When you think of Garden City, Idaho you might think of Chinden Boulevard, industrial warehouses, and auto repair shops. It’s time to think again.
Garden City’s Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District is breathing new life into the area right outside downtown Boise near the river, and the up-and-coming community gathering there is turning heads.
The Live-Work-Create District is named for late artist Surel Mitchell who chose Garden City for the location of her studio and home.
Today, Mitchell’s vision of a mixed-use neighborhood with an artsy twist is coming to life, giving Garden City a completely reinvented mystique. The Live-Work-Create District has an avant-garde, do-it-yourself, community-based feel that appeals to many residents: there’s a shared sense that there’s no stopping the rapid growth taking place here as local business owners make their dreams come to life.
The Live-Work-Create District is tempting new residents with the promise of a uniquely walkable, bikeable neighborhood where you know everyone’s name. Its proximity to the river and the expansive Esther Simplot Park and Boise Whitewater Park right across the bridge lure river recreationists, bikers, and runners.
Diverse housing options with live/work space combined make this area affordable for artists, makers, and dreamers with a vision. Although it’s right outside downtown Boise, this district sports an entirely different vibe—a completely different world with an exciting sense of promise.
Living in Garden City's Live-Work-Create District
Garden City resident Rod McDowell told the Idaho Statesman in 2007, "I've always told everybody Garden City is a diamond in the rough, and that's why I'm here. I'm so excited about the potential for Garden City, I can hardly sleep at night."
Rod’s sentiment is the tone you’ll hear from many Garden City business owners, residents, and artists these days: there’s more potential than you can shake a stick at. The Live-Work-Create District has harnessed that potential and used it to rocket forward, making Treasure Valley locals do a double-take. There are a plethora of reasons residents are choosing Garden City’s Live-Work-Create district for their next home.
An Intentional Sense of Community
In 1998, late Boise artist Surel Mitchell chose Garden City as the location for her custom-built home and art studio. She combined the space with a vision of a house where she could live, work, and share her art.
Surel’s advocacy for the local community extended to her tenure on the Garden City Planning & Zoning Commission and Arts Commission. Today, Surel’s community spirit lives on as her vision of a mixed-use neighborhood comes to life around her home, which has been converted into an artist-in-residence space that draws makers from around the globe.
As a result, the Live-Work-Create District offers an appeal many newer neighborhoods can’t: an incredibly walkable, bikeable area and the surety you’ll feel a part of your community. High-density, affordable housing with shared common areas instead of backyards, as well as restaurants, bars, and venues next door to homes, make the Live-Work-Create District an inspired experiment.
Artistry and Craftsmanship in Food, Drinks, and Art
Wineries, cideries, and breweries are increasingly choosing Garden City as the home for their production houses and tasting rooms. New and exciting restaurants and bars pop up at a surprising rate in this area. Art galleries are scattered around every corner, and with the Visual Arts Collective nearby, there’s always a play or performance to catch. The Live-Work-Create District is all about craftsmanship and artistry, inviting you to join in.
The Live-Work-Create District is minutes from downtown Boise and the freeway, right in the heart of the action. Its central location attracts residents who work near downtown as well as those who want greenbelt access right in their backyard without the Boise price tag.
Land-locked Idaho may not be where you think of when you imagine surfing, but Garden City is taking advantage of its proximity to the Boise Whitewater Park and bringing in river recreation enthusiasts of all kinds. The Greenbelt runs along the Live-Work-Create District’s border and bridges connect the area to the sprawling Esther Simplot Park and its sandy beaches and swimming holes.
Hidden Gems and More Popping Up Every Day
It seems like new restaurants, galleries, shops, and tasting rooms open every day in the Live-Work-Create District, and residents get the added benefit of living just blocks away from places like Coiled Winery, Caffe Luciano’s, and the Sandbar Patio Bar & Grill.
The Live-Work-Create Lifestyle
Live-Work-Create residents are filling their weekends and weeknights with an eclectic mix of recreation and fun. On the weekends, you’ll likely see them sitting on a patio next to the river, taking in the view over drinks with friends. They’ll head into downtown for the market or stroll through neighborhood art galleries and collectives like Surel’s Place and The Twisted Ewe. They might visit the Garden City Projects for wall-to-wall art and shopping before grabbing some craft coffee at Push and Pour.
During the warmer months, Live-Work-Create District dwellers are likely to take advantage of their proximity to the river and lounge on the sandy beaches at Quinn’s Pond or Esther Simplot Park, fishing along the river or launching their kayak into the pristine water. They might pedal around Garden City and Boise, stopping for river-side dining and cocktails or wine before an outdoor concert or baseball game at Garden City’s Memorial Stadium.
When the breeze starts cooling in the fall, spots like The Riverside Hotel’s Sapphire Room beckon Garden City residents in for a vintage movie night or live music. On weeknights and weekends all year long, the Visual Arts Collective showcases Boise’s thriving creative scene with live music, art showings, readings, comedy shows, and more.
