Pick Your Park: An Interactive Guide to GC’s Best Spots

Pick Your Park: An Interactive Guide to GC’s Best Spots


Pick Your Park: An Interactive Guide to GC’s Best Spots

Garden City has plenty of lush, green spots — a fact that might not be surprising given the city’s verdant name. But what really sets Garden City’s parks apart is access to water, and lots of it: Visitors can pick their speed, from the lazy eddies of Heron Park to the famous wave at Boise Whitewater Park. Garden City’s parks aren’t just places for picnics and pick-up basketball (though they’re great for that, too). They’re some of the best ways to access the Boise River, the crown jewel of the Treasure Valley.


Best for Thrill Seekers:

Boise Whitewater Park

You can raft the Boise River, float it, swim in it — or, if you’re up for a real adventure, tackle it head on at Boise Whitewater Park. This unusual river park features a man-made wave that rises and falls with the water levels in the river, making it an ever-changing challenge for kayakers, river surfers, and stand-up paddleboarders who want to test their technical skills.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for Anglers:

Riverside Park

Trout, bluegill, bass: If you want to catch it, Riverside Park has it! This lovely spot is a favorite of both anglers and wildlife lovers — you’re sure to see waterfowl and maybe even a deer or two. You don’t need to be experienced to cast a line here, which makes it a great place for kids who are just learning to love the sport.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for Kids:

Riverfront Park

It’s big. It’s full of fun. And for years, it’s been the best playdate location in Garden City. Parents will love Riverfront Park for its easy access to restrooms and a shady picnic pavilion, and kids will go wild for the full playground and basketball court.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for Picnics:

River Pointe Park

Quiet, lovely, and within walking distance to some of Garden City’s most beloved spots, River Pointe Park is a fantastic al fresco lunch location. Dine in the shade before strolling along the Greenbelt, visiting the nearby Pollinator Garden, or picking up a book at the Garden City Library.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for Swimmers:

Esther Simplot Park

Nearly half of this 55-acre park is devoted to ponds for swimming and fishing. If you prefer an all-natural swimming session among wildlife, waterfowl, and fewer crowds then you’ll find at the average public pool, this is your spot. Pro tip: Reserve one of the two shelters on Friendship Island for your lunch break.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for a Quiet Break:

Mystic Cove Park

Located just off the Greenbelt on 48th Street, Mystic Cove is a wonderful pit stop during a cycling or strolling session. You’ll find benches for resting and playground equipment to help the kiddos blow off some steam.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for River Lovers:

Heron Park

This half-acre park offers direct access to the river, making it a perfect destination for owners of water-loving dogs, kids who want to cool off during the summer months, or nature lovers who want to take a break on its bankside seating area. There’s plenty of parking and restrooms nearby, as well.

Barbarian Brewing

Best for Nature Lovers:

Westmoreland Park

Westmoreland boasts 5.6 acres of open space and clear access to the Boise River, which makes it a favorite put in/pull out point for kayakers — not to mention anglers who love to fish for trout and steelhead. In fact, you can make a full day of your time there thanks to plenty of picnic tables and room to roam. True nature lovers appreciate the part of this large park that’s off limits to foot traffic: A reserve for the wildlife that thrive along the river.  

Barbarian Brewing

Bring Your Bestie! A Dog Lover’s Guide to Garden City

Bring Your Bestie! A Dog Lover’s Guide to Garden City


Bring Your Bestie! A Dog Lover’s Guide to Garden City

Garden City has a laid-back, beers-on-the-patio, lazy-day-by-the-river feel. So it’s no surprise that this city is amazingly Fido-friendly. From craft beverage purveyors to lodging, coffee shops to parks, you’ll find plenty of places to spend the day with your best friend.


Breweries, Wineries and Bars

Garden City’s amazing Craft Beverage Corridor is famous for its homegrown breweries and wineries, while the city’s bars are known for their come-as-you-are atmospheres. In other words: Furry friends are definitely welcome here.

Barbarian Brewing

Your dog might not be able to partake in Barbarian’s genre-defying beers, but it is welcome in the taproom.


Cinder Wines

Make sure your dog is on a leash while you enjoy winemaker Melanie Krause’s celebrated wines.


