The 9 Best Places to Live in Idaho – Southern Idaho Edition

By September 6, 2022 No Comments
Hot air balloons drifting high above a city.

The 9 Best Places to Live in Idaho – Southern Idaho Edition

Idaho is a must-see for outdoor adventurers and foodies, boasting the deepest gorge in North America, over 72 types of precious stones, miles of wilderness, and plenty of potatoes. The state’s many stand-out points have attracted an influx of new residents, making the Gem State one of the fastest-growing states in the country.
If you’re an aspiring future Idahoan looking to move to the potato state, you’ll want to start looking into some of the many cities and towns available. Check out our list of the best places to live in Idaho if you’re interested in moving into the state’s southern portion.


Idaho’s capital city is a versatile area that offers activities for outdoor recreation buffs and city lovers alike. The Boise city center is home to over 80 great restaurants, numerous coffee shops, and bustling nightlife. You can also find the Idaho Museum, a historic botanical garden, and the open-air art gallery Freak Alley within the city limits. Embrace the outdoors and participate in outdoor activities like floating the Boise River, hiking Table Rock, or making the drive to Bogus Basin for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
This major city can also be called a college town due to its proximity to Boise State University, an NCAA D1 school home to 13 sports teams with games year-round. Like many college towns, you can find a diverse community of university students living in and around Boise.

Home values in Boise continue to rise as the area grows, making the median home value $569.9K with a median monthly rent of $1,677. The only drawback to one of the best places to live in Idaho is Boise’s cost of living. At 2% higher than the national average, many people choose to move to other nearby cities.


Idaho’s second-largest city is home to high-performing schools, outdoor activities, and experiences for all ages. Take the family to Roaring Springs Water Park, enjoy races at the Meridian Speedway, and participate in outdoor sports at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park. You can even take your pups to the local dog park!

Similar to Boise, the median home price in Meridian is $572K. The home prices themselves may have raised, but that hasn’t deterred new residents from flocking to this rapidly growing city.


Eagle is home to luxury neighborhoods, a multitude of golf courses, and Eagle Island State Park. The city has seen its job market increase by 3.6% over the past year, and its unemployment rate is below the national average. The city is extremely safe, making it one of the best places to live in Idaho.

The median home price in Eagle is $909K. Even though house prices are higher than in the nearby Boise area, the cost of living remains relatively the same.


Kuna is an area of the Treasure Valley that should not be overlooked. Visit the nearby World Center for Birds of Prey, leisurely stroll down the greenbelt, view petroglyphs at Celebration Park, and enjoy the newly revitalized downtown.
Kuna’s median household income is $68K, which surpasses the median income across the United States. Job opportunities in Kuna continue to rise, with the local economy expecting a boost when Meta’s new data center breaks ground this September. This 3-year project will create 100 permanent jobs and 1,200 construction jobs in the suburban city.

The cost of living in Kuna is fairly low, as the average renter spends less than the national median monthly rent. Sitting at $471K, the median home value in Kuna is also lower than in surrounding areas of the Treasure Valley.


Idaho’s third-largest city boasts good schools, the beautiful Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, and a historic downtown center. Nampa is also home to the Ford Idaho Center, which hosts sporting and entertainment events. See acts ranging from the Snake River Stampede Rodeo to the musical talents of the Backstreet Boys.
Yet another of the college towns in Idaho, Nampa is home to Northwest Nazarene University and the College of Western Idaho. NNU athletes compete in 13 D II sports year-round at the Byron Lee Athletic Complex. While no sports are offered at CWI, they are proud to call themselves the largest community college in the state of Idaho.

Property prices are increasing in Nampa, with the median home price being $437K. Nampa citizens have a median household income of $53K, but the fairly affordable cost of living drives many young professionals and families to the city.

Hidden Gems

Moving to Idaho doesn’t mean that you have to live in one of the bigger cities. In fact, some of the best places to live in Idaho are the small towns that enjoy a close-knit culture. Learn about some of the best small towns in Idaho below. Maybe you’ll find a hidden gem in the Gem State.


Located in the Snake River Wine Valley, Caldwell is a wine tourism destination for wine aficionados and outdoor explorers alike. Take a tour through Idaho’s wine country, explore the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, and seek out the stars at the Whittenberger Planetarium. Babby Farms, a non-profit petting zoo with the goal of giving children and adults with disabilities the ability to interact with a wide range of animals, is also proud to call Caldwell it’s home.

The College of Idaho, the state’s oldest private liberal arts college, also lies within city limits. The college can boast a winning athletics program and a history of successful alumni. Situated between the city and the outdoors, the college is also the proud home of the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History, the premier resource for natural history education in the region.
Housing prices in Caldwell have been rising recently, with the typical home value having grown 10.1% in the past year, averaging out to 425K. However, Caldwell can still show off affordable housing prices, especially for renters. The median monthly rent of a 2-bedroom home or apartment is $997.


Middleton is a small town that offers a suburban and rural living mix. Perfect for families, Middleton offers some of the best schools in the district as well as numerous entertainment opportunities. Enjoy wineries and family-friendly activities like Macpaca Farms. Middleton is also only a short drive away from Idaho’s Halloween destination, The Haunted World.

With a median cost of $435K, homes in Middleton have a comparable affordable cost to other cities. Middleton’s average household income is rising as more people move to one of the best places to live in Idaho.


Just a stone’s throw from Eagle, Star is a small city located at the bottom of the foothills. Fans of small-town living find easy access to outdoor adventures and a close-knit community of like-minded individuals. Enjoy the undeveloped beauty of the riverbanks as you enjoy Star’s Riverwalk Park. Thrill seekers can also find Idaho’s top sky-diving center just north of the city.

Star has a high median household income of $71K and an average home price of $638K. Many of the city’s public schools are also known to have higher test scores than the average Idaho school, making Star a perfect place to raise a family.


The center of Idaho’s cherry-growing industry, Emmett offers a small-town atmosphere and plenty of outdoor recreation activities. The city is home to the region’s longest continually running festival, the Emmett Cherry Festival, hosted every second week of June. The many spectacular views and friendly community make the city one of the best places to live in the Gem State.

Emmett offers affordable living with an average house price of $410K. The residents have an average household income of $39K. The city is also fairly stable in growth, only seeing a small number of new residents each year.

If you’re moving to Southern Idaho and looking for a place to live, DJW Property Management has your back. Our service area covers everywhere from Boise to Emmett, and we strive to provide our tenants with a pleasurable renting experience. Browse available homes on our rental search tool, or give us a call to talk to one of our representatives!