1. Do a brewski doubleheader
▪ For the fourth year, German hangout Prost! will throw a two-day Oktoberfest Street Party on Friday and Saturday. They’ll close off 8th Street in Downtown Boise for a block-long outdoor beer garden. Admission is free, and it’s all-ages. You’ll find biers from German breweries such as Hofbräu, Ayinger, Warsteiner and Paulaner. You can dance to traditional music from the Boise Edelweiss Band from 4:30 to 8:30 both days. Chef Graham Chaney from Stammtisch tavern in Portland will offer bratwurst, currywurst and giant pretzels in the evenings. You must buy the food and drink. You also can purchase specialty glassware used in the pub. 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, Prost!, 274 N. 8th St., Boise. Free, all ages. Online: Facebook.com/prostboise.
▪ If you find the smell of fresh hops intoxicating, Hoptober Freshtival on Saturday will be staggering. Focusing on fresh hop beers, more than 30 local and regional breweries will pour at this block party outside Boise Brewing. What are fresh-hop beers? They’re made using green hops harvested hours before they hit the brew kettle. Not a hop head? There will be lots of other seasonal beers available, too, plus cider and kombucha. Repeat customers, take note: Hoptober Freshtival’s pricing is different this year. Entry is free. A 4-ounce tasting mug is $3. Tasting tickets are $3. Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, Boise Brewing, 521 Broad St., Boise. Mug included with purchase of five tickets or more. 21 and older only. Online: HoptoberFreshtival.com.
2. Celebrate First Friday
Downtown Boise has hosted First Thursday for years. But have you experienced First Friday in Garden City’s Live-Work-Create District? Highlighting more than two dozen artists and destinations between the Riverside Hotel and 38th Street, it’s a chance for this emerging area to show off. Hop a free shuttle that cruises between all the venues between 6-9 p.m. Check Facebook for a list of First Friday participants and a handy map.
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3. Enjoy the Boise River
Speaking of cool stuff in Garden City, you need to check out the outdoor 34th Street Market at 303 E. 34th St. on the south side of the Boise River. Since launching this summer, it’s evolved into a family-friendly riverside hangout with beer and wine at a storage-container bar, ring toss and cornhole, food vendors, and — just in time for fall — multiple fire pits and football on TVs! The market will host a pumpkin-painting party all day Friday starting at noon. It’s free. “Just bring your loved ones,” market co-owner Michael Slavin says. “We do the rest!”
4. Tailgate for free
If you haven’t made it to a Boise State football game yet, do it Saturday — even if you don’t have tickets. Make it a tailgating day! Not only does the San Diego State game have a family-friendly start time (1:30 p.m.), but there’s a new tailgating area open to the public. The Ford Tailgate Zone, located at DeChevrieux Field west of the stadium, is the perfect place to head if you don’t know anyone tailgating in the parking lot. There’s seating for chillaxing while you watch college football on a video board, and you can bring food and drink. (Remember to keep that beer in a Solo cup!) Vendors will sell grub, too. There’s room for the kids to toss around a Nerf football, plus a Kids Zone with a climbing wall and inflatables. Opens 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6., Albertsons Stadium, 1400 W. Bronco Lane, Boise. Closes one hour after game. Private tent packages available for $400 to $2,000. broncosports.com.
5. Take a scenic drive
Is Boise getting too big? Savor small-town flavor at Idaho City Days on Saturday and Sunday. It’s only a 45-minute cruise — and what a beautiful drive. When you arrive, there will be something for everyone: Guided tours, live music, craft beer, rib-sticking food, amusements for kids, gold panning demonstrations, even cowboy poetry. Check Facebook for the full schedule, or just crash the party. Everyone is welcome in this lil’ ol’ Idaho mountain town.