Coiled Wines

Your furry friend is allowed only on the patio — not much of a sacrifice with one of Coiled’s famous wine slushies in hand.


County Line Brewing

Make sure your dog is on leash while you stock up on favorites like Hayride Pale Ale. 


Crooked Fence Brewing

Your dog is welcome on Crooked Fence’s expanded patio while you work your way through their 18 taps. 


Meriwether Cider Co.

Dogs are so much a part of Meriwether that visiting pups are featured on their very own Instagram account: @dogsofmeriwether.


Par Terre

No problem sipping on a cab franc with your dog by your side — just make sure it’s leashed.

Potter Wines

Potter is known for its quirky wines, like jalapeno wine, and dogs are welcome to join their owners while they light up their tastebuds.


Powderhaus Brewing Company

Powderhaus is all about that Idaho outdoor life, and including your best friend is part of the fun.


Split Rail Winery

This fun-loving winery has a tasting room and a Chinden Boulevard patio that are open to dogs.


Telaya Wine Co.

Telaya has a picture-perfect riverside patio where dogs are welcome, too.


Twisted District Brew Co.

Garden City’s newest brewery has not one, but two patios where you can bring your dogs.


Western Collective

Boozy slushies, hard seltzer, and clever beers are even better with your pup by your side.


The Yardarm

Tucked into Garden City’s “beach” community by the Boise River, this seasonal bar welcomes all members of the neighborhood.


These restaurants aren’t just a great place to have a bite — they also welcome your best friend
(note: most dogs are allowed outside only).


You and your dog can enjoy Barrelhouse’s “perfectly unusual” menu on this eatery’s patio.


Blue Sky Bagels

Feel free to bring your pup with you while you enjoy your bagel and schmear on Blue Sky’s outdoor seating.



This beloved sandwich shop has a shaded, dog-friendly patio.


Idaho Pizza Company

Your best buddy is welcome to join you at this local pizza company’s outside seating.


Moxie Java Bistro and Moxie Java Café

These always-popular coffeehouses have spacious, dog-friendly patios.


Oliver’s Daily Grind

This walk-up and drive-up coffee stand is perfect for morning java runs with your dog.

Pastry Perfection

Enjoy a cup of coffee and one of Pastry Perfection’s fan-favorite donuts on the outdoor patio with your dog.


Push and Pour

This craft coffeeshop has a cozy, dog-friendly patio out front.


The Sandbar

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at this riverside patio grill that’s open from mid-May through October.


Sofia’s Greek Bistro

We won’t tell if you slip your pup one of Sofia’s Greek fries while you dine outside.


Uncle Giuseppe’s

This Italian deli known for its mouthwatering sandwiches allows dogs to sit with their owners outside when their patio seating is available.

Parks and Swimming Holes

Garden City offers plenty of locations for river exploring, swimming, running, and playing fetch.


At 25 miles long, this jewel of a riverside path offers more than enough opportunities to run, walk, or even swim in the river. Dogs especially enjoy the swimming hole west of Mystic Cove Park.


River Pointe Park

This little park behind City Hall is great for a session of fetch.


Riverfront Park

Riverfront is the largest in Garden City, with plenty of space for dogs to frolic.


Heron Park

This is the newest park in Garden City and makes great use of its river access, with steps leading to your pup’s next swimming session.


Mystic Cove Park

Just off the Greenbelt, this park is a great diversion after a swim in the river.


Boise Whitewater Park

Have a water-loving dog? This park isn’t just for river surfers — dogs can practice their swimming skills here, too.  


Finding a dog hotel while traveling can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, but not in Garden City.

The Riverside Hotel

The Riverside Hotel (where you’ll also find the Sandbar, listed above) allows up to two dogs per room for a non-refundable fee. Book online or call ahead with questions about the policy. 

The Most Fido-Friendly Spots of All

Pups are always welcome at food trucks, the ultimate outdoor eateries! Garden City has two full-time food trucks that serve authentic Mexican food. Many establishments, like Crooked Fence and Powderhaus, offer rotating food truck service; check their websites to discover the latest. But for an OG food truck experience, start with these two.

Tacos Mobile Primo

Located just outside Primo Super Market, Tacos Mobile Primo offers traditional standbys like asada street tacos, tortas stuffed with ham and pineapple, and chile relleno burritos.

