Central Bench – Boise, ID

Overlooking downtown Boise, Central Bench affords stunning views of the trees growing further down in the valley. Itself a green, leafy neighborhood, Central Bench's streets meander toward the Boise River and are lined with a mix of contemporary and historic homes and parks. Beautiful though it may be, the Bench is more than just a pretty face — it houses great schools and provides easy access to shopping and dining. Families and young professionals alike appreciate short commutes and close proximity to necessities. Drive about 4 miles to reach downtown Boise, or hop on the interstate to travel across the city and beyond. In just an hour, you can hit the slopes at Bogus Basin. Best of all, this convenience and beauty comes at a modest price.

Schools in Central Bench

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

This neighborhood's restaurants congregate around Franklin Road and Orchard Street and trend toward casual dining, but you can find a few upscale gems if you know where to look. The Vietnamese specialties of Baguette Deli make the ideal alternative to fast food when you find yourself pressed for time. While the barbecued pork banh mi remains both traditional and a local favorite, step outside the box and try the Cajun shrimp banh mi. Wash it down with a refreshing boba tea, and you won't regret skipping the burger and fries. Luciano's Italian Restaurant features elegant Italian dishes made from scratch every day in an upscale atmosphere. North Pacific steamer clams arrive at your table with a white wine sauce, butter, garlic and fresh parsley. Dip the crusted bread in your leftover sauce after you polish off the clams in this appetizer that stands alone as a meal. A fusion of tastes await you with the agave chicken penne, a dish served with sliced chicken breast, mixed bell peppers, red onions, jalapeños and garlic. Chefs toss all of this in tequila-lime cream sauce, parmesan and penne noodles. In opposition to its drab exterior, Chiang Mai Thai serves Thai classics that no one dares to call bland. Start with spring rolls dipped in a tangy house sauce rather than the familiar peanut sauce. Follow up with a bowl of massaman curry and fragrant jasmine rice, and you'll be glad you didn't judge this book by its cover. When you find yourself out with friends who can't agree on dinner, choose Willowcreek Grill and Raw Sushi, a place with two restaurants in one building for double your dining pleasure. On a warm summer evening, relax to the sound of live music beneath the grape arbor on the patio. Order a rattlesnake roll and a nautilus roll to satisfy the sushi lovers while you enjoy a black and bleu burger and sweet potato fries. While tamer than downtown, this area holds its own when it comes to nightlife. Crescent No Lawyers Bar & Grill has earned a following as long as its name thanks to more than 30 televisions, a game room, an expansive patio and a policy that bans children at all times - even in the dining area. Catch the big game no matter what team you cheer for, or play a game of horseshoes with friendly regulars. Sing your favorite country tunes at the Navajo Room's karaoke night. Kick back at McCleary's Pub, a popular Irish-themed establishment along Orchard Street. When life gets you down, stop by Liquid Lounge in the heart of downtown to hear comedy acts as you enjoy inexpensive drinks. Rowdier escapades include plenty of dance clubs and college bars in the downtown area.

History & Culture

For its first 70 years, the Central Bench was considered outside Boise's city limits, but in 1925, the building of the Union Pacific Railroad Depot changed everything. The city's speedy growth absorbed the area, and it became one of the most coveted for its beautiful views. The Depot now opens to the public as one of Boise's many historical sites. Boise's enthusiasm for the arts rivals that of many larger cities. The Boise Contemporary Theater explores the deepest human emotions on stage. A two-day event — Shorts In Winter— features award-winning independent films from around the world. The audience's favorite film receives an award, so remember to cast your vote. Every year, local artists arrive from miles around for Art in the Park. Hosted by the Boise Art Museum at Julia Davis Park, this festival displays hundreds of paintings and sculptures and allows visitors to meet the Pacific Northwest's most promising artists.

Transportation

This area's limited public transportation services and suburban sprawl make owning a car a necessity. Fortunately, you can park for free in Boise, and you have easy access to Interstate 184. You won't see taxis around, so use Uber when you want to avoid driving. While less common on the Bench than in neighborhoods closer to downtown, bicycling remains a common way to travel. Bike lanes crisscross most of the city, and bridges specifically for cyclists and pedestrians make it safe to cross the Boise River. Paved paths through the Boise Greenbelt help cyclists avoid traffic while allowing them to enjoy the city's natural beauty. The ValleyRide bus service is Boise's only public transportation. The bus offers limited routes between downtown and the suburbs. Boise Airport provides the area's air travel, but it does not fly internationally. International travelers will need to catch connecting flights out of larger airports.

Cost

With a cost of living 5 percent less than the Boise average, the Central Bench is one of the most affordable neighborhoods. Expect the rent for a one-bedroom apartment to be around $590 per month. Filling your gas tank is relatively painless, as gas prices in this area hover around 11 percent lower than the national average. Public transportation fares require mere pocket change — ride any route on the bus for $3 or less. At a neighborhood bar, you'll pay around $4 a pint rather than the $6 or more you'd pay downtown.

Shopping

In this area, you don't need to travel far when shopping for groceries. An Albertsons stands smack in the center of the Bench, and several ethnic markets supply hard-to-find ingredients. Although located downtown, many residents willingly make the 15-minute drive to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for organic products. Every Saturday, visit the Boise Farmers Market for a large assortment of locally grown produce, baked goods and much more. This farmers market opens in April and runs all the way through December, keeping you stocked with healthy foods and decadent treats nearly all year. Right next door, the Boise Towne Square mall provides upscale department stores, designer apparel and housewares. In addition to national chains, you'll find that this neighborhood hides a number of delightful little shops you won't see anywhere else. Don't just shop for your canine companions — shop with them at The Dog House. Purchase premium food and unique toys, and be sure to check out the all-natural treats and cakes in the bakery. Work on your dog's manners while socializing with other pets and their people at group training classes. Whether you prefer English breakfast tea or a soothing cup of green tea, Joyful Tea stocks your favorite leaves. Even herbal teas have a place on the shelves, as do teapots, mugs and strainers. If you want to learn more about this ancient beverage, stop by the free Tea 101 event. When you tire of riding a bicycle or driving a car, let the expert staff at Scooters of Boise help you find a new way to get around town. Besides being fun to ride, the impressive selection of American and European scooters will save you money on gas and help protect the environment. If you need a tune up, on-site mechanics will have you back on the road in no time.

Parks

This city of trees doubles as a city of parks. Each verdant jewel of a park benefits from careful maintenance by the city's attentive park district staff. Stop by Cassia Park for an evening walk on the trail or to let the kids blow off some steam after a long day at school. Public art installations double as comfortable places to sit and read near the playground equipment. Most of Boise's parks welcome leashed dogs, but visit Morris Hill Park if your dog needs to run free. The fully fenced off-leash area features a dog water fountain and an obstacle course. Enter the park for free, but be sure to carry an up-to-date dog license. Every year, nearby Ann Morrison Park hosts the city's largest Fourth of July celebration. The event opens with the Chalk Art Festival, in which children and adults alike showcase their artistic talent on the pavement. Food vendors arrive from restaurants throughout Boise, and local bands provide live entertainment. As the sun sets, spread a blanket on the grass and enjoy the most spectacular fireworks display in the Treasure Valley.
The Park Apartments
5700 W Marvin Ln, Boise, ID 83705
2 wks
$675 - 990 1-3 Bedroom Available 05/12/17
844-591-4014