- Not to be confused with Boulder City, the town in Nevada near the Hoover Dam.
Boulder, Colorado is a city at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It is a college town with a reputation for progressive values, enjoying the great outdoors and thus a very pleasant place to live and visit.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
These days, Boulder wears several hats: as a university town, home of the University of Colorado Boulder and others; as a hi-tech town that is rapidly spawning bedroom communities in outlying farm towns; and as a center of alternate culture, with various new age institutions, Naropa University, meditation centers, Buddhist centers, and the like. What perhaps distinguishes it most from other cities of similar size in the United States, however, is its status as a mecca for serious athletes, many of whom have made their home here for the conditioning advantages of high altitude, combined with businesses, facilities, and a community that provides opportunities for serious training and competition. Even the average nine-to-five Boulderite is much more likely than the average American to be a serious climber, cyclist, runner, skier, etc., and you will see the difference as you're about town.
Boulder is in the Front Range region of Colorado and is virtually adjacent to Denver, except for its buffer of Open Space Parks which border the city and provide it shelter from its growing surroundings. This reflects that it is the "front door" to the mountainous country to the west, with many outdoor attractions, including a medium-sized ski resort less than an hour from the city limits, and also the fact that there are significant cultural differences between Boulder and Denver beyond its liberal politics.
Boulder is known for its outdoors and the residents with one of the healthiest lifestyles in America. It is very true, no matter what the weather, there are always people outdoors; running, biking, walking, hiking. It has a great atmosphere and beautiful sights.
Living in Boulder is very expensive. Along with being one of the most active towns in America, it is right up there with the living expense. Smaller towns are popping up around Boulder that are cheaper, but may take 10–15 minutes to get into this vibrant town.
Downtown Boulder covers a large area, with the Pearl Street Mall (see below) at its core. Downtown features shopping, eating, and entertainment for all ages. Be sure to check out the restaurants on Walnut Street, between 9th Street and Broadway, as they offer several good options just off the Pearl Street Mall. Also check out the West End of Pearl Street, between 8th Street and the Pearl Street Mall, as it offers additional shopping and more restaurant options. For home furnishings, make sure to check out Pearl Street's East End, from the Pearl Street Mall to 20th Street. Stop by the Boulder Farmers Market on 13th St, between Canyon and Arapaho Avenues, on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings- an experience not to miss.
As you stroll down Pearl Street, there are many street performers (when the weather is nice). One of the most famous is the "zip-code man" this is one performance not to miss. He knows every zip code throughout the entire world and there is always a huge crowd around him. Other performers include magicians, mimes, and other assortments of crazy acts. Pearl Street is always somewhere to find live entertainment. Make sure to come at the right time though, usually in the winter the performers are not out, obviously.
University Hill a small area west of Broadway across from the main campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Commonly referred to as 'The Hill,' the area caters to college students with a variety of restaurants and bars, and services such as barbershops, bookstores, and coffee houses. There are also several entertainment venues that showcase up-and-coming talent from around the world.
Boulder is easily reached from Denver International Airport via car or bus. Boulder is roughly 30 miles (50 km) from Denver, and is an easy drive via US highway 36. The drive is pretty spectacular, with beautiful scenery as you drive straight toward the Rocky Mountains. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates bus service to and around Boulder and is a clean, safe, and easy way to get to town; the Skyride 'AB' bus runs hourly between Denver International Airport and Boulder, while the Flatiron Flyer offers fast service along express highway lanes between Boulder and Denver.
Boulder and Denver share a common mass transit system, known as RTD. which won "Best Public Transportation" in a nationwide survey in 2008. You will also notice that a lot of locals use bicycles to get around the downtown (most of the city sights are within 2 miles). Many locals use the "Skyride" RTD bus to get to and from the airport. It's greener and easier.
