Driving through Harris Ranch feels like taking a trip back in time to a place that is at once familiar and yet, it’s someplace you’ve never been. It’s someplace magical.
Although the homes and condos for sale in Harris Ranch are certainly inviting for some logical reasons, there is a certain je-ne-sais-quoi character that draws people here, too. The character of this place has an energy all its own.
It’s an energy that you can feel when you walk along the area’s sidewalks, when you stop and eat in its restaurants, when you partake in its cultural activities. You can hear the essence of it as the river-scented wind whispers through the trees and as the twilight descends upon cozy streets lit by lamplight and local charm.
Cool Things to do if You Live in Harris Ranch
Some of the attractions that appeal to those who live in Harris Ranch are the very same ones that draw people to Boise in the first place.
Other area draws exist like well-kept secrets, known only to those who’ve lived here long enough to really experience the place. Much like the traveler who opts to live in a country for a while as opposed to just visiting for a couple of weeks, the je-ne-sais-quoi part of living in Harris Ranch best reveals itself to those who choose to live and work here over a long period of time.
That said, experience tells us that the following 10 things account for some of the main reasons why people choose to buy a home or a loft here rather than someplace else.
1. The Boise Greenbelt
Less than 1/4 mile away is access to the Boise River Greenbelt. This 25-mile tree-lined pathway is one of Boise’s best assets and provides amazing scenic views and direct access to some of Boise’s best City Parks and even Downtown Boise.
It has become such a fixture, particularly in the Barber Valley, that it’s sometimes difficult to remember a time when it didn’t exist. But in the not-so-distant past, the Boise Greenbelt was little more than an idea. The idea moved toward becoming a reality when in 1962 the City asked Atkinson & Associates to develop a comprehensive plan for it. Once three small parcels of land were donated to the City of Boise in ’67, the dream became a reality.
Since that time, the Boise Greenbelt and the various activities and events centering around it have provided Boiseans with some pretty fun things to do on an afternoon. The greenbelt begins at Lucky Peak – another hot spot on this list – and extends all the way to Eagle Road Bridge.
Along the way, cyclists and pedestrians can stop and take a gander at the local wildlife in the area or spend an afternoon/ evening at city destinations, like the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the Lucky 13 cafe, the Anne Frank Memorial, and more.
2. The Boise Foothills
Boise, Idaho is a hiker’s dream and the Boise Foothills play a big role in that.
With great places to hike like the areas behind Camel’s Back Park or near Table Rock, or just North of Harris Ranch, hikers will never run out of interesting and challenging hikes. Hiking definitely counts as one of the fun things that people like to do in Idaho’s capital city.
Many of the best places to hike in Boise are easily accessible from Harris Ranch, either by greenbelt, bike, or car. Heading away from town, you’ll find places to hike up near Lucky Peak and beyond. Going the other direction, you’ll reach the Old Boise Penitentiary and the trail leading up to Table Rock.
Check out the Ridge to Rivers interactive map to see all foothill trails that offer over 190 miles of trails.
With varying difficulty and allowed uses, there’s something for everyone. Trail types in include hiking, biking, horseback, and select trails allowing e-bikes (motorized) for those with an Accessibility Permit.
3. Lucky Peak
For many residents in the Boise area, swimming at Lucky Peak in the summer counts as one of the best ways to cool off when summer starts to scorch the Treasure Valley. What residents here refer to as Lucky Peak is actually a couple of different places in one, each of which offers a treasure trove of activities and fun.
For swimmers, Sandy Point Beach is the place to be. Located right by Lucky Peak Dam’s “rooster tail,” this beach is a haven for people who want to swim, take a leisurely inner tube float, or to sunbathe on the warm, dry sands. The park here has places to cook as well as grassy areas to sit on, which make family events, like family reunions more comfortable. There are also bathrooms with flush toilets, outdoor showers, and game areas that offer horseshoe pits and volleyball courts.
Although the lake can be reached by car, many people opt to ride their bikes up to the lake. It’s between 3.5 and 5-ish miles from your Harris Ranch loft or condo, depending on where you start from. The greenbelt starts (or ends, depending on your perspective) at Sandy Point.
As for boaters and water-skiers, they will find plenty of boat ramps and the marina at Spring Shores. This area has lots of parking, plus docks for the boats. Add to that some amazing views of the mountains and plenty of good-hearted fun, and you have yourself a recipe for an amazing afternoon.
4. Bown Crossing
Where’s one place in Boise where you can find
- The library
- A candy company
- An eye-care specialist
- Flatbread pizza
- A vet’s office
- A learning center
- A french fry restaurant
- A boutique
- A tavern
- and a hospital
Aside from all the fun things to do at Bown Crossing, it also happens to be a place in the City of Trees where you can see some pretty amazing architecture. Imagine blending a bit of Tuscan architecture with a smidgeon of small-town America and you’ve got Bown Crossing.
Like most destinations on this list, you get to Bown Crossing easily by bike or car. Street lamps line the street, making it a neat place to spend a summer evening. And plenty of restaurants with patios mean that you’ll always be able to enjoy the sunshine. And the Library at Bown Crossing as well as some of the other hot spots here mean you always have access to the best that the community has to offer.
5. Proximity to Downtown Boise
Once upon a time, the area around Harris Ranch wasn’t so built up and people who lived in this area did so because it was close enough to downtown to be convenient but far enough away to be peaceful.
That’s still the case today.
