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11 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho Falls, ID

Written by Brittany Slagle

Idaho Falls is a beautiful city in eastern Idaho, located along the Snake River at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. With its affordable cost of living, low crime rates, and abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, Idaho Falls has become a destination to look out for. 

If you’re considering a move to this charming city, there are a few key things you’ll want to know first. From its four distinct seasons to its close-knit community vibe, Idaho Falls has a lot to offer prospective residents. Keep reading for 11 essential tips to help you decide if Idaho Falls is the right fit for you and your family.

1. Idaho Falls has a lower-than-average cost of living

Known for its picture-perfect scenery, Idaho Falls offers an attractive cost of living that is 7% lower than the national average, making it a desirable option for those seeking to cut expenses without compromising their standard of living. 

Housing in Idaho Falls is very affordable, with median home prices at $359,816 and average monthly rents around $1,250. For example, 1-2 bedroom apartments typically range from $870-$1,100 per month. Larger 3-4 bedroom homes rent for $1,500-$2,100 depending on location, with prices in southern Idaho Falls generally higher than in the north. 

Monthly utilities in Idaho Falls average about $149.41, though this can fluctuate based on factors like home size and winter weather. The city’s cold winters may cause energy bills to rise during this season. Overall, Idaho Falls provides an excellent value for your dollar.

2. The city is home to the University of Idaho and Idaho State University

Idaho Falls provides an array of high-quality educational opportunities for students of all ages. The city’s public school system includes top-ranked institutions such as Taylor’s Crossing Charter School, Compass Academy, and American Heritage Charter School. 

For those interested in private education, Idaho Falls has excellent options like Watersprings School, Holy Rosary Catholic School, and Hope Lutheran School. Each private school has its tuition structure.  

Beyond K-12 schools, Idaho Falls offers local higher education through the University of Idaho’s Idaho Falls campus and Idaho State University’s Idaho Falls campus. These universities give graduating high school students convenient access to continue their studies close to home. Both schools provide different academic programs and tuition options to choose from.

With top-notch public, private, and higher education establishments, Idaho Falls has something for learners at every stage. The educational opportunities available make it easy for families to find the right fit for their needs and budget.

3. You’ll need a car to get around

Idaho Falls lacks a robust public transportation system, so having a personal vehicle is a necessity for most residents. While the overall cost of transportation in Idaho Falls tops the national average by 20%, fuel prices provide a bright spot. At around $3.16 per gallon, gas is relatively inexpensive compared to many other cities. 

Driving remains the most practical and cost-effective way to get around Idaho Falls, as the limited public transit options leave people reliant on private cars and trucks to handle their daily travel needs. Thankfully, the lower gas prices take some of the sting out of the higher transportation costs arising from this car dependence.

4. Take in the arts and culture at the Museum of Idaho or 

For a family-friendly activity that is equal parts educational and entertaining, look no further than the Museum of Idaho. With open hours from 10 am-6 pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 1 pm-5 pm on Sundays, the museum provides ample opportunity for discovery. 

The current exhibits cover diverse topics which are sure to pique the curiosity of visitors. Kids can let their imaginations run wild in the Discovery Room, full of hands-on activities like climbing faux mountains and crawling through pretend caves.

When you feel your weekends need more local culture and entertainment, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho offers a more relaxed, arts-focused experience. Free entry on the first Saturday monthly makes enjoying the arts easy on your wallet.

Between the exhibits, activities, and pricing, Idaho Falls museums create accessible learning adventures for families looking to turn boring Saturdays into engaging days.

5. Have fun with the kids at The Zoo at Tautphaus Park or Wes Deist Aquatic Center

Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy exploring the diverse exhibits at The Zoo at Tautphaus Park. This zoo has 5 main exhibits featuring favorite creatures from around the globe, plus a kid’s area for interacting with farm animals. 

See African lions, zebras, and more in one exhibit. There are also snow leopards and sloth bears from Asia. Additional exhibits showcase animals from North America, South America, Australia, and New Guinea.

For aquatic fun, check out the Wes Deist Aquatic Center.  The center provides swim lessons for children 6 months to 12 years old and aquatic fitness classes for adults at a reduced price. 

