For white-water fun, head to Boise River Park.
Named for the garden plots Chinese immigrants once tended there, this four-square-mile strip of city along the Boise River was infamous in the early 20th century for its gambling rooms and industrial vibe. Today, it's a fertile creative arts district. Area code is 208.
- The graffiti-daubed car outside Visual Arts Collective isn't a derelict; it's a signpost of sorts for a space that hosts productions by Alley Repertory Theater, live storytelling, indie bands such as the Portland Cello Project and Deerhoof, and a gallery. 424-8297, visualartscollective.com.
- Free Atomic FireBalls are reason enough to visit Reuseum, but the store's industrial surplus—from Geiger counters to LED clocks—keeps patrons coming. Classes in soldering and other skills spur inspiration. 375-7507, reuseum.com.
- Boise River Park draws two kinds of happy enthusiasts: kayakers and others who ply the rapids, and spectators who gather to watch them. At the new Corridor Paddle Surf Shop (615-4787, corridorsup.com), visitors can rent watercraft and take to the river. 608-7600, parks.cityofboise.org.
- Beer aficionados love the malty, crisp, and dry-hopped Rusty Nail Pale Ale served at the tasting room of Crooked Fence Brewing, one of three craft breweries that have opened in Garden City during the during the last two years. 890-4120, crookedfencebrewing.com.
- If the padded leather armrests at the Stagecoach Inn's bar have a classic look, there's good reason. Opened in 1959, the steak house is one of the area's most venerable restaurants; the rib eye and Alaskan halibut are classics, too. 331-0336, stagecoachboise.com.
Photography by Glenn Oakley
This article was first published in September 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.