20 Things To Do In Boulder Co

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Known for its stunning natural beauty, lively downtown district and university campus, Boulder is a hip, artsy and outdoor-focused city less than 28 miles (45 km) outside downtown Denver. The city is outdoor attractions everywhere you look, with soaring mountain summits and trails less than 10 miles (16 km) from the city’s downtown district and University Hill neighbourhood.

Fairly compact, Boulder’s city attractions include the Pearl Street Mall, the Flatirons, the Dushanbe Teahouse and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, with the world-class entertainment options and cultural venues of Colorado’s capital city just a short drive away. Here are the best things to do in Boulder. 

Boulder, Colorado

Top Tours

Downtown Boulder: A Self Guided Audio Tour
You’ll find plenty of things to do in Boulder in the fall.

20 Things To Do In Boulder

1- Go Shopping And Dining At Pearl Street Mall

For a world-class dining, shopping and cultural experience, be sure to swing by Boulder’s popular Pearl Street Mall, the city’s economic and nightlife hub that promises to be one of the best open-air retail experiences in the United States.

The mall got its start back in 1977 and features multiple publically accessible fountains, gardens and sculptures, as well as several of Boulder’s oldest and most storied buildings, such as the Boulder County Courthouse.

near the campus of the University of Colorado, Pearl Street Mall is always a vibrant and electric spot in downtown Boulder and an exciting tourist attraction worth visiting regardless of whether you’re planning to shop or just browse.

The Pearl Street Mall is at 1303 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302.

2- Plan A Hike To The Flatirons

Boulder Flatirons Private Photo Adventure
One of the most beautiful seasons to see the Flatirons is in winter.

Famous throughout the state of Colorado thanks to their prominent slanting peaks, the Flatirons are Boulder’s greatest outdoor landmark and a busy hiking and rock climbing destination along the slopes of Green Mountain.

The Flatirons are made up of five picturesque red-brown sandstone rock formations situated just to the west of downtown Boulder and were reportedly named after New York City’s iconic Flatiron Building.

A ubiquitous symbol of Boulder, the Flatirons have made cameo appearances in countless films, TV series and advertisements, and can easily be accessed via a network of easy-to-hike nature trails.

Recommended tour:

3- Swing By Eldorado Canyon State Park

Categorised as a day-use park, Colorado’s Eldorado Canyon State Park is a scenic and multi-purpose outdoor recreational space situated just 8 miles (13 km) from the streets of downtown Boulder.

The park has a series of staggering sandstone cliffs which have made the park one of the top rock climbing spots in the United States.

For visitors seeking a more laid-back outdoor experience, the park also offers an extensive network of trails, fishing spots and picnic areas, making it easy to explore and experience this grand Colorado attraction even if you’re not an adventurous thrill seeker.

Eldorado Canyon State Park is at 9 Kneale Rd, Eldorado Springs, CO 80025.

4- Tour The Museum of Natural History

The Skull Of An Ancient Predatory Animal In The Museum
Visiting the Museum of Natural History is one of the cool things to do in Boulder, Colorado.

Home to a collection of more than 4 million specimens and artefacts, the Museum of Natural History in central Boulder is among the most extensive natural history museums in the entire Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.

This state-of-the-art facility first opened its doors to the public back in 1902 and is among the many interesting attractions and landmarks situated on the University of Colorado’s scenic Boulder campus.

The museum gained full accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in 2003 and includes dedicated exhibits and displays on topics such as anthropology, zoology, botany and palaeontology.

The Museum of Natural History is at 1030 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309.

Recommended tour: Downtown Boulder: A Self-Guided Audio Tour

5- Explore The University of Colorado Art Museum

Just a short walk from the Museum of Natural History is where art lovers can find the highly respected University of Colorado Art Museum, an intimate visual arts venue where visitors can partake in regular workshops, art lectures and exhibitions.

Situated on the grounds of the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus, the museum is a self-described forum where visitors are encouraged to present and exchange ideas, fuel imagination and inspire collaboration through different visual art mediums such as paintings, sculptures and fabrics.

The museum is made up of five galleries including several temporary and video galleries, and includes works of art such as Greek pottery, South American Santos and traditional African sculptures.

The University of Colorado Art Museum is at 1085 18th St, Boulder, CO 80309.

6- Hike The Scenic Boulder Creek Path

Just north of the city’s University Hill district is the Boulder Creek Path, a multi-use 5.5-mile-long (9 km) trailhead accessible to hikers, cyclists and inline skaters.