The lofts, condos, and homes for sale in Harris Ranch are so popular, partly because of this fact. Boise’s downtown is 10 to 15 minutes by car or maybe 20 to 30 minutes by bike at the most (a very desirable route by bike on the Greenbelt!).
People who live here love that they can live by the river and the foothills and still be to work in about as much time as it takes to drink a cup of tea.
Downtown Boise offers an amazing array of restaurants, shopping, and and events. From Spring to Fall residents often partake in the amazing Saturday market that lines up and down 8th street.
Checkout the latest happenings and upcoming events at DowntownBoise.Org.
6. Variety of Home Styles
One of the reasons why so many people don’t like to live in planned subdivisions/ developments is that the homes often look all alike. They are the same color, nearly the same style, and sit on lots that are all about the same size. Forget about finding lofts or condos in these neighborhoods.
But Harris Ranch offers you so much more. True enough, there are more traditional homes in the area, but each one still has its own character. A walk down these tree-lined streets nets you sights of homes painted in mustard yellow, brick red, moss green, and earth brown to name but a few of the colors you’ll see here. You’ll also catch sight of some brick homes and everything in between.
That’s not all, however. With the addition of properties like The Eno, Harris Ranch also welcomes those who really love Boise loft/ condo life. All of the properties in the area provide residents with friendly neighbors, community engagement, and excellent eateries to boot, all while allowing each resident to retain his/ her sense of individuality.
But perhaps the most important features of all of this is how sustainability and wildlife conservation is built into the design of this area. Home styles are complemented by the beauty of the wild landscapes that surround the homes in the area. It’s truly an outdoor lover’s playground and homestead all in one when you live here.
7. Active Lifestyle
In 2019, Boise was yet again named one of the “Best Places to Live in America” by Livability. (Okay. It’s actually number one on their list, but who’s keeping track?)
One of the reasons why the City of Trees keeps getting this designation, not only from Livability but from other media outlets as well, is that it’s a great place to live if you love being active. And Harris Ranch, with its close access to the Boise River, the Greenbelt, the foothills, and activities like camping and boating make it destination number one for outdoor living in the City of Trees.
People who live here may spend a Saturday morning jogging down the greenbelt, then stop off at the Lucky 13 for a slice or two of the best pizza this side of New York, and then hop on their bikes and head to Bown Crossing for dinner. Those who want even more adventure can spend the day on a long bike ride to Eagle, Idaho or head up to Bogus Basin to do a little skiing during the winter months.
8. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival
It’s sometimes difficult to believe that this gem sits right in Harris Ranch’s backyard so to speak, but it’s true. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has been running for more than 40 years, though not all of them in the Harris Ranch area.
Before it found its permanent home right near Harris Ranch, the little-theater-company-that-could was located near the Plantation Golf Course, at Park Center, and at One Capital Center. Long before it became the 770-seat cultural powerhouse that it is today, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival was bringing the writings of the Bard to Boise audiences.
Nowadays, because its outdoor amphitheater is located right near the Boise River, a night of “Macbeth” or “The Merry Wives of Windsor” could also feature some “wild” cast members, like wild ducks, errant dragonflies, and occasionally even a fox or two. Some of these creatures are just passing through, though others may want a bite of the biscuit in your picnic basket. In any case, it’s all in good fun and for the sake of theater, which is now alive and well in the city thanks in large part to the Shakespeare Fest.
The Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s close proximity to the homes and lofts at Harris Ranch mean that parking is never a problem. Festival attendees who live at Harris Ranch can hop on their bikes or take a stroll down the greenbelt to get to the Festival long before the curtain goes up. And better yet, they’re back at home before most of the rest of the audience has even managed to get out of the parking lot.
9. The Sense of Community and Friendly People
It used to be that having neighbors meant you always had someone to chat with over the fence as you went about your daily business. Then, city living got really busy and plenty of people forgot that some of the best things about living in a friendly city are, well, that the people are so friendly.
It just so happens that the residents who live at Harris Ranch happen to be doubly so. This is partially due to the design of the place. Miles of sidewalk and open spaces allow people to take leisurely strolls with friends or to play a mean game of frisbee with their pooch and their neighbor’s children. Local hangouts like the Lucky 13 encourage conversation over a cold one.
Some of the friendliness also has to do with the construction of the development itself. Community parks, public art and plenty of park benches dot the landscape here. And developments like The Eno include clubhouses, community pool access, and rooftop patios for shared public spaces.
10. The City Parks
Boise has an incredible number of parks, with a good number of them having the Boise Greenbelt running right through them. The parks in the Harris Ranch area are just a few of the city parks that are accessible to residents here.
Barber Park and Marianne Williams Park count as two of the area’s most popular parks. At Barber Park, Harris Ranch residents can rent rafts and tubes for a float down the Boise River. It also offers an event center and plenty of wildlife areas for bird watching.
Marianne Williams Park offers 72-acres of grassy spots to lounge on, a long stretch of the greenbelt, beautiful ponds, and stunningly beautiful views of the foothills surrounding Boise. Like many of the places in and around Harris Ranch, a dedication to conservation and wildlife can be seen up close at these Boise parks.
Although only two of Boise’s many parks are featured in this post, the truth is people who live at The Eno and other Harris Ranch properties can easily reach the parks by bicycle, where they can see ponds and wetlands, fisheries, outdoor aquariums, and more. Other nearby City Parks include the upcoming Alta Harris Park, Village Green Park, and the other “Ribbon of Jewel Parks“.