Exploring the Best Things To Do in Boulder Colorado


Known for its active lifestyle and artistic spirit, Boulder has something for everyone.


  • Boulder is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes like the Flatirons, providing hiking, biking, climbing, and scenic vistas.
  • The downtown Pearl Street Mall offers shopping, dining, and cultural attractions like the Boulder Theater.
  • Festivals like the Boulder International Film Fest and Farmers' Market showcase local talent. Visitors can challenge themselves on the steep hiking trails of Mount Sanitas or explore the city's 150 miles of scenic biking paths along Boulder Creek. For climbing enthusiasts, Eldorado Canyon State Park offers over 1,000 technical climbing routes. After working up an appetite, cool off with a swim in Boulder Reservoir or kayak down Boulder Creek.

The city’s 300 days of annual sunshine mean outdoor adventures can be enjoyed year-round. In autumn, the golden foliage sets the stage for seasonal activities like hayrides at local farms. Or in winter, downhill skiing and snowboarding at Eldora Mountain Resort offers Alpine thrills just 20 minutes from downtown Boulder. With its enviable setting against the Rockies, Boulder’s wealth of outdoor attractions promises visitors adventure in a stunning natural playground.

Hiking and Biking on Iconic Trails

Lace up your hiking boots for iconic trails, including the Flatirons, Royal Arch, and Mount Sanitas, for panoramic views of the city and mountain vistas that stretch for miles. Just 10 minutes from downtown, Chautauqua Park’s cottages and dining hall provide the perfect basecamp for hitting the trails.

Boulder is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in America, with leisurely biking paths and adrenaline-filled mountain biking trails. Cruise down the Boulder Creek Path for a scenic ride through the heart of the city, or test your technical skills at Valmont Bike Park, with over 40 acres of tracks and jumps for all skill levels.

Cultural Experiences on the Pearl Street Mall

At the heart of downtown, the Pearl Street Mall offers visitors one-of-a-kind shopping alongside street performers, art galleries, breweries, and restaurants. Pop into independent boutiques and pick up locally made artisan gifts and crafts. Catch an indie film screening at the historic Boulder Theater, which first opened in 1906 and today hosts concerts, plays, dance performances, and more.

The downtown area also offers an array of museums and galleries, like the Museum of Boulder and the Dairy Arts Center, showcasing local history and creative talent. Or relax with a cup of tea at the beautifully ornate Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a traditional Tajik teahouse gifted from Boulder’s sister city in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. With its vibrant arts scene, the Pearl Street Mall encapsulates Boulder’s funky mountain town spirit.

Festivals Showcasing Local Talent

Throughout the year, festivals and markets in Boulder celebrate the city’s creative community. The Boulder Creek Festival along the downtown waterway features over 10 stages of live music and entertainment alongside local food vendors and artisans. July brings the Colorado Shakespeare Festival when food trucks and picnic blankets set the scene for an open-air theater in Boulder’s Central Park.

For cinema buffs, the Boulder International Film Festival screens over 100 films from Colorado and around the world in February-March. In fall, the popular Boulder Fall Fest celebrates the harvest season with local gourds and produce. Year-round on Saturdays, the Boulder County Farmers Market offers farm-fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade gifts from over 150 Colorado vendors.

With its vibrant arts scene and talented community of chefs, craftspeople, and performers, Boulder’s festivals offer visitors a taste of authentic local culture.

Local Flavors: Boulder’s Foodie Scene

With an emphasis on locally sourced organic ingredients, Boulder’s dining scene encompasses a delicious variety of cuisines. The compact downtown area offers over 300 restaurants within a few walkable blocks. Sample craft beers from over 30 breweries and taprooms on the Boulder Ale Trail, or gather a group for a behind-the-scenes brewery tour.

For al fresco dining, the Boulder Food Park is a shipping container complex filled with an eclectic mix of street food vendors dishing out everything from ramen to arepas. Or pick up provisions for a picnic lunch at the Boulder Farmers Market and head to North Boulder Park, Wonderland Lake, or Eben G. Fine Park.

No visit to Boulder is complete without experiencing the city’s famously casual vibe. So grab a craft beer, pull up an Adirondack chair, and soak in those Rocky Mountain views!