If you choose to drive around town, be aware that there is heavy traffic on the main thoroughfares, high numbers of pedestrians (cyclists) and parking downtown can be a bit tight. There are a number of city-owned garages tucked behind the buildings downtown. Keep your eyes open for the large green "P" signs outside their entrance ramps, as they don't look like parking garages from the outside. Be careful when parking in the university area, as tickets can be quite expensive. Boulder's police are vigilant about drunk driving, so keep out of the car when you find yourself tipping down a local microbrew or two. Watch carefully for the school zones: when the yellow lights are flashing, slow down to 20 mph. Many of the main streetlights have cameras that can capture you running the tail end of yellow lights. Watch out, or you may get tickets in the mail!
- Boulder B-Cycle. Bike sharing program with stations downtown and near campus. Unlimited rides under 30 minutes. $8/24 hours; $20/7 days..
- 1 University of Colorado Boulder. The flagship institution of the state of Colorado, CU (as it's called locally) has a 600-acre campus, with beautiful gardens and buildings tucked away in its mainly pedestrian core that's worth a visit. Check out the Heritage Center located in the Old Main building, for a look at the history of CU. There are also art galleries and museums throughout campus.
- Colorado Buffaloes, 2150 Stadium Dr. (ticket office), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. CU's sports teams are among the city's best-known attractions, competing in seven men's and 10 women's sports, mostly in the Pac-12 Conference. The biggest draw is the football team, which has had a rich tradition, though it's struggled to regain its prominence. Men's basketball, and to a lesser extent women's basketball, are also significant draws. Football plays at 1 Folsom Field; the athletics ticket office is on the first floor of the Champions Center, attached to the stadium. The basketball teams play at 2 CU Events Center.
- Boulder Creek Path. This miles-long path sits on the banks of the Boulder Creek, cutting right through the middle of town. Along this path you will find beautiful walking, biking, and other forms of recreation. In the downtown area, pick up the path at Civic Park on Broadway, between Canyon and Arapaho Avenues. In the summer, many parts of the creek become popular swimming holes. You can buy (and fill) inner tubes at local gas stations, should you want to have a down-the-creek journey. It follows Boulder Creek, making this path anything but boring.
- 3 Chautauqua Park, At Baseline Ave and 8th Street.. At the base of the Flatiron's rock formations. For a minor hike, take the trail to the 3rd Flatiron. This hike will show you sweeping vistas of town and an up-close and personal look at the Flatiron's rock formations. During the summer months, the Boulder Symphony performs at Chautauqua, with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. The Chautauqua Auditorium is a large wooden building constructed in 1898, and there is a restaurant (the Dining Hall) which was built at the same time.
- Whitewater Tube Co., 204 Canyon Blvd (at The Watershed School), ☏ . During summer time, it is popular to go tubing on Boulder Creek. Either rent from Whitewater or buy a tube at a local service station (the service station at NE corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway is very popular for tube purchase. It also has a free air hose if your own tube needs inflating).
- Happy Thursday Cruising. Every Thursday during the summer, a lot of people gather up in front of wahoo's restaurant and go around the city with bikes. Each week they have a different theme to wear.
- NCAR Trails. Green Mountain, Bear Mountain Trails.
- The Caritas Spiritis Center.
- The Shambala Center.
- 4 Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory, 4600 Sleepytime Dr, ☏ . Take the tour through this famous tea company. Check out the mint room, it is very intense.
- 5 Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St (On the Hill), ☏ . A great music venue on the hill. Has been nominated for best venue in the US.
- 6 Flagstaff Mountain. Flagstaff Mountain is a must-do. Follow Baseline Road West up the mountain, it is a windy, long road but the view is breathtaking. From up top, there is a beautiful view looking down on Boulder. The view from the other side is the Rocky Mountains. There are picnic areas, an amphitheater, bike and walking trails, Summit Nature Center, the Flagstaff House and views that you can not get anywhere else. A great place to relax or enjoy with friends.
- South Boulder Creek Trail. Good walking and biking trail, but the unique feature of this trail is that there are prairie dogs everywhere!
- 7 Eldorado Canyon State Park, 9 Kneale Rd. Eldorado Canyon State Park is a local state park to see the wilderness and beauty of this Colorado area.