The pathway forms part of a broad trail network connecting different parts of Boulder, with the Boulder Creek Path section among the network’s most traversed parts.

Stretching from downtown Boulder to the foothills of the mountains on the city’s western edge, the trail is easy to navigate and passes by several noteworthy Boulder features, such as the Boulder Creek recreational space, the trail’s namesake.

7- Summit Flagstaff Mountain

Rocky Mountains From Flagstaff Mountain Road In Colorado
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain is one of the things to do in Boulder, Colorado.

Perched along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range is Flagstaff Mountain, an eye-catching outdoor landmark of Boulder that rises to 6,983 feet (2,128 m) above sea level.

Flagstaff Mountain can be found just five miles (8 km) outside central Boulder and treats nature lovers to absolutely majestic trails and vantage points, allowing visitors to take in the city of Boulder from high above.

More than just a hiking destination though, Flagstaff Mountain features a series of unique attractions at its summit, including the Sunrise Amphitheatre and the popular Flagstaff House Restaurant, where hikers can grab a bite to eat while overlooking downtown Boulder.

8- Tour The Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory

Owned and operated by one of the United States’ largest tea manufacturers, the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory in downtown Boulder is a must-see attraction for tea aficionados and anyone interested in finding out how this popular beverage is made.

The factory opened and started producing Celestial Seasonings’ tea blends in 1990 and today ships their prized herbal teas to more than 35 countries across the world.

What makes the factory a popular tourist attraction in Boulder is its 45-minute guided tours, where visitors get to experience the entire tea-making process from start to finish and stop at the on-site gift shop to pick up unique gifts and products to take back home.

The Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory is at 4600 Sleepytime Dr, Boulder, CO 80301.

9- Stop By The National Center for Atmospheric Research

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is a world-class research facility and hands-on museum where visitors can learn more about changing weather systems and the atmosphere in a fun and interactive way.

Used extensively for research by the University of Colorado’s faculty and students, the centre is free to visit and is used to study topics such as climate science, meteorology and atmospheric chemistry.

Established in 1960, the facility played an instrumental role in the development of LIDAR technology and organises free guided tours of the research facility to anyone interested in learning more about weather patterns and the atmosphere.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is at 1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO 80305.

10- Spend An Afternoon At Chautauqua Park

Formed back in 1898, Chautauqua Park is as much a natural landmark in Boulder as it is a historic one and is today the only continuously operational Chautauqua west of the Mississippi River.

The park is named after the on-site Chautauqua, a national movement of educational and entertainment spaces for adults which were at the height of their popularity during the 1920s.

Among the park’s many great attractions are its large network of nature trails, its diverse array of wildlife and its stunning vistas, which treat outdoor enthusiasts to majestic views across Boulder and the surrounding region.

Chautauqua Park is at 900 Baseline Rd & 9th St, Boulder, CO 80302.

11- Swing By The Fiske Planetarium

The state-of-the-art Fiske Planetarium is yet another Boulder attraction on the sprawling CU Boulder campus where curious minds can learn all about astrophysics and astronomy.

First opened back in 1975, the planetarium is officially known as the “Fiske Planetarium and Science Center” and houses an on-site museum where visitors can learn more about our solar system through a variety of artefacts and exhibits.

The Fiske Planetarium is at 2414 Regent Dr, Boulder, CO 80309.

12- Stroll Through Boulder’s University Hill Neighbourhood

Boulder’s University Hill neighbourhood is a hip and lively city district bordering the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus where travellers can experience the city’s rich history and charming architecture.

Known simply as “The Hill”, the neighbourhood got its start back in the late 1800s before being transformed into a vibrant retail, dining and entertainment scene during the early 1900s.

Today, University Hill is home to several historic landmarks and Boulder attractions, and is just a short walk from central Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall and bustling Broadway Street.

13- Trek Along The Mount Sanitas Hiking Trail

The 3.3-mile-long (5.3 km) Mount Sanitas Hiking Trail is a fairly challenging looped hiking pathway where experienced outdoorsmen can enjoy the region’s rocky outcrops, open meadows and boulder formations within 10 minutes from downtown Boulder.

Winding to the summit of Mount Sanitas, an elevation gain of more than 1,320 feet (402 m), the trail is renowned for its stunning views across the Boulder cityscape and provides thrill seekers with access to excellent bouldering spots.