El Sabor

Located near the Mobil 1 Lube Express at 9275 W. Chinden, El Sabor serves up classics like aguachile (a ceviche-style dish served with tostadas) and burrito verde (stuffed with marinated pork).

Garden City Is For Kids

Garden City Is For Kids


Garden City Is For Kids

Your next kid-friendly weekend adventure will take you to four square miles of outdoor fun, indoor play, and enough pizza and sugar to satisfy even the most discerning 9-year-old. Garden City is packed with fun destinations for children, including can’t miss summer events and year-round entertainment. Plus, the whole family can play safe: most Garden City businesses require masks for entry. No need to plot your course — we’ve done the work for you!



Breakfast at Pastry Perfection

Time to fuel up for a day of fun! Bakers fill Pastry Perfection’s shiny glass cases with trays upon trays of frosted donuts, iced cinnamon rolls, fresh-baked breads, and fruit-filled danishes every morning. Plus, you’ll find plenty of hot coffee on tap for mom and dad. For some of the most craveable coffee cakes, muffins, and scones you’ll ever eat, check out the stylish Coffee House at Wildflour Bakery, where they churn out the sweets that line specialty grocery stores throughout the Valley.

Stop #2

Asana Climbing Gym

Now that the kiddos are on a sugar high, let them climb the walls! Asana Climbing Gym offers indoor climbing and bouldering in a supportive environment, with routes for newbies and more experienced climbers alike. Good news for parents: kids ages 9-17 climb at a discounted rate. Have the kids test their creative skills at the Reuseum, where they can learn how to build their own hovercrafts, explore magnetism, craft simple circuit boards, or even create a robot! Classes are on hold due to the pandemic, but check the Reuseum’s website for the reopening of its STEM-friendly classes.

Stop #3

Parks, Parks, and More Parks

Garden City boasts a series of beautiful parks, many of them linked by the riverside Greenbelt path that winds through the city. Depending on the time of year, the kids might enjoy swimming at Esther Simplot Park, playing at River Pointe Park, climbing the playground equipment at Riverfront Park, fishing at Riverside Park, tackling the jungle gym at Mystic Cove Park, or watching the surfers (or giving river sports a try themselves) at Boise Whitewater Park.

Stop #4

The Library

When you enter the Garden City Public Library, you immediately notice that it’s not your typical hushed-voice hall of books — its slogan is “Not a Quiet Library.” The library’s children’s programming is second to none: Expect crafts, themed story times (yoga, trucks, hummingbirds, and plenty of other kid-friendly topics) music circles, movie-watching parties, movement classes … the list goes on and on. These events have been virtual during the pandemic, but will be in-person as soon as its safe. Check the Garden City Public Library’s website before your visit for an up-to-date schedule and full list of things to do.

Garden City Public Library

Photo provided by the City of Garden City.

Stop #5

Bowling at Westy’s Garden Lanes

Since 1959, Westy’s has been the go-to spot for families who don’t mind a little friendly competition. Kids will love trying to knock down a few pins, and parents will like the price ($18-$20 per hour, plus shoe rentals) … and perhaps the very grown-up drink specials, too.

Stop #6

Pizza Party!

Garden City enjoys a good pie. Round out your big day with a trip to local favorites Idaho Pizza Company and Guido’s, both of which offer plenty of family-friendly seating and casual service.

Bonus Summer Activities

Summer just doesn’t seem complete without a lazy, warm evening watching baseball or hitting the rides at the fair. Luckily for us, you can do both in Garden City!

The Boise Hawks are the Treasure Valley’s own — and only — baseball team, and their longtime home at Memorial Stadium on Glenwood is where generations of kids have developed their love of America’s pastime. It helps that the Hawks make games super kid-friendly. There are on-field competitions geared for children between innings, including the famous round-the-bases race between three kids chosen from the stands — one dressed as a French fry, one as a tater tot, and another as baked potato (how Idaho is that?). All kids get the opportunity to take the field after the game, and they’ll thrill at the post-game fireworks (be sure to check the Hawks’ schedule to make sure they’re planned for the night you attend).

