In its early days, Boise was a supply and service center for nearby mining camps. Today, it’s a hub for smaller towns and agricultural establishments that dot the northern Rockies. Farming and timber were early drivers of the Boise economy, while the high-tech industry has come on strong in recent years. Education, healthcare, and government are also crucial sectors. Call centers employ 7,000-plus in the city.
Although Boise mostly flies under the national radar, it’s starting to get its due. Forbes put the Idaho capital on its Best Places for Business and Careers list. Boise is often singled out for its low cost of living, access to outdoor recreation, and high livability for families and retirees alike. Not to mention, Boise is a pleasant place to do business.
“People in Boise are very accommodating and kind,” says Sarah M. Anderson, a Western Washington native and attorney in Boise with Vial Fotheringham LLP. “If you ever have a question about anything, just ask.”
Have some business in Boise? This guide will make your trip to the City of Trees a breeze.
PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES
Unless you’re up for a 500-mile drive, take to the skies and fly into Boise Airport (BOI). Alaska Airlines offers several nonstop flights a day. “Boise Airport has (been recognized) for its efficiency and few flight delays,” Anderson says. “It is small and easy to navigate. The airport also offers free Wi-Fi and a TSA PreCheck line. When flying out of the Boise airport, I’m usually through security within five minutes.”
Once on the ground, most business travelers rent a car, but ridesharing app Uber was introduced in Boise last year, so that also is an option. If you are driving, the first hour of parking is free in city-run parking garages.
THE POWER LUNCH
Business conversations are nicer when you’re sitting at a handcrafted juniper-wood table surrounded by brick walls and high windows. Find all that — plus ingredients from local farmers and growers — at Juniper. Two blocks away, The Dish serves creative meals in a fun, modern atmosphere. Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria (which prides itself on 800-degree wood-burning ovens from Naples) and Fork are favorites of Anderson’s.
GET SOME SLEEP
The boutique Hotel 43, conveniently located next to the city’s largest convention center, is designed for business travelers. Amenities include 24-hour business and fitness centers, complimentary airport shuttle service, complimentary Wi-Fi, dry cleaning services, free shoe shines, and an Arts Passport that includes admission to the Boise Art Museum and discounted entry to various performances around town. The attached Chandlers Steakhouse and Martini Bar is worth checking out in the evening. “Chandlers is an ideal spot for wining and dining clients and business associates,” Anderson says. “They have a great drink selection, fantastic food, and live jazz music.”
OFF THE CLOCK
History buffs might want to take a self-guided tour of the Idaho State Capitol building, the only one in the United States with geothermal heating. Music enthusiasts won’t want to miss The Record Exchange, Idaho’s largest independent music store, replete with hard-to-find eclectic choices. For craft cocktails, Red Feather Lounge has an extensive list. For sports fans visiting in the fall, a Boise State University football game at Albertsons Stadium is a sight to be seen. “Experiencing the tailgating at the stadium and the blue ‘Smurf Turf’ in person is a unique experience,” Anderson says. Or get a workout of your own along the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile, tree-lined pathway right through the heart of the city.