Boulder has a college-town meets low-key mountain vibe. With a pedestrian-only main street, plenty of coffee shops and breweries, and surrounding natural beauty, it is easy to fall in love with. Boulder is one of those places that has something for everyone!
What to Do
Take a hike. The Flatirons are a fantastic hiking option for any age and any level. Start at the Chautauqua Park, which has a small parking lot and starts off relatively flat, and pick your trail as you ascend.
Or drive or hike up Flagstaff Mountain (roundtrip 3 miles beginning near Gregory Canyon Trailhead) to reach Artist Point. Enjoy aerial views of the town, Continental Divide, Rockies, and foothills. For those looking for more challenging hikes, Royal Arch Trail and Mount Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Trial are harder. Check out AllTrails for more detailed hiking information.
Looking for other things to do out West? See our guide for Jackson Hole, skiing Taos, and why you should visit Yellowstone.
Explore town. Wander in and out of shops on the main pedestrian street through central Boulder. From mountain-chic apparel to local artisan goods, throwback posters, and books, there’s something for everyone.
One of our favorite shops we explored was the Savannah Bee Company. The store with floor to ceiling displays of packaged honey offers free tastings of their varieties. Visitors aged 21+ can also do an informative mead tasting of 6 samples.
Catch a college football game. Imagine breathtaking views of the mountains in the backdrop of a Division I Pac-12 stadium. Fans are friendly, beer is sold inside the stadium, and the Buff’s mascot Ralphie the Buffalo charges the field at the start of the game and halftime. What more could you ask for?
Pick up something unique at the farmers market. Taking place every Saturday in Central Park from April through November. Stroll through the stalls of local vendors offering plants, produce, crafts, and eats. You never know what treasures you’ll find!
Sample local breweries. West Flanders has a wide selection of craft beers that we were impressed with. Other local breweries include Boulder Beer Co., VisionQuest Brewing, Sanitas Brewing Co., The Post Brewing Co., Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, Twisted Pine Brewing Co., and many more.
Where to Eat
Boxcar Coffee Roasters. Custom brewed coffee in a quaint setting. The large space is shared with other vendors selling artisan food products, locally-sourced cheese, fresh bread, charcuterie, and wine. We ordered lattes to wash down Mexican dark chocolate and a massive cheese plate with sliced baguette – it was heavenly!
The Laughing Goat. Cozy local coffeeshop feel with live music and big servings of coffee and espresso drinks. Great place to relax, socialize, or get work done, as long as you can mentally block out the buzz of activity.
Dushanbe Teahouse. This famous teahouse was a gift to the city from Tajikistan and was shipped and assembled piece by piece at its current location on Pearl Street. The interior is colorful and captivating and so worth the visit, as if the food and tea weren’t enough. Come for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or tea time, and make a reservation ahead of time — this spot gets packed with hour-long wait times or more. If you do get stuck with a wait, wander Central Park and the scenic Boulder Creek that runs through.
The Mediterranean. One of the most popular spots in Boulder, “the Med” serves up top notch lunch, dinner, and tapas during a regular and late-night happy hour. Great accommodation for large groups too. We personally recommend splitting some tapas and digging into a pizza or paella.
Pasta Jay’s. If you’re looking for no-fuss classic Italian cuisine, this is the spot for you. Popular with the locals and student crowd, Pasta Jay’s dishes up reasonably priced Italian dishes in generous portions.
Where to Stay
We recommend staying in an Airbnb or hotel near Pearl Street to be close to a lot of the action with easy access to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.
Or stay in a nearby charming little mountain town. We stayed in Louisville (pronounced LOUIS-VILLE with an audible “S”), a short 20 minute drive from Boulder, and absolutely loved it! Main Street was packed with cool cafes, restaurants, and shops, and nearby local parks offered views of the distant mountains. We almost just wanted to stay put right there.