Garden City is Boise's red-headed stepchild. But it's a stepchild that is fighting hard to shake off its ne'er-do-well image of the past.
The city—which is completely surrounded by Boise—was named for the gardens of early Chinese immigrants to the area. However for decades, it was also where the upstanding citizens of Boise would go to indulge their vices thanks to things like legal gambling and adult stores. But gone are the days of hourly hotel rates. The main drive, Chinden Boulevard, is still a mix of RV, boat and used-car dealerships, but now, wine, art and upscale condos are moving in, too.
The residential area spans the spectrum from modest homes and trailer parks, to expansive riverfront properties. Garden City actually straddles both sides of the Boise River, encompassing the Plantation Golf Club (6515 W. State St.).
These days, Garden City is the kind of place where custom metal sculptures are created at Woman of Steel Gallery (3640 W. Chinden Blvd.), while Alley Repertory Theater stages its latest production at Visual Arts Collective (3638 Osage St.) and Cinder (107 E. 44th St.) and Syringa Winery (3500 Chinden Blvd.) unveil the latest vintages in their tasting rooms.
For decades, Garden City has been home to one of the largest and most anticipated events of the summer, the Western Idaho Fair held at Expo Idaho (5610 N. Glenwood St.). The fairgrounds area is also home to Boise's boys of summer, the Boise Hawks minor league baseball team, which plays at Hawks Memorial Stadium (5600 Glenwood St.).
The hub of the community is the Garden City Public Library (6015 N Glenwood St.) providing a gathering place for residents of all ages with extensive programs for children, as well hosting guest speakers, art shows and discussion groups.
In the near future, the Ray Neef MD River Recreation Park, now under construction in the Boise River at the end of 36th Street, will be a major draw for kayakers and assorted water lovers who want to play in the year-round whitewater features.
Garden City: A place where you can buy a cup of joe at a shack staffed by a girl in a bikini after waking up in a semi-seedy motel with a hangover courtesy of a party that started in a winery tasting room and ended at an indie rock concert in an art house.