The Western Idaho Fair is as classic as it comes: scream-inducing rides, livestock and food competitions, and all the “what-the-heck-it’s-the-fair” dishes you just won’t get anywhere else. It’s a huge event — the largest in the state — and draws a quarter of a million attendees every year. The 2021 fair is scheduled for August 20-29, 2021, after forgoing 2020’s event due to the pandemic.

Of course, there’s no need to pack all that fun into one day! Make it an adventure weekend by booking a room at the Riverside Hotel, a sprawling resort-like property that backs up to the Boise River. You’ll gain access to a whole host of family fun — a kids’ splash pad at the outdoor pool, music at the Sandbar patio (the Sandbar also offers poolside delivery if Mom and Dad feel like lounging), and bike rental so you can cycle just a few feet and hop on the Greenbelt. No need to leave the fam’s best friend behind, either: the Riverside offers select pet-friendly rooms.

What’s your go-to kid activity in Garden City? We’d love to hear your recommendations!

Art Is the Heart of Garden City

Art Is the Heart of Garden City


Art Is the Heart of Garden City

Murals, art benches, galleries … Garden City isn’t just a haven for artists, it’s a must-see destination for art lovers. From the artist studios and craft beverage makers featured on the Garden City Artisans Pathway Map to the public art works and galleries listed below, you’ll discover more than enough creativity to fuel a weekend in the city.


Garden City


The vestiges of the city’s industrial past offer the perfect canvas for muralists. From homages to the city’s past to inspirational messages, the murals of Garden City offer colorful pops of public art in unexpected places.

Above, Below, and On Glenwood Street

Three murals can be found near Glenwood Street. The Airplane Mural, painted on the south side of the Signs by Smith Building at 4747 N. Glenwood, depicts several of the U.S. Airforce jets you might see in the sky overhead. A trio of works — the Fishing Mural, the River Rafting Mural, and the Cyclist Mural, all under the Glenwood Bridge — depict some of the most popular Boise River activities in vibrant color. Garden City’s newest mural is located at Ironwood Bar & Grill at 5467 N. Glenwood and depicts iconic signs and sights of the city.

44th Street

Hunters, set amidst an autumnal landscape, set out to bag deer in the Hunter Mural at the Boise Hunter Education Center, 109 W. 44th Street. Over at 107 E. 44th Street, across from Cinder Wines, the iconic Garden City Postcard Mural offers a colorful crash course in history to visitors exiting the tasting room.


A Garden of Creativity, featuring larger-than-life flora and fauna in can’t-miss-it splashes of color, graces the back of Cobby’s Sandwich Shop at 4348 Chinden Boulevard.

42nd Street

The Be Great Mural, with its helping hands and powerful message, serves as a constant reminder for the kids attending the Boys & Girls Club of Ada County at 610 E. 42nd Street. Note: The mural has recently been covered by the new cafeteria



Garden City’s SITy Benches public arts project is inspired by a treasure trove of leafy spaces, including a number of parks and the Greenbelt. Garden City kicked off the project in 2019 — the first of its kind in the Treasure Valley — by choosing five artists to design and fabricate art benches. So far, eight artists have created seven site-specific benches that range from the sculptural to the playful, with more to come. Finding them is the perfect pastime for a lazy Sunday (with plenty of rest breaks included).

Five benches have been installed with more to come, visit the Garden SITy Art Bench Project to learn more.

Heron Park,
3858 Reed Street

Here, you’ll discover two SITy benches by Ken McCall that draw on the beauty of the Boise River. A colorful, larger-than-life heron and cattails bookend the aptly-named Heron Bench. Nearby, a sculptural swirl of blue waves rises toward the sky while a green leaf provides a seat on the River Throne, a perch worthy of a river nymph.

Nature Path near Riverside Pond

The silver Above and Below, by Claire Remsberg and Nicole McDonald, is silhouetted with the many animals that scurry about the earth along the river and swoop in the skies above. The greenish-blue tones of Lazy River, by Russ and Adele Lewis of Touch of Glass, nearly blend into the trees and shrubs that line the river. But take a closer look and you’ll discover glass inlays, including charming green fish.

Mystic Cove Park,
4750 Mystic Cove Way

As the owner and designer at Studio 1212, Derek Hurd has more than a little experience creating eye-catching furniture. But his Blue Bench is a standout: Bright blue and angular, it serves as a frame for the surrounding landscape.