- Eldora Mountain Resort, 2861 Eldora Ski Road #140. 21 miles west of Boulder. This easy to get to mountain (via car or RTD) is a local ski resort if travelers do not want to make the 2 hours trip to the main Colorado mountains.
- Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau (Boulder CVB), 2440 Pearl St, ☏ . Open Daily. Offering visitor information for your next visit to the area, including maps, hotel information, dining guides, meeting information and more. Visit one of our two visitor kiosks for brochures and maps, Davidson Mesa Overlook, several miles southeast of Boulder on US 36 or Pearl Street Mall, in front of the Courthouse between 13th and 14th streets.
- 1 Pearl Street Mall. This four-block-long downtown pedestrian walking mall is surrounded by historic buildings containing shopfronts and restaurants. Along Pearl Street you will find many boutiques and independent shops featuring everything from clothing to trinkets and art. Also along Pearl Street are some national chain shops, and several street performers. For food, the Pearl Street area offers a large variety of cuisines from around the world, and is priced from $8 to $30 per person.
- Eldora Mountain Sports, 2775 Canyon Blvd (28th & Canyon). Purchase lift tickets, season passes and retail items on your way up to the Resort.
- Albums on the Hill, 1128 13th St (on University Hill), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Boulder's only remaining dedicated record store. Sells records, CDs, DVDs and more.
- Efrain's II, 1630 N. 63rd St., ☏ . This restaurant is a small dive that serves up excellent, authentic Mexican food. A little out of the way on the east side of town, it is well worth the drive. $.
- China Gourmet, 3970 North Broadway, ☏ . Just north of town, China Gourmet is a local restaurant that has been serving up great Chinese food at reasonable prices for years. $.
- Khow Thai, 1600 Broadway, ☏ . M-F 11AM-3PM & 5-10PM; Sa Su 4-10PM. Tucked into a small space on the east side of Broadway just south of Arapahoe Ave, this restaurant has repeatedly been voted the best Thai food in Boulder. Not expensive and really good, especially the green curry. The owner is surprisingly anti-vegan, so don't expect gracious substitutions or a warm reception.
- 1 The Kitchen, 1039 Pearl St (at the west end of the street), ☏ . M-F 8AM-close; Sa Su 9AM-2PM, 5:30PM to close. A fantastic neighborhood bistro that sources most of its food from local growers and producers. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Check out Monday night's Community Dinner, a $35 prix fixe meal that's off-menu, served family style around a huge table -- it's the best deal in town for the variety, quality, and quantity of food (reservations recommended).
- 2 Kim's Vietnamese Food to Go, 1325 Broadway St, ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-10PM, Su closed. A fantastic Asian hole-in-the-wall. Its a little shack facing broadway in a parking lot. Kim makes everything fresh in front of your eyes and the place is very homey and fits in well with Boulder lifestyle. A hit among college students, it's a great place.
- Centro, 950 Pearl St (near Pearl and 10th), ☏ .
- 3 Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th St, ☏ . 8AM-9PM. A great place to enjoy a cup of tea and enjoy architecture from half way around the world. The food is moderately portioned and deliciously prepared. In the summers, outside dining is available, and when the rose garden is in bloom it is amazing.
- Illegal Pete's, 1530 16th St, ☏ . A favorite for students of CU-Boulder, there is a location on the Hill, close to Jones Drugs, across the street from the CU Economics Building, and one on the far east side of the Pearl Street Mall. Economically priced, very generously proportioned Mexican food and beer. Perfect college town restaurant. The burritos are out of this world.
- West End Tavern, 926 Pearl St, ☏ . The classic American tavern is reborn! The rooftop deck is open (weather permitting), affording remarkable views of the Flatirons beneath 300 days of sunshine a year. Visit the Boulder locals' favorite for a cold brew and some good eats.
