Boulder, Colorado, is nestled where the Flatiron foothills meet the Rocky Mountains. It is just a short 30-minute drive north from downtown Denver—known for its outdoor activities, an abundance of breweries, unique restaurants, and plenty of shopping in this charming city mountain town.
A Brief History of Boulder Colorado
Boulder was founded in 1859 at the first sign of gold during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The first Anglo-American settlers came to Boulder Canyon on the borders of Arapaho territory and eventually pushed the tribe out. However, gold was first discovered near Gold Hill, and soon Boulder became a supply town for miners.
The University of Colorado opened in 1877, thanks to the donations of many prominent citizens. The first attending class graduated in 1882.
In 1894, Boulder was hit with sixty straight hours of warm spring rain, causing rapid snowmelt that caused what locals dubbed the 100-year flood. The flood destroyed much of Boulders downtown, including many buildings and bridges, and reconstruction began soon.
Over the years, Boulder grew and developed into what it is today: a sprawling, active, academic, healthy, tech-savvy people who call Boulder their home.
Top Things To Do In Boulder
Boulder has an abundance of outdoor activities, and boulder residents pride themselves on their healthy lifestyles. Here are some of the top things to do in and out of the town.
Visit the Flatirons
The Flatirons make up the westside skyline of Boulder, featuring striking slanted reddish limestone formations you must take a moment to see. If you want to get up close to these gorgeous formations, you’ll want to take one of the many hiking trails that lead around and up to the formations. Take the accessible two-mile Flatiron Loop Trail that winds through the forest beneath the Flatirons. You can climb the Flatirons over various rock climbing routes throughout the area for the more thrill-seeking type.
Pearl Street Mall
Pearl Street Mall is a must-visit for people who love to shop, with blocks spanning 8th street to 20th street with plenty of popular and local retail options. Enjoy the local quirky retail brands as well as favorites. Along the roads, there are a variety of live music entertainment options. In addition, Boulder has a large restaurant and coffee scene, so you’ll be able to stop for a drink or coffee as you take a break from your shopping spree.
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Visit the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and get your art fix with this big-city culture and small-town flair. Check out the rotating exhibitions and presentations, emphasizing contemporary works of art meant to inspire and educate. In addition, view local and international art often featured at the museum. Entry fees are $2 a person and free on Saturdays.
Celestial Season Tea Factory
The Celestial Season Tea Factory is located in Boulder and is the biggest manufacturer of herbal teas in North America. Visit the Celestial café and enjoy breakfast or lunch for light offerings and home-cooked favorites. Finish your tour at the tea shop and shop for cute teacups and a wide selection of tea.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado Canyon State Park has something for everyone. Hike the beautiful sandstone cliffs, climb the golden walls, or picnic along South Boulder Creek. The Park offers over 500 rock climber routes that attract climbers from all over the world. The picturesque trails throughout the park range in difficulty and can be hiked or biked and connect with the Boulder trail system.
Located at the University of Colorado, the Fiske Planetarium offers daily shows in the Sky-Skan theater featured on the 65-foot screen that can display over 20,000 stars. The planetarium has a variety of rotating exhibits and educational presentations and shows. Exciting information is carefully packed in each show. In addition, look out for some star-gazing events at the neighboring Sommers-Bausch Observatory.
The University of Colorado - Museum of National History
The Museum of Natural History is a perfect place to visit for the nature lovers of the world and those interested in the local flora and fauna. Founded in 1902, the Colorado Museum of Natural History has an extensive collection to educate visitors on the areas’ natural environment. Built to inform people on the diverse areas of zoology, paleontology, botany, and anthropology, the museum is renowned for being one of the most extensive collections in the United States.
Flagstaff Mountain is a favorite destination for tourists to watch the sunset and is accessible by sunset hike, or you can drive to the summit, so plenty of options. There is a $5 fee to park at the summit. If you want to hike the summit, you will start at the Flagstaff Trailhead, where Baseline Road turns into Flagstaff Summit Road. Afterwards, you’ll take the moderate level hike up to the summit.
During the day, visit the Flagstaff Summit Nature Center, which features educational information on the local flora and fauna.
Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre
The Shakespearean festival is celebrated at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre every summer. Mary Rippon is the University of Colorado’s first female teacher and possibly the first-ever teacher in the United States to teach at a university.
Boulder Creek Path
The Boulder Creek Path runs through the city’s heart and is a central spot for festivities, markets, and many outdoor recreation sites. Walk, run, or bike the paved path that stretches for 5 miles throughout the city. Pack a picnic and grab a spot on the grassy areas or snag a picnic table located along the path.
The Persians gifted this architectural teahouse from the sister city in Tajikistan as a symbol of international friendship. Subsequently, you will feel like you’re stepping into another country with the bright colors and gorgeous patterned tiles that line the walls. Enjoy a large selection of over 100 types of tea and stay for the unique artwork throughout the teahouse. This municipal building is open to the public year-round, so you don’t have to have tea if that isn’t your thing.
Mount Sanitas Hiking Trail
Suppose you’re looking for a challenging but rewarding hike, where many boulder residents choose to run to get a quick workout. The trail is rated as moderate to difficult, and you’ll feel the effects of the high altitude if you aren’t accustomed. The trail is a 3.1 mile round trip with an elevation gain of 1,343-feet.
Valmont Bike Park
Biking is a popular activity in Boulder, Colorado, and there are many trails designated for biking, but none compare to the Valmont Bike Park. The bike park covers 42 acres and offers dirt ramps, dual slalom, and two pump parks. Designated for bikers of any level, you’ll find a cyclocross dedicated sandpit along with a run-up staircase feature. In addition, check out the wide range of networks of single-track trails of varying difficulty.
It’s one of the few remaining landmarks for the Chautauqua movement. During the year 1898, citizens of Boulder purchased an 80 acre stretch of land to use as a Chautauqua. Chautauqua is an experience-based in learning, love of nature, simplicity of life, music, and arts. Visit the historic area and hike one of the many trails, play tennis, take the kids to the playground, or visit the Chautauqua Auditorium, one of the oldest and most iconic venues in all of Colorado.
Getting to Boulder, Colorado
From Denver to Boulder, Colorado is a quick 30-minute drive from downtown Denver; 15 minutes longer if you’re traveling from Denver Airport to Boulder. All you need to do is take highway 36 North.
Arrive in Boulder stress-free by hiring Mayflower Limo. Our luxury private car service offers a selection of premium cars so you can sit back and relax. Mayflower Limo services ride all over Colorado and offer various rates based on your needs.
This list barely scratches the surface of things to do in Boulder, Colorado. So, take a family vacation or a weekend getaway and enjoy the serene sights of scenic Colorado.