If you’ve ever dreamed of a destination with a small-town charm and the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and urban culture – welcome to Boulder, Colorado. Meet your next getaway where the crisp mountain air meets the vibrant pulse of an eclectic city.
I guarantee you’ll leave this charming city feeling recharged. I was staying in Colorado originally for a concert, and all the places I visited on this trip exceeded all of my expectations.
Now, I understand the beauty of living in mountainous towns. It’s so peaceful and mellow that who wouldn’t want to live in a place where you’re surrounded by nature?
How to get to Boulder, colorado:
There are three (3) ways to get to Boulder, Colorado:
- If you’re renting a car from Denver International Airport (DIA), it will be a 45-minute drive.
- Public buses are also a cheaper alternative to get to Boulder. You can take the Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus from DEN to Boulder (Route AB). Buses leave every 60 minutes from the airport. For more information about their operating hours, click here.
- Uber and/or Lyft is another option to get to Boulder without a car, however, it might be on the pricier side.
Since we were going to different parts of Colorado (Boulder, Denver, Morristown, and Colorado Springs), our best option was to rent a car.
Our Stay in Boulder, Colorado:
Our stay in Boulder was, truly, perfect. Their gorgeous ranch home was warm and inviting, and it felt like it was my home too. Waking up to see bunnies and smell the fresh pine will always be my favorite memory of this place. Our hosts David and Kira have lived in Boulder for over 10+ years so, naturally, they were experts at recommending the best spots to eat and visit during our stay.
On top of being the coziest cabin-like home, it’s close to all the places we wanted to visit in under 20 minutes. You can get to Chautauqua Park in 5 minutes, Pearl Street Mall in 10 minutes and Eldorado Canyon State Park in 20 minutes. Are you headed to the Rockies? It’s only one (1) hour away!
Here are 5 compelling reasons to convince you to visit Boulder, Colorado:
Why You Should Visit Boulder, Colorado:
- Boulder is an outdoor paradise. Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, this city attracts outdoor enthusiasts with an irresistible playground of hiking trails, rock climbing in Eldorado Canyon, and mountain biking through breathtaking landscapes. Whether you crave adrenaline-pumping activities or are one with nature, Boulder is the capital for outdoor adventures.
- Boulder is a college town. Home to the University of Colorado, Boulder is considered a youthful city since most residents are college students. That being said, there are many bars, restaurants, and a thriving nightlife around this mountainous city.
- Boulder has a thriving craft beer scene. If you’re a fan of beers, you might hit the jackpot in Boulder. The city is surrounded by breweries, each with its unique character and flavors. Ask any local and they’ll likely have a favorite brewery spot to recommend.
- Boulder has an innovative culinary scene. Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure in Boulder. From trendy cafes, and farm-to-table to upscale eateries, Boulder’s diverse culinary landscape caters to every palate. Indulge in locally sourced, organic delights, and savor the unique flavors that define Boulder’s gastronomic identity.
- Boulder is one of the happiest cities in the US: Locals prioritize health and well-being, so naturally, you get to experience a friendly community spirit. Much of it has to do with being surrounded by mountain scenery, great weather year-round, and having a laid-back environment that promotes physical and mental wellness. And even back in 2011, CBS News wrote, “If happiness is a state of mind, then Boulder is its capital.”
Top things to do in Boulder, colorado:
1. Pearl Street Mall
Known as the heart of Boulder, this pedestrian-friendly haven neighborhood is filled with restaurants, boutiques, and small galleries. Here, locals and visitors gather for festivals, live music events, and seasonal celebrations that infuse the air with infectious energy. It has incredible nightlife, especially in tailgate season as Boulder is a college town (Go Buffs!). Pearl Street Mall feels like a wholesome communal space and, that alone, truly defines the Boulder lifestyle.
restaurants I recommend:
Pizza Alberico – Recommended by our Airbnb host, this authentic Italian place transports you to the city of Naples with a creative twist. All pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven, ensuring a heavenly experience in each bite. You must try: ‘Nduja e Cipolle Dolce and the Diavola.
Snooze A.M. Eatery – Looking for a filling breakfast that’ll leave you satisfied and wanting to come back the next day? You need to try this retro-inspired brunch spot on Pearl Street. We went here twice, especially for the Spuds Deluxe.
