Let's stroll through Portland, Oregon, and explore the Northwest's most walkable neighborhood—Boise-Eliot.
Living in a place made for walking is important. If you have a kid, pushing a stroller to the park is essential to staying sane. And if you’re not quite done being a kid yet, being able to stumble home from a bar late at night is a major plus. We dug into hundreds of neighborhoods in our quest to find the most walkable across the country. We looked at the ratio and location of grocery stores, parks, and restaurants to single-family homes to identify five neighborhoods around the country where a car is truly optional. This list in hand, we took our research to the streets, interviewing locals in these and using Instagram photos from real people who live—and walk—there to bring it all to life.
Boise-Eliot by the Numbers
Two adjoining neighborhoods in the city’s Northeast, Boise and Eliot (also known as Boise-Eliot) have a wealth of walkable amenities at their disposal. Jere Fitterman, a retired middle school chemistry teacher who lives in Eliot says she “walks everywhere,” typically between 5-7 miles a day. She also lets out two rooms on Airbnb and says her guests usually don’t rent cars, because there’s plenty to do on foot. Some of her local recommendations: The Peoples’ Pig, where bbq is done the old-fashioned way in a barrel outside in the back, and the Wonder Ballroom and The Secret Society, historic music venues which sit right next to each other on NE Russell Street, one of the community’s main commercial corridors has traditionally been home to many of the city’s blue-collar residents.
Dawson Park in Eliot has a popular playground, and has retained its roots as a traditional gathering spot for the local African American community; neighbors play dominoes, and just about everybody gathers for live music during the summer months. Some of the best ice cream can be found at What’s The Scoop? on North Williams (Fitterman loves the key lime pie, with homemade pie chunks). And the Rebuild Center is a unique nonprofit that sells salvaged building supplies and donates profits back to the community.
The neighborhoods’ benefits come with a cost, however. Over the past five years, home prices in Boise-Eliot have risen by 35 percent, older buildings are being torn down and replaced by new, modern apartment complexes, and the area’s lower-income residents are finding themselves priced out. The median home price is now in the low $500k’s, about $100k more than the city’s average.
METHODOLOGY: Trulia identified the top 5 most walkable neighborhoods in America as ZIP codes with at least 500 homes that were in close proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. Only ZIP codes with at least with more than 200 homes per square miles and where at least 50% of the homes were made up of single-family homes were considered.