The name Boise comes from the French word boisé, which means "wooded." Boise is the Ada County's county seat, and the most populous city of Idaho. As of the 2006 census, the metropolitan area alone is estimated to have 635,450 inhabitants. Boise is usually the recipient of national recognition for it's life and business climates. They have received recognition for the 'best places for business and careers' by Forbes Magazine, 'hottest cites for entrepreneurs (ranked 9th in overall mid-size cities) by Inc.com in 2007, and ranked 1st in 'secure places to live' by Farmer's Insurance in 2006. Several major companies are housed within Boise, such as Hewlett Packard's printer division, WinCo Foods, and Micron Technology.
The different sections of Boise include: Downtown Boise, The North End, Southwest Boise, Northwest Boise, Warm Springs, East End, Southeast Boise, The Boise Bench, and West Boise. Downtown Boise is known as the cultural center, and is also home to many high-rises and small businesses. This area also supports a lively night life, and is home to several restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The North End contains many of Boise's older homes, and is known for the quiet neighborhoods near the downtown area. Southwest Boise contains neighborhoods built from the 1960's to the 1980's. In this area, it is not uncommon to see the occasional pasture and farmhouse. The Northwest area of Boise lies against the Boise foothills to the north, the city of Eagle to the west, State Street to the south, and Downtown Boise to the east. Within this area is a mix of new and old neighborhoods, one of which is the acclaimed Lakeharbor, which surrounds Silver Lake. Warm Springs contains some of Boise's largest and most expensive homes, and is centered around the tree-lined Warm Springs Avenue. The name of Warm Springs come from the natural hot springs which flow from Boise's fault line. Formerly known as Barber Town, the East End of Boise features a hotel with hot springs settled into the foothills. Today it features new residential developments. Between Federal Way and the Boise river spans South East Boise. This area includes mainly suburban style homes, and the subdivision is located at the intersections of Interstate 84, Idaho 21, and Federal Way (former US Highway), which are all major highways to get anywhere in Boise.
Several options for recreation are available in Boise. In addition to hiking and biking in the foothills to the immediate north of the downtown area, there is also a zoo located in Julia Davis Park, cross-country, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing are available at Bogus Basin Mountain Resort, located just sixteen miles outside the city limits, for those who like wintry activites. The Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts is located at the Boise State University, and is used for local and national fine arts performances. For sports fans, there is the 30,000 seat Bronco Stadium, and the 12,000 seat Taco Bell Arena. Also located outside the city limits is the World Center for Birds of Prey, which is currently engaged in breeding the rare California Condor, and also plays a key part in the re-establishment of the Peregrine Falcon, and it's removal from the endangered species list.