What makes a livable city? Culture? Theater? Orchestra? Ballet? Shakespeare? Museums? Outdoor recreation? Yes to all, but what I discovered in Boise, Idaho’s capital city, wasn’t its sleepy town reputation, but a big little city sculpted on the family model.
Published on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 09:18
Written by Traveling Grandmom
Located in Northwestern U.S., Boise is nestled along the river with the desert in the foreground and the Rocky Mountains in the horizon. Its one of those iconic destinations that allow you to enjoy urban amenities with a small town attitude, from its renowned Idaho Shakespeare Festival to frothy brew pubs to biking the Greenbelt, crafted along the banks of the Boise River.
In downtown Boise, families make the city a fun place to live, even in the heat of summer, with many affordable (often free) activities. Families laughing and kids splashing in the fountains. (Picture top left: Family fun at Boise's Alive at Five Photo © Diana Rowe) Cold drinks and vendors serving up burgers, brats, beer, and ice cream. Live music with dancers of all ages, toddlers to senior citizens. Enter in Alive after Five.
This family-friendly free event takes place every Wednesday evening (June through September-ish) near the Boise Centre, in what the locals call the “Grove.” The town literally comes “alive after five,” with families bringing chairs, coolers – and their swimsuits. Kids of all ages take a break from the hot summer sun by cooling off in the centerpiece of the grove, the fountain. Colorful oversized umbrellas shade the vendor and delicious food booths from the heat that few seem to mind, even when temps hover near the 100s.
Then the music begins, and the attention turns toward the stage. It’s a delightful opportunity for people watching, when toddlers dance with their dads and senior citizens strut their stuff. Or if you’re one of those whose shoes can’t resist the beat, the concert series offers music to tempt you.
Yet outside the city limits of Boise, less than 30 minutes away, travelers can enjoy the open road and amazing scenery from orchards and vineyards to biking and hiking trails. But that, my friends, is a story for another day. (Click here for more about Boise's possibilities.) Downtown Boise has become a community that families can’t resist, and I think that’s what makes this city livable.
What makes your city livable and family friendly?