Educational Opportunities: Tours and Exhibits

Beyond outdoor adventures, visitors can take advantage of Boulder’s impressive educational offerings. Get an insider’s look at the University of Colorado Boulder, which enrolls over 30,000 students across 600 fields of study. Campus tours showcase facilities like the Fiske Planetarium and Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater, offering public shows under the stars. Architecture buffs can explore the Norlin Quad to see buildings designed by Charles Klauder, who also worked on Princeton and Penn State.

Science enthusiasts will appreciate a tour of NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research. With exhibits on weather and climate science alongside sweeping vista views, it appeals to visitors of all ages. Kids can launch weather balloons or create cloud rings in the hands-on chemistry lab.

For a deep dive into local history and culture, the Museum of Boulder and Boulder History Museum uses interactive exhibits to trace the city’s development. Learn how Boulder’s open space program preserved over 45,000 acres of parks and trails that define the city today.

Seasonal Events Embodying Boulder’s Spirit

Mark your calendar for beloved events like the Bolder Boulder 10K in May, when over 50,000 runners take to the city’s streets. July 4th festivities include a parade through downtown and fireworks over Folsom Field. Each event offers visitors a taste of what makes Boulder special: an emphasis on active living, community spirit, and a celebration of local talent.

As the holiday season approaches, the town lights up with festive cheer. In early December, downtown hosts a Christmas Lights Parade with colorful floats and costumes. Or take in a performance of The Nutcracker by the Boulder Ballet Company at venues like the Boulder Theater. With its lively arts scene, charming holiday traditions, and community pride, Boulder offers visitors memorable seasonal magic.

Unique Boulder: What Makes the City One-of-a-Kind

Beyond its postcard mountain views and outdoor recreation, what gives Boulder its funky personality? The city tops many “Best of” lists for its quality of life, with a sustainability ethos and 300 annual days of sunshine helping Boulder earn accolades like the #1 Happiest Place to Live in America.

In addition to an enviable setting against the Flatirons, open space preservation gives the city a connection to nature that visitors can sense the moment they arrive. Rather than uncontrolled sprawl, growth in Boulder centers around keeping the community livable. From the city’s walkable neighborhoods to its focus on arts and education, visitors get a window into what makes this innovative mountain town tick.

Tea Tastings and Open Space Adventures

For one-of-a-kind attractions, tour the ornately hand-carved Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a traditional Tajik teahouse gifted from Boulder’s sister city in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Its exotic architecture makes it one of Boulder’s most photographed landmarks. Or visit Celestial Seasonings tea company for a free factory tour and a cup of soothing herbal tea.

The city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks program has preserved over 45,000 acres of public parks, trails, and open space. Explore this natural playground with an adventure guide from Boulder Adventure Lodge, offering customized rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking tours. These unique attractions offer visitors a signature Boulder experience.


How do I get to Boulder?

Boulder is located just 27 miles northwest of Denver. Visitors can access the city via Denver International Airport (DEN), which has convenient shuttle services and rentals that make it a one-hour drive to Boulder. Amtrak and Greyhound stations are also located downtown. In town, BCycle bike share, buses, and the Hop vehicle share provide car-free transport.

When is the best time to visit Boulder?

One of Boulder’s charms is enjoying bluebird skies and moderate temperatures year-round. Each season offers its own adventures, from summer wildflowers and fall foliage to holiday festivities in winter. For the most pleasant weather, aim for September when the average is 75°F (24°C).

What is there to do in Boulder when it rains?

Whether an afternoon shower or snow flurry, Boulder offers plenty of rainy day activities. Check out exhibits at the Museum of Boulder or catch an indie film screening at the Boedecker Theater. Enjoy afternoon tea under the ornate ceilings of the Dushanbe Teahouse. Or let the kids burn off energy at the urban adventure park Movement Climbing + Fitness.

With stunning natural landscapes, an artistic spirit, and 300 days of annual sunshine, Boulder delights visitors with quintessential Colorado charm paired with outdoor adventure, gourmet cuisine, and cultural discoveries. Its funky mountain town vibe, community pride, and sustainability ethos give this innovative city at the edge of the Rockies an appeal all its own.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.