Reham Aarti’s Greenbelt Sherbet, located at the end of 50th Street, is as colorful as its eponymous namesake — a kaleidoscope of mosaiced glass and tile painstakingly placed along its sofa-like lines. Trio, by artist and blacksmith Susan Madasci, stretches the limits of what a bench is. Its cluster of leaf-like structures beckons climbing kids and face-to-face conversations alike. You can find it at East 40th Street and the Greenbelt.

Garden City


The Visual Arts Collective

The Visual Arts Collective

The Visual Arts Collective is part music venue, part gallery, part theatre, part bar — and over the years it has become one of the most lively and interesting places to experience the arts in the Treasure Valley. The VAC is currently closed due to the pandemic, but you can help ensure that it’s back in full force in 2021 by contributing to Love Letters for the VAC.

Surel's Place

Surel’s Place

Surel’s Place is the home of the late artist Surel Mitchell, who championed Garden City as a haven for makers and artists. Her custom-built house is now a residence for a rotating cast of musicians and artists who create inspired works in the space. Although in-house events are off the table for now, you can check out online lectures or visit Hallie Maxwell’s installation Reviresco. Reviresco is an interactive piece housed in the Green Box, a World War II mobile field office, that will run from November 2020 to March 2021. Viewers will have access to paper and instructions so they can create paper cranes that will fill the Green Box and serve as mementos of healing during the pandemic. Check for updates, including online crane-making demonstrations, on the organization’s Facebook page.

The Surel Mitchell

Live-Work-Create District

In 1998, artist Surel Mitchell built a home in Garden City and changed the trajectory of the city’s future. Her home was a place to live and to create and share her art, and she began advocating for Garden City as a location where other artists could build the same lifestyle. She served on Garden City’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the city’s first Arts Commission and championed the idea of a “live, work, create” district.

In 2006, the Garden City Council formally approved the creation of the district between 32nd and 37th streets on either side of Chinden Boulevard. After Mitchell’s passing in 2011, the council named the Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District in her honor.

After Mitchell’s death, her friends and family transformed her Garden City home into Surel’s Place, a non-profit artist-in-residence program that attracts artists from around the nation and the world.

The Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District
is a neighborhood like no other. Its many features include:

What’s your favorite spot to check out local art in Garden City? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.

The Gift Giver’s Guide to Garden City

The Gift Giver’s Guide to Garden City


The Gift Giver’s Guide to Garden City

Garden City is a haven for artists and makers — which makes it a one-stop shop for savvy holiday gift-givers! From beautifully made baubles to bottles of brews, we’ve rounded up the best places to score a one-of-a-kind gift for just about every person on your list.

With so much to see (and shop) this holiday season, why not make a weekend of it? The Riverside Hotel is offering a Warm Up to Winter Package that’s perfect for the occasion, including a Signature Breakfast, cozy robes and slippers, and a $50 food and beverage card. Plus, you’ll get access to the hotel’s spacious 98-degree pool — heated sustainably with off-grid excess power — and the socially-distanced deck. Be sure to ask for the package by name when making your reservation.

After a heady day of lounging and browsing, be sure to check out Christmas in Color at Expo Idaho, which will set the night sky ablaze with 1.5 million (yes, million!) lights. All you need to participate in this mile-long drive-through tour is your trusty vehicle. Tune in to the Christmas in Color radio station to enjoy a synchronized music-and-light show featuring a wonderland of giant candy canes, snowmen, and dazzling decorative arches. You need just one $30 ticket per vehicle to experience this sparkling show, which runs from Nov. 20-Jan. 3.

Now, are you ready to find the perfect gift? Let’s dive in!



Sustainably Stylish

Fluff Hardware

Fluff Hardware features of-the-moment designs crafted with hammered metal, chunky crystals, delicate chains, and stamped cuffs. Order online, catch them at one of their many holiday craft appearances, or book a stamped jewelry class and make your own gift!

Garden City Projects

Garden City Projects offers sculptural, modern takes on jewelry — exactly the sort of pieces your college-age niece or minimalist girlfriend would sport regularly. Pair a set of earrings with one of their glass trays for the ultimate cool-girl gift.

