Moving to a new city can be confusing — especially if you don’t know the neighborhoods. There are no “bad’ neighborhoods in Boise, but you want to find one that fits your personality and criteria. Here are our tips on Boise neighborhoods if you are looking for where to live in Boise, Idaho.
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The Northend Neighborhood in Boise is one of the oldest and most coveted neighborhoods in the city. The Northend was one of the first developed communities in Boise and therefore you can find homes that are hundreds of years old. The Boise Northend is only five minutes from downtown Boise and that is reflected in the price. The Northend is mostly single-family homes but you can find a few apartment complexes or single-family homes that were turned into small apartments.
Just be prepared to find very few new construction homes in the Northend. There are some, especially as Boise grows, but for the most part, the area is full of old homes.
The Boise Highlands or Boise Foothills are really an extension of the Northend of Boise. The foothills continue north past the Northend, and includes the Crane Creek Country Club and with homes on the way to Bogus Basin ski resort (and plenty more being built). This neighborhood is considered pretty swanky for Boise, although remember you will have to drive through the Northend, which easily takes 15 or 20 minutes, just to get to the Highlands.
Living in a downtown location in any city is always exciting, and in Boise it’s no different. In the past few years, the pricing for living downtown has skyrocketed, but it’s still possible. There are a number of condos still being built, and plenty more for sale.
If you can either rent or buy a condo, the downtown lifestyle is an amazing one. There are food markets, plenty of breweries and restaurants, the Boise Greenbelt (and other walking, biking, or running routes), and other events, all within walking or biking distance.
The Boise Bench is a blanket term of pretty much everything “up the hill” from the downtown area. Although the Boise Bench has traditionally been more of a family and working class area, for people who couldn’t afford to live in the Northend or downtown, it has quickly become one of the most popular neighborhoods in Boise for people of all incomes and backgrounds. The Boise Bench is going to be less expensive than a lot of Boise, although the prices have been rising in recent years. Although many of the homes are going to be at least a few decades old, there is also some new construction in the area. You can find condos, homes, townhouses, and plenty of apartment complexes.
The Boise Depot neighborhood is technically the Boise Bench, but has taken on its own personality in the last decade or so. The Boise Depot area is right up Capitol Blvd. from downtown Boise. The neighborhood includes older homes and is more affordable than downtown Boise, but if you don’t mind a hill, is within walking or biking distance of downtown.
Southeast Boise and Northeast Boise are a great option if you don’t want to pay downtown Boise or North End Boise prices. The area was built out a few decades ago, so many of the homes are going to be 20 to 40 years old — so not new, but also not as old as a Northend Boise home. The area is home to many families, but also has a number of apartment complexes for singles and families, and more are being built. Southeast Boise is in great proximity to the Boise River, Boise State, and downtown.
Harris Ranch is still considered Southeast Boise but is really its own neighborhood. Harris Ranch is home to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Idaho State Department of Parks and Recreation, and is on the way to Lucky Peak, a popular beach. Harris Ranch’s homes are much newer than the rest of Boise, because the neighborhood has not been around as long as many other neighborhoods. You can find up-and-coming restaurants, condos, homes, and quite a few senior living communities. You can experience wildlife in Boise while also enjoying the morning in your brand new condo.
The Boise State University area is exactly what it sounds like — a college area with plenty of student and professor housing. Although Boise State is not as traditional of university as others, there are still plenty of students living together in the surrounding neighborhoods. However, you can still find plenty of adorable old homes, and the Broadway area is within walking or biking distance from downtown Boise. One thing to note: Boise State has been buying up homes and land around their campus for the past few decades. So if you buy or rent a home in the area, make sure to ask your real estate agent about the possibilities of this happening to you.
Northwest Boise can be thought of as a neighborhood extended westward from the Boise North End. You will find older homes as you get closer to the North End, and newer as you drive westward. Northwest Boise has traditionally been another area that is affordable, especially if you want to be Northend-adjacent. Northwest Boise is growing, and like many of the other Boise neighborhoods, the prices have been rising for the last few years.
West Boise is technically on the Boise Bench but is considered its own area in Boise. The are was built out later than a lot of Boise, and so many of the homes suffer from the 1990s and 2000s trends of more cookie cutter builds. But that is not all of them, and there are plenty of adorable homes in West Boise.
West Boise is also on the way to Meridian, the closest suburb to Boise. And although there used to be empty space between the two cities, West Boise has extended so far that they connect in certain areas.
Garden City is one of two cities included on this list, even though it’s not Boise. Garden City’s proximity to Boise makes it an important neighborhood for anyone moving to Boise. Garden City has traditionally been known as a less expensive city, and their main strip (Chinden Boulevard) has been home to adult shops and dive bars. However, in the last few years Garden City has been undergoing a massive change, and is now home to wineries, breweries, and riverfront condos. There are still some less-than-desireable areas of Garden City (there are really no “bad” neighborhoods in the Boise area), but if you do some research, you can find yourself a great deal in an up-and-coming neighborhood.
Meridian, Idaho is a suburb of Boise and has been growing significantly for the last 20 years or so. Meridian offers larger homes at a less expensive price than Boise. Although there are still some older homes, think of Meridian as a suburban city — and the homes follow that. Many homes in Meridian are cookie cutter, but fairly new or brand new construction.
The city of Meridian is considered a great place to raise a family, and prices there continue to rise, making it a good investment.