Oh, the long weekend. If you’re like me, you celebrate these occasions by getting out of the house. In Colorado, it can feel like there are a million different options for things to do and places to go. What you might not realize is that one of the best cities to visit is right under your nose – and just a short drive from Denver. Boulder’s got this charm that just grows on you. If you’re ready to try something new and spend a few days away from home, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s my checklist of how to make the most of 72 hours in Boulder:
A Stay at St Julien
One of the classiest hotels in town, St Julien Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to start and end each day in Boulder. Don’t forget to stop by Jill’s Restaurant – they’ve got a phenomenal happy hour. The crown jewel, however, is the spa. Whether you opt for a simple facial or a full day of pampering, St Julien is the signature place to go and relax in Boulder. Centrally located downtown, the hotel is also just a short walk away from the Pearl Street Mall.
Catch Some Live Music
Boulder’s music scene is just another reason why so many people fall in love with this city. Wherever you look, you’re sure to find live music across many genres, and bands like 3OH!3 and The String Cheese Incident have really put the town on the map. The Boulder Theater and Fox Theatre are just a couple of hot spots where you can find music on any given day. Boulder’s got so much to offer musically, with shows ranging from University performances to live music at a local restaurant, to full on shows put on by internationally renowned artists. A great place to look for local concerts is Boulder Magazine.
Drive up Flagstaff for the View
One of Boulder’s defining factors is its scenic views. Whether you’re looking up at the flatirons or looking down on the town, many have fallen breathless at the scenery surrounding the city. Driving up Flagstaff is one of the best ways to make the most of that view. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting the area, and is just a few minutes’ drive west.
Hike at Chautauqua
Chautauqua is another very special part of Boulder. Consisting of miles of gorgeous trails at the foot of the flatirons, this area has been a mainstay for students and permanent citizens alike. One of only 24 National Historic Landmarks in Colorado, it’s definitely worth setting aside a good chunk of your day for. While you’re at it, stop by the Alpine Modern Café and grab yourself the perfect picnic lunch.
Walk the Pearl Street Mall
A Boulder icon, the Pearl Street Mall is your go-to for great food, unique stores, and a family-friendly atmosphere. You’ll love the red brick lined walkways teeming with talented artists and musicians, ready to share their craft with you. A regular plate of festivals graces the area year-long, so keep an eye out for one that meets your interests.
Take a Brewery Tour
Boulder is on the forefront of the microbrew world, and we are lucky enough to have a plethora of local breweries to choose from. From Avery Brewing to Twisted Pine Brewing Co, there’s always a great beer around every corner. One way to get the full experience is to hop on one of the popular Boulder Brew Tours. They have both a walking and a driven tour, but be sure to visit other local favorites like Upslope Brewery, as well. You’ll have a memorable time tasting various beers and learning about different company cultures and the science behind brewing.
Bike Along the Boulder Creek Trail
One of the most convenient trails to access in the whole city, the Boulder Creek Trail cuts straight through town and takes you on a scenic adventure. With the trail just a short walk from the south side of Pearl Street, nothing’s better than ending a long day of shopping next to a little nature. The 7-mile path starts in Boulder Canyon to the west and ends at Arapahoe Road to the east.
Watch a Busker
Street performers are a common occurrence in Boulder – especially along Pearl Street. On any given day, you’ll be able to catch anything from sword swallowers to death defying unicyclists. Every visit is going to be unique, and the whole family will be thoroughly entertained. Keep a look out for the Bronze Cowboy – he’s a nationally recognized comedian who you’ll swear is a statue…until he instantly changes position.
Eat at The Kitchen
A personal favorite, The Kitchen is part of a series of award winning restaurants founded by Hugo Matheson, Kimbal Musk, and Jen Lewin. The bistro prides itself on fresh, locally sourced food, and is committed to environmentally-friendly practices. To take things further, they’ve also got an extensive community garden program that works to encourage families to cook at home more often. Not to mention, their Koberstein Ranch Steak is phenomenal.
Hike Our Local Red Rocks
Another one of my favorites is hiking the beautiful red rocks in the area. The Red Rocks Trail at Settlers Park is a memorable way to see some of Mother Nature’s best work. Formations of sandstone jut out of the ground all along the trail, and the result is something truly spectacular. Hikers visit from all over Colorado just to experience this unique trail.
Walk the CU Campus
Consistently ranked one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, The University of Colorado Boulder has to be one of your stops while you’re in town. Surrounded by lush trees, beautiful sandstone-clad school buildings, and the unforgettable flatirons as the backdrop, this is a great location to take a breather and just relax. You’ll love the college atmosphere, and the lush green areas that dot the campus are always a nice place to lie down and read a good book.
There you have it. My list of must-do’s in Boulder during a long weekend. What are some of your favorite activities around Boulder? Let me know in the comments below.