The Revamped Rocky Mountain City
A longtime dream destination for would-be river guides, this city of 208,000 now offers something else, as well: a real city. Playtime happens outdoors, but a newly robust economy, driven by employers like Hewlett-Packard and Micron Technology, has spawned the same amenities found in places much larger. And with a median home price of about $209,000, you don't have to mortgage your future to enjoy it.
My Town: Mike Francis, 31, founder of Payette Brewing
"I grew up in Boise but wound up living in Seattle working at Boeing as an industrial engineer. But Seattle startedto feel developed and expensive. So in 2009, I moved home to make beer. I found that downtown had been transformed by cool businesses: fancy cafes, yoga studios, and organic restaurants. The Boise River cuts right through town; grab an inner tube and you're floating through the wilderness. There's an incredible trail system. I start my day up in the foothills, then drive to the brewery. I often complain that I never get to listen to sports radio because my commute lasts as long as a commercial. There's always the fear about living in a small town. While Boise is small enough to run into people you know, you're still always meeting new people."