Discover Retirement in Boise, Idaho: Affordable Living, Outdoor Adventures, and a Warm Community


Boise, Idaho is becoming an increasingly popular choice for retirees due to its affordable cost of living, outdoor recreation opportunities, and welcoming community. With a population of just over 230,000, Boise offers a laid-back, small-town feel with all the amenities of a larger city. In this article, we'll explore what makes Boise a great place to retire, including its recreation activities, culture, and some affordability information.


Recreation Activities 

Boise is known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, making it a great place for active retirees. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and forests, which are perfect for hiking, biking, and fishing. Boise is also home to several parks, including Julia Davis Park and Ann Morrison Park, which offer picnic areas, playgrounds, and walking paths. During the winter months, retirees can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at nearby Bogus Basin Ski Resort.  The Boise Greenbelt is a 25-mile-long paved pathway that runs along the Boise River through the heart of Boise, Idaho. It is a popular recreational area that provides a wide range of activities such as biking, walking, running, rollerblading, and fishing. The Greenbelt was first envisioned in the 1960s to protect the Boise River from development and pollution, and to create a natural and recreational space for the community. It was officially established in 1967 and has since undergone several expansions and improvements. The pathway begins at Lucky Peak Dam in the east and ends at the west end of Eagle Road in the west. Along the way, it passes through several parks, including Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, and Barber Park, and provides access to numerous other recreational areas. In addition to providing recreational opportunities, the Greenbelt is also an important ecological corridor, providing habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. The Boise River itself is a popular fishing spot for rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and other species. 


Despite its small size, Boise has a thriving cultural scene. The city is home to the Boise Art Museum, which features a wide range of contemporary and modern art exhibits. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, held every summer at the Idaho Botanical Garden, is a popular event among locals and visitors alike. Boise has a rich history, which can be explored at the Idaho State Historical Museum. Boise offers a growing restaurant scene as well. Boise’s restaurant scene offers a range of cuisines, from traditional American fare to international dishes. There are also several farm-to-table restaurants that source their ingredients locally, taking advantage of the abundant fresh produce and meats available in the surrounding area. Many of the restaurants in Boise offer craft cocktails, locally brewed beers, and extensive wine lists. Some of the popular restaurants in Boise include The Modern Hotel and Bar, a converted motor inn that offers a locally sourced, seasonal menu; Fork, a restaurant that focuses on comfort food with a twist; and Bittercreek Alehouse, which serves locally sourced, sustainable pub fare and an extensive selection of craft beers. Additionally, the city hosts several food-related events throughout the year, such as the Boise Farmers Market, the Boise Food Truck Rally, and the Treefort Music Fest, which features a variety of food vendors. Overall, Boise’s growing restaurant scene has made the city a destination for foodies and culinary enthusiasts.  

Retiree Tax Information/Cost of Living 

One of the main benefits of retiring in Boise is its favorable tax environment for retirees. Idaho is generally considered to be a tax-friendly state for retirees. Here is some information on Idaho retiree tax: 

  1. Social Security benefits: Social Security benefits are not taxed by the state of Idaho
  1. Pension income: Pension income is partially taxed in Idaho. Retirees can exclude up to $41,866 of pension income from their state income taxes if they are 65 or older. The exclusion is reduced if the retiree’s income exceeds a certain level. 
  1. 401(k) and IRA withdrawals: Idaho follows federal tax laws regarding 401(k) and IRA. withdrawals. Therefore, withdrawals from these accounts are subject to federal income tax, but not state income tax. 
  1. Property taxes: Property taxes in Idaho are relatively low, which can be beneficial for retirees who own their homes. Idaho has a homeowner’s exemption that provides a reduction in property taxes for those who qualify. 
  1. Sales taxes: Idaho’s sales tax rate is 6%. Food and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax. 

It’s important to note that tax laws can be complex and subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional for specific advice and guidance.  

The cost of living in Boise is relatively affordable compared to other major U.S. cities. According to Numbeo, a website that tracks cost of living data, the cost-of-living index in Boise is 60.34, which is much lower than the U.S. average of 100. 

Overall, Boise, Idaho offers a compelling retirement destination for those seeking an affordable cost of living, outdoor adventures, and a warm community. With its affordability, recreational opportunities, cultural offerings, and retiree-friendly tax environment, Boise, Idaho presents an attractive choice for retirees seeking a fulfilling and enriching retirement lifestyle. 

Eric Udvari

Eric is a Wealth Manager who leads our Boise, Idaho branch.


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