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Old 12-19-2011, 04:40 PM
Location: Reno Nevada
24 posts, read 179,789 times
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We are considering a move to Boise from Reno and are into the art/crafts vibe and were wondering if there are any neighborhoods that fit that mold? Maybe some neighborhoods where young families and "hipsters" are mingling? Thanks for any and all help!
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:10 PM
Location: Boise, Idaho
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You'll probably find that the best fit will either be the north end or the Boise bench. Both areas have their fair share of arts/crafts hipsters. The rest of the neighborhood makeup is where the difference lies.

North end is more young hipster plus liberal elite plus athletic outdoor enthusiast plus aging hippies.

Bench is more young hipster plus little old ladies plus working families plus people from all over the world plus musicians/artists/hippies who got priced out of the north end.

The north end has a website where you can get a good feel for the area--historic homes, really established, wonderful neighborhood if you can afford it.

There is a "Bench Dwellers" group on Facebook. We've got a great group involved with "collaborative visioning" for the area, a combined effort including something like nine area neighborhood associations. Within walking distance to my house I've got Thai food, Argentenian food, a Bosnian market & bar, a middle eastern butcher, a Mexican market and Asian market.

I've loved our neighborhood schools, love my neighbors.

One place to connect might be the Church of Craft. They get together and craft. I've always wanted to go but just haven't made it. More information here: get yr craft on in boise! | The Church of Craft

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Old 12-19-2011, 08:18 PM
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I sort of disagree a little with the above assessment.

While the North End is definitely the "hip" and artsy neighborhood in the city, and by far the most charming and character-laden area in town, it is an odd mix of renters (this is the youth element) and yuppies (the only people who can afford to live in the NE). In other words, it fits what you're looking for if you want to be a renter, or if you have a lot of money.

The Bench is a bit more working and lower class. Really, it's hard to characterize it because it's rather large. Some areas are youthful and hip; other areas are lower income and run down, while some others are more elderly and aged in population. Definitely a lot of people who got priced out of the NE might be in certain areas of the Bench, but that NE charm isn't there... far more traffic-centric, less pedestrian and bike friendly, no real central core that brings people together. Far more diverse and commercial though.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jcourting View Post
We are considering a move to Boise from Reno and are into the art/crafts vibe and were wondering if there are any neighborhoods that fit that mold? Maybe some neighborhoods where young families and "hipsters" are mingling? Thanks for any and all help!
benchfan left a accurate description of areas of town that fit your desires.
The Northend is easily the most artistic area of town with many local artists living and working, some have galleries in their homes or garages.
Here is some info (just a small example of what there is):
| a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the visual arts

Home - TRICA

There are also some Artists in Residence studios downtown:

Urban Renewal and Artist Residences | 8th Street Marketplace at Bodo | Boise, Idaho 83702
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:39 PM
Location: Reno Nevada
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Thanks for the insight. Boise seems to have some nice stuff happening.
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Old 12-20-2011, 03:09 PM
Location: Boise, Idaho
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I would like to respectfully disagree with boisefan88's assessment of the bench. Yes, it's a large area and yes, some parts of the bench are not as nice as others. But every area in town is like that. To call this area “lower class” misses the many great things about the bench and dismisses some of the nicest, most established neighborhoods in town.

As far as MLS home search areas, the north end is very large, too, encompassing areas south of State St. and west to 36th. When talking about the prime north end, we're really talking about a very small area between about 4th and 26th, north of State to Hill Road/the foothills. In this area, you will find an extremely desirable, expensive neighborhood that is highly walkable, close to parks and foothills and rich with artists, musicians and creative types. People pay a premium to live in this little zone and it is a magical little neighborhood, so much so that national magazines have featured Boise’s north end as one of the best neighborhoods in the county.

Sometimes, when people are moving here from other areas and looking for a more “artsy” community, it seems like the message they get is that they HAVE to live in the north end. They hear that there is no other place in Boise that is creative, eclectic and diverse with a sense of community. I’ve lived on the bench over the past ten years and strongly feel that it is a place for anyone looking for something similar to the north end but with more affordability.

Like the north end, the bench also has more prime “zones,” each with a unique feel and character. There are plenty of bench neighborhoods that are very walkable—the whole Vista/Kootenai area has great walking access to shops, restaurants, grocery store, wine shop, drugstore and more. Stop by Moxie Java any day of the week and you’ll get the same sort of community vibe you get at Java in Hyde Park. Dine at Casanova Pizza and you’ll also get that neighborhood vibe. Same thing in the Orchard/Morris Hill area or the Depot area.

The greenbelt connects to the bench at Garden St. and the entire area has numerous bike lanes and smaller streets that allow for great access to the core neighborhoods east of Orchard and north of Overland. Going further west or south, there are also bike routes—Phillipi is a great north/south street that connects to Irving which leads to Garden and the greenbelt. Cassia connects east/west to Curtis and from there Curtis feeds into most neighborhoods that go west to Cole.