14- Experience The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Established back in 1972, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is an innovative cultural institution in downtown Boulder where art lovers can experience year-round rotating contemporary art exhibits in the heart of central Colorado.

The museum is a non-collecting art museum, meaning that instead of permanent galleries and exhibits, visitors can see travelling presentations and programs from some of the world’s most renowned contemporary artists.

The museum has three exhibition galleries and a 100-seat black-box theatre, making the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art a great destination to enjoy both the visual and performing arts in central Boulder.

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is at 1750 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302.

15- Stop By The Eye-Catching Dushanbe Teahouse

Gifted to the city of Boulder by Dushanbe, its sister city and the capital of Tajikistan, the Dushanbe Teahouse is among the most unique attractions in Colorado, especially if you’re familiar with Persian culture and customs.

The teahouse was designed by architect Lado Shanidze and was hand-built by a group of 40 Tajik artisans over a 2-year period in a traditional Persian style before finally opening to the public in 1998.

The teahouse is a fantastic example of Tajik culture and architecture and is intricately decorated with bronze statuettes, hand-carved cedar pillars, Tajik furniture and Tajik-painted oil paintings.

The Dushanbe Teahouse is at 1770 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302.

16- Pick Up Farm-Fresh Produce At The Boulder Farmers Market

Hosted between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue near the Dushanbe Teahouse, the Boulder Farmers Market is the city’s go-to spot when it comes to picking up fresh produce, treats and homemade goodies.

The market takes place every Saturday from 8 A.M. until 2 P.M. between April and November, as well as on Wednesdays from 4 P.M. until 8 P.M. between May and October, attracting vendors and shoppers from across Colorado.

Combining the unique scenery, tastes and scents of Boulder into one open-air attraction, the market is ideal if you’re in the mood for a shopping spree or just stopping by to soak up the entire experience.

The Boulder Farmers Market is at 13th St, Boulder, CO 80302.

17- Explore The Museum of Boulder

The Museum of Boulder, or “MOB” for short, is a world-class venue in the city’s downtown district where travellers can learn the fascinating history of Boulder from its humble beginnings to the hip and artsy destination it is today.

Housed inside an unimposing red brick building, the museum was officially established in 1944 as the Boulder History Museum before undergoing a name change when it moved into its current home in 2018.

The museum’s collection currently includes over 45,000 historic artefacts and unique exhibits such as the “Playzeum” and the “Boulder Experience Gallery”.

The Museum of Boulder is at 2205 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302.

18- Catch A Concert At The Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Famous Red Rocks Amphitheater In Denver
Visiting the Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the fun things to do from Boulder Colorado.

Hosting live music concerts, comedy shows and all sorts of other events while overlooking downtown Denver, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a picturesque open-air performance venue tucked away between the Rocky Mountains about 26 miles (42 km) outside Boulder.

This iconic Colorado amphitheatre gets its name from the red rock formations that the amphitheatre is carved out of, which provides the amphitheatre with superb acoustics and a serene setting that’s simply unmatched at any indoor performance venue.

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment since opening in 1906 and promises to treat travellers to a one-of-a-kind Colorado entertainment spectacle that’s well worth the short drive from downtown Boulder to experience.

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is at 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465.

Recommended tours:

19- Stop By The Art Deco Boulder Theater

in the proverbial heart of downtown Boulder, the Boulder Theater is the city’s premier venue for hosting live performances such as concerts, comedy skits and film screenings.

The theatre originally opened in 1906 as the Curran Opera House and is perhaps most famous as the venue where Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed his followers during the future president’s 1920 Vice-Presidency campaign.

Saved from demolition during the 1980s, the theatre’s striking Art Deco-style façade is impressive and it is still regularly used as a live entertainment and performing arts venue today.

The Boulder Theater is at 2032 14th St, Boulder, CO 80302.

20- Plan A Day Trip To Denver

Denver Downtown City Skyline
A day trip to Denver is one of the top things to do from Boulder, Colorado.

Situated just 27 miles (43 km) from downtown Denver, no visit to Boulder would be complete without stopping by Colorado’s most populated city and the state’s legislative, economic and cultural hub.

Denver is a world-class travel destination oozing with top-notch entertainment options and a burgeoning arts and culture scene, not to mention a plethora of preserved historic landmarks and some of the most scenic outdoor attractions of any large North American city.

Some of Denver’s most popular tourist spots include the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum, Larimer Square and the International Church of Cannabis, with truly something for everyone to see, do, explore and experience.

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.