Foster Weld

For a gift that will last for decades to come, check out Fosterweld. The artisans at metalworking shop craft everything from bottle openers to belt buckles, keychains to custom vintage-style signs. Have an idea? Bring it to the shop (operating by appointment only) for a one-of-a-kind gift, or check out their online store.


Boutique Enthusiast

Suzanne Fluty Designs

Each Suzanne Fluty Designs ceramic piece is both down-to-earth and elegant, with washes of soft color and earth-inspired art. Choose a gorgeous mug as a lovely gift for the hard-working teacher who has been surviving Zoom classes on endless cups of coffee.

Lala's Fresh Pots

If you’ve never seen an agatewear design — one that mimics the fluid layers and swirls of its namesake rock — you’re in for a treat. Lala’s Fresh Pots specializes in this unique look (check out maker Kayla Morgan’s could-have-fooled-you agatewear earrings, too).


Art Collector

Zion Warne

For more than 20 years, Zion Warne has been at the vanguard of the Treasure Valley glass scene. He’s known for his swirling layers of colorful glass — but don’t overlook his special holiday-themed collection featuring sunglass-sporting snowmen, hand-blown ornaments, and blue-and-green pine trees.

Stover Glass

Museum-worthy vessels, delicate earrings, display-worthy glasses … they’re all available at the Stover Glass online shop. Artist Lisa Stover’s covetable creations are the result of 25 years’ worth of exploration into what glass can do (and at prices ranging from $25 to $300+, there’s something for every budget). 

Betsie Richardson

Artist Betsie Richardson’s oil paintings reflect big landscapes and little moments. You can pick up anything from stickers to holiday cards to gallery-worthy prints at her Etsy shop, or make a private studio appointment with the artist — Richardson takes commissions.

Madasci Studios

Artist and blacksmith Susan Madasci, founder of Madasci Studios, creates vessels that seem pieced together by invisible thread and colorful sculptures that appear to defy gravity. Whether you purchase from her online shop or choose something that’s made to order, you can be sure you’re gifting something that’s one of a kind.


Vintage Enthusiast

Studio 1212

Looking for something that’s truly unique? Go vintage — or vintage-inspired, like the handcrafted furniture at Studio 1212 that draws on the clean, futuristic lines of mid-century modern design.

Ricochet Home Consignment

Ricochet Home Consignment offers a doubletrack of goods, decor and clothing, including items from screen legend Maureen O’Hara’s estate.

Estate Sales Outlet

You’ll discover a wide range of treasures, from collectibles to antique silverware, at the Estate Sales Outlet Shop, which houses overflow from the business’s frequent events.

Assistance League Thrift Shop

Your gift will do double good at the Assistance League Thrift Shop, where proceeds from sales help to fund nine philanthropic programs.

Eclectic curio

The offerings at Eclectic Curio are as wide-ranging as the shop’s name implies — browse here for handmade ornaments and carefully curated vintage finds.

The Merq

The Merq has earned a diehard following for its “treasure of great junk” and helpful service; you can even set up a private browsing experience.


Beer & Cider Buddy

Garden City’s Craft Beverage Corridor offers a bonanza of gifts for the tipplers on your list. Tap into Powderhaus Brewing Company, Loose Screw Beer Co., County Line Brewing, Western Collective (which also sells a limited selection of house-made wine), Crooked Fence Brewing Co., Barbarian Brewing, and Meriwether Cider for bottles, cans, and growlers of the best brews in the state.

Powderhaus Brewing Company

Loose Screw

County Line Brewing

Western Collective

Crooked Fence Brewing Co.

Barbarian Brewing

Meriwether cider


Wine Sipper

Of course, the Craft Beverage Corridor isn’t limited to beer alone. Garden City’s fantastic wines are racking up honors — and you will, too, with the gift of a wine club subscription or a coveted bottle or four. Check out Cinder Wines, Split Rail Winery, Telaya Wine Co., Coiled Wines, Potter Wines, or Par Terre Winery.

Cinder Wines

split rail

Telaya Wine Co.