- 4 Brasserie Ten Ten, 1011 Walnut St, ☏ . For a more expensive meal, visit Brasserie 1010, on Walnut Street downtown, where french-inspired cuisine is served in an elegant setting with delicious daily specials.
- 5 Sushi Zanmai, 1221 Spruce (one block north of Pearl Street), ☏ . Zanmai is a traditional sushi house with the best rolls in town. Reasonably priced, watch as sushi chefs prepare your meal at the sushi bar. For the best deals, go to Happy Hour, from 5PM-6:30PM or all day Sunday. Try the Z-Number 9 and the Firecracker role or for an appetizer try the green mussels.
- Boulder Chophouse, 921 Walnut St, ☏ . Yes, it's part of a national chain, but it's still worth a visit to experience wonderful beef and seafood in a moderately priced environment.
- 6 Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Rd, ☏ . Su-F 6PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM. Tucked up on Flagstaff Mountain, the Flagstaff House has breathtaking views of the City of Boulder just below it. Visit for cocktails, dessert, or stay for a full meal, the views will astonish you. Located up Baseline Ave, on Flagstaff Mountain, just 3 minutes outside of town. If you are just visiting Boulder, this is a definite must!
- Mountain Sun/Southern Sun. On the east end of the Pearl Street walking mall, the Mountain Sun is well known for homebrewed beers, but also serves seriously tasty American fare. In the last 5 years, it built a sister restaurant in South Boulder, the Southern Sun, that is roomier and even more raucous. It's loud and filled with earthy Boulder locals. At dinner no matter what day of the week, you may wait for 20–30 minutes for a booth, but their quesadillas, nachos, salads, burgers, pizzas, and vegetarian options are sure to please every time. (Note: Neither the Mountain or Southern Sun accept credit cards, and can be flaky about out-of-state checks. Both have ATMs onsite.)
- 7 Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St, ☏ . A high quality restaurant since 1969, serving excellent dishes from prime rib to lobster ravioli. On the west side of 30th street.
- 8 Sherpa's, 825 Walnut St, ☏ . Run by Pemba Sherpa, this restaurant is just outside off Broadway and Pearl. Featuring authentic Nepalese food that is made fresh to order, this restaurant is a must of Boulder.
- 9 Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, 928 Pearl St. Home to Top Chef Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg.
- 10 Red Rock Coffeehouse, 3325 28th Street #9, ☏ . In the Safeway shopping center on the corner of 28th and Iris. Locally-owned cafe serving locally roasted Organic Fair Trade Coffee, local food and pastries, naturally brewed Sanctuary Chai and locally Micro-Blended Tea.
- 1 The Sink. The sink is a Boulder institution with its colorful walls, great food and stories past (Robert Redford was the janitor) it attracts a large crowd for burgers, beer, gourmet pizza, and drinks almost every day of the week. Bring a black magic marker, and you can sign your name on the ceiling like generations of graduating CU seniors. Do not write on the walls, though.
- Mountain Sun/Southern Sun. Two locations in Boulder. The original Mountain Sun is on the east end of Pearl Street while newer location, called the Southern Sun, is in South Boulder at the intersection of South Broadway and Table Mesa in the Table Mesa Shopping Center. Some excellent beers (particularly the Java Porter) and often excellent Boulder granola music. Remember that it's a cash only bar.
- Boulder Beer. Claims to be Colorado's first microbrewery, but there is no doubt that their beers have been around forever in Boulder. Brewery/Pub is in north Boulder (in what always seemed an odd location) near the train tracks and off of Valmont near Foothills Parkway. They make great beers and have excellent happy hour deals.
- Walnut Brewery. Many classic beers that Boulderites rave about years after they leave Boulder. Located in the heart of Boulder on Walnut St, near 11th. Parking can be a pain in this area; best to use the parking garage across the street and hope for validation of your ticket.
- Frasca's Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl St, ☏ . World-class Northern Italian cuisine. The tasting menu can be pricey, but the food is astounding. $40-80.
