schools are some of the best in the state, and the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy has achieved national recognition for its academic rigor.

Coeur d’Alene’s natural beauty offers some of the best outdoor experiences in the country. If you are looking for short hikes, then Tubbs Hill, Mineral Ridge or Canfield Mountain are just minutes away.

So, you want good food? Coeur d’Alene offers world-class cuisine that appeals to everyone’s tastes. Are you looking for a friendly pub atmosphere? Try Capone’s Pub & Grill.

In the mood for the most flavorful, juiciest steak you’ve ever tasted? The Wolf Lodge Inn has you covered.

The Coeur d’Alene Resort offers two fine-dining choices: Dockside (you just have to try the Gooey dessert) and Beverly’s.

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Idaho Falls, ID.

  • Population: 57,161
  • Average age: 39.4
  • Median household income: $69,673
  • Average commute time: 22.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 46
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: N/A

Initially a farming community along the banks of the Snake River, Idaho Falls is now the hub for a variety of cutting-edge businesses and nuclear technology.

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. The splendor of not only one but two national parks at your fingertips makes living in Idaho Falls all the more appealing.

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.

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Lewiston, ID, one of the best places to live in idaho

  • Population: 32,788
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: $56,479
  • Average commute time: 15.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 49
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: N/A

Lewiston is actually the farthest inland western seaport in the United States, sitting on the confluence of two of the nation’s largest rivers, the Snake and the Clearwater.

Another unique feature of Lewiston is that it is the lowest elevation city in the state, about 745 feet above sea level. This means the city’s climate is relatively moderate compared with the rest of the state.

Lewiston is also the gateway to the Hell’s Canyon recreational area, North America’s deepest river gorge, even deeper than the Grand Canyon. World-class whitewater rafting adventures await you as the Snake River carves its way through the famous Seven Devils Mountain range.

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Meridian, ID.

  • Population: 91,635
  • Average age: 39.7
  • Median household income: $86,238
  • Average commute time: 26.3 minutes
  • Walk score: 26
  • Studio average rent: $1,318
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,412
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,438

Meridian is Boise’s little sibling, just a mere 12 miles west of its Ada County counterpart. It boasts close access to Boise’s outdoor activities while offering its own family-enticing appeal.

When the scorching days of summer hit, locals head to the Roaring Springs Waterpark to cool off. But if you are looking for family entertainment without getting soaked, opt for a fun evening at the Meridian Speedway.

The West Ada School District offers a low 20-to-1 student-teacher ratio and is one of the higher-rated districts in Idaho. It offers advanced placement, International Baccalaureate (IB) and gifted programs to ensure all students receive a quality education.

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Moscow, ID, one of the best places to live in idaho

  • Population: 25,702
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: $41,896
  • Average commute time: 15.0 minutes
  • Walk score: 63
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $645
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $833

Home of the University of Idaho, Moscow is a quaint college town with a sense of refinement.

The combination of a buzzing nightlife, youthful spirit and musical and artistic flair makes Moscow one of Idaho’s most unique cities. Don’t miss the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi.

If you are looking to stretch your legs, Moscow has you covered. You can take a peaceful, 1.5-mile stroll in the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Or you can ride the Latah Trail Bike Path between Moscow and the small town of Troy 12 miles away.

Apartment hunting is difficult if you do not time your search properly. Try to avoid moving in the late summer, as you will be jockeying with university students to find your new home.

One last thing: It’s pronounced moss-coh, not moss-cow.

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Nampa, ID.

  • Population: 87,416
  • Average age: 38.4
  • Median household income: $58,171
  • Average commute time: 28.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 32
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $976
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,172

Nampa is another Boise sibling, a mere 20 miles to the west and home to the Ford Idaho Center, a civic auditorium that hosts concerts, truck pulls, rodeos and high school sports championships.

Perhaps one of the most popular attractions in Nampa is the Warhawk Air Museum. The museum pays tribute to all those who have served in the U.S. military from WWI to the war in Iraq.

For families with furry friends, Nampa Dog Park is a fun, safe place to take your pet. If your dog loves water, the pond allows your pet to splash around and swim. Bring your canine’s favorite water toys and play fetch.

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Pocatello, ID, one of the best places to live in idaho

  • Population: 54,691
  • Average age: 38.5
  • Median household income: $63,637
  • Average commute time: 21 minutes
  • Walk score: 51
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $623
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $770

Pocatello — nicknamed the “United States Smile Capital” — focuses on family, education and friendliness, it is an ideal location to start your new life.

Home to Idaho State University, Pocatello has become recognized for its pharmacist program, ranked in the top 60 in the nation in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. ISU also houses the Idaho Museum of Natural History, which focuses on geology and the history of animals, including dinosaurs.

The focus on education trickles down into the local school districts, as Pocatello outperformed state averages in ISAT scores and graduation rates in 2020.

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Post Falls, ID.

  • Population: 30,015
  • Average age: 39.9
  • Median household income: $65,397
  • Average commute time: 25.5 minutes
  • Walk score: 25
  • Studio average rent: $707
  • One-bedroom average rent: $910
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,172

Located just eight miles west of Coeur d’Alene on the Washington border, Post Falls has experienced enormous growth in the past decade. And why not? Its location makes it one of the most desired places to relocate in Idaho.

In addition to all the advantages of its proximity to Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls provides a variety of outdoor adventures for its residents. Q’emiln and Corbin parks allow residents to enjoy the natural beauty of northern Idaho without traveling outside city limits.

Post Falls residents enjoy a lower cost of living than their Washington counterparts, so many residents commute to Spokane to work and play.

When it comes to fine cuisine, no commute is necessary. If you want authentic Mediterranean food, look no further than the famous White House Grill. Your mouth will water as you approach the building; the smell of garlic permeates the air.

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Twin Falls, ID, one of the best places to live in idaho

  • Population: 50,197
  • Average age: N/A
  • Median household income: $50,739
  • Average commute time: 16.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 32
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,072

Nestled in south-central Idaho along the Snake River, Twin Falls is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Locals enjoy the family-friendly hiking and camping opportunities throughout the area. The Snake River Canyon Rim Trail system is especially popular with hikers and bikers, offering stunning views of the Snake River Canyon.

If camping and long hikes aren’t for you, one of the favorite Twin Falls destinations is Shoshone Falls which is actually higher than Niagara Falls. The spectacular views never disappoint.

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Find your own best place to live in Idaho

Idaho is no longer the nation’s best-kept secret. Offering an unmatched combination of scenic beauty, low cost of living and the friendliest folks around, Idaho beckons. Now is the time to find your new home in this beautiful state. So, which of these best places to live in Idaho will you call home in 2021?

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Other demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.



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