Coiled Wines

Potter Wines

Par Terre Winery


DIY Gifter

Quilt Expressions

What could be more meaningful — especially this year — than making your own gift? Quilters flock to Garden City’s Quilt Expressions, which has an astounding 7,000+ bolts of fabric to choose from at its store, online, or for curbside pickup.

the Twisted Ewe

Yarn arts enthusiasts will find everything they need at Twisted Ewe, which features skeins of gorgeous yarn from around the world, including Noro from Japan, Gedifra from Italy, and the shop’s own in-house brand.

Twisted Kitchen

If whipping up 500 cookies is more your style, head to the Twisted Kitchen next door and rent its fully-stocked commercial kitchen. It comes equipped with a convection oven, a spacious prep kitchen, massive fridges and freezers, and much more.

The Potter's Center

The Potter’s Center offers group and one-on-one classes for budding ceramicists and a range of beautiful supplies and tools for those who already know their way around a wheel.

Quality Art

Your artistic friend (or your elementary-age child) will appreciate a gift certificate or kit from Quality Art School & Art Supply, which stocks everything from Bob Ross kits to reams of colorful kraft paper and kid-friendly washable tempera paints.


To create a truly weird and wonderful gift, head to the Reuseum. This electronics supply and surplus store has a charmingly unpredictable stash of finds ranging from lab equipment to spare circuit boards that the tech-savvy and mechanically handy will find inspiring.

What’s your favorite place to shop in Garden City? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.

Garden City Has Links to Some of Idaho’s Spookiest History

Garden City Has Links to Some of Idaho’s Spookiest History


Garden City Has Links to Some of Idaho’s Spookiest History

Garden City’s location and history as a gambling town puts it at the crossroads of a number of colorful stories — a crossroads that leads to some of the spookiest stories in the state. So whether you’re gearing up for Halloween under a rare blue moon or getting ready to mark Día de los Muertos, get ready: We’re about to dive into tales of pioneers and one of the most notorious episodes in Treasure Valley history.
The Ghosts of Fort Boise

Major Pinkney Lugenbeel, a U.S. Army officer, led a cavalry company to what is now Boise in 1863 in search of the perfect site for a new fort. Lugenbeel and his men camped on Government Island in the Boise River, which eight decades later would become part of what is now Garden City. (The course of the river has changed since the 1860s, so the island is roughly where Joe’s Crab Shack is today.)

Once Lugenbeel decided on a location for Fort Boise — where the VA Hospital in Boise is now — Government Island remained a working part of the Army’s operations. Soldiers grew hay there to feed the fort’s many horses, inextricably linking the historical fort to modern-day Garden City.

And according to some people, Fort Boise’s long-dead 19th century soldiers have never fully moved on to the other side.

The Fort Boise Military Cemetery is home to 247 people, many of whom lived and worked at Fort Boise and Government Island between the mid-1860s and 1906. In 1906, the cemetery had to be moved because Cottonwood Creek flooded its banks and threatened the graves of the dead. The cemetery came to its final resting place, so to speak, on Mountain Cove Road in the Fort Boise Military Reserve. Burials continued until 1913.

Could some of Garden City’s earliest American residents still lurk in the cemetery? For decades, people have reported shadowy figures around the small cemetery (including this author, who was on an early-morning run when the figure of a man walked from the cemetery across the road and vanished among the sagebrush). The most well-known figures are that of a woman and small children, who can be heard playing.

Garden City’s Ties to ‘Idaho’s Jack the Ripper’

In the 1950s, Garden City was a riotous town full of bars and gambling establishments. It was a place to have a good time, forget your cares, and spend a bit of your hard-earned cash.

That’s exactly what Cora Dean, a recently widowed woman, was doing when Raymond Snowden approached her at the Hi-Ho Club (where 3933 Chinden Boulevard is now) in 1956. Unfortunately for her, it would be her last night on the town. When Dean turned down Snowden’s advances, he slashed her, stabbing her 29 times. The similarities between the viciousness of her murder and London’s infamous mass murderer prompted the nickname “Idaho’s Jack the Ripper.” She was found by a paper boy in the alley behind the club the next morning.

As a Garden City Police officer studied the killing, he remembered a man he had arrested who had threatened to kill his girlfriend in a similar way — Snowden. The police tracked Snowden down, discovered a bloody knife outside Hannifin’s Cigar Shop in Boise, and found witnesses who saw Snowden chatting up Dean.

