Once upon a time, it was easy to tell where Boise ended and Meridian began. Acres and acres of farmland stood between the two towns with little more than small, two-lane farm roads punctuating the alfalfa fields.
Now those two-lane roads are five lane traffic jams, and like a living creature, the two towns have grown together. What was once open farmland has become what is now referred to as West Boise.
Stretching across a wide swath of land, West Boise is home to a mix of large commercial developments as well as sprawling housing developments. A few older neighborhoods—including the original Cole townsite—are dotted among the mostly recent homes.
What was once a large horse pasture is now the consumerism mecca of Boise: Boise Towne Square Mall (Milwaukee and Franklin streets). Numerous retail business and national chain restaurants have found homes in its shadow.
But West Boise isn't just about buying. Recognizing that an increasing number of Boise residents were calling the west side of the city home, the City of Boise recently opened City Hall West (333 N. Sailfish Place), which now brings easier access to city services for West Boise dwellers and gives the Boise Police Department a new home.
West Boise was also the focus of the Boise Public Library, which opened a branch library in the area. The Library at Cole and Ustick (7557 W. Ustick Road) has quickly become a gathering place in the neighborhood and a prime example of green building.
Since the area is home to so many families, there are plenty of parks to be found tucked between various planned subdivisions, including Fairmont Park (7925 W. Northview St.), filled with soccer fields, a tennis court and playground equipment.
The city also opened the Charles F. McDevitt Youth Sports Complex (5101 N. Eagle Road), a 10-acre park that is home to multiple baseball diamonds, a fishing pond and a skate park. It's a combination that keeps teens in the area busy—when they're not heading to the mall, that is.
If you need a recognizable big-box name for a serious shopping spree, you'll find it in West Boise. But when the endless consumerism wears you out, you don't have to look too far for a locally crafted beer or a locally churned scoop of ice cream.