Things to do in Boulder, CO

Get Your Bearings in Boulder

By Hope Gately
Boulder Expert

Stay
Eat
See & Do
Party
Shop

Where to Stay

Hotels abound in Boulder and many boast a breathtaking view of the Flatirons. None are more exquisite or can ensure that you stay in style, than the St. Julien of downtown Boulder and the historic Boulderado. The St. Julien features live music, dancing and a world-class spa. The Hotel Boulderado is known for its quaint and cozy atmosphere, as well as its convenient location to restaurants, pubs and live entertainment.

Avoid:

Staying at big chains; there are so many local inns, B&B's, and hotels to choose from in Boulder.

Hot Tips:

Be sure to visit St. Julien's spa for the best holistic and rejuvenating treatments in town.

What to Eat

Ranked as one of the "foodiest" towns in America by Bon Appetit, Boulder has something for every craving and culinary proclivity. For breakfast, Snooze and the Walnut Cafe can't be beat. For lunch, The Rio serves up tasty tacos and the best margaritas in the state. To round out the evening, we encourage you to dine with The Cork, The Kitchen, Sushi Zanmai or The Mediterranean. All of these restaurants have elegant, yet fun atmospheres and food that's to-die-for delicious.

Avoid:

Chain restauarants during your stay in Boulder. Local spots offer fresh, Colorado fare and a uniqueness that is not to be missed.

Be Sure to Sample:

The Mediterraean's happy hour. Inexpensive, but delicious sangria and appetizers make this one of the best spots in town.

Things to See

Mountains aren't the only attractions in this retreat at the base of the Flatirons. Music festivals, open-air farmers' and art markets, street performers and museums are just a few of the attractions to draw you. Summer in Boulder boasts the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and, in the wintertime, you can head indoors for the Boulder International Film Festival. But don't neglect the mountains; hiking and majestic scenery abounds and can be accessed year-round.

Hot Tips:

Hike Mt. Sanitas for a breathtaking view of Boulder.

Places to Party

The night scene in Boulder has something for everyone. Whether you're a "pubs not clubs" kind of person or if you prefer to get down on a dance floor, bars, dance clubs, and live music can be found at every turn. Check out The Absinthe House for dancing, Conor O, Neills for pubbing, and the Laughing Goat for some of the best, local live music in town.

Take It or Leave It:

The Walrus Saloon - typically a college bar, you'll either love it or hate it.

Hot Tips:

The Laughing Goat Coffee Shop features live music every week. Not to be missed!

Where to Shop

Outdoor clothing and gear shops and art boutiques! Oh my! Boulder has shopping perfectly suited to outfit your body, your gear closet or your home. Peppercorn's on Pearl Street is delightful for all of your kitchen and homey needs. REI one of our favorite outdoor gear havens, along with Neptune's. Posh consignment shops such as Common Thread, RAGS, HIP and Buffalo Exchange are dotted all over the area, at which you can nab outdoor apparel or swanky clothes for a night on the town.

Avoid:

Shopping at big department stores or chains. There are far too many local options where unique and affordable treasures can be found.

Hot Tips:

Pearl Street offers an eclectic mix of local vendors and chain stores. A must-visit for shop-a-holics.

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Things to do in Boulder


Boulder is known for...

Five of Boulder's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Mountains:

Scenic Boulder, Colorado lies at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is fenced in to the west by the majestic Flatirons ( five jutting and steeply sloping rock formations that precede the high-elevation Rockies). The mountains are so much a part of this community that art work paying homage to their beauty can be found in local coffee shops, diners, and business buildings throughout the town. The Royal Arch Hike offers a noteworthy view of Boulder Valley, Denver, and some even say you can see all the way to Kansas. Green Mountain and Bear Peak are rigorous hikes and allow you to take a nature retreat; their summits provide an unrivaled view of several Rocky Mountain peaks including Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

2. Beer:

Bouldrites (Boulder locals) love their beer and, luckily, they have plenty of heady, hoppy, frothy microbrews to choose from. Along with Avery Brewing Company which boasts a cozy taproom and Mountain Sun with it's convenient Pearl Street location, you are sure to find the perfect spot to hold up with a pint. Visit Twisted Pine, Southern Sun, and Boulder Beer Company for some unique ales, many of which you can only sample right here in the Rockies, and that are sure to liven up your stay.

3. Food:

Ranked by Bon Appetit Magazine as America's Foodiest Town in 2010, Boulder offers a wide variety of flavors and atmospheres for your dining adventures. From pub grub to five-star restaurants, steakhouses to Vegetarians Only, there is something for everyone in this town that prides itself on eating locally. Best of all, many of the restaurants work with local farmers to bring you fresh produce and humanely raised meats which are sure to make your dining experience more personal and unique.

4. Living Locally:

The community of Boulder is one of the most sustainable and locally driven towns in the west. For those of you who might not understand the concept of "living locally", it essentially means that the people of Boulder try to live, work, and recreate in their own backyard by supporting local business, practicing sustainability, and being good stewards of Boulder Valley's natural resources.  For you travelers, the Boulder Farmer's Market is a great way to take advantage of the local food, produce, and wares. Not to mention, visiting a locally owned restaurant, pub, or gift shop is the best way to get an authentic taste and feel for this one-of-a-kind community.

5. Outdoor Recreation:

Hiking, rock climbing, biking, fishing and camping are just a few of the outdoor activities that you'll have no trouble jumping into when you visit this mecca for athletes and nature enthusiasts alike. Boulder Canyon offers some exceptional rock climbing routes and Rocky Mountain National Park, which is just click up the road, offers a place to hang your hat while camping in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful nature preserves that America has to offer. Ranking #2 in Men's Health Magazine's 2010 poll of the Healthiest Towns in the US, Boulder and its locals will motivate you to walk, run, hike, or bike your way to fun during your stay.