Snowden was convicted, sentenced to death, and moved to Idaho’s Old Penitentiary in Boise. He spent the final year of his life 10 feet away from the indoor gallows where he would be hung in 1957.

You might guess that Dean is the ghost in this story, but Snowden is the spirit that is still said to be active at the Old Pen. In a bit of poetic justice, Snowden’s execution did not go according to plan — no one had been executed by the state since 1940, and you might say officials were a bit out of practice. Snowden hung from the gallows for many agonizing minutes before finally dying. He was the last man executed by hanging in Idaho, but he makes his presence at the Old Pen known by leaving visitors with an unnerving feeling, scratching them, or even speaking to them.

A Rare Event This Halloween

Halloween in Garden City usually features community events like Trunk or Treat, hosted by the Garden City Police Department, or themed events at the breweries and wineries that make up the Craft Beverage Corridor. This year, of course, is different — but the heavens will still make this Halloween extra special.

On Oct. 31, we’ll experience a full moon on Halloween, an event that happens approximately every 19 years. But 2020’s Halloween will be a blue moon, or the second full moon in a month. The last time a blue moon was visible worldwide on Halloween was an astonishing 76 years ago, during World War II! We won’t experience a Halloween full moon again until 2039, so be sure to take a few minutes to appreciate this rare celestial appearance.

Celebrating Día de los Muertos

The tradition of Día de los Muertos is not “Mexican Halloween,” as it’s sometimes called, but it is celebrated around the same time. This religious holiday has become increasingly popular in the United States, with themed costumes and events and even movies like Disney’s “Cora,” but its beautiful traditions and colorful iconography reflect a sacred practice that binds families with their ancestors. 

Starting on Oct. 31, families create altars to honor relatives and friends who have passed. Families clean and adorn graves, stand vigil, and leave offerings of favorite foods and drinks on final resting places or home altars called ofrendas. This celebration of life — a stark contrast to death-themed Halloween — continues through the Catholic holidays of All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and All Saints Day on Nov. 2.

In a typical year, Garden City businesses and organizations would celebrate Día de los Muertos with cultural events and parties. This year, however, we’d encourage you to honor your friends and relatives at home.

Do You Have a Halloween Story?

Have you had a ghostly experience in Garden City? We would love to hear about it! Please share your story in the comments section below.


Family Day in Garden City

Family Day in Garden City


Family Day in Garden City

There’s No Shortage of Family Fun in Garden City

Sure, Garden City has plenty of big fun for adults thanks to its Craft Beverage Corridor. But it’s also a wonderland of interesting activities for kids — and who knows, their parents might learn a few things, too!
Start the morning in the garden.

Garden City is the first Bee City, U.S.A. in Idaho, which means that the city is devoted to preserving and protecting these important insects. Garden City has created a safe space for bees at its purpose-built Pollinator Garden. At this educational garden, you and your kids can learn about native bee species, the plants they enjoy, and how the whole family can do its part to help Idaho’s bees thrive.

Learn at the library.

The Garden City Public Library proudly proclaims that it’s “not a quiet library.” And with the number of programs for kids, you’ll quickly find out why! Take your little ones to Toddler Tales storytime and Puppet Theater, or help your older children learn how to speak Spanish at Bilingual Storytime. You’ll discover plenty of other activities, from rock painting workshops to chess, as well as one of the most welcoming environments in the Treasure Valley.

Get weird at the Reuseum.

Let your kids’ imaginations run wild at this family-friendly electronics surplus and supply store. You never know what you’ll find here: Old lab coats, beakers, used motherboards — the list goes on and on and on. The Reuseum is a huge advocate for STEM education and regularly hosts workshops for kids like Deconstruction Labs, Bristlebot Builds, Circuit Building Basics, and Junk Drawer Robots. Or, if your child has a STEM or science project, book time with the staff to go over logistics and see how the Reuseum might be able to help.

Bowl like a pro.

Westy’s Garden Lanes have been a Garden City staple since 1959, and they’re still a family favorite. Strike down some pins and let the kids gorge on Westy’s breakfast-all-day specials (there’s a full-service bar on hand for adults, too). You could always make your excursion into a party: Westy’s has a party package that includes an hour of bowling, 30 minutes of arcade games, unlimited soda, and take-home gifts.