The Kitchen – If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, The Kitchen American Bistro is a stylish bar that offers elevated international dishes to the table.
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant – Texmex and Margaritas. What more can you ask for? Known for its massive size margaritas, this Mexican restaurant, has a rooftop patio with views of the Flatirons. So sit back, and enjoy a strawberry margarita with your friends as you look at the sun setting behind the Flatirons.
Gelato Boy – Craving a little sweet treat? Head to gelato boy to transport yourself to Italy where all of their gelatos are housemade to perfection. Their salty cookies & cream and their chocolate hazelnut crunch are rich and indulging.
2. Boulder Bookstore
If you’re a certified book lover, get ready to visit the quirkiest bookstore you’ll find in Colorado. Located in the heart of Pearl Street Mall, it is the largest independent bookstore with 3-story floors and an abundant amount of book genres. From gardening to memoirs, Boulder Bookstore has it all. And, there’s no better feeling than supporting local businesses when you leave with a long-awaited TBR (to-be-read) book in hand!
3. Chautauqua Park
If you know a Boulder local, they will tell you to visit Chautauqua Park. This park was one of my favorites to spend my evenings and has the best view of the Flatirons. Chautauqua Park is an easy 3.6-mile loop hike around the Flatiron Mountains. It is an iconic landmark dating back to 1898 when the city of Boulder started preserving wildlands.
There’s also a dining hall, picnic area, and lodging spaces. Chautauqua Park is also a popular wedding location! That being said, you’ll see a handful of photographers doing couples sessions and wedding ceremonies in this magical area. I have to hand it to them, the Flatirons make the best scenic backgrounds.
4. Eldorado Canyon State Park
Located 20 minutes from Boulder, Eldorado Canyon State Park Eldorado is a popular day-trip destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers in the region. Our Airbnb host recommended Eldorado Canyon for its easy-to-moderate hiking trails to choose from. It can get chilly when you enter the canyon but when you start to hike, the temperature will feel perfect. We chose to hike the Fowler trail which led us to a gorgeous panoramic view of the canyon. It’s the perfect gem to connect with nature and leave feeling recharged.
Fun fact: Eldorado Canyon is a mecca for rock climbers, featuring more than 500 technical climbing routes. From beginners to highly skilled rock climbers, Eldorado offers challenging climbs for any level. Even Patagonia does their rock climbing photoshoots here!
5. Rocky Mountains
If you have never visited a National Park, the Rocky Mountains will set the bar very high for you. Prepare to see wildlife, smell an endless amount of fresh pine, and hike to witness the glistening alpine lakes once you reach the top. Located an hour away from Boulder, this National Park is a must-visit during your stay in Boulder, Colorado. From May to mid-October, you are required to have a time-entry slot so you can access Bear Lake, known to be the most popular area of the park.
We visited the Rocky Mountains in mid-September and chose to hike the Bear Lake trail that connects with Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. The hike may be challenging as it’s uphill for a few good minutes but every time you stop to rest, seeing how far you’ve hiked is itself a rewarding experience. The roads were paved, the hikers who were walking down the trail always encouraged you to continue to the top and you felt overall safe during the hiking experience. We were lucky enough to spot elks, foxes, and beautiful bluebirds!
I’d do this again in a heartbeat. This made me excited to explore other National Parks soon. After your extensive hike, grab a bite at Estes Park; a cute retro mountainous town right next to the Rockies.
Bonus day trip: Garden of the Gods
Even though Boulder has so many places to visit, if you have an extra day to go on a road trip, go to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It’s almost an out-of-body experience when you witness this monumental landmark and its striking red rock formations (these existed millions of years ago). This is one of the few parks with free admission and lets you drive around panoramic views to enjoy the Siamese Twins, Kissing Camels, and the Balancing Rock.
Ready to Discover the Best Things to Do In Boulder Colorado?
The crisp weather, scenic views, and vast adventurous activities put Boulder on the map as a necessary getaway to feel recharged. No other place in the US has left me speechless and made me say “WOW” more than ever before. The western part of the US is truly magical and I highly encourage you to experience Mother Nature in a different light. This trip, alone, made me excited to explore other mountainous towns and national parks.
From mountains to city, Boulder has truly the best of both worlds. It’s one of those cities that I will visit time and time again. Now, I can officially say, I have cabin fever!
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