West Bench Neighborhood: A Cozy Boise Staple
Posted by Lisa Kohl on Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 5:05pm
It’s not unusual to find families who’ve lived in the West Bench neighborhood for decades.
Generations of Boisians watching this community grow and change as the neighborhood they call home continues to thrive.
Anchored by Capital High School, the Boise West Bench is also home to three beautiful city parks, a popular public pool, and a fantastic central location. There’s something for everyone on the West Bench.
Spacious and affordable homes on large lots, excellent parks, schools within walking distance, and a mature canopy of trees: these are the markers you’ll recognize in the West Bench area of Boise. This cozy suburban neighborhood has a sense of community and is known as a quiet, safe, friendly home for families and young professionals alike.
Once called “the other Boise,” the West Bench has at times been perceived as almost a separate city, flying under the radar as a hidden gem. This secluded feel is part of the West Bench’s charm, and these walkable streets and manicured lawns share a secret: they make up one of the best neighborhoods in Boise.
This area’s housing options include a diverse spread of 70s ranch-style houses, roomy 90s homes, mid-century modern bungalows and the occasional infill of new construction.
Why Locals Love the West Bench
From young professionals to empty-nesters, established families to retirees, there’s a diverse collection of people who choose the West Bench as home. A drive (or, when the weather is nice, a bike ride or walk) through the neighborhood makes it easy to see why. There are a few amenities and attractions that make the West Bench area special.
A look at age, incomes and ethnic backgrounds shows the West Bench to be one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Boise.
The West Bench is centrally located with quick access to the interstate, the connector, and major thoroughfares. From the West Bench, it’s a short jaunt to the burgeoning art collectives and restaurants of Garden City, and Boise’s downtown core is just minutes away.
The Boise River Greenbelt is also close at hand, making this bikable area feel even more connected and inviting. While the West Bench maintains a decidedly suburban feel, it’s far from isolated from the rest of the City of Trees or the Treasure Valley.
Mountain View Elementary School, Valley View Elementary, and Capital High School are staples of the West Bench neighborhood, offering accessible education for everyone. These schools are within walking distance of many homes and add to the area's sense of community and connectedness.
Established Neighborhoods and History
The West Bench area grew exponentially during the 60s and 70s, lending it a sense of continuity and history today. Families tend to put down roots here and stay for years; in fact, in the Bayhill Springs neighborhood, only eight homes changed owners in the last year. Large lots and sizeable homes make it easy for families to expand and stay put. Nothing says cozy and comfortable like the West Bench.
The area also boasts a rich past and is home to one of Boise’s oldest historic sites, Spaulding Ranch, which the City of Boise plans to revitalize into a farming site with native plants and fruit trees.
Variety of Architecture
No matter what you’re looking for—mid-century modern, a 60s fixer-upper, a 70s split-level, an 80s or 90s home, or a new construction house—you can find it on the West Bench. The fabric of this area has been stitched together throughout the decades of Boise’s growth, and its variety adds charm and opportunity.
Living in Boise's West Bench Neighborhood
West Bench residents have a plethora of weeknight and weekend leisure and entertainment at their fingertips. This vibrant Boise neighborhood of just under 19,000 is home to favorite local haunts, convenient shopping, and outdoor recreation.
When the sun is shining (which happens to be most of the year in Boise), West Bench neighbors are likely to hop on their bikes and cruise the sidewalks under the shady trees. They might head to a local brewery like Sockeye Brewing for a pint and a delicious meal, or visit Delsa’s Ice Cream Parlour, a local landmark since 1960. They might point their bikes toward the Boise Greenbelt and hop off at a Garden City hot spot like the Yardarm or the Sandbar Patio and Grill.
Throughout the week, West Bench residents are likely to head to the expansive West Boise YMCA for family swimming, sports, exercise, and games. They’ll take advantage of their prime location and visit the shops at Cole and Ustick for convenient shopping, groceries, and weeknight meals. On Cole Road, a newly-revitalized “Asian Plaza” offers restaurants and markets.
Area Favorite Shops and Amenities
- Library! At Cole and Ustick: The Cole and Ustick branch of the Boise Public Library is a popular spot and always buzzing with free community events.
- Delsa’s Ice Cream Parlour: A landmark in the West Bench community since 1960, Delsa’s serves up frozen treats in a bright, retro atmosphere.
- Art Zone 208: A cooperative art gallery with a stated goal of providing art to lift your spirit and inspire you.
- West Boise YMCA: With a pool, childcare, and dozens of events and exercise classes, the West Boise YMCA is a well-utilized community gem.
- Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve: On the edge of the neighborhood sits an enormous 44-acre haven, home to birds, animals, and native plants. The beautiful Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve is managed by the City of Boise and provides a peaceful sanctuary right in residents’ back yard.
- City Parks and Fairmont Pool: The West Bench is home to three popular city parks: Mountain View, Florence, and Fairmont Parks. Fairmont Pool is also in the neighborhood, giving residents easy access to summertime fun.
West Bench Real Estate and Notable Neighborhoods
When Boise grew rapidly during the 1960s and 70s, the West Bench experienced a population boom. Because West Boise has grown in popularity throughout the decades, you’ll find all types of architecture represented. Homes for sale typically range from $200s to the $400s with the most sought-after properties topping $600,000. Here are a few of the most notable neighborhoods on the West Bench.
Bayhill Springs was built in the early 1990s and has remained consistently popular. Homes in this neighborhood rarely come up for sale, and when they do, they’re snapped up fast. This well-maintained community is within walking distance of Capital High School and Valley View Elementary.
Looking for those ever-elusive mid-century modern homes? Look no further than Westland Acres. Many homes in this neighborhood feature beautiful original hardwood floors, mid-century details, and stunning architecture. You’ll see examples of slanted roof lines and all-brick homes set back by well-kept lawns and established landscaping, and it’s all just five minutes from the retail shops, and the interstate. Westland Acres remains an affordable option for homeowner hopefuls who are looking for charm and character.
The Mountain View neighborhood is likely the most notable and popular in the West Bench area. Many homes in this neighborhood line the rim—the “Bench”—offering unobstructed views of the Boise foothills and distant mountains.
The namesake road winds through this area of manicured lawns, large homes, and spacious lots. You’ll hardly see a lot that’s less than a quarter acre in this pleasant neighborhood. Mountain View is peppered with homes built in the 1950s and early 60s, with ranch-style and mid-century architecture represented. The Mountain View neighborhood is built around Mountain View Elementary and Mountain View Park, providing walking-distance community staples that are hard to beat.
Whether you’re looking for more space, more peace, or more convenience, the West Bench area might be the place for you. With its walkability, central location, and myriad housing options, this Boise neighborhood certainly has something special to offer.
West Bench at a Glance
- Location: The boundaries for the West Bench follow the Boise City limits (Settlers Canal) to the north. The Ustick Rd to Cole Rd to Fairview Ave to the south and east, and Maple Grove Rd to the west.
- Distance from Downtown Boise: 10 minutes
- Walk Score: 57
- Bike Score: 72
- Median Home Value: $266,175
- Average Rent: $1,045
Lisa Kohl is a top Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. From Southeast Boise to the North End, up to Eagle and west to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.
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