|Boise, Idaho combines small town comforts with big city conveniences, consistently rates among the top U.S. communities to live.
Why? Maybe it’s because residents enjoy four distinct seasons but the weather’s moderate enough to allow an average of 325 golfing days a year. Or maybe it’s our low crime rate, reasonable cost of living, or corporate and individual citizens deeply committed to preserving Boise’s quality of life. Thirty-two neighborhood associations promote that quality in the distinctive neighborhoods that constitute this rapidly growing urban center.
Let’s look at some of those neighborhoods. We’ll start to the east, where you can still see remnants of the Oregon Trail as it headed into the Boise valley. Lucky Peak Reservoir, a major water source and recreational area, lies 10 miles east of Boise. Near it are corporate headquarters for Micron, and the neighborhoods of Surprise Valley, Columbia Village and Harris Ranch.
The Idaho State Capitol is the only statehouse in the country heated with natural geothermal hot water. Boise’s geothermal resource also heats the Victorian mansions lining Warm Springs Boulevard, the main road leading into town from the east. On this route you’ll discover the old Idaho Penitentiary, in use until 1973 but now open for tours, and the Idaho Botanical Gardens.
Along the cottonwood-lined banks of the Boise River, in southeast Boise, are headquarters for Albertson’s and The Washington Group (formerly Morrison-Knudsen), the campus of Boise State University, restaurants, offices, and housing ranging from apartment complexes to estate homes.
To the north, the city is bounded by the Boise Foothills. Here, public lands and planned developments are linked by the Ridge to Rivers Trail System providing lots of open space for residents to visit our natural environment.
Downtown Boise has experienced exuberant revitalization in recent years, and has become a place where citizens work, shop, eat and live. Several large condominium towers and apartment complexes provide downtown living, and the historic districts of Boise’s North End, East Boise and the Warm Springs district are just a bike ride or a walk away. An active redevelopment corporation is assuring the continued growth of downtown while preserving its many historic buildings, such as the Empire, the Idanha Hotel and the 8th Street warehouse district.
The North End is a widely diverse neighborhood, with its main thoroughfare picturesque Harrison Boulevard. The North End is one of Boise’s oldest neighborhoods, with most of its 4,500 homes built in the first half of the twentieth century. Quiet, tree-lined streets make walking and biking a great way to get around.
The area around the Depot is called the Bench, another neighborhood known for the diversity of its housing. Just west of the Depot, homes along the rim overlooking Kathryn Albertson Park have some of the best views in town. These quiet, tree-lined streets are experiencing rapid growth as the 1950’s ranch-style and brick homes are purchased from the original owners by young families.
The West Bench sits between the congested commercial strip that is Fairview Boulevard and Mountain View Drive, on the bench above Garden City. This older neighborhood grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s. It is convenient to the Boise connector to I-84 and near the Boise Towne Square Mall.
Boise’s greatest residential growth in the past decades has been to the west and southwest, in neighborhoods built to house growing families, with curved streets and cul-de-sacs the norm. West Boise is home to Hewlett-Packard Company and the West Boise YMCA.
There you have it. Whether you want to live in a downtown urban environment or a rural neighborhood where horses are pastured beside houses, Boise’s got it!