- 2 Dark Horse Bar and Grill, 2922 Baseline Rd, ☏ . 11AM-2AM. A total dive pub with beer, burgers, and bands. The walls are plastered with memorabilia and whirling machinery. The ceiling is lined with suspended hearses.
- 3 Sanitas Brewing Co., 3550 Frontier Ave, ☏ . A brewery with a small tap room on site.
- 1 Boulder University Inn, 1632 Broadway, ☏ . The most affordable downtown lodging option. It is one of three hotels downtown- the other two are upscale establishments (Boulderado and St Julien). Rooms are clean and spacious. Has wireless internet, a business center, and an outdoor swimming pool.
- 2 Rodeway Inn & Suites, 555 30th St, ☏ . This hotel offers amenities for business travelers and vacationers alike.
- 3 Best Western Plus Boulder Inn, 770 28th St, ☏ . Across the highway from campus (there's a pedestrian underpass), has a good view of the mountains.
- 4 Briar Rose Bed and Breakfast, 2151 Arapahoe Ave, ☏ . Bed and breakfast in the heart of Boulder offers organic breakfast, fine teas, private baths and ecologically-conscious hospitality.
- Housing Helpers, 2865 Baseline Rd, ☏ . Offers high quality executive rental apartments and homes backed by superior customer service. Housing Helpers corporate rentals are more comfortable, convenient and affordable than a hotel.
- 5 Millennium Harvest House, 1345 28th Street, ☏ . Next to the University of Colorado. This hotel features lodging guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, bar, and meeting and event space.
- 6 Quality Inn & Suites Boulder Creek, 2020 Arapahoe Ave, ☏ .
- 7 Residence Inn Boulder, 3030 Center Green Dr., ☏ .
- 8 Alps Boulder Canyon Inn, 38619 Boulder Canyon Dr, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. This historic 1870s mansion/castle was built of local stone and log construction. The Alps is now luxurious and completly remodeled into a three-star bed and breakfast country inn. The Alps offers complimentary gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea, evening desserts, high-speed internet, local and domestic long-distance calling.
- 9 Hotel Boulderado, 2115 Thirteenth St, ☏ . A three-star getaway one block off the Pearl Street Mall.
- 10 St Julien Hotel, 900 Walnut St (9th and Walnut), ☏ . This three-star hotel is the luxury experience in downtown Boulder.
Crime and personal safety
Boulder has a very low crime rate and has no bad neighborhoods, but use common sense. University Hill, which is bordered by Baseline, Broadway, and Canyon can become raucous in the evenings, especially on weekends. Downtown Boulder, especially at night, is frequented by panhandlers, who can be aggressive at times but are not dangerous. Aggressive panhandling is illegal in Boulder, and you may report it to the police. Throughout the hiking trails near university property, Boulder has black posts lit with a blue light that have emergency phones in them that only dial 911. It is not advised for girls to walk alone after 1AM on the hill or near Pearl St. Mall. Boulder has also had reports of violence against Asians.
Boulder has a dry climate and during any season, dehydration can be a problem for visitors and residents alike. Drink plenty of water. If you go hiking in the evening, bring two quarts of water. At night, temperatures drop remarkably, so bring warm clothing if you'll be out at night. (This is true even during summer months.) Be aware of mountain lions while hiking.
There are a lot of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Go to the Gallery map store or to the Boulder Bookstore and buy maps and a guide.
Local favorites include the Anne U White hiking trail, the Chatauqua trails, White Rock, Eagle Trail, Boulder Creek, Dowdy Draw, Green Mountain, and Walker Ranch.
For skiers and snowboarders, the closest resort is Eldora, near Nederland, Colorado. It takes about 45–60 minutes to drive there from Downtown. The 'N' RTD Bus to Nederland runs to Eldora during ski season.
|Routes through Boulder|
|Rocky Mountain N.P. ← Lyons ←||W E||→ Broomfield → Denver|
|Estes Park ← Lyons ←||W E||→ Thornton → Brighton|
|Black Hawk ← Nederland ←||S N||→ Longmont → Ends at|