Between its interactive zoo exhibits and flexible aquatic center access, families have plenty of options for affordable animal encounters and water activities in Idaho Falls.

6. An outdoor lover’s paradise

Idaho Falls is a gateway to adventure, located less than two hours from two iconic National Parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. 

With around 12 million acres of public land managed by the BLM, outdoor enthusiasts have access to a plethora of activities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, boating, and off-roading. State parks like Craters of the Moon, Harriman, and Bear Lake offer stunning views and exciting adventures, making Idaho Falls a paradise for nature lovers.

7. Find work in sectors like education, retail, agriculture, or tourism

Idaho Falls boasts a vibrant local retail and dining scene, complemented by a variety of popular chain franchises, highlighting the city’s thriving economy. The education, retail, agriculture, tourism, and healthcare industries are major employers.

Idaho Falls is home to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), a leading nuclear research facility in the United States. The nuclear energy sector, including research, development, and related industries, is a significant contributor to the local economy. Agriculture is equally a major industry in Idaho Falls and the surrounding region. The area is known for its potato production but also grows other crops such as wheat, barley, and sugar beets.

The proximity to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as other recreational areas, has made tourism an important industry in Idaho Falls. The city attracts visitors year-round who come to explore the natural beauty of the region.

The city’s economic prowess was nationally recognized by the Milken Institute, which ranked Idaho Falls as the top-performing “Small City” in 2021. This accolade reflects the city’s impressive job creation, wage gains, and GDP growth. With its strong economy and abundant opportunities, Idaho Falls is a compelling choice for anyone considering relocation, promising continued growth and prosperity.

8. An idyllic town with welcoming locals

Despite its many attractions, Idaho Falls retains a cozy small-town atmosphere. You can drive across the entire city in around 20 minutes, keeping commutes short for work, dining, and shopping. There are weekly craft fairs, fundraisers, and local events that unite the community and nurture its small-town culture. 

The people of Idaho Falls are famously friendly. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms into this tight-knit community where neighbors support each other through volunteering and acts of service. Combined with the area’s idyllic natural beauty, the city’s greatest assets are its warm residents.

If you’re seeking an affordable, thriving city with big-city amenities but small-town charm, where you can easily access the great outdoors, shops, restaurants, and jobs, Idaho Falls checks all the boxes. The city offers the best of both worlds – vibrant growth and a quaint vibe. 

9. Many residents own guns

Gun ownership is widespread in Idaho, with estimates showing over half of households possess firearms. Of course, Idaho Falls is not left out. At around 57.8%, Idaho has the 4th highest gun ownership rate among all 50 states according to the RAND Corporation.

The state is known for having some of the most lenient gun laws in the nation. This combination of high ownership and lax regulations contributes to concerning issues like elevated gun suicide rates. Idaho’s gun culture is among the most prevalent, with firearms deeply ingrained in many residents’ lives. As a newcomer to Idaho Falls, you’ll notice guns are a normal part of life.

10. You might run into wildlife

While the environment is scenic, dangers lurk in rural areas surrounding Idaho Falls. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, bats, black widows, and brown recluse spiders are indigenous. 

However, rattlesnake bites are rare, and antivenom makes them less lethal. Still, caution is advised when hiking and in wooded regions.

11. The weather can be extreme

Idaho Falls’ location near the Rocky Mountains makes it prone to gusty winds throughout the year. Packing plenty of warm clothing is a must to prepare for the biting winds and freezing temperatures that often grip the city in the colder months. 

Winters in Idaho Falls are infamously frigid and snowy. Brace yourself for subzero temperatures, icy roads, and regular heavy snowfall from November through March. Locals joke that there are really only two seasons – winter and July.

Even summertime brings extremes, with scorching hot days in the 90s or above.


Idaho Falls is an ideal city for families looking to put down roots. With its wealth of kid-friendly activities, from museums to the breathtaking outdoors, there is always something to do. A major appeal is Idaho Falls’ relatively low cost of living, which falls under the national average. 

However, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable,  you’ll be running into a lot of animals and insects, and almost every local owns a gun. 

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