Forever and always, Colorado will be my favorite state to visit. When I was a kid, nearly all of our family vacations consisted of exploring a new spot in Colorado, so it feels a little bit like home. Not to mention that after driving through Kansas for the 40th time, 12 hours of passing windmills and corn fields somehow goes by quickly! 😉
One of my favorite cities to visit in Colorado is Boulder. It’s charming downtown combined with plenty of outdoor activities and just a touch of Boulder weirdness, makes it such a fun city to explore.
Today I’m sharing 8 fun things to do the next time you are in Boulder, Colorado!
1. Explore Pearl Street
If you are visiting Boulder, then taking at least half a day to explore Pearl Street is a must. On any given day there are street performers, colorful flowers, people hanging out, delicious restaurants and fun shops! From big brands like Patagonia and The North Face to small boulder originals to bookstores to coffeehouses, Pearl Street has a little something for everyone.
When it’s time to take a shopping break, my favorite place to eat is Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant off Walnut (just one block from Pearl). If you go up to the rooftop, you can enjoy tacos and margs with an amazing view of the Flatirons!
2. Drive Up Flagstaff Mountain
If you are looking for great views with minimal effort, Flagstaff mountain is your spot. You can take the beautiful drive all the way to the top of the mountain. On your way up, I definitely recommend pulling off and checking out some of the viewpoints. If it’s a clear day, you can see the Indian Peaks.
3. Chautauqua Park
Another Boulder classic. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without exploring Chautauqua Park. It sits at the base of the Flatirons, so even if you don’t take hike from here, you can sit and enjoy a picnic lunch with a stellar view. I, of course, recommend taking a hike though!
My favorite hike leaving from Chautauqua Park is the Royal Arch hike. It’s a 3 mile out and back trail and is technically rated as difficult, but I promise it’s not that bad! There are just a lot of steps, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water.
Another fun hike leaving from Chautauqua Park is the First and Second Flatiron Loop. It’s a 2.5 mile loop that is also rated difficult. Again, it’s not that bad – there is just a little scramble and a decent incline that gives it that rating. The great views on the trail are totally worth it!
For both of these hikes, make sure you bring water and wear good shoes. Going earlier in the day will help with the crowds. Try to go on a sunny day, so you can enjoy the views! They both only take about an hour to do.
4. Tube Boulder Creek
A summer favorite for anyone who lives in Boulder is tubing down Boulder creek! The creek runs through town and has a walking trail on both sides of it, making it easy to access. You can rent a tube, or just pick up a cheap one at Target and jump right in.
Check the water conditions before you get in and make sure you are going in at a safe spot, with other tubers nearby.
Too cold to tube? Just take a stroll past the creek on the paths. Or one of my favorite things to do is stop by Whole Foods on the way, grab dinner from their salad bar, and have a little picnic at one of the many tables by the creek!
5. Paddle Board on the Boulder Reservoir
Sticking with the water theme, you can also paddle board while in Boulder. Take an afternoon and go check out the Boulder Reservoir. You can paddle board, canoe, kayak, or just swim!
Feeling more adventurous? Try a paddle board yoga class!
6. Eldorado Canyon State Park
Just south of the city is Eldorado Canyon State Park. Let me tell ya, this park is worth visiting. It took me a while to discover Eldo, but when I did I was blown away.
Eldorado Canyon is a Colorado state park known for its rock climbing routes, so it’s a popular place for local climbers. Not a climber? Me neither! There is still a ton to do here! Take in all the beautiful views, walk along the creek, or go on a long hike. It’s a lot less crowded than other parks in Boulder, so you can enjoy nature sans people. (aka the best way to enjoy nature)
The park costs $9 per vehicle to get in, but it is totally worth it. If you are taking a car, be careful on the drive back; the road has a lot of potholes.
7. Rent a bike!
One of my favorite things to do in Boulder is rent a bike and cruise around. This city was made for cyclists. There are sidewalks everywhere, so you can take a short ride around town or bike to your next destination.
If you are looking for a more intense ride, you can bike on any one of classic Boulder road rides, like Flagstaff Road or Lefthand Canyon.
Mountain bikers are welcome too! There are a ton of trails around Boulder. Like I said, this city is a cyclist’s dream!
8. Check out a brewery!
If you’re a beer lover, you’re in luck because Boulder’s brewery scene is next level. Each microbrewery features unique brews with an awesome atmosphere. You can even combine this one and the last one with the Boulder Beer Trail and bike from one brewery to the next!
Day trip option: Estes Park
Still looking for more to do on your trip to Boulder? Consider taking a day trip to Estes Park! Estes Park is only about an hour from Boulder and has plenty to do and explore. Stroll through downtown Estes and shop at some of the cute stores or grab a bite to eat.
You can also enter Rocky Mountain National Park through Estes. If you decide to visit RMNP, my favorite quick “hike” is Bear Lake. It hardly counts as a hike because it’s so short, but that makes it the perfect thing to do if you don’t want to spend a ton of time in one spot!
Are you planning a trip to Boulder or Estes Park? I would love to hear about in the comments!
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