We searched the West for towns, cities, and neighborhoods that are easy to love. All our winners boast a strong sense of community—the gift of making you feel like you belong
North End, Boise. Tucked between downtown Boise and the foothills, the North End is characterized by tiny houses (and some big ones too), tree-lined streets, and the Hyde Park commercial area. The neighborhood is both fiercely protective—of its historic homes, local businesses, and kid- and bike-friendly streets—and welcoming to newcomers, with an active neighborhood association. Time your visit for September’s annual Hyde Park Street Fair, whose proceeds benefit the North End community. Population: 25,000. Median home price: $359,000.
La Alma Lincoln Park, Denver. Arts and culture unite this eclectic, diverse neighborhood near downtown Denver. One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, it experienced more than its share of crime and blight beginning in the 1970s. Then, as Denver property values shot up, artists started to move in. In 2004, a group of galleries formed the Art District on Santa Fe, which is credited with helping the area solidify its identity. In 2014, the American Planning Association recognized the district as one of its top neighborhoods. Population: 6,000. Median home price: $300,000.
Sellwood-Moreland, Portland (pictured). Its fans claim that this riverside neighborhood offers all the good things we associate with Portland (local food, quirky independent shops, Craftsman-style homes) without the hipper-than-thou attitude of better-known districts. It also has good public schools, relatively affordable homes, a great community pool, loads of green space—and a deservedly popular Italian restaurant, Gino’s. Population: 12,144. Median home price: $550,000.