What To Do In Boulder This Weekend – With countless hiking trails, many top ski resorts, and extensive natural parks, it’s no wonder Boulder is a mecca for nature lovers. In the winter, the slopes of nearby Mount Eldora attract visitors to ski and snowboard, while in the summer, hikers, bikers and climbers head directly to the surrounding parks. With so much to do, it’s worth spending at least a couple of days exploring everything this hippie place has to offer.
Even if you’re not into nature, you’ll find something to do in this vibrant city. The pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall is Boulder’s most popular destination for tourists and residents alike. Stretching over four blocks, the area is home to numerous boutiques, innovative restaurants and impressive art galleries.
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As a college town, Boulder’s nightlife is full of trendy bars, laid-back pubs and live music venues. In addition, it is no secret that locals bring home food and drink
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Seriously, expect to find a lively array of sit-down restaurants, organic cafes, and popular microbreweries. If you really want to experience the local culture, time your visit for one of the many annual festivals, such as the Boulder Creek Festival held every Memorial Day weekend. There will be a proper Creekside Beer Fest on May 28th and 29th.
With so many outdoor activities, great restaurants, and unique attractions in Boulder, it’s hard to even know where to start. You could easily spend a week or more in this trendy Colorado city, but three days in Boulder is plenty of time to visit its highlights. If you’re planning a weekend in Boulder, read our ultimate itinerary. Planning a trip is easy.
If you’re still undecided about where to stay, check out our article on the best boutique hotels in Boulder.
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Boulder is located 30 miles north of Denver and about an hour from Denver International Airport (airport code: DEN).
If you don’t want to rent a car during your trip, the Regional Transit District (RTD) offers transportation between Denver Airport and Boulder. The bus system has stops throughout Boulder and the surrounding area, making it easy to get around without a car.
Take the SkyRide bus at the airport. It takes about an hour and costs $10.50. The bus will drop you off at the Downtown Boulder Station, just 2 blocks from the Pearl Street Mall.
Fortunately, Boulder is a relatively small city and most of the city’s main attractions, such as Pearl Street and CU Boulder, are within walking distance. Residents are known for being outdoorsy, so cycling is a very popular way to get around the city. There are countless bike paths and walking paths around the city.
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There are many places in the city where you can rent bikes. Colorado Multisport offers a wide range of bikes, including mountain bikes and electric bikes. University Bicycles on Pearl Street offers bike rentals for just $25 a day. Alternatively, you can download the app and pick up your bike at one of the many Boulder BCycle stations. Stations are available 24/7 and are billed by the hour.
If you want to explore areas outside of Boulder, download the RTD Transit app and see if it operates a route to your desired destination.
For example, the NB runs from Downtown Boulder Station to Eldora Mountain Ski Resort and offers free park-to-park transportation to Chautauqua Park.
For other nearby destinations, simply hop on an Uber or Lyft to get where you want to go.
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Home to quirky street artists, boutiques and trendy restaurants, Pearl Street Mall represents the unique culture of this laid-back city of happiness. No weekend trip to Boulder is complete without exploring this pedestrian-friendly mall and its beautiful surroundings.
Fortunately, most of Boulder’s best hotels are clustered around this four-block area, so Pearl Street and all its attractions are within walking or biking distance.
Start your day with breakfast in one of the city’s famous restaurants. Located in a historic Victorian mansion a block from Pearl Street, Lucile’s Creole Cafe has been a fixture in Boulder since opening in 1980. It’s so popular that you might have to wait in line…but it’s worth it.
Start with an order of chicory coffee and New Orleans-style beignets. The simple menu includes unique breakfast dishes such as Creole omelets with spicy sauce and Creole sauce, and shrimp and cheese grits with Andouille sausage. Vegetarian options include eggs benedict with spinach, tomato, avocado and semolina.
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After breakfast, return along Pearl Street. Children will be delighted by the talent buses that prepare great music and magic shows. In the summer, kids can even climb in pop-up water games and art installations.
Groups on the Brick are also on Pearl Street from June to September. It hosts free weekly concerts and a pop-up beer garden with local beers.
You can’t help but stop at least at some of the many unique shops in the area. Shop to your heart’s content in dozens of stylish boutiques, trendy thrift stores and sportswear stores.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love Neptune Mountaineering. Meanwhile, book lovers can spend hours browsing the shelves of the Boulder Book Store, and art lovers will definitely want to buy something at the Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery.
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Boulder-Pearl Street and the surrounding area, known as “America’s Best Food City,” is home to 120 different restaurants.
The city is known for its farm-to-table restaurants, vegan-friendly cafes and local microbreweries. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing drink or a light snack for lunch, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
You can easily spend the day shopping, eating and drinking around Pearl Street, or if you want to see another side of the city, walk just a few blocks to Boulder Creek Pass.
Stretching from Boulder Canyon to the outskirts of town, this 8.5-mile trail is popular with runners and cyclists, and it’s also a great place for a leisurely stroll. You don’t have to complete the entire route as there are many scenic stops along the way.
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Along the way, you will pass various cultural attractions, historical sites and beautiful parks. If you don’t want to hike the entire trail, you can stop for a swim in the woods at Scott Carpenter Park, detour and admire the architectural wonders of the University of Colorado, or go kayaking at the Eben G. Fine Hike Park. Have a picnic by the stream in Central Park.
If you’re lucky, Central Park can host live music, pop-up fairs and festivals during the summer months.
After a long day of exploring historic downtown Boulder, relax at your hotel before turning in for the night. We recommend making a reservation at SALT The Bistro, one of the area’s best table-side restaurants. Conveniently located on Pearl Street, this trendy restaurant serves all-organic food from a handful of local farms and ranches.
From meat and cheese boards to organic power cups to pork tenderloins, everything is fresh, healthy and absolutely delicious. Plus, you can get a taste of Boulder’s famous beer scene with an excellent list of local craft beers.
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If you’re in need of a nightcap, classic cocktails are served up in the hidden style of License 1, just a few blocks away from the historic Boulderado Hotel.
With 255 miles of hiking trails, it’s easy to see why Boulder is a popular destination among outdoor enthusiasts. If you only have one day to hike, be sure to include a visit to Chautauqua Historic Park in your rock climbing itinerary. This 40-acre park is home to some of Boulder’s most popular hiking trails, with something for all levels.
If you’re visiting Boulder on a Wednesday or Saturday from April through November, start your day early with a visit to the famous Boulder Farmers Market (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). Grab a cold brew coffee at the Silver Canyon Coffee Cart, enjoy an artisan show, listen to live music, and browse 150 stands selling local fruits, vegetables, and homemade baked goods. You’ll want to stock up on some tasty treats and picnic supplies for your upcoming hike.
But if you’re visiting Boulder in the winter, head to Cured on Pearl Street and purchase a packaged gourmet Colorado Backcountry Picnic.
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