I could go on and on, outlining the many particulars and benefits of the neighborhood gems on the bench, but I’m not sure that this is the place for that. My point is that for boisefan88 to say that “the bench” is “lower class” or lacks a place that brings people together is off-base. I know dozens of people who have reluctantly left the north end only to fall in love with living on the bench. If I won the lottery and could live anywhere in town, I’d pick Houston Road or Crescent Rim on the view side—both fantastic bench streets.

I grew up in the north end. I know it like the back of my hand. I remember when Hyde Park was largely vacant except the original Co-Op in a tiny storefront and a funky old Laundromat. I remember when Camel’s Back Park was a couple of slides, swings and merry-go-round and the sandy trail to the top was one-person wide. I remember when there were no walking trails behind Camel’s Back—and when there were no houses and when they started to build they yelled at us kids (who built forts and carved in the sandstone) and chased us away. Back then, the north end felt very much like the bench does today. It was a neighborhood with diversity—it wasn’t the fanciest place in town, but it was an affordable place for a family to live with a nice sense of community.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:30 PM
Location: Reno Nevada
24 posts, read 179,789 times
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benchfan- are there any specific areas in the 'bench' that I should look into? being unfamiliar with the area, I'm not sure where the pockets are and it does appear that it is a very large area. Ultimately we would like to buy a place but plan on renting at least in the beginning. Out of curiosity, are there any lofts in Boise, or places with that downtown/industrial living feel, similar to Portland? (minus the river, rain, population, 100+ years of urban development). Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:10 PM
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I would confine your search to the Northend, specifically north of State St and east of Harrison Blvd. There are other nice areas in the Northend and Eastend but I'd recommend renting in this area based on what you're looking for and to get a feel for Boise as you'll be within ten minute walk of Hyde Park and downtown.

I'd avoid the Bench, especially if you're new in town. It may have a few of the things you're looking for but ultimately will fall short in many categories and just lacks the overall walkability of the Northend. You can always move to the Bench later if you decide you like it, it's only a few miles away.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:38 PM
Location: Boise, Idaho
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jcourting--the rental market is very active with few vacancies in Boise right now. Good rentals go quickly so it's good to keep your search options open. You may have a hard time finding a rental in the north end right now--or the bench, for that matter. Just depends on what's available when you get here.

For the bench, I'd suggest focusing on the following areas:

1. Central Rim--north of Emerald and east of Garden to Rim St. and Houston Road (view streets that form the north and east boundaries of that area).
2. Crescent Rim--east of Latah between Emerald/Americana and Alpine with Crescent Rim being the east boundary.
3. Kootenai area--east of Latah, south of Rose Hill, north of Overland, west of Vista (neighborhood fits into a nice box). The area between Latah and Roosevelt is nice, too, just not as walkable to shopping on Vista.
4. Vista/Kootenai corridor--looking on a map around the Vista/Kootenai corridor, streets around Day Drive are nice, Jean St. & Pendleton (these areas are little pockets of residential mixed in with commercial--cute areas and highly walkable and more of an urban feel). Also while generally it's better to stay north of Overland, I think that south of overland to Nez Perce from Vista to Shoshone is nice--super easy access to shopping and you may find a rental in that area.

All of these areas will put you within a 5-7 minute drive to downtown and a 15 minute bike ride.

Other areas to consider:

Southeast Boise--try "Old South Boise Village," the neighborhood around Manitou Park, below Federal way, south of Boise Avenue and west of Broadway. This super cute neighborhood has great access to Boise State without being overrun by students. Manitou Park is lovely--very friendly area.

North/northwest Boise--the area around 36th & Hill Road is great--homes off of Catalpa in the Forsythia/Sycamore area are great. Also, 28th to 36th closer to Hill Road--32nd is particularly nice and the areas around Treasure Drive.

If you can find housing in Northeast Boise north of Warm Springs, that would be great, too.

Good luck to you!
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:04 PM
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I was born and raised in Boise. I currently live on the Boise Bench and love it. It is so easy to get to work downtown on my cruiser bicycle along the Greenbelt (a pedestrian path along the Boise River) or access the freeway with a car. It only takes me 10 minutes to ride my mountain bike from my front door to the Boise foothills. When I did live in the Northend I found riding a bike to downtown a bit more challenging avoiding cars as there isn't a dedicated path for bikes like the Greenbelt. I loved living in the Northend, but I am almost inclined to say I am enjoying the Boise Bench better. I am in my mid-thirties and love the outdoors.

The Boise Bench is also working to build a better community. Check out Vista Avenue with its great variety of shops, restaurants, wine and beer shops, etc. If you visit Orchard Street, you must look past the worn down facade and into the windows of the diverse shops including: Mexican market, Orient market, Bosnian market and the variety of restaurants including Thai, Vietnamese, South American, etc.

It sounds like the Bench or the Northend are the two areas of town that most appeal to your needs. It is always a great idea to rent a place in both areas for 6-12 months each before you make a purchasing decision. Good luck.
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