I live in the North End of Boise. From my house, it is 1/2 mile to the foothills trail system for biking or running (http://ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org/
) 5 blocks to great beer and food, 1/2 mile to downtown with a couple great indie theaters, good bars, and great beer and food (Lots of new breweries springing up around here). I am a block from an elementary school, 4 from a junior high, and 8 from the best high school in the state (at least in 2007). It takes me about 45 mins to get to whitewater, and in an hour or so I can be at a 15 miles stretch of continuous class V. Also a WW park in town. Climbing is a 15 min drive to hundreds of routes on columnar basalt, or 40 if you want a few on granite. Skiing, alpine and XC is a 40 min drive up the hill to a resort the size of Breckenridge, CO in skiable acres. The Sawtooths are 2 1/2 hours away with some great alpine climbs and classic cl. 3-4 scrambles. There is ONE peak in the range with a trail to the top. A little further along you get bigger peaks and easier routes more akin to the CO rockies (Pioneers, Lost RIvers). You can get to BC skiing within an hour, and it gets better the farther you drive. Oh and we have the most soakable hot springs of any state. Almost all are undeveloped and not commercial. Best part about it all: virtually empty.
Great coffee shops, restaurants,galleries, and theaters. for the size of town it is, there's a lot going on. Music and other shows stop in Boise because it is a natural stopping point on the way from SLC and Denver to Seattle and Portland, even if they wouldn't normally.
Problem with Boise: The sprawl is getting pretty bad. You definitely have to pick your neighborhood if you want walking/biking access to the good stuff. NOrth and East ends have the best schools and access to the foothills. Also, it takes a long time to get to southern utah, which in my opinion is a travesty.
I've never been to NM but I've heard nothing but great things about the norther part of the state. At least in terms of rec opportunities.
Oh one more thing. As a college professor, I'm sure the most important factor in your decision will be which school has a better football team. BSU all the way. Go Broncos.