Popular Shops & Restaurants
Push and Pour, the newest coffee shop, converted an old garage space into a dog-friendly seating area. The Yardarm, a surfing bar that operates during the spring, summer, and fall months, is housed in a shipping container with an on-site food truck. Telaya Wine Co. built their tasting room on the river in an old hotel parking lot. The 34th Street Market looks both like it popped up yesterday and has also been there forever: a collection of shipping containers and an outdoor bar area invite surfers and residents to a beer garden, farmer’s market, and food truck haven.
Closeby restaurants, bars, and wineries include:
- 34th Street Market: A farmer’s market, food trucks, a beer garden, and more.
- Caffe Luciano’s: Come in off your bike or your standup paddleboard and grab a beer, some pizza, or even breakfast on the patio.
- Coiled Wine Tasting Room and Production: A sleek, modern atmosphere invites you to taste locally-made wines.
- Push and Pour: The harbingers of craft coffee to Garden City, Push and Pour delivers high-quality joe in an eclectic, retrofit garage.
- The Ranch Club: This historic “friendliest bar” in town was once the site of a scene from the 1980 Clint Eastwood movie Bronco Billy.
- Sandbar Patio & Bar Grill: May through October, the outdoor patio bar and grill at The Riverside Hotel invites both hotel patrons and locals to relax in the sun with drinks and food.
- The Stagecoach Inn: A longtime Garden City staple with traditional American food in a comfy, classic atmosphere.
- Telaya Wine Co: Production and tasting room combine at Telaya with a riverfront, dog-friendly patio and a relaxing vibe.
- The Yardarm: Fair-weather dependent but reliably delicious, The Yardarm is a surfer bar with beer on tap and an on-site food truck slinging tacos and nachos.
- Roots Zero Waste Market and Bistro: Neighborhood organic bulk foods micro-grocery store with a cafe.
Live-Work-Create District shops and galleries include:
- Boise Vintage: Mid-century modern vintage furniture and trinkets find new homes through Boise Vintage.
- Door #3 Collaborative: Artists in Garden City use Door #3 Collaborative to sell, teach, and work.
- Fawn and Foal: Independent screen printer with plenty of Idaho-inspired tees and sweatshirts.
- The Garden City Projects: Vintage clothing, one-of-a-kind trinkets and treasures, live music, and more converge at the Garden City Projects.
- Studio 1212: Handcrafted mid-century modern inspired furniture.
- Surel’s Place: Experience art, music, and writing from the monthly artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place.
- The Twisted Ewe: Fiber-lovers find all of their yarn needs met at The Twisted Ewe.
- Zion Warne Studios: A blown glass art gallery, store, and studio.
Garden City Live-Work-Create District Real Estate
New developments are going up all the time in the booming Live-Work-Create District, and your next home may be ready and waiting for you.
The Waterfront District
A five-minute pedal from downtown Boise, The Waterfront District is an award-winning Smart Growth community with single-family homes and townhouses. Residents are drawn to the outdoor recreation right in their backyard at the Boise Whitewater Park and Esther Simplot Park. A tight-knit, walkable community sitting in the ideal location for both urban exploration and outdoor adventure.
The Waterhouse Row Townhomes sit on Garden City’s Waterfront District near the Boise River and Greenbelt. Three floor plans available offer 2-4 bedrooms, 2.5+ bathrooms, and between 1,100-2,500 square feet of living space in townhomes design for optimal views of the river and Greenbelt. The Waterhouse Row Townhomes bridge Boise and Garden City and are perfectly located in the up-and-coming Live-Work-Create District.
Artful design and a modern approach to community combine at 36 Oak for a unique living experience. Shared, HOA-managed outdoor spaces create a sense of connection while offering a low-maintenance lifestyle. Close to the Waterfront District, 36 Oak offers in-town living with nearby outdoor recreation.
The River at 36th
Four high-end townhouses are available at The River at 36th, one of the newest additions to the Live-Work-Create District. Beautifully finished and thoughtfully designed, these townhouses offer wide open floor plans, private covered patios, a front-facing live-work space, and spacious bedrooms. Their proximity to the Greenbelt and downtown make them perfect for living the urban lifestyle of Boise and Garden City.
The new Canalside townhomes offer two-story floor plans with a contemporary feel and up to 1,650 square feet of living space. Two-car garages, three bedrooms, and gorgeous finishes make these townhouses popular and quick to be snatched up. The Live-Work-Create lifestyle is yours for the taking at the Canalside townhomes.
Garden City Live Work Create At a Glance
- Location: 32nd Street to 37th Street on both sides of Chinden Blvd
- Distance from Downtown Boise: 4 minutes
- Walk Score: 55
- Bike Score: 80
- Median Home Value: $381,250
- Average Rent: $1,553
Lisa Kohl is a top Idaho Realtor and creator of WeKnowBoise.com. From Southeast Boise to The North End, up to Eagle and West to Meridian, or right in the middle of the Boise Bench and downtown - We Know Boise. Whether buying or selling a home, we provide full-service real estate solutions dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals.