PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Boulder

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  • Home to CU Boulder, Colorado’s top university
  • At the foot of the Rockies – a hub for year-round outdoors activities
  • Ranked as a top U.S. city for happiness, intelligence, the arts, & LGBT inclusiveness

Population: 103,000

When To Visit: Year-round

Climate: Dry & sunny year round. A mixture of cold & moderate temperatures with some snow from October-May.

A haven for hippies in the 60s and 70s and far-left environmentalist folks today, Boulder is a utopic city with some of the country’s most progressive laws, miles upon miles of public walking and biking paths, and a vibrant downtown pedestrian mall.

Photo: Chautauqua Park

Boulder Hiking

Click here for my guide to the most beautiful hikes near Boulder.

Where To Go in Boulder

Pearl Street: The hub of Boulder’s Downtown is outdoor pedestrian mall Pearl Street, which hosts a variety of food, art galleries, and street performers. During the warm months, there are often festivals and farmer’s markets. Free.

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Boulder County Courthouse on Pearl Street

CU Boulder: This gorgeous college campus has distinctive pink brick buildings and incredible views of the Flatiron peaks and Rocky Mountains. Free.

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CU Boulder Campus

Chautauqua Park: This National Historic Monument on the west end of the city is a former hippie gathering center that now serves as a taking-off point for many hikes, including Royal Arch Trail and the 1st and 2nd Flatirons Trail. The meadow at the trailhead is an extremely scenic point and worth seeing even if you don’t have time for a hike. Free. Baseline Road and 9th Street.

National Center for Atmospheric Research: Perched upon a hill with sweeping views of the Flatirons and the Boulder area, this small interactive museum has great exhibits on weather and climate change. Free. 1850 Table Mesa Drive. (303) 497-1000

Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory: On the outskirts of the city, this haven for tea lovers offers tours of their factory, a long row of free tea samples, and a large gift shop. Free. 4600 Sleepytime Drive. (303) 581-1202

What To Eat in Boulder

Boulder restaurants and fast casual eateries popular with locals where you can get a full meal for under $15. I always highlight some vegan or vegetarian options – cutting down on the amount of meat you eat is by far the #1 way you can reduce your environmental impact and contribute less to animal cruelty.

Rincon Argentino: Enjoy high-quality Argentinian sandwiches, empanadas, and salads at this casual and affordable eatery. 2525 Arapahoe Avenue. (303) 442-4133

Half Fast Subs: This eclectic and lively sandwich shop next to the CU Boulder campus has a huge menu with creative takes on subs, cheesesteaks, and salads, including many vegetarian options. 1215 13th Street. (303) 449-0404

Curry n Kebob: This popular Indian restaurant has a plethora of vegetarian options and daily lunch and dinner specials which include sides and dessert for only $9-$12. 3050 28th Street. (720) 328-4696

The Sink: Known for exceptional pizza and burgers, this longtime favorite among locals was even visited by President Obama. 1165 13th Street (303) 444-7465

Boulder Nightlife

Boulder’s bars are very centralized in the Pearl Street area and run the gauntlet from divey to swanky. For a night out, simply head to Pearl Street and do some bar hopping.

Nearby Side Trips from Boulder

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Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Denver: This city 40 minutes to the south is defined by its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, but it also offers 4,000 acres of parkland, incredibly well-preserved turn-of-the-century homes, and some of the best breweries in the country. Read more.

Rocky Mountain National Park: One of the most visited parks in the country, Rocky Mountain National Park is a mountain wonderland just an hour away with 300 miles of hiking trails and plenty of scenic spots that are accessible via car. Read more.

The Rocky Mountains: No visit to Boulder is complete without a side trip to the Rockies, just west of the city. Click here for a guide to the best hikes near Boulder, many of which can be taken year-round.

 

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